Important Sales Terms

Bottom of the Funnel

Bottom of the funnel, or BOFU, is the part of the funnel that contains prospects who are at the final end of the sales process with their deals closing. BOFU typically has the least amount of prospects with the shortest conversion time. Many organization have strict time limits on how long a prospect can be in BOFU and if they linger, the prospect is moved back to MOFU or dropped from the sales process entirely

Business Development Rep

Business Development Reps, or BDRs are typically managed by marketing leaders and are responsible for triaging new inbound and outbound marketing leads. BDRs are typically entry level hires.


A suspect moves to engaged when they engage with your company asset. It could be as simple as passing by your booth at a trade show, clicking an ad, or downloading an asset. You cannot expect your engaged lead to know your company by as they may have engaged in a very light manner or engaged in such a way that they don’t realize they acquired an asset from you. For this reason engaged leads could be in the top of the funnel (TOFU) or middle of the funnel (MOFU), depending on their engagement level. Typically engaged prospects are added to a marketing scoring algorithm where with increased positive engagement (eg. downloading a white paper would be a positive engagement, whereas visiting the careers page would be a negative engagement) until they hit a marketing qualified lead (MQL) threshold.

Inside Sales Rep

The Inside Sales Rep, or ISR is a sales reps responsible for qualifying leads and closing business. In some organizations ISRs are responsible for all parts of the funnel (TOFU*, MOFU**, and BOFU***), as well as closing new business, expansion business, and renewal. In others organizations, ISRs are solely responsible for closing one type of business (eg only new business or only renewal). Typically ISRs are experienced hires or in many cases, promoted from the BDR/SDR pool. ISRs are compensated with a base and variable compensation. The variable comp is a percentage of closed business that they have helped to close.

Marketing Qualified Lead

Marketing Qualified Leads, or MQLs, are leads that marketing has deemed accepted to pass to sales. A typical rule of thumb is that 80% of all MQLs would move to sales qualified leads (SQLs). MQLs are considered to be in the middle of the funnel (MOFU).

Middle of the Funnel

Middle of the funnel, or MOFU, is the part of the funnel that contains prospects that are actively looking for solutions, however they may or may not be in a buying position. In older marketing terms with a high level of engagement and prospects that reached a particular lead score threshold converting to MQLs would be considered in the MOFU stage. In older sales terms, leads that are both sales accepted (SAL) and sales qualified (SQL) are also considered to be in the MOFU stage. MOFU is a particularly large part of the funnel since it comprises those prospects that are at the top and just entering the sales funnel, as well as those that have gone through a discovery process, have an intent to buy, however have stalled for one or more reasons. For these reasons, MOFU is the most troublesome and longest lasting part of the funnel for most companies.

Sales Accepted Leads

Sales accepted leads, or SALs, are Marketing Qualified Leads, or MQLs, that have been accepted by the sales department, however have not been fully qualified. SAL is a placeholder to ensure that MQL leads have moved to the sales department. Cases where SAL would be used would the time between when a discovery call was booked with an MQL and the time that the discovery call occurred. For this reason SALs are considered to be in the middle of the funnel (MOFU).

Sales Development Rep

Sales Development Reps, or SDRs are generally managed by sales leaders and triage new inbound and outbound sales leads. SDRs are typically entry level hires.

Sales Qualified Leads

Sales qualified leads, or SQLs, are leads that sales have been fully qualified fully qualified by a sales rep. As well, an SQL is also moving down the sales funnel, depending on their level of interest could be considered either in the middle of the funnel (MOFU) or bottom of the funnel (BOFU).


Suspects are leads or prospects that should be at some time in the future moving through your sales funnel. Suspects may or may not even know that your company, or even your solution exists, however they are part of your total addressable market. Typically suspect leads would be considered to be in the top of the funnel (TOFU).

Top of the Funnel

Top of the funnel, or TOFU, is the part of the funnel that contains every conceivable prospect that may or may not have encountered your product or platform. In older marketing terms this would comprise of suspects and engaged prospects. Top of the funnel prospects are those that would be in in the initial stages of looking for information to solve their problem. The content they digest is very high level, very strategic in nature, and used to inform on the most basic level. TOFU prospects may or may not be in any position to buy either now or in the future, however they are looking for information that may help them realize the issues they are encountering is causing greater problems than they realize and may be worth looking deeper into. Typically a prospect in the TOFU level has a ten percent chance of closing on the longer side of your sales cycle.