Web Development

Deciphering CRM terminology: Let’s crack the code together!

By Steven, on August 3, 2023, updated on July 10, 2023 - 14 min read

Dive into the world of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with this comprehensive breakdown of CRM terminology! From A to Z, we’ve got you covered.

Table of Contents


360-degree client view

This term refers to a holistic view of the customer that includes all points of interaction, correspondence, marketing strategies, opportunities, events, purchasing history and other facets of the customer relationship.


Account management software

This is software that makes life easier for sales teams by allowing for tracking purchases, centralizing client information and easing lead distribution.

Account settings

These are a lead or client company’s personal, email and organization settings.


In the world of CRM, accounts are usually a business that another business has worked with or a customer. An account generally contains various data like customer contact information, location and company name.


This term records details of leads, interactions, phone calls, emails, meetings and other activities. These activities can be recorded automatically by the program or manually by your sales representatives.

Ad-hoc reporting

These are reports created on-the-spot to cater to a specific request. Business Intelligence (B.I.) platforms can generate ad hoc reports customized according to the needs of the user and situation.


These are users assigned the administrator role, permitted to access all of the CRM’s data.


This term refers to data that provides an in-depth understanding of your business to allow for quicker and more informed decision-making.


An acronym for “Application Programming Interface”. This is software that allows two applications to communicate by providing tools, protocols and routines to construct software applications.

Approved process

This is an approval process where you can set specific criteria records must meet before being submitted to managers for final approval.

Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)

This is a computer system capable of performing tasks that would typically require human intelligence, such as visual perception and decision-making.

Assignment rule

This refers to an assignment rule that allows for automatically assigning records to users. A round-robin or organization-wide distribution can be used when applying the assignment rule.

Auth token

This refers to an authentication token that allows users to access APIs in your CRM.

Auto responder

This allows time-saving by automating follow-up email sending using an autoresponder.


CRM automation involves automating sales and customer service functions, helping teams keep track of and manage their interactions with current and potential customers.

Autonumber field

This is a field that automatically generates a unique number.



An acronym denoting the standard qualification framework that encompasses the four most common qualification criteria (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline) sales teams use to determine when and how to advance potential leads in the sales funnel.


This is an online version of your organization stored in a CRM, containing all information about your offline processes.

Business card view

A display of the essential information of a record without manual search.

Business hours

The time range during which a business is open.

Business Intelligence (B.I.)

This term refers to a set of tools incorporating business analytics, data mining, data visualization, data tools, and other methodologies to help organizations make more informed decisions based on data.



An acronym denoting Challenges (Challenges), Authority (Authority), Money (Money) and Prioritization (Prioritization). This is a modern approach to lead qualification, with B.A.N.T. being the traditional method.

Campaign management

This involves organizing, executing, and analyzing marketing campaigns intended to achieve a specific goal such as product launches or brand awareness.


These are marketing efforts aimed to increase awareness and interest in a company’s products or services.

Canvas view

A fully customizable display in your CRM where you can customize text, add images and choose icons to represent fields such as email or contact details.

Case escalation rules

Case escalation rules allow employees to bring cases to the attention of people within your organization. This usually happens when the designated agent is not responding to a given situation.


These are reports of customer problems. These reports help improve customer service and product range.


Private messaging platforms accessible only to the company’s employees. This allows employees to share sensitive information in a private and secure environment.

Closed sale

This term indicates a lead that has been converted into a customer for a business.

Cloud-based CRM

This is a CRM software based on the cloud or network, accessible from any computer connected to the internet via a web browser (or a smartphone app).


Profiles that have equal access to CRM features and data as an owner.

Common operations

These are basic processes that your CRM can carry out, like creating documents or searching for client information.

Configure, Price, and Provide a Quote (C.P.Q.)

Salespeople can use Configure, Price, and Quote (C.P.Q.) software effectively to build the best product combination based on a client’s needs, refine their commercial offer according to the provided product requirements, and finally present an appealing commercial showcase.


An authentication tool that connects your CRM to a third-party application. When you use a connection, you authorize the third-party application to access the data you have permitted.

Consulting Partner

This refers to one who integrates, implements and customizes solutions for clients.

Contact roles

Contact roles describe the relationship between a contact and a case, opportunity or account.


A unique record containing the customer’s name, their contact details, their email address, their postal address etc.

Contract Management

This involves managing the rules and contracts between an organization and its partners, suppliers, customers and staff members.

Converted lead

This term indicates a lead’s status change in the CRM. This means that a lead has been qualified and is worthy of follow-up as a customer.

Criteria pattern

This is a powerful tool used for creating unique list views. Filters can be set with “and/or” conditions.


This is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management. It refers to the management of relationships with customers. CRM allows businesses to optimize their customer experience, thereby increasing chances of (re)purchases and reducing costs.

CRM analytical reporting

This report provides in-depth information about customers, such as demographic data, purchasing habits and comparisons over time.

CSV file

This is an acronym for “comma-separated values”. The CSV file format is the industry standard for importing and exporting databases and spreadsheets. Most CRMs use CSV files to import contacts and other data.

Custom fields

These are customized fields that are tailored to meet your business’s needs.

Custom links

These are customized links that allow users to access third-party applications and URLs when using the CRM.

Custom modules

These modules can be customized and modified to meet the needs of your organization.

Customer experience (CX)

This is the impression a (potential) customer has of a business, its employees, its brand or its products after and during their interaction with it.

Customer Experience Management (CXM/CEM)

An overall business strategy that includes processes and resources that a business uses to manage and improve the customer experience.

Customer journey

The customer journey, from the prospect phase to the first sale and the possibility of additional sales or renewal of an agreement.

Customer Self Service (CSS)

This tool offered by businesses allows customers to manage various aspects of their business relationship on their own pace, moment, and convenience.

Customer Service and Support Automation (CS&S)

Software that assists a company’s customer service and support in organizing and automating processes.

Customer success management

This encompasses a company’s resources and methods used to maintain customer interest and loyalty over time.


This process involves modifying fields to meet an organization’s needs.



This is a visual representation of a company’s key metrics. It provides real-time data on the metrics you’re currently monitoring.

Data enrichment

This process involves adding additional data to CRM data, such as a company’s mergers and acquisitions history, a customer’s professional status, or a contact’s business partners and peer group.

Data security

This refers to the protection of client data provided by your CRM software. This can include any additional sensitive information about the client, such as contact details.

Data sharing rules

Data sharing rules ensure data confidentiality. These rules can be applied to individuals, teams, and roles.

Dead lead

A previous lead that has dropped out of the acquisition or evaluation phase. The company’s salespeople can no longer pursue a dead lead as it has lost all interest in the buying process.


These are records that generate revenue for your organization.

Demand generation

Targeted marketing campaigns, events, and programs designed to spark interest in a company’s products, services, or brand among a target population.

Differential discount

A discount specific to a given situation. It is only granted to customers under certain circumstances and therefore resembles none of your other discounts.



Customers can choose from several CRM editions depending on their specific needs. For example, you might have free, regular, and enterprise versions.

Email notification

This is an automated workflow that you can set up to automatically email customers when certain conditions are met.

Email response management

This feature allows for setting up and sending automated email responses based on predefined rules.

Email templates

These are preformatted email templates that provide users with several options when creating campaigns. These templates can be sent to multiple recipients at once.

Engagement score

This is a measure of your customers’ interest in your products or services, based on their interactions with your customer service teams.


First touch

This refers to a customer’s first contact or connection with a business or brand.

Fiscal year

This is a twelve-month cycle used by companies for accounting and budgeting purposes.


This is a document containing sales forecasts, revenue estimates, and profit projections.

Formula fields

These fields generate dynamic data based on regular or custom fields.

Funnel velocity

The time taken for a contact or lead to move through the sales cycle.



This is a CRM gamification tool to make work enjoyable through competitions and rewards.


Hot leads

These are contacts showing strong intent to buy.


IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)

This is a protocol used by email clients to retrieve emails from the mail server.

Immediate actions

These are automatic actions triggered by workflow rules, such as email alerts, assignments, notifications, etc.


This process involves entering data into CRMapplications, often from email address lists or documents.

Indemnify and hold

This is a legal concept in a CRM provider’s contract to shield them from liability in case of accidents, loss, or malfunction.


This refers to syncing CRM with third-party applications to improve communication and efficiency.

Intellectual property rights

These are rights related to sharing, visualizing, or using the CRM platform.


This is a bill or commercial report provided by a supplier to a consumer.


Java SDK (Software Development Kit)

This is a tool that helps developers in creating robust Java applications.

Junk lead

A contact or prospect that showed an interest in the product or service but is deemed unqualified for pursuit.


Knowledge base

This is an online database that provides resources for self-learning or troubleshooting products or services.

KPI (Key Performance Indicators)

Quantifiable measures that are used to track and assess the success of a company.

KYC (Know Your Customer)

This process involves validating a client’s identity when first opening an account and periodically after that.


Last touch

The most recent interaction a customer had with your business or product before making a purchase.

Lead conversion

The process of turning a lead into a Contact, Profile, and/or Opportunity in your CRM.

Lead conversion rate

The ratio of successfully converted leads to the total number of pursued leads.

Lead generation

The actions or methods used to identify potential customers and acquire their contact details.

Lead management

The steps involving marketing and sales teams actively communicating with leads and guiding them through the sales funnel.

Lead nurturing

The process of guiding leads through the next stages of the sales pipeline.

Lead qualification

The process of determining if a prospect is worth pursuing further in the sales pipeline.

Lead to cash

The conversion of a lead into a buying customer, resulting in revenue for the business.

Line item

An individual item associated witha product or service.

List view

The organization of records based on specific criteria, like lead source or geographical location.



A tool that automates repetitive actions across multiple records.

Machine learning

A subset of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables computers to learn and develop based on new data and experiences.

Marketing Accepted Lead (M.A.L.)

A lead that meets specific criteria and is deemed a potential valuable customer.

Marketing automation

The process of automating customer communication, segmentation, lead tracking, and forecasting.

Marketing funnel

A visual illustration of the stages a potential customer goes through from initial contact to becoming a customer.

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)

Leads deemed worthy of follow-up by the sales department due to demonstrating interest or engagement that suggests they might become customers.


A platform offering extensions to your CRM system to improve functionality and processes.

Matrix report

Data summarized and arranged on a grid against vertical and horizontal columns.

Mobile SDK

A collection of software development tools for creating mobile applications.

Module level security

The restriction of user access to specific modules in the CRM, providing an extra layer of protection.


These are the tabs in your CRM. They represent different stages of your sales pipeline, from identifying a lead to closing a deal.

Multi-select field

A field that allows users to select multiple options from the available list.


Natural Language Processing (NLP)

A subfield of artificial intelligence that enables computers to understand and interpret human language.


The process of moving around within the CRM system with ease and efficiency.



Various data categories in the CRM, such as accounts, leads, opportunities, events, and more.

On-premise CRM

A CRM application hosted on the organization’s server, contrary to a cloud-based CRM which is delivered and accessed via the internet.


Potential future sales deals or events that could generate revenue for your business.

Opportunity management

The process of managing potential sales deals within the sales pipeline.

Opportunity stage

This comprises values assigned to depict the progress of an opportunity towards being closed as a deal.


Page layout

The arrangement of fields, connections, and related lists on a record’s details or edit page.

Personal fields

Areas containing personal information about a client within their customer profile.

Personal settings

The customizable settings within a CRM that allow an individual user to tailor their software experience according to personal needs and preferences.

Picklist field

A field that allows users to select one option out of many from a dropdown list.


This is a representation of the sales process, starting from initial lead contact to closing a sale.

Pipeline management

The process of guiding leads through the sales pipeline, ensuring they don’t get stuck at any stage along the way.

Pipeline stages

These are the various stages in your sales cycle that represent a lead’s current position in the process.

POP (Post Office Protocol)

An email protocol used to receive emails from a mail server. POP’s primary function is to download emails from your mail server to your device.


Online platforms where customers, associates, and vendors can securely access information related to their interaction with your company.

Predictive analytics

A branch of advanced analytics that uses data mining, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify future outcomes based on historical data.

Price book

A record of all products sold by a company with their price listings.


A numerical measure that represents the likelihood or chance of closing a sale, usually expressed as a percentage.


These are the goods or services that an organization sells.


In CRM, profiles categorize users and assign them permissions and access.


A potential buyer who has been identified as fitting the brand’s target market.

Purchase order

This is a document that authorizes a business to purchase a product or service from a supplier.



This is the minimum number of sales that a sales department or representative is expected to achieve within a specified period.


A formal statement by a seller that outlines the cost of the goods or services they are offering.


Raw leads

These are unqualified contacts generated through marketing activities.


This term refers to detailed information about a customer or data entity stored in the CRM system.

Record level sharing

The sharing of specific records with specific users in the organization.

Record owner

The sales representative who is responsible for managing a particular record within the CRM system.

Recurring events

These events are scheduled to happen periodically, such as weekly meetings or monthly check-ins.

Related list

A set of records linked to the same parent record.

Relationship intelligence

A category of software tools offering crucial insights about customer and prospect relationships and interactions, helping to inform future interactions and engagements.

Relationship management

The process of building, maintaining, and enhancing relationships with customers.

Remarket lead

A lead that’s been generated through outbound activities but is not yet qualified.

Reorder stage

A stage indicating that stock levels are low and a new order needs to be placed.


A tabulated presentation of company data, providing an overview of performance in different areas.

Reporting hierarchy

A reporting structure where each user is assigned a reporting manager within a hierarchical system.

Revenue funnel

A visual representation of sales opportunities progressing through different stages.

RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary)

A marketing analysis tool used to identify a customer’s behavior patterns based on their purchase recency, frequency, and monetary value.


These define positions in an organization’s hierarchy that determine data visibility and access rights.

Ruby SDKs

This term refers to a web platform for integrating CRM Application Programming Interface (API) with Ruby applications.


In the context of CRM, a rule refers to an automated workflow function that is triggered when specific conditions are met.


Sales-Accepted Lead (SAL)

An MQL that’s been handed over to the sales team for further qualification.

Sales forecast

A prediction of future sales, based on historical sales data, market trends, and other factors. It provides a guideline for business management and investment decisions.

Sales Force Automation (SFA)

Software that automates repetitive sales tasks like order processing, contact management, information sharing, inventory monitoring, sales forecasting, and employee performance evaluation.

Sales funnel

A visualization of the journey potential customers go through during the sales process – from initial awareness to the final sale.

Sales Performance Management (SPM)

An approach that involves monitoring and improving sales performance. SPM tools often include reporting capabilities, goal-setting, coaching tools, and feedback mechanisms.

Sales pipeline

A visual representation of where prospects are in the sales process. This can range from an initial stage (i.e., lead) to a closed sale.

Sales process

A systematic approach to selling that includes steps for salespeople to follow, which helps in closing deals, fostering better relationships and increasing overall sales.

Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL)

A prospect who has been confirmed by the sales team as being worth pursuing since they have demonstrated a high likelihood of becoming a paying customer.

Sales-Ready Lead (SRL)

An MQL that is considered ready for thesales team to follow up.

Sales stage

Each step that an opportunity goes through in the sales process, ranging from the initial contact to the closing of a sale.

Sales velocity

The speed at which deals move through the sales pipeline from the initial contact to the closing of the sale.

Self-Service Portal (SSP)

This is an online platform that allows customers to help themselves by accessing information, raising tickets, and receiving solutions for their issues without having to contact customer service.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

A subscription-based model where software applications are accessed via the internet on a web browser. Most modern CRM systems operate on this model.

Special fields

These are specific fields in your CRM that are associated with specific modules.

Stage probability mapping

The process of defining parameters and probabilities for each stage of your sales cycle.

Standard fields

These are pre-defined fields that come with each module in your CRM system. They collect standard information such as name, address, and contact details.

Super administrator

A user given the highest level of access within the CRM system, usually allowing for unlimited access to data and full control over all settings.


These are potential clients that have been identified, but not yet qualified as leads.



Keywords assigned to records for identification and organization purposes within the CRM system.


An activity with a specific deadline that needs to be completed. In a CRM, tasks can be assigned to individuals or teams.


A tool that integrates telephony services with the CRM system for efficient call management.

Territory management

The organization of the sales structure based on regions, markets, and revenue projections. This helps businesses in dividing and conquering their target markets more effectively.

Third-party integrations

The ability of the CRM software to connect with other business solutions, tools, and applications as needed to fulfill various functions.

Transactional reporting

These are reports that provide information on completed or still pending transactions within the business.



Any individual who has been granted access to the CRM system. Users may have different roles and permissions.

User content

Any content created by users within the CRM system.

User Interface (UI)

This is the overall layout and navigation of the CRM system used by end-users.

User role

The permissions assigned to each user based on their role within the organization. Different roles may have varying degrees of access to the data within the CRM system.



Virtual contact files or electronic business cards formatted in vCard format. They hold contact information like name, phone number, and email address.


Different ways of displaying activities and data in the CRM system based on specific criteria or filters set by the user.

Voice of Customer (VoC)

Insights into customers’ needs, specifications, and reviews. Understanding the voice of the customer can help businesses to meet their needs better.

Validation rules

A set of rules that maintain data integrity by preventing users from entering invalid or inconsistent data into the CRM system.

Value proposition

A promise or statement that communicates the unique benefits that a customer can gain from a product or service.

Visual CRM

A type of CRM system that enables data visualization for better understanding and decision-making.


Warm leads

Contacts that have expressed interest in a product or service but are not yet ready to commit to a purchase.


Real-time web updates sent to third-party applications based on events taking place within the CRM system.


User interface elements within the CRM system. They can display information or provide specific functionality like data entry forms or navigation buttons.


A sequence of steps designed to complete a business process. In a CRM, workflows can be automated or executed manually.

Workflow alerts

Notifications sent from the CRM system based on triggered workflow rules. They are typically used to alert users when certain conditions are met.

Workflow automation

This feature automates various actions such as assignment of tasks and field updates based on preset workflow rules.

Workflow rules

A defined set of steps and actions to be adhered to a task within the CRM system.

Web service API

A framework that enables web-based applications to communicate and exchange data with each other.


A process that captures visitor information from a webpage and stores it in the CRM system as a new lead.


Zero touch

An aspect of business technology automation where the software is designed to function with minimal human intervention.

CRM Terminology: The Final Word

With the world of CRM being as complex as it is, it’s crucial to understand the jargon that defines it. From A to Z, we’ve covered over 100 unique CRM terms that play a significant role in managing customer relationships and leveraging sales opportunities. Remember these key points:

  • An understanding of CRM terminology is key to maximizing the software’s benefits
  • Each term represents a unique feature or function within the CRM system
  • These terms help in improving customer relationships, sales opportunities, and business processes

Whether you’re an experienced user or new to the world of CRM, this comprehensive glossary is your go-to resource for any CRM-related queries. Happy CRM-ing!