20 Key CRM Terms You Should Know

Gabriel Nwatarali

Jun 19 2019

The world of digital marketing has grown drastically over the years. More people have improved connections to the Internet and technology, which means we’ve become more connected than ever. Today several important tools are necessary for business success. The most prevalent of them being CRM, a key component for any company. But, all the jargon involved may be confusing at times and if so, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve put together a list of CRM terms that you should know.

This way, you won’t be confused whenever someone in your marketing or sales team uses CRM terminology. CRM software often comes with several integrated tools that aid digital marketers, executives, and salespeople. They make things like order management, customer service, and capturing sales more efficient and effective. You need to know a few CRM terms if you’re want to get the most out of your CRM software.

1. CRM

Let’s start with CRM basic concepts. CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management. CRM tools are programs that help your business manage interactions with new, existing, and potential customers. Think of it as a communication tool that can accelerate sales, marketing, and customer support when used correctly.

The purpose of every CRM solution on the market is to improve sales and marketing. But each has its own prime focus. For example, Pipedrive is CRM software that’s primarily a great communications tool for simplifying your sales process. But some CRMs also feature advanced AI (artificial intelligence) for scaling interactions such as automatically adding personalized details to emails.

2. Dashboard

One handy component and a popular CRM vocabulary is the ‘dashboard’. This is a general overview of everything that’s happening with your sales efforts. The dashboard will usually display details such as how many potential buyers have visited your website, contacts that need following up, and conversion or purchase rates.

3. Target

‘Target’ refers to contacts that you know little about. They are often purchased or supplied contact information that requires more research conducted. They become a lead once you’ve established that the target is interested in your product or service. CRM terms like ‘suspect’ or ‘prospect’ may replace ‘target’ in some software.

4. Lead

The CRM terminology, ‘lead,’ is notorious throughout marketing and sales. Leads are potentially interested buyers that have been qualified as having a need for your product. In business-to-business (B2B), this is when an employee gives you company contact information. While in business-to-consumer (B2C), a lead is personal contact information that’s supplied by an individual.

5. Account

An ‘account’ is a reference to a company, individual, or group record. It can also refer to any business or person that is involved in your business dealings. Accounts are established whenever contact information is collected and stored, including when a transaction is made (e.g. consumer purchase history). They remain readily available for future planning and in case records need to be revisited. Accounts play an important role in managing and keeping track of all business transactions.

6. Sales process

This is a very important one among all the CRM terms. ‘Sales process’ is a predetermined pathway to how you would convert leads into customers or sell to prospects. Think of it as a road map that your sales team follows in order to close deals. The sales process helps salespeople boost sales and create better relationships with consumers. Most CRMs like Freshsales allow you to customize or set up the sales process according to your business’s model.

7. Sales forecast

A ‘sales forecast’ is a prediction or projection of future sales growth based on market trends, past revenue, economic patterns, and other factors. The forecast isn’t always right but provides you with much-needed insights as to what can be expected. Plenty of CRM software monitor and provide updated sales forecasts.

8. Pipeline

A ‘pipeline’ or sales pipeline is an overview of where a person is in the sales process. In other words, it shows how many of your leads make it to the end of your sales pathway and those that are still going through it. This feature is adjustable on most CRM software but typically a pipeline has five stages. In general CRM terms, these are lead acquisition, contact made, qualified lead, proposal, and negotiation.

The pipline in Hubspot CRM allows you to drag and drop leads through the sales process.

9. Conversions

A ‘conversion’ happens whenever someone completes a certain goal or objective such as filling out your contact form or completing a purchase. The conversion rate is the percentage of total contacts that become customers.

10. Order management

‘Order management’ refers to the process of taking, organizing, tracking, and meeting purchase requests for products. Integrated CRM order management applications normally include options like invoicing, sales order, purchase order, price book, and more.

11. Workflow

A ‘workflow’ system is an automated program that activates once something is achieved and able to adjust itself automatically based on outcomes. For example, a workflow can be programmed to stop sending reminder emails to a customer if the account is paid in full. Workflows are versatile. You can automate several important and mundane tasks using specific rules that your company defines.

12. Case

A ‘case’ refers to feedback received from customers on various issues with regards to your company.

13. Parent and child

The CRM terms ‘parent’ and ‘child’ are commonly used in the digital marketing industry. They refer to a thing (child) that is part of a larger thing (parent). For instance, a small business (child) can be part of a larger corporation (parent).

14. 360-degree customer view

‘360-degree customer view’ isn’t among the most common CRM terms but some executives use this CRM vocabulary. It refers to the full view of a customer or prospect’s activities. This may include contacts made, point of acquisition, cases, marketing campaigns, etc.

15. API

‘API’ is an acronym for Application Program Interface. An API consists of functions and instructions that enable developers to integrate the features or functionality of other programs onto their own. For instance, one could connect their Gmail account with CRM software to automate certain tasks like automatically sending emails on specific times. This is one of the most popular CRM terms.

16. CSV

‘CSV’ stands for Comma Separated Values. This is a file format to export and import data. A lot of CRMs use CSV and Excel formats but CSV is the standard.

17. Object

This is a simple term that refers to all types of data within CRM such as accounts, tasks, leads, contacts, and others.

18. Fields

Every object has ‘fields’. These fields are to input or store information about a contact. For example, things like first name, job title, phone number, date of birth, a preferred method of contact and email are all fields.

19. Segments or segmentation

‘Segments’ are categories assigned to contacts. This is based on certain criteria such as location, gender, age group, etc. Some CRMs can segment your contacts based on specific pre-defined rule sets on autopilot.  Also, you can adjust these according to your business needs.

20. User roles

This refers to roles assigned to employees that use your CRM software and allows you to manage their access to information. You can give full access to certain staff members but assign lower roles to other employees (e.g. sales team only has access to contacts, not core settings).

Deployment considerations

Now that you know all the main CRM terms and CRM basic concepts, let’s look at some deployment considerations before you invest in CRM.

There are two deployment options for CRM software: on-premise and cloud. An on-premise CRM is software that’s installed onto company-owned computers and is typically maintained and managed by internal IT staff. They’re not a favored option and rarely used.

Software as a Service (SaaS) companies offer cloud-based CRM services on the web. This is the most common way of deploying CRM because it’s stress-free. There’s no need to manage and maintain your own servers/computers. Upgrades to the system, security, and core configurations are handled for you automatically.

Final word

A CRM system can greatly improve the effectiveness of your sales team, which increases conversions and total revenue. Many have an intuitive user interface and include built-in onboarding support that will teach staff how to use the software. So the learning curve is virtually non-existent. Once you pass the learning curve involved in implementing a new CRM system, you’ll be headed towards a more effective and collaborative workflow.

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