Thursday, 18 August 2022
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Must Know Business Terms

When you go to an interview for a sales position, there are a number of common business terms and jargon that you need to learn back to front.

If you are not already familiar with them, the following business terms are all "must know" terms:

1. Four ‘P’s of Marketing

The four major controllable variables of the marketing mix are Product, Price, Promotion and Place (distribution),.

As a salesperson, you must know the value of all of the ‘P’s for your products and services and how they relate to your competition to be successful at selling.

Product: Individual goods, product lines, or services offered to the consumer. Aspects include appearance, functionality, quality, accessories, features, installation, instructions, service & support, warranty,  packaging and brand value.

Price: Pricing analysis that accounts for profit margins on the products and services offered. Pricing also must take into consideration a competitor's marketing mix. Aspects include list price, discounts, allowances, financing, coupons, rebates and leasing options.

Promotion:Communicating and selling to the target customers. Aspects include advertising (sales promotion), personal selling, public relations (news releases), sales personnel, media selection, and budget.

Place (Distribution):Decisions associated with getting the product to the targeted customer. Aspects include market coverage, sales channel, geographical coverage (locations), logistics (transportation), stocking levels and service levels.

2. "Just In Time" (JIT)

JIT also known as “kanban” is an inventory control method devised in Japan for keeping costs associated with inventory, warehousing, and cash flow to a minimum. Supplies are ordered frequently but in relatively small quantities,

There are many benefits to JIT inventory programs but complications can arise when supply of JIT parts from 3rd parties are interrupted. In the case of a natural disaster such as a fire the whole production of finished goods can ceases if redundancy of supply is not in place. If demand increases substantially, the vendor and the customer can lose selling opportunities if the whole supply chain cannot produce their products to match the additional requirements.

3. Business Plan

A business plan is the blueprint for growing a company and generally contains a definition of the company's mission statement, identified opportunities, objectives, strategies and action plans.

From a sales perspective, the business plan includes the desired market segment, vertical and /or niche for the company to target. The salespeople who target these accounts and prospects are responsible for all the associated business challenges in achieving sales to these market segments.

4.  Market Segment

A market segment is a group or sector within a heterogeneous market consisting of consumers or organisations with relatively homogeneous needs and wants, those within a market who will respond to a given set of marketing stimuli in a particular way

Common market segments include Government, Telecommunications, Manufacturing, Transport, Health, Defence …

5. Vertical Market

A vertical market is a group of similar businesses and customers which engage in trade based on specific and specialized needs. Often, participants in a vertical market are very limited to a subset of a larger industry or niche market.

An example of this sort of market is the market for Point of Sale Terminals (POS) which are often designed specifically for similar customers and are not available for purchase to the general public.

6. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

OEMs are manufacturers who resell another company's product under their own name and branding. The terms refers specifically to the act of a company rebranding a product to its own name and offering its own warranty, support and licensing of the product.

The term is really a misnomer because OEMs are not the original manufacturers; they are the customizers.

7. B2B

Short for business-to-business, B2B is the exchange of services, information and/or products from one business to another.

8. B2C

Short for business-to-consumer, B2C is the exchange of services, information and/or products from a business to a consumer

9. B2G

Short for business-to-government, B2G is the exchange of services, information and/or products from one business to a government agency.

10. Product Life Cycle

A concept which draws an analogy between the span of a human life and that of a product, suggesting that a product's life typically consists of four stages - introductory, growth, maturity and decline

The term is used as a tool to formulate marketing strategies appropriate to each of these stages.

Definition: The stages in which a product is developed, introduced, grown, matured, and eventually declines or is withdrawn from the market.

11. Return on Investment (ROI)

A ROI is a measure of a firm's profitability in which profits are expressed as a percentage of investment. It is used in the financial world by management to define the monetary value created or expected to be gained by an investment of capital

It is also typically used as a hard value measurement during the decision making portion of the sales process or to measure the success of a purchase after implementation and use

12.  Supply and Demand

This economic term states that in free markets the price is established by the amount of supply (competitors) versus the amount of buying demand for that product (or service).

Any salesperson should know this basic sales term as buyers are keenly aware of it. Buyers like finding other sources for your product or service as it provides them with an opportunity to negotiate a lower price.

13. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT or SWOT Analysis)

A SWOT Analysis is an examination of the internal environment of a firm (mission, objectives, strategies, resources, trends, etc) to identify particular strengths and weaknesses, and its external environment (demographic, economic, technological, social and cultural, legal and political, and natural forces) to identify particular opportunities and threats.

The SWOT analysis is a very useful strategy tool for outlining and organizing the pros and cons of doing just about anything. It is a very effective tool in a group brainstorming sessions to spur discussion.

14. Value Proposition

A Value Proposition is defined as a clear statement of who the target market for a particular product or services is, of what key benefits the product or services will deliver, and of the price that will be charged

It is the specific and definitive offer of value from one organization to another. The value proposition a company has is simply why the company is in business. It is the critical need the organization's product or service fills for its customers for economic gain.

To think of it in another way, it is a way to describe your ROI to your customers.

15. Channel

There are often a chain of intermediaries involved in the sale of a product, each passing the product down the chain to the next organization before it finally reaches the consumer or end-user.

This process is known as the 'distribution chain' or the 'channel.' Each of the elements in these chains will have their own specific needs, which the producer must take into account along with those of the all-important end-user.

Parties involved in the channel include Wholesalers, Distributors, Value Added Resellers (VARs), Retailers and Sales Agents.

16. Tier 1

The term Tier 1 is defined as the top level of something. A Tier 1 vendor or supplier is one of the largest and most well-known in its field.


IBM, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft & Cisco Systems are all considered Tier 1 vendors in the IT industry


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