Unless you’re in the field, marketing jargon can sound like a foreign language. Us marketers love our acronyms and abbreviations –  that’s for sure. From ABM to ICPs and CTAs, it’s a lot… especially for those who are just getting started. That’s why we’ve compiled this glossary of acronyms and lingo we think every B2B marketer should know. 

Account-based marketing terms you should know

ABM (Account-Based Marketing): a B2B strategy that orchestrates marketing campaigns to drive pipeline and revenue, alongside sales, within a group of target accounts, as opposed to a traditional, leads-based strategy. Get the basics in our Essential Guide to ABM.
A/B Test: A/B testing refers to testing 2 different versions of a campaign element to see which is more effective, with A and B referring to the 2 different versions being tested. A proper A/B test uses a randomized sampling of users and tests only one variable at a time, such as web page copy, imagery, an email subject line, etc.

ACV (Average Contract Value): ACV refers to the average amount new contracts are signed for. Knowing your average contract value helps marketing to understand their return on investment from marketing, as well as determine what their goals need to be to turn a profit.

B2B (Business-to-Business): a term that refers to commercial transactions between businesses, rather than between businesses and individual consumers.

B2C (Business-to-Consumer): a term that refers to direct transactions between businesses and consumers who are the end-users of its products and services.

B2G (Business-to-Government): a term that refers to transactions between businesses and the government rather than other businesses or directly to consumers. B2G marketing has its own intricacies, but has many of the same needs/tactics as B2B marketing.

BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel): the third section of the sales and marketing funnel, below TOFU and MOFU, that maps to the “purchase” stage of the buyer journey. The goal is to turn the prospects that are in your pipeline into customers.

CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost): how much money it costs to acquire a new customer. This acronym is sometimes used interchangeably with CPA, but CAC is generally a broader metric than CPA, taking into account overall marketing spend, rather than looking specifically at singular campaigns. Customer acquisition cost is defined as the total marketing spend divided by the number of new customers acquired.

CLV (Customer Lifetime Value): CLV refers to the average value a customer has to your business. Customer lifetime value can be calculated by multiplying your customer’s average purchase price by their average purchase frequency, by their average lifespan. 

CMS (Content Management System): a web application designed to make it easy for non-technical users to create, edit, and manage a website. Common CMSs include WordPress, Webflow, and Drupal.

Cold: Referring to email outreach or ad campaigns – cold indicates the lack of having been ‘‘warmed up’ with previous touch points. This means cold email outreach would be outreach to a new contact, and cold advertising would be the first set of ads that a target is seeing, to be followed up by retargeting later on. 

CPA (Cost Per Acquisition): how much money it costs to acquire a new customer. This acronym is sometimes used interchangeably with CAC, but is generally used more as a campaign-level metric. The cost per acquisition of a campaign is the total campaign spend divided by the number of conversions attributed to the campaign.

CPC (Cost-per-click): the price you pay for every click in a paid advertisement. Often used interchangeably with PPC (pay-per-click), CPC refers to the metric whereas PPC refers to the overall online marketing model.

CPM (Cost Per Mille): cost per mille is a common metric used in advertising. Cost per mille measures the cost per thousand impressions, allowing you to measure an ad’s reach in the thousands. An impression is whenever an ad is loaded. 

CRM (Customer Relationship Management): A CRM system is software that allows you to manage and keep track of all your company and customer relationships. CRM systems are an important part of the B2B sales process providing data on specific accounts, and customer health. CRM systems are used to track customers throughout their buying journey, so if you’re running account-based marketing, it’s important that your ABM platforms integrates with your CRM platform. For example Foundry integrates with Hubspot, Salesforce, and SugarCRM to allow your revenue teams to see which accounts are buying, what those accounts need, and personalize your messaging to drive conversions.

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization): a systematic process of driving more results from existing website traffic. The goal is to test and alter different design and campaign elements to increase the percentage of traffic that completes a specific, desired action, such as watching a video, contacting sales, or completing a purchase.

CTA (Call to Action): refers to the next step that a marketer wants an audience to take, often in the form of a button or text such as “watch now,” “register today,” “talk to an ABM expert,” etc.

CTR (Click-Through Rate): the ratio of clicks on a certain link over the total number of views of that link. Common use cases include measuring digital advertising (clicks / impressions) and email marketing (clicks / email opens).

Dark Social: You may have seen this term scrolling on LinkedIn. Dark social is the untrackable actions buyers make on social media (Reddit, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook). Dark social is notoriously hard to track, but there are ways to get a better pulse of your social presence by adding “how did you hear about us?” forms or using UTM tracking links.

DMP (Data Management Platform): technology used to gather, store, and analyze audience data from multiple sources. For example, digital ad buyers and publishers will gather and store data such as demographics, cookie IDs, etc, to help businesses segment and target certain audiences.

DNS (Domain Name System): DNS servers convert domain names to IP addresses, serving as the internet’s phonebook. If “CNAME” followed by a string of numbers seems familiar to you, at some point you probably needed to update your DNS records in order to add subdomains.

DSP (Demand-Side Platform): a system that allows buyers of digital ads to manage multiple ad exchange and data exchange accounts through one interface.

ENT (Enterprise): ENT is a commonly used acronym standing for enterprise, generally understood to mean an account that has over 1000 employees, and/or $1B in annual revenue. Marketing to enterprise-level accounts tends to be more personalized and on a larger scale than marketing to small to mid-sized businesses.

Gated / Ungated: Gated or ungated refers to whether a piece of content is freely accessible or ‘gated’ by a form where you must supply your contact information. B2B marketers often debate gating/ungating as it’s a trade-off between receiving more leads with gated content vs. having more people consume your content with ungated content.

GTM (Go-To-Market): GTM or Go-to-market refers to the plan an organization has for presenting its unique value proposition to its target market. Go-to-market strategies typically involve both the sales and marketing teams.

ICP (Ideal Customer Profile): a description of the ideal buyer persona for your product or service. In B2B, common characteristics used in the ICP include geography, firmographics, job seniority, etc. Scroll to the end of this guide for an ICP worksheet.

KPI (Key Performance Indicator): a quantifiable measure used to track progress towards set goals and evaluate the success of an organization, team, or employee. Common KPIs in B2B marketing include organic website traffic, form conversions, and new opportunities created.

LP (Landing Page): A landing page refers to the destination page a user comes to when they click on an ad, with the goal of landing page content being to convert visitors, usually via a form. 

L2A (Lead to Account): often refers to technology for lead-to-account matching, mapping, routing, attribution, etc., which automates the process of cleaning prospect data and connecting leads to the right accounts. In B2B marketing, results of L2A technology include more granular segmentation, accurate targeting, and efficient campaigns.

MAP (Marketing Automation Platform): Marketing automation platforms are marketing applications that help marketers automate marketing campaigns on multiple channels, such as email and social, based on preset rules. MAPs also help marketers gather, store, and manage prospect information, much like CRMs do. A few examples of MAPs that you may use yourself include: HubspotEloquaMarketo, and Pardot.

MarTech (Marketing Technology): Marketing Technology is any service or software product that works to aid your marketing and sales teams in their strategies and goals. An example of Marketing Technology is ABM platforms.The martech space has exploded in recent years, as you can see from the Chief Martec Marketing Technology Landscape of 2022.

Source: Chief Martec

MOFU (Middle of Funnel): the second section of the sales and marketing funnel, in between TOFU and BOFU, that maps to the “consideration” stage of the buyer journey. The goal is to increase purchase consideration in prospects and add them to the sales pipeline.

MQA (Marketing Qualified Account): a target account that marketing deems ready to talk to sales based on the level of engagement from all the stakeholders within that account, not just an individual lead. Learn more about the role of account scoring and MQAs in measuring ABM success this blog post.

MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead): a lead that the marketing department determines is in the buying cycle and deems more likely to become a customer than other leads based on the lead’s level of engagement.

NPS (Net Promoter Score): a customer satisfaction metric that measures, on a scale of 0-10, the degree to which people would recommend your company to others.

Pipeline Velocity: Pipeline velocity refers to how quickly qualified opportunities move through your pipeline. It’s calculated by multiplying the SQLs in your pipeline by your average deal size and your overall win rate, divided by the average length of your sales cycle.

PLG (Product Led Growth): Product led growth is a strategy for SaaS startups to structure their marketing and sales strategy around their product, with the core idea of letting their product ‘do the selling’. Product led growth is most commonly adopted by SaaS startups with a subscription model, with many of them utilizing free trials as a marketing incentive.

PPC (Pay-Per-Click): an online advertising model where the advertiser pays a fee each time someone clicks on their ad. Popularly used to drive traffic to websites via search engines and social media platforms

RevOps (Revenue Operations): RevOps aims to maximize your organization’s revenue potential through the alignment of marketing, sales, and services. RevOps prevents silos among different departments within your organization. RevOps has become increasingly important with the rise of marketing technology. 

ROAS (Return On Ad Spend): ROAS refers to the amount of revenue earned for each dollar spent on marketing. For example, if your ROAS is 4:1 (or 4), that means you earn $4 in revenue for every $1 you spend on marketing.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization): SEO refers to the practice of improving and optimizing website content in order to more easily be found by users using search engines such as Google. SEO is also used as an abbreviation for the people that manage SEO.   

SLA (Service Level Agreement): a contract that establishes a set of deliverables that one party has agreed to provide another. B2B marketers can have SLAs with partner organizations, such as agencies, media partners, and analysts, as well as internal groups such as the sales team with regard to account qualifications.

SMB (Small and Medium-Sized Businesses): describes small businesses (100 or fewer employees) and medium-sized businesses (100 to 999 employees), as opposed to large and enterprise businesses, often used by B2B marketers to segment and target.

SAL (Sales Accepted Lead): a MQL that the sales team approves of. Many companies have a large MQL to SAL drop off. If that happens to be the case for you, check out this blog post about solving your MQL problem.

SMB (Small and Medium-Sized Businesses): describes small businesses (100 or fewer employees) and medium-sized businesses (100 to 999 employees), as opposed to large and enterprise businesses, often used by B2B marketers to segment and target.

SRA (Self-Reported Attribution): Self-reported attribution refers to where a customer says they heard of you. The most common way of collecting self-reported attribution data is on a form by asking, “How did you hear about us?”. Self-reported attribution is a popular supplemental way of tracking attribution in addition to software attribution which can be flawed / inaccurate, especially if your company relies on less trackable touch points such as trade shows, podcasts, dark social, etc.

Social selling: Social selling is the use of social media channels to influence, inform, and connect with prospects or customers. Social Selling can help businesses and salespeople reach and engage with their sales targets. The most popular channel for social selling in B2B is by far, LinkedIn, where many B2B prospects go to network and learn about solutions that may help them in their role. 

TAM (Total Addressable Market): the total addressable market is the revenue opportunity for your product or service- meaning all of the accounts you can reach and engage that exist. An ABM strategy can help you segment your TAM into account lists for outreach.

TOFU (Top of Funnel): the first section of the sales and marketing funnel, above MOFU and BOFU, that maps to the “awareness” stage of the buyer journey. The goal is to get more people within your target market to know about your product or service.

UTM (Urchin Tracking Module): UTM codes are short codes appended to the ends of URLs for the purpose of tracking how someone got to a page. UTM codes can track sources, mediums, campaigns, content, and more. 

Organizational role acronyms B2B marketers should know

CCO (Chief Customer Officer): a Chief Customer Officer is responsible for handling customer-centric matters and building a strong relationship between the business and the customers. 

CEO (Chief Executive Officer): a Chief Executive Officer heads the entire company. Their duties consist of implementing strategies, plans, and policies for the entire organization. The future strategy of a company and important decisions will be made by the Chief Executive Officer.

CFO (Chief Financial Officer): a Chief Financial Officer heads the finance department. When new deals are signed, the final sign off on the client side often comes from the CFO, so it’s important for sales teams to understand a CFO’s motivations and goals to avoid losing deals in the final stretches. 

CMO (Chief Marketing Officer): a Chief Marketing Officer oversees all marketing activities within a company. CMOs are important decision makers in all marketing and sales activities.

COO (Chief Operating Officer): a Chief Operating Officer ensures the company is running smoothly, and has what it needs to function properly. The COO will focus on areas such as HR, training, onboarding, payroll, etc. 

CRO (Chief Revenue Officer): a Chief Revenue Officer is responsible for every revenue-generating function in the business to drive growth. Oftentimes when purchasing a new software product (such as ABM), the CRO will have heavy involvement. This role has been growing immensely in recent years, with the rise of RevOps.

CS (Customer Success): CS refers to customer success, the department that manages the relationship between your company and your customers. A close relationship between CS and marketing allows for better marketing to customers.

CTO (Chief Technology Officer): a Chief Technology Officer is in charge of the organization’s technical needs and requirements. The CTO is also responsible for research and development of the product at hand. 

Well there you have it – 58 acronyms you should know. But as many know and joke about, we in marketing love to make new acronyms… so stay tuned for future updates!