Marketing Automation Acronyms

ERMDeciphering Marketing Automation’s Alphabet Soup

If you’re new to marketing or marketing automation, you’ve probably found yourself in a meeting where someone tosses about an acronym. You don’t want to look uniformed so you don’t ask. If that describes you, then this post is for you. I’ve listed the most common marketing automation abbreviations and what they mean.

A/B Testing – is a scientific methodology to test the performance of at least two alternatives. For example, you would test a specific call to action, image, subject line, landing page layout, messaging, etc to see which performs best.

BANT – Budget, Authority, Need, Timelines. This helps determine the sales readiness of a prospect

B2B – Business to Business marketing.

B2C – Business to Consumer marketing

CPL – Cost Per Lead. The total cost of acquiring a new potential customer through various channels (organic search, list purchase, social media, online ads, etc.)

CRM – Customer Relationship Management. Typically a system that tracks sales as well as on-going conversations with a prospect or customer. It also tracks a sales pipeline and closed or lost business. Examples are,, Oracle CRM, SugarCRM, 37 Signal’s Highrise, and the lists goes on and on.

CTA – Call to Action. A CTA could be: attend this webinar, download a white paper, 30-day free trial, Like us on FaceBook, etc.

CTR – Click Through Rate. For marketing automation, this term is important in measuring email marketing effectiveness.

Demand Gen – Demand Generation. It’s the strategic use of marketing assets (e.g., white papers, emails, webpages, webinar, social media post, etc.) to create interest or demand for a company’s product/service.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions. This is a best practice on a website to help readers to find answers quickly.

MQL – Marketing Qualified Lead. An MQL is a lead that is more likely to become a customer compared to other leads based on their activity before converting.

MRR – Monthly Recurring Revenue

RCA – Revenue Cycle Analytics. This typically refers to a Marketo tool; it measures the effectiveness your demand generation programs. It allows you to drill down into reports on specific marketing programs and identify which programs or events yield the highest return.

ROI – Return on Investment. A mathematical calculation to determine if marketing dollars are adding to new sales or the bottom line.

SDLC – Sales Development Lifecycle. SDLC maps out the journey of a lead’s first exposure to content or contact through when a sale is made.

SAL – Sales Accepted Lead. This is when a lead is formally accepted by the sales department.

SaaS – Software as a Service

SMB – Small-to-Medium-Business. Good luck in defining this. Small Business Administration defines small business from 10 to 1500 employees or annual revenue depending upon the industry. Very confusing. Not helpful.

SME – Small-to-Medium Enterprise

SLA – Service Level Agreement

SQL – Sales Qualified Lead. The definition of this term can vary from company to company. A sales qualified lead is the identification of a person or entity that has the interest and authority to purchase a product or service.

TCOTotal Cost of Ownership. This is the financial estimate for a buyer/owner to determine both the direct and indirect cost of a product, system, or enterprise.

USP – Unique Selling Proposition

UV – Unique Visitor

Different Companies, Different Meanings

Marketing Automation Acronyms are like scrabble tilesI have found that different companies use different terminology.  For example, some companies use Inside Sales Reps (ISR) while others call them Sales Development Representatives (SDR).

To make matters even more confusing, SQL, MQL and SAL can be defined differently by different departments within a company. As I mentioned in a post about Sales and Marketing getting along, it’s fundamentally important to come to a consensus of how each term is defined and measured.

Don’t see a term on my list? No problem, my list really focuses on marketing automation. Econsultancy has a list of 100+ digital marketing terms.

Did I leave one out of my list? What marketing automation acronym would you add?

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