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 Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and so on. For high-value sales in the B2B environment, a member of the C-Suite may be the decision-maker or otherwise involved in the sales process.

CTA – Call to Action. A sentence requesting the prospect to take a specific action, such as replying to an email, downloading a brochure, or booking a call. 

Customer Success. A team focused on ensuring the success of existing customers. After the AE closes the deal, the Customer Success team will typically step in to onboard the customer with the aim of increasing customer satisfaction and reducing churn.


Demand Generation. A marketing strategy used to promote awareness of a business and its product/service. 

Demographics. The characteristics of a group, typically based on physical data (such as age, nationality, and sex) and socio-economic information (such as income level, employment, and education level). 

Dialer. A piece of software that automates dialing phone numbers. 

Direct Mail. The use of physical mail as a sales channel. 


Email Service Provider. Software used to send, automate, and manage email campaigns.

Engagement. Interactions carried out by the prospect with the SDR, measured in terms of action and time (e.g. items downloaded, emails replied to, time spent viewing a presentation). 

Enrichment. Expanding on and improving the quality of existing data. For example, an SDR may use contact enrichment to improve the quality of their contact information, uncovering extra details they can use in their outreach.


Gatekeeper. Something (usually a person) who controls access to a person. In Sales Development, this may be a secretary or assistant who answers the phone on behalf of a decision-maker you’re trying to reach. 

GDPR. The European regulations governing the processing and protection of personal data. For SDRs, this will affect how you gather contact details and how you handle prospect information. 


ICP – Ideal Customer Profile. A description of the company that is the best fit for your product/service, including details such as their industry, their size, their turnover, and so on. Different from a Buyer Persona, which focuses on the individual buyer. 

Inbound. Prospects that approach your company and express an interest in your product/services, usually as a result of marketing activities. 

Inside Sales. Sales activities that are carried out from ‘inside’ the office, such as emails and phone calls, rather than face-to-face interactions. 


KPI – Key Performance Indicator. The metrics and results used to measure performance and success. For an SDR, a typical KPI might be the number of meetings booked. 


LDR – Lead Development Representative. An alternative title for a Sales Development Representative (SDR). Usually assigned to following up on inbound leads. 

Lead. A person or business that has the potential to become a customer and has exhibited some form of interest, such as by downloading a whitepaper or requesting additional information. 

Lead Generation. Activities carried out by sales/marketing intending to create interest in a product/service and attract leads.

Lead Qualification. Determining if a lead is likely to become a customer, typically based on how they compare to the company’s ICP. 

Lead Scoring. A method of ranking leads, based on agreed criteria, to determine which leads are most likely to become customers. It can then be used to establish priorities for outreach. 

LVR – Lead Velocity Rate. The rate of change of qualified leads, measured monthly.


Margin. The financial amount gained from a product or service after factoring out selling expenses.

Metrics. The quantifiable results of activities, generally used to determine performance, identify areas for improvement, and predict future results. For example, email outreach metrics would include deliverability, open rate, click-through rate, and reply rate. 

MQL – Marketing Qualified Leads. A lead that has demonstrated interest in your product/service, based on their engagement with marketing. An SDR may be handed MQLs for further qualification. 

MRR – Monthly Recurring Revenue. The amount of revenue a SaaS or other subscription-based business receives each month, excluding any one-off charges. For customers on an annual payment plan, the annual payment will be represented by monthly payments throughout the year. 


OKR – Objectives and Key Results. A goal-setting framework businesses use to measure progress by tying objectives to measurable results. 

Optimization. Improving a process or action so that it’s generating the best results. For example, an SDR may modify their call script with the aim of getting more meeting requests.

Outbound. Where an SDR reaches out to potential customers who haven’t already displayed any interest in the business’s product/service. 

Outside Sales. Sales activities carried out ‘outside’ the office, interacting with potential customers face-to-face rather than by email or phone. 


Personalization. Tailoring messaging or service so that it is specific to the individual, such as by using their name or addressing their unique challenges.  

Pipeline. In sales, a pipeline is used to visualize and track prospects as they move through the different stages of the sales process. It can also be used to describe the number of prospects (or their monetary value) who are currently going through the sales process.  

Prospect. A potential customer who has been qualified and is now in the sales process.

Prospecting. Reaching out to potential customers and engaging with them, with the objective of creating a sales opportunity. 


Quota. A sales target given to teams or individuals. Performance against quota is often used to evaluate success and determine any bonus/commission. 


ROI – Return on Investment. A metric used to determine the profitability of an investment, whether that’s time or money. ROI is calculated by deducting the cost of the investment from the gain of the investment, then dividing by the cost of the investment. For example, the ROI of your new CRM might be [$500 (value of time saved) – $100 (cost of software)] divided by [$100 (cost of software)] = 4, a 400% ROI. 


Sales Development. The dedicated practice of creating sales pipeline for your company through proactive outreach to prospective customers and following up on inbound leads created by your marketing efforts. Sales Development focuses on the early stages of the sales process, from researching potential prospects to contacting leads and ultimately generating sales-qualified leads (SQLs). 

Sales Development Manager. A sales manager who oversees the Sales Development function in an organization, usually responsible for building and training the Sales Development team. 

Sales Funnel. A visualization used to track prospects as they move through the sales process, showing how many convert and identifying the drop-off rate at each stage. 

Sales Triggers. Any activity or change of circumstances that create a sales opportunity, such as a new investment, change of management, change of location, and so on. By looking out for sales triggers, SDRs can reach out at the right time and personalize their messaging, increasing the chance of a positive response. 

Scraping. Extracting or ‘harvesting’ large amounts of data from websites, such as pulling lead contact information from social media sites.

SDR – Sales Development Representative. Salespeople who are responsible for carrying out Sales Development, usually sat between marketing and sales. Their job is to carry out early-stage sales tasks, with the objective of maintaining a full pipeline of qualified leads for the sales team. Once a lead has been qualified, they’ll be passed onto an Account Executive.

Segmentation. Breaking down a large market into separate groups that share specific criteria (industry, budget, role, etc.). Proper segmentation allows SDRs to personalize their outreach to each group more effectively. 

Social Selling. The use of social media as a sales channel. SDRs may use social networks to create valuable content, connect with prospects, and develop stronger business relationships. 

SQL – Sales Qualified Lead. A lead that meets the agreed criteria that demonstrate they’re more likely to become a customer. Once the SDR qualifies a lead, they’ll be passed onto an  Account Executives to nurture and close the sale.


Templates. A file or document with the standard information already in place that can then be easily customized. SDRs can use templates with proven frameworks for their email outreach and cold calling scripts to speed up the process and improve results. 

Touchpoints. Points of contact/interaction in the sales process, taking place between a salesperson and a lead. For example, an SDR may use a cadence with ten touchpoints, starting with a cold call, then sending an email, and so on. 


USP – Unique Selling Point. A statement conveying the unique features that differentiate a company and/or its product from the competition.


Value Proposition. A statement conveying the results and benefits customers can enjoy as a result of purchasing from a company.


Warm Outreach. Reaching out to a lead, such as by phone or email, when they’re already familiar with the company and there is some level of existing relationship. 

Hopefully, this glossary has given you greater clarity on the many terms used in the Sales Development world and answered any questions you might have had. If there are any other terms you’ve come across that you’d like explained, reach out and let us know; we’ll be happy to add them to the list.

If you’re looking for ways to set up a Sales Development program or improve your existing process, contact us at Tenbound today for a no-obligation exploratory call.

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