Are you new to using CRM software? If so, the list of CRM software terms can get overwhelming fast.
Don’t fret! Because you’ve just found yourself a complete CRM glossary containing everything you need to know!
I’m AJ! I spent years growing my business (and eventually selling it), and much of my success is credited to CRM software.
I built Small Business Bonfire (SBB) to help other entrepreneurs grow successful businesses!
What CRM terms are critical? And which aren’t all that important?
Stick with me as I cover the most important terminology related to CRM software!
360-Degree Customer View
A 360-degree customer view is a comprehensive profile of each person that purchases a business’s products or services.
Some of the information that makes up a 360-degree customer view includes the following details:
- Marketing campaigns
- Sales opportunities
- Contact information
- Acquisition history
- Other aspects of the customer journey
An account is an individual or group record for each customer, company, or other contact.
Sometimes, companies use the term “account” to reference the name of a company in correspondence.
An account makes it easy for sales reps to keep customer contacts organized.
Activities are specific actions a current or potential customer takes.
CRM software keeps track of customer activities to create a customer profile.
Some examples of activities include the following:
- Phone call history
- Meeting notes
- Buying patterns
Sometimes, sales teams can manually enter activities into a CRM system.
Ad Hoc Reporting
Ad hoc reporting is when reports are generated or created on request.
Typically, companies create ad hoc reports for specific use to answer a certain question.
For instance, you can use an ad hoc report to answer the question, “Where is our sales pipeline struggling?”
Customer relationship management technology gathers analytics that helps your marketing and sales team make fast decisions.
Analytics are data points including trends and behavior patterns such as:
- Sales pipeline data
- Win-loss tracking
- Financial analyses
- Segmentation recommendations
Companies also use analytics for marketing campaigns and decisions regarding the sales cycle.
API stands for application program interface.
An API has instructions and technical specifications for web developers to customize their software.
Essentially, an API allows professionals to make customer relationship management (CRM) software operate as a company requires.
AppExchange is a Salesforce app that allows companies to integrate third-party applications into their CRM software.
Some examples of the integrations available in AppExchange include the following:
- Mailchimp (email marketing)
- DocuSign (electronic signatures)
- QuickBooks (accounting software)
Third-party integrations improve business software and streamline marketing efforts, the sales funnel, etc.
Artificial intelligence is a computer program that mimics human behavior.
CRM software can integrate AI to guide customer service, marketing campaigns, and sales operations.
For instance, AI can suggest relevant content or products for customers based on past purchases.
An auto-responder is a form of sales automation in the CRM workflow.
Sales reps can utilize an auto-responder to automatically perform certain actions, including the following:
- Sending emails to a prospective customer
- Sending SMS messages with discounts and deals
- Sending reminders to sales and marketing teams
BANT stands for “budget,” “authority,” “need,” and “timeline.”
The acronym and sales qualification methodology provides the basic framework for sales reps to ask potential customers questions.
BANT aims to provide easy-to-follow guidance for getting customer information a sales representative could extract from a normal conversation.
Also, these guidelines help teams determine whether a customer is sales-qualified.
Business Intelligence (BI)
Business intelligence is part of analytics, consisting of things like:
- Sales process reports
- Pivot tables
- Sales forecasting
- Customer success management
Companies use business analytics to make better decisions that boost sales and create effective marketing efforts.
A campaign is a collection of marketing efforts.
For instance, a campaign can consist of the following actions:
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Print ads
- Online ads
- In-person events
- Product launches
- Direct mail
A campaign aims to attract a potential customer and draw attention to your products or services.
Campaign management describes an individual or team’s steps to plan, launch, monitor, and analyze marketing efforts.
Typically, campaign management consists of three steps; planning, management, and analysis.
Campaign management ensures a business takes calculated steps to reach its target audience.
As a result, marketing strategies are less expensive and more effective, targeting the proper customer base.
Cloud- or Web-Based
A cloud-based CRM software is available via a web browser or mobile app.
Cloud or web-based systems are available from any device with an internet connection.
A CRM system available from any device allows employees to be more productive and flexible regarding their place of work.
Ultimately, a cloud and web-based CRM system leads to happier employees because they can work remotely.
Configure, price, and quote (CPQ) are the processes businesses use to sell customizable products.
CRM software makes this process faster and more reliable by storing records and previous quotes, ensuring you don’t over or undercharge a customer.
Customer self-service is more accurate when creating quotes for products or services with several feature options.
A contact is an individual record that stores the following information about a customer:
- Phone number
- Mailing address
- Buying patterns
Additionally, companies can use a contact to store a prospect, associate, company, or other party a representative interacts with.
A contact database is all your existing customers and businesses you interact with.
Contact databases are a key function of CRM software, serving as a digital Rolodex of all your contacts and business partners.
Contact management is an essential business practice.
You and your team must keep existing and potential customers organized, with customer information and behaviors stored properly within your CRM software.
Contact management ensures your sales reps and other team members can access the data they need to improve relationships.
A contact’s role tells a sales rep who to talk to and the best time to reach out for each account for potential customers.
For instance, contact role labels include the following:
- Decision maker
- Job titles (owner, CFO, president, etc.)
Put simply; a contact role indicates the level of authority or seniority of each person in their contact base.
Contract management involves managing contracts, deadlines, terms and conditions, and deliverables.
Also, individuals in charge of contract management must ensure customer satisfaction.
Contracts are vital features for business deals, ensuring each party lives up to their end of the deal.
Fortunately, CRM software makes writing and managing multiple contracts easier.
CSV (comma-separated values) files are used to store data.
For instance, a CSV file is the most efficient way to store and share contact information with others.
Also, CRM software can use CSV files for importing and exporting customer databases and sales cycle spreadsheets into the platform.
Custom code allows professional web developers to build and customize a company’s CRM software.
For example, web developers write custom code to change a CRM system’s interface, functions, and look.
While more CRM platforms don’t require a ton of custom code, it’s an excellent option if you run a large business or have specialized needs.
Custom fields are a CRM feature most platforms include.
This feature allows users to add personalized data fields in addition to essential contact information, names, and roles.
Custom fields are a nice feature because they provide a more comprehensive view of an existing or potential customer.
Customer data is every piece of information a business has about a paying customer.
When team members collect this information, they store it in a customer’s profile on the CRM system.
Additionally, CRM technology automatically collects and organizes customer data for employees to use later.
Some examples of customer data include the following:
- Contact information
- Customer habits
- Buying history
Customer Experience (CX)
Customer experience (CX) is the customer’s overall impression of a company or product.
CRM software plays an integral role by keeping notes on customer interactions, contacts, and transactions.
Plus, CX data can help businesses understand how to make improvements and enhance relationships with existing customers.
Customer Experience Management
Customer experience management (CXM) ensures customers have a pleasant experience with your products or services.
CRM software allows businesses to track customer satisfaction ratings and feedback, improving CX for potential and existing customers.
This data can help you tailor your marketing efforts to meet customers’ needs better.
Customer self-service allows businesses to provide online customer support without having any interaction with an agent.
A CRM system typically includes AI features automatically responding to general customer emails or live chat inquiries.
Therefore, your customer agents are more productive and aren’t responsible for as many customer support requests.
Customer Service Management
Customer service management stores integral customer information to offer better, more personalized customer support.
Some details customer service management platforms store include the following:
- Communication records
- Purchase histories
- Contact information
Better customer support leads to more positive reviews and better customer loyalty.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management is a system that stores customer contact information, buying history, and other data.
CRM software makes creating customized marketing messages, streamlining processes, and increasing customer loyalty easier.
CRMs are essential for small business owners looking to simplify sales cycles and build better customer relationships.
Customer valuation places “value” on each customer, determining the best contacts for marketing campaigns.
CRM software uses the following information to qualify leads, prospective, and paying customers:
- Artificial intelligence
- Behavioral data
- Buying history
Customer valuation ensures sales teams don’t waste time pursuing a lead with little to no chance of purchasing a company’s products or services.
Dashboards are CRM features that summarize a company’s key performance indicators.
For instance, a dashboard shows a user a list of weekly tasks, sales funnel performance, sales progress, etc.
Often, dashboards showcase data in easy-to-understand graphs and charts, allowing users to see important information immediately.
Data enrichment adds more relevant customer data to an existing profile.
CRM systems often utilize public records, online activity, and social media platforms to gather more contact information.
This data type can help sales reps discover new leads faster and better understand the customer’s needs before reaching out.
Customer information is sensitive, containing private information like credit card numbers, social security information, etc.
Your CRM system must have measures to protect this information, preventing hackers from finding and taking advantage of it.
I’ve found implementing a third-party security feature useful, ensuring sensitive data is safe!
Data export allows companies to move customer information from the CRM system into other programs.
For instance, you can export contact information into a spreadsheet for others to use or move data to another CRM platform.
A data export feature is handy to transfer information quickly and accurately.
A data field is a specific piece of data.
For example, a customer’s address is a data field indicating where a company can send print ads.
Several data fields comprise a record (a complete customer view).
Data import is the opposite of data export.
Imports allow users to bring customer information from other programs into their CRM system.
Importing data is especially handy for teams transitioning from one CRM platform to another.
A data import feature is also helpful when a company must transfer customer information from a separate software quickly.
Dead or cold leads are potential customers who make it challenging for sales reps to guide them into the sales funnel.
A sales team shouldn’t spend too much time on a dead lead because they will unlikely convert into a paying customer.
While sending cold leads an occasional message or reminder is okay, salespeople shouldn’t spend too much time or energy trying to convert these customers.
Demand generation is an effective marketing strategy.
With this strategy, sales reps look at what a specific customer needs and form an effective way to draw their attention to the company’s products or services.
With demand generation, showing customers why they need your products or services is critical because this encourages them to purchase things.
Email Response Management
Email response management is a CRM feature that allows users to set up and send automatic email responses.
Businesses can create predefined rules and set responses based on specific requirements.
Email response management saves companies time and effort by handling mundane tasks.
First-touch attribution analyzes the first point of contact that drew a prospective customer in.
For instance, you can observe whether a social media presence, email campaign, or a limited deal resulted in customer attention.
First-touch data is important because it shows you which customer interactions are most effective.
Funnel velocity is the speed at which a customer moves through the sales process.
For instance, how long does it take a potential customer to visit a website, download an ebook, or complete a survey?
The velocity of customers in your funnel helps you determine if you must adjust campaigns and pricing to increase conversions.
Hot leads are customers that are closer to making a purchase.
Sales reps should spend more time on hot leads, providing additional information and special offers to encourage them to convert into paying customers.
Additionally, it’s important to personalize a sales-ready lead because customers are likelier to buy things when the sales process is tailored toward their preferences.
Indemnify and Hold
Indemnify and hold is a legal term CRM providers and end users use in their contracts.
This phrase protects CRM companies from liability if an end user experiences losses, damages, or technical mishaps.
Intellectual Property Rights
Intellectual property rights refer to anything proprietary to the CRM software.
These intellectual property rights can include the following:
- HTML codes
- Software design
- User IDs
Intellectual property rights ensure other providers don’t copy a software’s functionality or look.
Junk leads are contacts from dubious sources, such as email lists sold online.
Sales teams shouldn’t pursue these leads because they likely won’t convert into customers.
Instead, you should focus your efforts and energy on leads that will become paying customers, such as people who fill out forms on your website.
Last touch attribution allows teams to observe paid advertisements’ performance and CRM data collection.
Last touch attribution gives all the credit to the final touchpoint before a customer purchases your products or services.
Lead generation is how a company finds potential customers.
Some methods companies use for lead generation include:
- Social media statistics and activity
- Email newsletters and sign-up forms
- Surveys and pop-up forms on a website
A lead is a potential customer at the initial stage of the sales pipeline.
There are several methods to find leads, including referrals and ad campaigns.
Lead conversion is when companies turn potential customers into paying ones.
Each lead is assigned to a sales rep, who utilizes personalized selling strategies to guide them through the sales process.
A marketing-qualified lead is converted into a prospect and, finally, a customer.
Prospects and leads don’t naturally navigate the sales funnel without assistance.
Instead, your sales team must nurture these people through the sales pipeline to ensure they secure a sale.
Lead nurturing involves monitoring, assigning leads to reps, and tracking their activities.
Lead qualification is a set of requirements for a potential customer to be considered a qualified lead.
Labeling potential customers to determine whether they are ready to purchase your products and services is essential.
Chasing poor leads wastes time, energy, and money!
Lead to Cash
Lead to cash is the entire journey from prospecting to sales conversion.
This term includes lead generation, nurturing, and qualification-to-conversion.
Lead to cash ensures customers don’t spend too much time in the sales funnel.
Marketing automation is a CRM feature that automatically completes certain marketing-related tasks.
Some marketing automation examples include sending emails, creating reports, and posting social media content.
Machine learning uses algorithms to teach a computer system how to improve and learn from customer data.
This technology can predict customer trends, anticipate needs, and segment customers into groups.
Marketing-Accepted Lead (MAL)
A marketing-accepted lead (MAL) is a contact who has already gone through the marketing funnel.
A MAL is a potential customer that meets your initial requirements and has shown interest in purchasing something from your business.
The marketing funnel is customers’ journey to purchasing products, from brand awareness to conversion.
The top of the funnel consists of potential leads, while at the bottom are those that have converted into paying customers.
Marketing teams should optimize the middle of the funnel to ensure more conversions.
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
A marketing qualified lead (MQL) has interacted with a company’s website or marketing materials and filled out a form.
An MQL is at the middle of the funnel, meaning they are likelier to purchase something from the business than other leads.
Natural Language Processing
Natural language processing (NLP) is the technology that enables computers to understand human speech.
This technology helps CRM systems respond to customer inquiries and take action based on a customer’s voice commands.
Additionally, NLP can help businesses analyze customer feedback and decide how to improve their products and services.
“Object” is a general term for data types, including the following:
An on-premise CRM system is software installed on your local company server.
An on-premise CRM system is an alternative to cloud-based CRM.
An opportunity is a customer who has gone through the customer validation stage and is qualified for sales efforts.
At this point, a customer labeled an opportunity is close to being converted into a paying customer.
Opportunity management is tracking leads and opportunities through the sales pipeline.
Opportunity management includes following up with prospects, assigning reps to customers, and keeping track of customer details.
Sales teams need to optimize opportunity management strategies to ensure better conversion rates.
The opportunity stage is when you assign values to indicate where an opportunity is in the sales cycle.
Typical opportunity stages include the following:
- Value proposition
- Assigning decision-makers
- Negotiation and review
Pipeline management involves identifying and managing all the moving parts of a business’s sale pipeline.
CRM software analyzes weak points in the sales pipeline, ensuring your team only implements the most effective strategies.
Predictive analytics is collecting large amounts of data and using analytical models to predict customer behavior.
This technology helps sales reps identify potential customers more likely to convert into paying customers.
The probability of close is the likelihood that a customer will convert into a paying one.
Sales reps can estimate probabilities of closing based on past performance and customer data.
Probabilities help a sales team prioritize their efforts to ensure they focus on high-value opportunities.
A prospect is a lead that has met your qualification criteria and shown interest in purchasing your company’s products or services.
Prospects are at the middle of the sales funnel, meaning they’re likelier to convert into paying customers than other leads.
Raw leads are new, unpolished leads your company obtains.
With these leads, it’s challenging to determine their potential, so it’s essential to filter these individuals and quickly determine the valuable ones.
Relationship intelligence offers insight into a team’s motives, conflicts, and strengths.
When team leaders apply this insight, they can learn about each team member’s strengths and better use them for business processes.
A remarket lead is a customer who re-engages with your business after previously showing little to no interest.
Typically, a remarket lead engages with an email marketing message.
CRM software aims to build and maintain solid customer relationships.
Relationship management utilizes valuable data to stay updated on your customers’ needs and wants.
A rule is a workflow automation trigger that performs an action when a specific event occurs.
For example, if a customer requests more information about a product CRM software redirects the inquiries to a qualified sales rep.
Sales Accepted Lead
A sales accepted lead (SAL) is a contact who has already gone through both the marketing and qualification stages.
A SAL is an opportunity that has met your company’s requirements and shown interest in purchasing something from your business.
A sales funnel describes a customer’s journey from prospecting to purchase.
A typical sales funnel consists of several steps that a sales team follows to better secure a sale.
Sales Performance Management
Sales performance management tracks sales reps’ performances to analyze the more effective strategies.
Tracking performance helps businesses identify which marketing and sales techniques have higher success rates, enabling them to optimize their efforts.
Sales Force Automation
CRM software can automate sales-related tasks that save sales reps valuable time.
Some automations in sales team CRM software include the following:
- Customer interactions
- Order processing
- Inventory control
Sales Force Management
Sales force management involves developing and maintaining a sales team.
Sales force management includes lead nurturing, rating, goal setting, and analytics.
Sales optimization refers to techniques and strategies that maximize profits throughout a contract lifecycle.
A sales team is a group of people responsible for converting customers into paying ones.
Successful sales team members work together to create strategies, nurture prospects, and close deals.
The sales pipeline is an organized way of tracking potential customers, and they advance through the customer journey.
The sales process is a multi-step approach to selling products that involve prospecting, qualifying, designing solutions, presenting the solution, negotiating terms, and closing the deal.
Sales forecasting is the practice of predicting future sales based on historical data.
Forecasting allows businesses to identify upcoming trends and goals, helping them better prepare for future customer needs.
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
A sales-qualified lead (SQL) is a contact who has gone through the qualification process and reached an agreement with your company.
An SQL is more likely to purchase from you than other leads, and they’re typically at the bottom of the sales funnel.
Sales velocity is the speed with which a business can close sales, and it’s typically measured through the number of deals closed in a given period.
By tracking sales velocity, businesses can identify areas where they need to improve their strategies to better serve their customers.
Sandbox is a method for testing different versions of a company’s CRM software without tweaking the current setup.
This strategy allows you to test updates and custom code alterations before using them.
Segmentation categorizes contacts into target markets based on certain criteria.
Some customer segments are based on demographics, while others are based on effective marketing techniques.
Social integration allows a company to sync its CRM software with social media accounts.
This strategy helps businesses understand customer interests, needs, and wants better.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Unlike traditional software, a SaaS model is for cloud-based CRM software because the system is sold as a subscription service.
Tasks are the day-to-day activities your sales and marketing department must complete, such as sending emails, attending meetings, etc.
Third-party integration allows a company to link its CRM software with other applications, such as social media accounts or email marketing programs.
This strategy helps companies access all the tools and functionalities they demand to keep their business thriving.
User Content is information created by CRM users within the software.
Content types in audio, texts, and pictures.
User Interface (UI)
UI is a CRM software design for the end user, including its navigation system.
Ideally, a CRM should have an easy-to-use UI.
User roles are the specific permissions a person has within the CRM system.
For instance, entry-level employees don’t need an admin role within a CRM; they only require basic functionality.
Virtual Contact Files (VCF) are standard electronic business cards.
CRM software can import vCards, making adding contacts from other software simple.
Warm leads are sales prospects who have shown interest in your company by providing their contact details, including names and email addresses.
Workflow is a CRM feature that enables users to create custom task rules and conditions.
Understanding a CRM glossary helps you utilize more functions within your CRM software.
Additionally, knowing basic terminology makes you feel more comfortable using your CRM.
What CRM term did you learn while reading this article? Let us know in the comments section below!