Decoding the jargon: A short guide to CRM related acronyms

6th December 2019

We’ve all been there. You’re concentrating on taking care of business and someone starts spouting acronyms at you. And baffling ones at that. You try to arrange your face into a knowing smile while you desperately try to decode what on earth they’re saying. Or you’re reading up on a complex subject and you’re being held back from digesting the article by seemingly endless, inexplicable shorthand jargon. Not ideal.

Acronyms are everywhere, and let’s face it, there’s good reason for it – they can really simplify things. There are just so many of them these days. Particularly of the three-letter variety. And even they have their own acronym; TLAs – Three Letter Acronyms. Argh.

And when it comes to the world of CRM, there are TLAs galore. As CRM is an essential building block to most businesses out there, it’s definitely a subject that’s worth understanding. So read on for 7 of the most common abbreviations and what they mean.


Let’s start at the beginning when it comes to this topic. Customer Relationship Management; it’s almost universally shortened to CRM. However, it can have two different, yet closely related meanings.

CRM is the overall approach to managing and analysing customer data and interactions. (The aim is to improve customer relationships, increase retention and ultimately boost sales).

But CRM is often also used to refer to CRM systems – the digital database that’s used for recording and storing all customer data, and details of all communication with them, and purchases made. Marketing capabilities can also be incorporated within many systems, as can sales analytics and projection features.


Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP and CRM are often talked about together as they have the same overall function – to increase profits. However, CRM relates to the customer and ERP to the business. ERP is a system for improving the efficiency of business processes – and like CRM, allows information to be entered and shared throughout the business – giving a ‘snapshot’ of how the business is operating. It’s then possible to uncover where processes should be worked on in order to reduce overheads.

Many CRM systems actually integrate directly with ERP systems, for ease of use and efficiency.


Marketing Qualified Leads. These are potential customers who’ve shown interest in buying from you and have taken it further than a simple visit to your website, or a scroll through your
social media posts. They’ve engaged with your company in some way.


Sales Accepted Lead. This is the next step on from an MQL. This refers to a lead that your sales team have decided to chase up.


Sales Qualified Lead. This is the next step up again – an SAL that has indicated that they’re likely to make a purchase from you (although the criteria for each stage does vary by company – so yours may be different).


Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are values that show how well (or not) your company is achieving key business objectives. Examples of individual KPIs even include many other acronyms – such as ROI (Return on Investment), CLV / CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value) and ETR (Employee Turnover Rate).


Call to Action. A CTA is anything that has been designed to get an immediate response from the recipient. It may be the intention that they’re tempted to click on a link, sign up to a newsletter or buy a product – it really depends what it is. CTAs are a big part of digital marketing strategies, in order to generate leads and sales.

And there are many more abbreviations where they came from. But hopefully this quick lowdown either gave you a bit of a head start in this jargon-filled world, or it simply made you feel a little bit pleased with yourself, when you realised you already knew them. Either way, the subject of CRM should be easier to tackle in future, TBH.

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