Sales Development is an important function in many companies today, but it can also be confusing. What’s the difference between a lead and a prospect, or a sales funnel and a pipeline? Is your company’s CAC higher than your CLTV and, if so, is that a good or bad thing? 

Whether you’re new to Sales Development or an experienced pro, Sales Development has its own language; a language that’s constantly evolving. To help you out, we’ve put together a glossary of the most terms used in Sales Development and what you need to know about them. 


ABM – Account-Based Marketing. A growth strategy, where high-value accounts are treated as a ‘market of one.’ Marketing and sales teams work together to provide selected accounts with a hyper-personalized experience. The SDR role of linking sales and marketing makes them a key component of any successful ABM strategy. 

ACV – Annual Contract Value. The average revenue generated by a contract over a year (excluding any one-off fees, such as setup costs). A metric generally used by SaaS and other subscription-based businesses. 

AE – Account Executive. A member of the sales team who focuses on closing deals. In most cases, SDRs will be tasked with delivering SQLs to an Account Executive for them to nurture and close.

AM – Account Manager. A member of the sales team responsible for managing customer accounts that have already closed.

Automation Software. Technology that carries out repetitive tasks on behalf of the user. SDRs can use it to save time by automating mundane low-touch tasks, allowing them to focus on more valuable high-touch activities. Common use cases include dialers and email automation. 


B2B – Business to Business. A company that predominantly sells products/services to other companies. 

B2C – Business to Customer. A company that predominantly sells products/services to individual customers. 

Base Salary. The fixed amount paid to an employee, excluding any bonuses or commission. 

BD – Business Development. Establishing and improving strategic relationships with complementary businesses with the aim of integration and cross-selling.

BDR – Business Development Representative. An alternative title for a Sales Development Representative (SDR). Used by some companies where the role has an increased focus on identifying new markets and making connections with businesses in those markets.

Bonus. An additional payment on top of the employee’s base salary to reward performance and meeting/exceeding targets. 

Buyer Intent. Actions or behaviors by an individual/company that indicate they are ready to purchase a specific product/service. For example, SDRs may look for people who are already searching for a similar solution or engaging with sales material. 

Buyer Persona. A profile that represents your ideal customer, describing the individual and their objectives, pain-points, behaviors, etc. The buyer persona should be based on research and existing customers. SDRs can use this information to tailor their messaging for leads that are a good fit. Different from an ICP, which focuses on the company. 


CAC – Customer Acquisition Cost. How much it costs a business on average to acquire a new paying customer, taking into account all costs including overheads, salaries, and any additional spend. 

Cadence. Literal meaning is a flow or pattern of events. For SDRs, your cadence will typically refer to the timing of your touchpoints. 

CAN-SPAM. A US law governing the sending of commercial emails. SDRs should be familiar with the requirements and ensure that any emails they send are compliant. 

CASL. Canada’s regulations regarding commercial emails, which prohibits the sending of electronic messages without prior consent and has additional requirements for the contents of any electronic messages. 

CCPA. Regulations governing the rights of Californians concerning their data. It only applies to certain businesses, but SDRs should check they’re fulfilling their obligations when handling any data that could be potentially linked to a person or household. 

Channels. The different methods and means an SDR can use to communicate with leads and prospects, such as email, calls, social media, etc. 

CLTV – Customer Lifetime Value. The predicted total revenue that a customer will bring in over the period they remain a customer. For a business to be successful, this should be higher than the customer acquisition cost (CAC).

Cold Calling. A phone call made to a prospect without any previous engagement or relationship. 

Cold Emailing. An email sent to a prospect without any previous engagement or relationship. 

Commission. A payment structure based on results, such as the number of SQLs generated. This is usually in addition to an SDR’s base salary.  

Community (Sales Development). In-person and online groups of like-minded people solving specific problems related to Sales Development. 

Conversion. When a prospect takes a desired action, such as responding to an email or agreeing to a meeting. Ultimately, companies will be looking to convert as many prospects into customers as possible. 

CRM – Customer Relationship Management. The management of prospect and customer data, including contact information and interactions, usually handled by purpose-built software. SDRs will generally use a CRM to track their outreach and prospect relationships. 

C-Suite. The top-level executives in a business, such as the Chief Executive