Want to Close More Deals? Lay Off the Corporate Jargon.

Corporate jargon and technical buzzwords often creep their way into the sales pitch, eroding the buyer’s trust. Here’s how to identify those phrases and eliminate them from your pitch.

Written by Randy Littleson
Published on May. 28, 2024
Want to Close More Deals? Lay Off the Corporate Jargon.
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Today’s buyers are pickier than ever before when deciding which tech is worth their time. Often, that decision hinges on the answer to one question: “How will this drive revenue?” Unfortunately, this has led sales reps to lean even more heavily on corporate jargon and technical buzzwords to try to make their point. 

8 Terms to Eliminate From Your Sales Pitch

  1. Actionable insights
  2. AI-enabled
  3. Analytics
  4. Smart [product type]
  5. Agile/Scalable
  6. Disruptive
  7. Holistic
  8. Turnkey/Out-of-the-box

While your boss might appreciate your passion for “achieving synergistic alignment,” desire to “drive strategic opportunities and uplevel deliverables” and willingness to “circle back on that by EOD,” your buyer doesn’t. If anything, using corporate jargon might make them less confident in your product.    

That means sellers who learn how to eliminate the jargon and communicate what makes their product or services special will have the advantage. 

 

How to Eliminate Corporate Jargon From Your Sales Pitches

To be a good salesperson, you must be a good storyteller first and foremost. The story you’re telling is that of your client’s future. You must paint a picture of what it will look like to work with you and illustrate why that version of their future is unique. This is especially important as generative AIs, which have been trained on decades of jargon-filled sales materials, work their way into the field, suggesting more and more places to add in the lingo they predict sellers want to use.

Any writer will tell you that word choice is the best tool in the storytelling arsenal. You must always ask yourself, “What does this word conjure that another option doesn’t?” Buzzwords fall flat because they lack that specificity. They are either used so freely that their meaning is variable or so ubiquitous that they feel meaningless. In other words, what they mean to you is not what they mean to your target, or buyers ignore them altogether.

Still, many sellers find themselves returning to buzzy phrases again and again. The “why” is pretty obvious: habit, repeated exposure, and social priming. Less obvious, though, is how to break the cycle and move past the formula. Let’s take a look at the different phrases you should work to eliminate from your pitch.

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Corporate Jargon to Eliminate From Your Sales Pitch

While there’s plenty of corporate jargon out there, the terms sellers keep coming back tend to fall into two categories: vague tech/tools or non-descriptors. 

Vague Tech and Tools

These are terms that refer to specific tools or capabilities. While at one point, most of them referred to specific processes or technologies, their usage has become so expansive that they’re mostly filler in your pitch:

Actionable Insights

Remember when your school teachers told you to “show rather than tell?” This is one of those opportunities. You know your product’s ins and outs and the kinds of information it can provide with the right data, but your buyers might not. Saying the system offers “actionable insights” is a missed opportunity to set your product apart by detailing not only its capabilities, but the outcomes that users can expect should they take advantage of them.

AI-Enabled 

AI is the hot word of the moment, but there are different types and they have different applications.  That’s something many buyers are only now getting acquainted with. Focus on what your AI does, specifically, and how that capability improves the lives of users. It’s also important to emphasize additional system requirements that enable the AI to work as intended. If you don’t, you should prepare for clients who are disappointed their new, automated system fails to improve operations because it doesn’t have access to the data it needs to function properly. 

Analytics

Analytics is a broad and complex field, so sellers can feel self-conscious about diving into the specifics. Still, with most B2B products offering “analytics tools,” it’s critical that sales teams get comfortable having the conversation. What type? What data will the program use, and how will it gather it? What insights do they provide? The answers to these questions matter to buyers, and if you’re not elaborating on them, you’re missing a chance to demonstrate how the product’s capabilities drive desirable outcomes.

Smart

Smart bulbs, smart watches, smart TVs, smart security, smart sensors,  the word “smart” has been put in front of just about every noun you can conjure. It all stems from “smartphone,” a 1990s invention of an IBM engineer used to describe phones that could do anything in addition to making calls. While today’s use of the prefix is quite close to its original use, that’s kind of the problem. All slapping “smart” onto a product does is tell users that it can do something unexpected, but it leaves the details of that functionality completely up to their imagination. 

Non-Descriptors

These are terms meant to differentiate a product or solution from the fray, but in today’s oversaturated market they only further the feeling of genericness, since it seems that every company claims them for their products:

Agile/Scalable

Being able to accommodate growth (or setbacks) can be a key selling point for enterprise solutions. But words like these are generic; they don’t tell buyers how your product supports their growth or goals. When you find yourself promoting the “agility” of the build, try to tie it back to how being able to pivot helps your prospect and why it’s especially important in their line of work. Even better, show that you’re knowledgeable about their business by giving specific examples of scenarios in which having a scalable system would be beneficial. 

Disruptive

This messaging might be compelling for investors, but it’s basically meaningless to buyers. They don’t care what you’re doing for your industry; they want to know what the product will do for them. Try replacing “disruptive” with something that captures how unique your offering is and how it will help them compete with their rivals.

Holistic

While it’s certainly a succinct way to highlight how a tool promotes integration, stopping here relies on the word's positive connotations to do some heavy lifting. Focus instead on the reasons that seeing all their information at once is advantageous in their work and what they will get that they haven’t had before. In addition to demonstrating the value of the tool, this approach shows contacts that you understand their needs and their goals.

Turnkey/Out-of-the-box

What you really mean when you claim to sell a “turnkey” solution is that it’s easy to adopt; it’s straightforward. It’s ready to go. Listening to the prospects’ needs and letting them know your product is built to do just that—without too much fuss—is not only more compelling but shows that you understand their business and see your relationship as a partnership rather than just a transaction.

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Sharing a Better Sales Story

If none of the above are in your sales toolkit, that’s great, but it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Sit down and reflect on whether you keep coming back to certain terms in your pitches and whether they’re helping or hurting your efforts. Then, make your own list of stand-ins to test out, refine and rely on.

As a seller, the goal is to communicate why your product will deliver more value than your competitors. When your competitors are using trending topics to sell their products, it can feel like the only way to stay in the game is to follow suit. However, with buyers increasingly gravitating toward outcomes over capabilities, it’s time to replace those vague, tech-first terms with clear, specific descriptions of how your product works and why it delivers such great results. Doing so could mean the difference between the buyer seeking support elsewhere and them seeing your vision for their future.

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