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Glossary - sales terms used in Membrain

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In sales, it is easy to be confused by the near limitless number of terms used. What's the difference between a prospect and a suspect? What do we mean by weighted pipeline and conversion rate?

Membrain uses sales lingo. Actually, quite a lot of it. To minimize confusion, we have provided a list of the sales terms used in the system, as well as an explanation of how to interpret these terms within the Membrain context.

A prospect is a company that may be interested in purchasing products and/or services from you. In other words, it is a prospective client. If the prospect is a good fit for your offer, it can be converted to a sales project and at this time enter the pipeline. However, before conversion you need to do some "prospecting" - i.e reach out to the prospect contacts and determine whether their needs match what you can deliver.

Prospecting Campaign
Different prospects may need to be managed in different ways. An inbound lead completing a questionnaire on your website may need to be nurtured through automatic emails and the occasional telephone call from sales. A contact expressing interest in your services at an event may need a higher activity level. Membrain's prospecting campaigns allows you to set up different rules and structures around how to manage the different types of prospects you have. 

Are all Companies and Contacts in Membrain considered prospects?
Potentially - it really depends on what companies and contacts you have added to the Membrain data base. However, best practice is to add the companies you want to actively pursue to Membrain's prospecting module. This way, you can keep track and separate them from the many companies you may have in the general data base.

Sales Projects
Sales projects are often referred to as opportunities. In complex sales, the person managing an opportunity is not unlike a project manager. There are numerous stakeholders to involve, deadlines to meet and milestones to reach. Hence we have chosen to call them sales projects. A prospect is normally converted to a sales project if the qualification criteria are met and there is a real opportunity to close it within the time it would normally take you to close a deal - i.e your sales cycle.

Sales project terms

The probability of a sales project is measured in per cent. In Membrain, probability can be assigned to different milestones in the sales process. If you are in the second stage and have completed a second meeting, the probability may be at 25%, whereas a sales project in the final stage of negotiation may be at 85%. While the probability of a sales project can be amended manually, it automatically accumulates and grows bigger the more steps you complete and the further along the sales process that you are.

Each sales process in Membrain have between 3-5 defined stages. Each company sales process is unique and the stages can be allocated different names, such as discovery, needs analysis, negotiation or proof of concept. 

In each stage of the sales process, a number of operational steps need to be completed in order to move the deal forward. The steps are visualized as checklist items in the opportunity view. In order to complete a step and move it forward, the sales project owner may need to complete an activity, identify the name of a stakeholder or upload a document.

When managing complex sales, each sales project will have a number of key stakeholders that you need to identify. A stakeholder is an external or internal contact with significant influence in the decision making process. Failure to identify all relevant stakeholders and ensuring the problem you can solve is elevated on their respective agendas may very well result in not winning the deal. In Membrain, up to five stakeholders that need to be identified in a sales project can be registered in each sales process.

Apart from the stakeholders, a complex sales project will also involve a number of participants. Participants are internal or external contacts of importance to the sales project, even if they are not part of the decision making committee. For example, a pre-sales consultant that assists the sales project owner may not be a key stakeholder in the decision, but is still a very important player.
Sales analysis terms
In the Sales Analysis view, a number of sales metrics are used. Below are the explanations to these terms

Accumulated sales (over time)
In simple terms - money in, or closed orders. The value of each won sales project is accumulated over time and visualized via the graph.

Sales cycle
The average length of a sales project, from the time it is created and enters the pipeline until it is either marked as won or archived

Weighted pipeline
The weighted pipeline is calculated by taking the value of a sales project and multiplying it with the probability. For example, if you have two active sales projects with a value of $100,000 and a probability of 40%, the weighted pipeline is ($100,000 x 0,4) x 2 = $80,000

Goal setting terms
For the sales terms referenced under goal setting, see section "Setting sales goals"