B2B marketing terminology and definitions

Here we'll put our 'editors list' of B2B marketing terminology and definitions (50 of the best)

Curator's note

Below is the full list of definitions of terms used commonly in B2B marketing, together with additional resources and references. We invite you to add your own. Or if you have a term you would like the Funnel community to define for you, make a blank entry and leave it to others to define.

Term Definition Additional resources

A/B Testing

A/B testing (also called split testing) helps you improve your email engagement rates. You execute an A/B test by comparing a control with a test. often used for email testing where you change only one variable such as subject line, copy or call to action, against your control to determine which version drives the best results. See also A/B Testing

Above the Fold

A direct mail design term that describes the section on a page that can be see without unfolding. The term is now also applied to email and web regarding scrolling.


Australian Direct Marketing Association.


A website that will drive traffic to another site for a percentage of sales.

Affinity Marketing

Marketing targeted at individuals sharing common interests related to a product. Also, a campaign jointly sponsored different organisations.


Australian Marketing Institute


Application Programming Interface

B2B Blogging

Using a blog or online journal to promote a company’s products or services with the goal of increasing conversions and driving revenue. Also known as corporate or organizational blogging.


An ad on a web page that is usually linked to the advertiser's site.


Business Development Manager (person responsible for driving new business)

Buying Influence

Buying Influence: Anyone who can have a positive or negative impact on your selling activity - whatever their position, company, or role in a given sale.

For definitions of various types of Buyer Influences, click here.


Buyer's Journey


Basis of Decision

Bounce rate

The percentage of people who left the website after viewing that page. Therefore a high bounce rate is not desirable.


A promise of future value - "what would I expect of them in future?". Classically described by Kotler as a name, term, sign or symbol used for identification and recognition purposes of products or services.

Brand Attributes

Functional or emotional associations that are assigned to a brand by its customers and prospects. Brand attributes can be either negative or positive and can have varying degrees of relevance and importance to different customer segments.

Brand Equity

The value - both tangible and intangible that a brand adds to a product/service.

Brand Loyalty

The strength of preference for a brand compared to other similar available options. Often measured in terms of purchase behavior or price sensitivity.

Brand Positioning

The space a brand is perceived to occupy; the part of the brand identity that is to be actively communicated in a way that meaningfully sets it apart from the competition.

Buyers' Journey

A term first coined by Hugh Macfarlane in The Leaky Funnel to describe the steps a buyer moves through in a B2B purchase. These are not the administrative buying process steps (e.g. seek 3 quotes), but the cognitive steps - what goes on in their mind. They begin by being untroubled about the problem you solve, and unaware that you wish to solve it. There may be different views about exactly what these stages are, and whether they change between one market and another, but the idea itself is not so controversial.

Call to Action (CTA)

Whatever you want your customer to do through a given marketing effort. Some examples would include purchasing a product, signing up for your service, filling out a form, etc. HubSpot's 101 Examples of Effective Calls to Action


Channel Account Manager (in charge of running campaign-diff to BDM as not about closing new sales)


Click-through-rate (CTR) refers to the number of people who clicked one or more links in your email – expressed as a percentage. For example, if one out of 100 people clicked any link in your email, then your CTR is: 1/100, or 1%.

Click To Tweet

An online tool to create links that when clicked take the user to their Twitter page with a customised post ready to be published.


Acronym for Customer Relationship Management. CRM entails all aspects of interaction a company has with its customer, whether it be sales or service related.


Content Management System. The back-end of a website where content and images can be edited.


A piece of data that is stored by a website in the visitor’s browser to track their browsing history on your website.


Essentially happens when your visitor completes the goal of your individual page. This can range from clicking a button, to making a purchase, or even filling out a lead form.

Conversion path

The series of steps a visitor takes from their first interaction to the goal of your site.

Conversion rate

The percentage of people who complete the goal or a desired action on a page. Higher conversion rates mean the page is performing well while lower conversion rates indicate poor performance.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO)

The process of improving your conversion rate through various techniques.


Channel Readiness (everything marketing does to support sales)


Digital Asset eg. white papers, videos, research reports, etc


Demand Generation


Direct Mail

Direct Marketing

Opposite of inbound marketing: all activities related to finding the names of prospects, and contacting them to ignite a conversation leading (immediately or eventually) to an offer of goods or services whether by post, telephone, e-mail or other direct means.

Dynamic content

Also known as “smart or adaptive content”; the features of a website, ad, or email body that change based on the viewer’s past behaviour. In other words, the customization of these mediums that are tailored to the viewer.


Electronic Digital Marketing (eg an email) (Electronic Direct Mail)


Environmental Marketing

Eye tracking

A way to test the interaction of a viewer with web pages. In experimental conditions, the viewer’s eye movements are followed to gain insight into the most important part on a page.


Funnel Academy


Funnel Camp


A place where visitors supply information in return for whatever you are offering.


Any element that may detract visitors to convert. These can be things that are confusing, distracting, or cause stress such as too much text, or too many fields to fill in a form.



Gross Profit

Golden Silence

This is a technique developed by Miller Heiman where the salesperson asks a question and then allows three or four seconds of silence afterwards. When faced with a Golden Silence, buyers will often open up and share an insight that helps both the buyer and the seller get a better grasp on the buyer's needs. Often, this leads to another question (based on the insight) followed by more silence and more insights. In this manner, salespeople are able to guide a meaningful, in-depth, and on-topic discussion that leads to a win-win where the customer's actual needs are met through a solution, not just through a product.


Is the landing page that serves a number of purposes and is considered the “online ambassador” for your brand.


Ideal Customer Profile (who we're targeting)

Inbound Marketing

A type of marketing characterized by prospects and customers seeking out and finding companies rather than vice versa.


Elements added to make your page more attractive and stimulate conversion. For example, these may be a free trial in exchange for taking a survey.

Iterative testing

A formal, long-term testing strategy for your marketing campaign. It provides more insight into our customer base as each lesson builds on the previous ones.

Key Decision Makers

In business-to-business, executives who have the authority to make or influence a purchase. Also known as Business Decision Maker (BDM).

Landing Page

A web page that a user encounters after clicking on a link from a search engine, advertisement, email or other marketing vehicle.

Landing page optimization

Often called conversion rate optimization or website optimization. It is the process of improving your landing pages through various techniques.

Latent conversion

A type of conversion that happens after the initial visit. For example, a visitor may go on a website to look at the price of an offering, leave to think about it, then go back and make the purchase.


Learning and Development


A loose term sales and marketing professionals use to describe anything from a name to a genuine opportunity. Leads in most CRMs are dumping grounds for contacts that may be promoted to opportunities. See better definition in 'Marketing Qualified Lead'.

Lead nurturing

"Lead nurturing is a discipline focused on leads who are not yet ready to buy. As such, the art of successful lead nurturing is in delivering content of sufficient value that the audience remains engaged. If done well, successful nurturing can build a strong brand and solution preference long before a prospect is actively engaged in a buying process. Lead nurturing software allows for leads to be tracked and content delivery to be automated through various marketing channels." Eloqua

Lifestyle stage

The stage at which your lead is in in terms of their buyer decision-making process.

Long tail keyword

A very targeted search phrase that generally consists of 3 or more words. Commonly it contains a ‘head’ word which is more generic and broad, then additional words that refine the search. For example, ‘cowboy costume for adults’.

Marketing Metrics

Measurements that help with the quantification of marketing performance, such as market share, advertising spend, and response rates elicited by advertising and direct marketing.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

A contact who meets three tests: they meet your ideal customer profile (ICP); they indicate clearly that they have the problem you are focused on solving; and they indicate they are keen to engage with (meet) your sales representative. See also Sales Accepted Lead (SAL).


Used by marketers when they want to create a different online experience for their target. Usually these sites have their own domain name and different visual branding.

Mobile optimization

Making the reading and navigating on a mobile device easier through its design and format.


The user’s desire for a product or service and their willingness to make the effort to solve a problem.

Multivariate test

A test which evaluates multiple elements on a webpage simultaneously. For example, in an attempt to find the best combination, marketers may test 4 different images, 3 CTA buttons, and 2 headlines.


Non-Disclosure Agreement


Opt-in email lists are lists where Internet users have voluntarily signed up to receive commercial e-mail about topics of interest.


Partner Account Manager (Cisco)


The process of including personal references in marketing efforts, such as a website or a letter.


Partner Marketing Manager (Cisco)


Marketing efforts aimed at defining a product or company in the consumer's mind.


Pay Per Click (Google paid results)


A state of difficulty that needs to be resolved.


A potential customer who you have targeted. Not yet a Lead.


Quality Analysis


Research and Development

Responsive design

An approach to designing websites where instead of creating a different website for all the devices it can be viewed on, the site itself recognizes the device being used and changes the page automatically to fit that device.

Revenue performance management (RPM)

A term that many will claim to have coined, and one of them will undoubtedly be right. Marketo have certainly set out to own the term by using it prolifically.

Sales Accepted Lead (SAL)

A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) which Sales has accepted as meeting the criteria agreed for a lead. Optionally, may be further qualified by Sales to become a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

A Sales Accepted Lead (SAL) that Sales confirms is a genuine opportunity. Many companies use the BANT criteria (budget, authority, need and timing).


A portion of an audience that is targeted to receive a specific marketing campaign. You can segment based on many factors including geography, demographic, age, gender, industry, buyer maturity and buyer progression stage.


Search Engine Marketing (also known as Google Adwords)


Search Engine Optimisation

SEO Report

Search Engine Optimisation report

Split Testing

See A/B testing


A conceptualisation or idea of how a particular goal can be achieved.


The action taken to execute a strategy.


Talking on the telephone to prospects or customers. Inbound telemarketing is usually customers or prospects calling your toll free number. Outbound telemarketing is when you place the call to a prospect or customer. Telemarketing can be done by your in-house staff or by an external telemarketing company.

Theatre Agnostic

Geographically Neutral


The Leaky Funnel


To remove oneself from an email list, either via an emailed command to the list server or by filling in a web form.

Value exchange

The process by which websites promote something of value in return for visitor information.

Value Proposition

The functional, emotional, and self-expressive benefits delivered by product, service, or brand, that provide value to the customer, and the rationale for making one brand choice over another.


Valid Business Reason


The speed of buyer progression through your funnel.


Videos on Demand


Virtual private network (private network that uses telecoms infrastructure eg. Internet to provide remote offices or individual users with secure access to their organisation’s network)

Web 2.0

A term used to describe the second generation of web tools and software that encourage users to become more active participants, creating content and interacting with each other within web-based, social communities.

Website optimization

Often called landing page optimization or conversion rate optimization. It is the process of improving your website in order to increase your search rankings through various techniques.

To add another row to the table above, find where you want to insert the row (normally just before a new term), and insert the following:

'''New Term '''
| Definition of the new term
* any additional resources