The Ultimate Social Selling Glossary

This glossary contains the definitions of key social selling terms to help beginners and veterans alike improve their social sales strategies.

June 5, 2017

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If you’re new to social selling, you are no doubt seeing terms you haven’t seen before. Even if you’re a sales veteran, some of the terms you’ve known for years have taken on a different meaning when applied to a social sales strategy.

The glossary of terms below offers a brief introduction to the world of social sales by defining the key terms and phrases you will encounter. Use this social selling glossary to navigate unfamiliar terms and situations while also learning how to apply your sales expertise to target, understand, and engage modern buyers.


ABC - Always Be Connecting: You may be more familiar with the famous industry slogan, “Always Be Closing.” While old-school salespeople may still adhere to this rule, the modern sales industry has moved away from this pressure-oriented approach. For social sellers, Always Be Connecting means building deeper relationships with buying committee members at your target accounts and winning them over with insightful, value-laden engagement.

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Account-Based Marketing (ABM): Account-Based Marketing represents a total alignment of marketing and sales teams, combined with the use of innovative technologies to facilitate this collaboration and improve targeting of top accounts. Instead of taking a shotgun approach to sales and marketing, ABM picks its individual targets carefully.


Buyer Behavior: These are the thoughts and actions that lead a buyer to make purchasing decisions. Buyer behavior is reflected by a range of online and offline channels, including social activity, which salespeople can use to identify interested prospects and engage them on social media.

Buying Committee: This group is responsible for evaluating potential purchases and partnerships at a business. For sales professionals, the buying committee is the core group of business professionals to win over in a B2B sales effort.

Buying Signal: Any communication from a sales prospect, direct or indirect, that indicates an interest in making a purchase.


Closing: Today, closing has become less of a sales tactic that salespeople perform, instead representing the culmination of a successful sales strategy and process.

Cold Outreach: More familiar to consumers as “cold-calling,” cold outreach is the process of reaching out to unqualified sales prospects via phone or email. According to Harvard Business Review, 90% of decision makers say they never respond to cold outreach. 

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM): This is software that manages all existing and potential customer relationships. Even if you’re new to social selling, your organization is probably already using some sort of CRM solution. You’ll want to ensure your CRM solution can account for social interactions as well.

D - I

Influencers: Influencers are people who have earned access to a dedicated, engaged audience. Working with influencers is great for sales and marketing strategy, providing an outlet for organic distribution of messages to a relevant audience.


Leads: A lead is any potential customer for which you have some information, or have had some prior engagement. Some brands misunderstand social followers as leads, but followers are merely people interested in your brand. Leads have demonstrated potential to make a purchase or conversion beyond merely following your social accounts.

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Multi-threading: The practice of finding, connecting and engaging multiple contacts within the same target account. As buying committees have expanded, and the likelihood of key contacts leaving has increased, sellers have been forced to break the one-relationship habit in their target accounts.

N - P

Pain Point: The pain point for a prospect represents a need that can be solved by the products or services you offer. It’s important to frame your sales conversations in a way that addresses your prospect’s pain point.

Personal Brand: Your personal brand is the image you convey online – it’s the same image buyers see when they research you. A strong personal brand makes it more likely that prospects will respond to your outreach.

Pipeline: Typically, when a sales lead turns into a sales opportunity, that lead enters the salesperson’s pipeline. Then, the salesperson’s goal is to move the opportunity through the various pipeline stages (which vary by company) and then ultimately to a closed sale in which the lead becomes a customer. A high-quality pipeline is a leading indicator of sales success.

Prospect: Any individual or business that has been qualified as potential buyer is considered a sales prospect. This qualification can be driven through a wide range of data points, including that prospect’s own online behavior.

Prospecting: To build a high quality pipeline, sales pros perform prospecting, which means searching the web, social channels, and personal and company contact databases to find potential buyers.


Qualified Lead: When a lead has taken an action that agrees to communication with the selling party, they become a qualified lead.


Referrals: A referral is an ideal sales prospecting method in which a third party recommends a company or salesperson to a buyer. A traditional example of a referral is when a satisfied customer tells a peer why they should patronize a specific business.


Sales & Marketing Alignment: True sales and marketing alignment brings these traditionally-siloed teams into close working proximity with one another. Alignment involves evaluating how your separate processes interact with one another. Sales and marketing must also establish common goals, metrics, and buyer profiles so that it’s easier to achieve success via collaboration.

Sales Development Reps (SDRs): An inside sales rep who focuses on prospecting and moving deals through the pipeline. Unlike a quota-carrying sales person, SDRs do not focus on closing deals. Today’s SDRs are more likely to initiate and strengthen relationship via social sales development.

Social Listening: Social listening is a necessary process in which sales and marketing pros observe social media conversations and online discussions that are relevant to their company’s offering. This monitoring is valuable to sales teams because it can help to identify prospects, and can provide insight into how to effectively engage them.

Social Proximity: While sales teams have traditionally divided up sales territories alphabetically or by region to ensure equal allocation among reps, social proximity has gained favor in recent years because it leverages each salesperson’s social connections to maximize the company’s odds of winning the account.

Social Selling: Social selling is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals. This sales methodology is rooted in relevance and value, eliminating the need for sales pros to perform cold outreach. 

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Trigger Event: Any action that signals a buying opportunity. Examples include a new acquisition at a target account, a prospect complaining about their current solution online, or a customer advocate moving to a new company. 

U - V

Value Proposition: Your value proposition is a statement that clearly explains what makes your brand—and what you are selling—valuable to your target audience.

W - Z

Warm Introduction: A warm introduction is the opposite of cold outreach. With a warm introduction, you are introduced to a sales prospect through a mutual connection. Why is this important? Statistics show that buyers are 5x more likely to engage when outreach is through a mutual connection.

Now that you understand the lingo, gain access to sales insights that will help you blast past quota when you subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog.