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Must Know Sales Jobs Terms

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

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

1. Internal Salesperson

An Internal Salesperson or Customer Service Representative (CSR) is typically junior salespeople. They perform the role of a farmer and support the sales and service function for a defined set of company accounts or prospects.

CSRs are the link between the company and the customer. In most cases, CSRs operate from the home office, so they will be on the cutting edge of product information, shipping details, and order status. Many external salespeople started their sales careers performing an internal sales role.

Inside sales roles provide invaluable training by helping salespeople better understand a company’s products, services, procedures and processes.

2. External Salesperson

The are many titles used for an external salesperson including - Field Sales, Account Executive, Territory Manager, Sales Executive, Sales Representative, Account Manager, Business Development Manager and Sales Engineer to name a few.

External sales roles are responsible for managing and/or growing & developing a list of accounts or sales volume in a specific geographic area or industry in a face-to-face manner with the customers.

Travel typically plays a large part of the job requirements of these roles.

3. Channel Partner

Channel partners are any third-party organizations or representatives that market, sell, or recommend another company's products or services for financial gain. They could be wholesalers, distributors, value added resellers, retailers or independent sales agents.

Companies look for ways to expand their selling efforts, leveraging people who are not on their payroll, and a channel sales strategy is a way to do that.

A typical example is in the software industry. Microsoft sells its desktop products via the retail channel to consumers, and the rest of their products are sold through a Value Added Reseller (VAR) and to the Small to Medium sized Businesses (SMB).

4. Channel Manager

Channel Managers are responsible for managing the relationship between the manufacturer or service provider and the channel partner and overseeing their sales initiatives and marketing campaigns.

The challenge for channel managers is that partners need to be managed closely because their sales agendas change frequently. Cisco channel partners for example number in the hundreds and are typically small consulting companies whose successes and failures ebb and flow with the economy and Cisco’s products.

The channel manager role is usually performed by a senior sales person with a lot of experience and connections in the industry.

5. Value Added Reseller (VAR)

A VAR is common acronym given to channel partners who are authorized to purchase, add features to, resell and service a manufacturer's product(s) as a part of their own product or service offering.

The "value added" portion of the term refers to additional service support beyond just selling the product. It might be providing maintenance, installation / implementation, customization or assistance with buying the product(s).

6. On Target Earnings (OTE)

For salespeople on an incentive bonus plan, the OTE equates to the sum of the annual base salary and the target annual incentive bonus. This is a common term used in employment ads when referencing a salesperson’s potential income.

OTE = $100K

Base salary package of $60K + an additional $40K in commission for achieving 100% of the set sales target.

7. RFI

A Request for Information or RFI is a standard business process whose purpose is to collect written information about the capabilities of various suppliers or vendors. Normally it follows a format that can be used for comparative purposes.

An RFI is primarily used to gather information to help make a decision on what steps to take next.

8. RFQ

A Request for Quotation or RFQ is a standard business process whose purpose is to invite suppliers or vendors into a bidding process to bid on specific products or services. An RFQ typically involves more than the price per item. Information like payment terms, quality level per item or contract length are possible to be requested during the bidding process.

To receive correct quotes, RFQs often include the specifications of the items/services to make sure all the suppliers are bidding on the same item/service.

9. RFP

A Request for Proposal or RFP is an invitation for suppliers or vendors, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. A bidding process is one of the best methods for leveraging a company's negotiating ability and purchasing power with suppliers.

The Request process brings structure to the procurement decision and allows the risks and benefits to be identified clearly upfront.

10. Enterprise

Enterprises are companies whose headcount are above certain limits.

In Australia the number of employees in an Enterprise would typically be 500 + however there are no defined limits.

11. SME

Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) are companies whose headcount or turnover falls below certain limits.

In Australia the number of employees for a SME would be typically fall into the range of 50 - 500 however there are no defined limits.

12. SMB

Small and Medium Businesses (SMB’s) are businesses whose headcount or turnover falls below certain limits.

In Australia the number of employees for a SMB would be typically fall into the range of 5 - 50 however there are no defined limits.

13. Micro Business or SOHO

The smallest businesses, often located in private homes, are called Micro Businesses or SOHOs.  In Australia, the number of employees for a Micro Business would be typically fall into the range of 1 – 5.

Short for Small Office Home Office, SOHO is a term that refers to the small or home office environment and the business culture that surrounds it. 

14. KPIs

Key Performance Indicators or KPIs are financial and non-financial metrics used to help an organization define and measure progress toward organizational goals. KPIs are frequently used to "value" difficult to measure activities such as the benefits of leadership development, engagement, service, and satisfaction.

KPIs are typically tied to an organization's strategy and differ depending on the nature of the organization and the organization's strategy. They help an organization to measure progress towards their organizational goals, especially toward difficult to quantify knowledge-based processes.

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