June 29, 2021

So You Want A Job In Sales? Sales Vocab & Definitions


Episode Highlights

Subscribe to the Talent Insights podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, (recommended for Android users), Amazon Music, or Spotify. Watch us on YouTube—and don’t forget to rate us!

We have come up with a quick video highlighting some of the most common terms that would be great to know for entry-level and junior salespeople! In preparing for interviews and applying to sales roles, it is crucial to know the lingo and be able to understand the most common topics likely to come up in conversations. BDR? Quota? SaaS? We’ve got you covered! We’ll walk through all the acronyms and lingo in detail. This is great for anyone looking to transition into Software Sales, recent grads looking to break into the industry, and anyone who needs a refresher. Have anyone in your network about to or just graduated? This would be great to send their way!

Episode Transcript

Hey everyone. Welcome to this episode of Hirewell’s talent insights. I’m Emily Goor from the sales practice. Jack, you want to say hey. 


Hi everyone. Jack Smith also with the sales practice. I’ve been with Hirewell for about three years. Today we’ll be kind of diving into some definitions of sales terms for recent grads and overall that sales folks could benefit from.


Absolutely. And we actually thought of covering this topic because when I got into recruiting, like now almost three years ago, there were all of these acronyms that were just being thrown out and I was like having to Google things on the side because I didn’t want to seem dumb like I didn’t know what I was talking about. But it was like SaaS, B2B, B2C, blah, blah, blah.


And I was like you’re just saying letters and numbers to me I don’t know what you’re talking. So we wanted to create this video. We think it will be helpful for everyone, but specifically for recent graduates, if you are trying to break into this space, so that you can have knowledgeable conversations and not be like I was three years ago when I had no idea what anyone was talking about.


Especially in an interview process, right? If you know, hiring managers are referring to these acronyms, you’re going to want to be knowledgeable at least have an idea of what they mean. 


Exactly. So we’re going to throw out some terms. We’re going to start off with like pretty standard because a lot of our clients are in the SaaS space.


SaaS. That’s not like sass, like sass that’s like me a little bit of sassy, but this is SaaS- and that stands for software as a service. 


And that’s a huge buzzword, right? Like, everyone wants SaaS experience or background or interest in it. So the way I like to look at it is like, it’s a software, right


that companies can use and access as a service, right? So then they’re using the software platform, for every sort of industry to really accomplish a business outcome. Kind of in the simplest term. 




crushed it. Next term B2B. So that’s like the letter B, the number two, B and that stands for Jack?


Business to business. So on the contrary business to consumers, so business to business and that a lot of the companies we work with, right it’s a crossover, like as opposed to a client that we work with for example, that business to consumer, in the automotive space, right? So like, if you’re an individual that’s purchasing a car, that’s a consumer. That’s a business to consumer model. The business to business kind of spaces, a lot more growing in that just as simple as a sounds. 


B2B versus B2C- only one letter off but it makes a big difference. 


It does. Absolutely. 


Okay. We’re crushing these terms. Okay. Next one. And this is, I mean hot, hot as hot can get right now, BDRs and SDRs.


We are hiring for like 20 BDRs and SDRs right now. And I’ve been reaching out to all of these like entry level, fresh college graduates and I put BDR, SDR in my message and I’m like wait a second. What if they don’t even know what BDR, SDR is? So BDR stands for a business development representative and SDR stands for sales development representative.


And these are the folks that are hitting the ground hard, doing lead generation for companies. So you might think of like cold calling, cold outreach, doing the lead generation and prospecting and qualifying leads before they pass it off to usually- you ready for another one- AE an account executive to take through the rest of the sales cycle.


And I like to look at it as top of the funnel. So that’s for the companies, the BDR, SDR is that first point of contact, right? So there’s- you’re usually the face of the organization or the voice of the organization, that’s the first outreach, right? Like they might not even know what the company does.


So really kind of kicking off the sales process that can lead to some pretty great partnerships, right off the bat. 


Exactly and I know you mentioned that AE, that account executive who’s then once that lead is generated and qualified, they’re taking the client or like the prospective client, I guess I should say, through the rest of the sales cycle from demo to close.


And I know we have demo too. Like I saw a demo and I was just like, what kind of demo? Like what kind of demonstration? So there’s usually a demo, a demonstration as part of the sales process. And that’s essentially just the account executive or maybe it’s a solutions consultant or solutions engineer or sales engineer that’s showing the prospective clients


how the software works and just kind of taking them through that entire demonstration of what they’d be getting, if they do decide to purchase the software. 


Right and a lot of times there’s an example of, if you were to purchase this software going through a partnership is an example of what that profile would look like, what that software would do for your organization.


So that’s where you’re kind of getting in the weeds, you’re seeing what the actual software would do. And a lot of times that kind of the selling point, right? That’s where you have 30 minutes and you know, you have those 30 minutes to get them across the finish line and really kind of show what the software can do.


Love it. Let’s chat about different kind of verticals, like areas that you can sell into. So this is another one that when I first got into recruiting I was like, I don’t know what this means. So people talk about SMB sales and enterprise sales, mid-market sales. So let’s start with SMB because we love acronyms in this space


don’t we? SMEs stands for small and medium businesses. Did I get that right?


 Yes. Oftentimes it differs, but like the way I like to look at it is kind of zero to 99 employees, right? Anything under a hundred. You have your startup, you have your really kind of small amount of pop shops, right that are like really under that hundred employee threshold or they’re still relatively young as a company.


 I love it. And then as we talk about the different kind of sizes of companies that you could be selling into, I feel like we should also address kind of another important vocab term, which is what the sales cycle is like. Sales cycle is how long it takes from the first point of contact like we said, that’s usually that top of the funnel, the SDR, the BDR reaching out to the prospective client, all the way through that signing of the contract, the close.


So from beginning to end. So with that SMB, like the smaller, medium business size sale, you’re looking usually at a quicker sales cycle. It can be a little bit more transactional anywhere from it took me one phone call to close this deal all the way to maybe a couple of weeks, but it’s usually on the quicker side.


Versus once we’re getting into the enterprise space. So selling into the enterprise space you’re selling into like these are your big fish, right. Right. These are like your big sales selling into large companies. Sometimes fortune 1000 fortune 500 companies, your sales cycles likely going to be a lot longer, right?


When we’re filling any of these enterprise account executive roles, sales cycles are anywhere from like, I’d say three months minimum. Usually around like six months minimum, anywhere from like nine to 12, even 15 to 18 months sometimes to close a deal from the initial contact with that prospect. 


Right. And the complexity, right like grows as you get larger in terms of the deal sizes in the enterprise space. It’s definitely, it’s a long process. You have to have- it might be a first point of contact two years ago. And then it’s all about the right time for those folks. So that’s a little bit more strategic, a little bit more consultative of a sale, but then again, a lot larger from a deal size perspective and partnership.


Absolutely. Which is a lot of the times why when companies are hiring enterprise account executives, they’re looking for people who have a bit more experience because like you mentioned, it is a lot more strategic, a lot more complex of a sale. Couple more things before we wrap up. OTE. 


So on target earnings. I get that question a lot. That’s probably one of the top two or three terms that, what does that mean? Right. So you’ll have kind of a set expectation as a sales development representative or a business development representative


to hit X amount of meetings booked, X amount of demos scheduled as we just talked about. So the on target earnings is what you can project to make if you’re meeting those goals, right? So say it’s 40,000 base, 60,000 on target earnings. You should plan to make 60,000 for the year if you hit your goals, right?


If you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing


Which if you’re going above and beyond, you know, you should be exceeding the OTE number in a lot of the companies that we work with have uncapped commission models. And that’s what makes a career in sales so attractive for a lot of people. 


Exactly. And I would also say like maybe a tip if you are entry-level, a good question to ask is like how many people are hitting their on target earnings, right. Because a company might throw out this really radical number and you’re like, oh, that’s really legit. I could make 80k is a BDR my first year. But a good question to ask is like, how realistic is that on target earnings number?


It’s a great question because a lot of times companies can throw a number out there but how successful and how likely are folks to hit that number. And a lot of times the recruiters that you work with or companies will have an insight into that if they know the organization. I can speak to an average of folks that are doing well and hitting that OTE number.


Absolutely. Well, I wish that I had this video three years ago. We hit on a lot of the major acronyms, terms, vocabulary for folks in sales. If you are entry-level and there are other words or acronyms that are popping up that you want to know, like, what is this that you can, like, you mentioned, speak intelligently in an interview understand what recruiters are saying when they’re reaching out to you, definitely throw those terms in the comments in this video.  


We’re always happy to as you mentioned Emily, we have over 20 positions right now for entry level folks.


So even if it’s hopping out of a call for 15, 20 minutes, just to go over what that looks like, what the opportunities entail, what kind of questions you should be asking in an interview, we’re more than happy to chat. My email email is jack@hirewell.com


Beautiful. And I’m Emily, egoor@hirewell.com. As Jack mentioned, we’re so happy to chat. We can chat vocab, we can chat all the things. So thank you so much for joining us. This was an episode of Hirewell’s talent insights. We will see you all next time. 


More from Talent Insights

Episode 43
In this week’s episode, Dan and Louie dive into the heat of summer sports by discussing the NHL and NBA Finals.  Both are...

Episode 6
Episode 6 of Between Two Hires (The Subtle Art of Not F#*cking Up Your Team) is here! In this episode, Tom Wilkinson is...

Episode 40
In this episode of Recruiting Reality, Liz and Shania delve into the intriguing realm of love languages within the workplace. With insightful discussions...

Episode 90
The 10 Minute Talent Rant, Episode 90 “Gen Z’s 12% Unemployment, Explained” It came as a shock to pretty much everyone that the...

Episode 1
In the inaugural episode of the Beyond the Offer podcast, hosts Bill Gates and Rosanna Snediker discuss the landscape of talent acquisition and...

Episode 13
With a little inspiration from TikTok, Ryan and Emily are discussing the benefits of companies providing candidates with detailed descriptions of what to...

Our Shows

Our Latest Blog