Our 54 Favorite B2B Marketing Acronyms

Adam Smartschan

Partner & Chief Strategy Officer

B2B marketing is full of jargon and acronyms. (Heck, there’s an acronym in that first sentence.)

B2B marketing acronyms

It’s easy to get confused among the ABMs, ASOs, CRMs and SEOs. Here’s our ultimate guide to B2B marketing acronyms, featuring 54 of our absolute favorites.

(Well, 53 and G+. Nobody really likes G+.)

Ultimate Guide to B2B Marketing Acronyms

  • ABM – Account based marketing. Targeted outreach to specific individuals or companies in support of a sales effort.
  • ASO – App Store optimization. Trying to get mobile apps or games to rank higher in searches on the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store.
  • BANT – Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline. A somewhat standard way to score and quality sales prospects. (Altitude uses “BANTA,” which adds an A for “arbitrary.” This gives the sales team leeway to account for unusual circumstances.)
  • BD – Business development. A fancy term for sales.
  • BI – Business intelligence.
  • B2B – Business to business. If you’re reading this post, you know this one.
  • B2C – Business to consumer. The opposite of B2B.
  • B2B2C – Business to business to consumer. This is common in the world of eCommerce, where an OEM or master distributor sells to smaller distributors, who resell directly to consumers.
  • CAC – Customer acquisition cost. How much it costs to bring in a paying customer. This can be used synonymously with CPA.
  • CAN-SPAM – Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing. A 2003 law regulating commercial email messages.
  • CASLCanada’s Anti-Spam Law. The northern (and probably more polite) version of CAN-SPAM.
  • CMS – Content management system. A platform that allows non-technical users to update and edit text and images on websites. WordPress is the largest.
  • CPA – Cost per acquisition. How much it costs to bring in a paying customer. This can be used synonymously with CAC.
  • CPC – Cost per click. Either a type of digital advertising where the advertiser pays only when users click their ad, or the actual cost of each click. It is occasionally used for “cost per conversion.”
  • CPL – Cost per lead. How much it costs to start a sales conversation with a prospect.
  • CPM – Cost per mille. Either a type of digital advertising where the advertiser pays a set price per thousand impressions, or the actual cost per thousand impressions. “Mille” is from Latin.
  • CRM – Customer relationship management. A software platform designed to house and make useful information about prospects and customers.
  • CR – Conversion rate. The percentage of users of a website or app who take a desired action (e.g., filling out a Contact Us form).
  • CRO – Conversion rate optimization. Tweaking a website or app to increase the number of users who convert.
  • CSS – Cascading stylesheet. Code that dictates how a browser should display a website or other digital product.
  • CTA – Call to action. Part of a website or email (often a button) driving a user to do a specific thing.
  • CTR – Click through rate. The percentage of individuals who click on a banner ad or search ad.
  • DM – Direct message. Typically used in relation with Twitter.
  • DNS – Domain name server. A system that connects domain names and URLs to IP addresses.
  • DSP – Demand side platform. Advanced digital advertising platforms that layer proprietary data on top of ad networks and inventory.
  • G+ – Google Plus. Dead social network.
  • GAGoogle Analytics. The premier website data collection and reporting tool.
  • GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation. An EU regulation controlling how personal data on European citizens needs to be stored, protected and deleted upon request.
  • GIF – Graphics Interchange Format. An image format typically used to create looping, animated images. Nobody agrees on how to pronounce it.
  • GUI – Graphical user interface. A subset of UI specifically referring to designed interfaces.
  • HAROHelp a Reporter Out. A service that allows reporters to easily find sources (and vice versa).
  • HTML – Hypertext markup language. A standard language for building websites.
  • KPI – Key performance indicator. Something to be measured to determine how things are going.
  • L2R – Lead to revenue. A closed reporting loop from the time a prospect enters the funnel through revenue is the holy grail of B2B marketing analytics.
  • LTV – Lifetime value. How much revenue a company can expect from a typical customer. This is the most important figure in determining an acceptable CPA or CAC.
  • MAP – Marketing automation platform, like HubSpot or Pardot.
  • MQL – Marketing-qualified lead. A prospect handed to sales by the marketing team.
  • NPS – Net Promoter Score. A standard metric for customer satisfaction often used with SaaS products.
  • PaaS – Platform as a service. Application development, hosting and maintenance tools living in the cloud. Essentially the same as aPaaS, or application platform as a service.
  • PR – Public relations. (Not “press release.”)
  • PPCPay per click. This is typically used as shorthand for search advertising, particularly on Google. Basically the same as SEM.
  • ROAS – Return on ad spend. The amount of revenue you receive for every dollar you spend on digital ads. Common industry metrics look for 3-4x as a “good” ROAS.
  • RSS – Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. An easy way to aggregate information on the web on another page or in an email.
  • ROI – Return on investment. Money. It’s good.
  • SaaS – Software as a service. A subscription-based software delivery model. In common use, “SaaS” refers to low-cost services billed monthly.
  • SAL – Sales accepted lead. Some organizations use this as a step between MQL and SQL.
  • SEMSearch engine marketing. This is typically used as shorthand for search advertising, particularly on Google. Basically the same as PPC.
  • SEOSearch engine optimization. This is a conscious attempt to rank higher on Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Baidu and other search engines.
  • SERP – Search engine results page.
  • SMB – Small and medium businesses.
  • SQL – Sales-qualified lead. An MQL that shows real sales potential. This could also mean Structured query language, a programming language used in database management.
  • UI – User interface.
  • URL – Uniform resource locator. A fancy word for a website address.
  • UX – User experience.                                                   


Adam Smartschan

Adam Smartschan heads Altitude's strategic marketing and branding efforts. An award-winning writer and editor by trade in a former life, he now specializes in data analytics, search engine optimization, digital advertising strategy, conversion rate optimization and technical integrations. He holds numerous industry certifications and is a frequent speaker on topics around B2B marketing strategy and SEO.