Salesforce Jargon: 19 Terms Every Newcomer Should Know

Buzzwords. They’re like traffic signs in a foreign country. They’re all around you, and if you don’t know what they

5 min. read

Buzzwords. They’re like traffic signs in a foreign country. They’re all around you, and if you don’t know what they mean, they can be quite disorienting.

Like any successful business, Salesforce has developed a jargon of its own buzzwords. So if you find yourself in a conversation with a Salesforce lifer, it helps to have a phrasebook handy. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of commonplace tidbits of Salesforce jargon — and what they actually mean.

Salesforce Jargon Every Newcomer Must Learn

Admin 201 – The Salesforce certified administrator exam. This exam is the prerequisite for the majority of other certification exams Salesforce offers, so it’s typically the first certification Salesforce users earn. In general, Salesforce certifications are useful for credentialing yourself in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Apex – The Java-like, multi-tenant coding language that can run on Salesforce servers to extend the system’s functionality. Although Salesforce makes it easy to build much of your business logic into your org without code, more complex elements may require Apex. It’s expressly written for business logic, which keeps it conceptually closer to procedural languages in traditional database environments like PL/SQL.

App – The word “app” has two different meanings in Salesforce jargon. It can refer either to a “third-party app” that you download into your org from the AppExchange (see below) or to a collection of tabs you build for a functional team, like the “Sales” or “Service” apps that come standard in your org.

Salesforce App MenuSalesforce App Menu

AppExchange – The Salesforce AppExchange is a marketplace of third-party apps and more. Think of it as Salesforce’s equivalent of the Google Play or Apple App store. Find add-ons for Salesforce, implementation partners (see below), product demos and more!

Chatter – Salesforce Chatter is a collaboration tool built into the platform. Think of it like Twitter but confined and secured, so your messages are only visible to the coworkers on your specific Salesforce instance. Chatter makes it easy to collaborate with coworkers by @ mentioning them, posting directly on records, building groups and creating topics using hashtags.

Classic – Salesforce’s traditional UI. For some users, it represents “old reliable,” an interface that gives them everything they expect — something safe. For others, it’s simply something of the past.

Salesforce Classic InterfaceSalesforce Classic Interface

Connections – An annual Salesforce conference focused on digital marketing, customer service, commerce and more. With over 500 breakout sessions and a special event specifically for partners, it offers many networking and learning opportunities for business leaders, admins, end users and partners alike.

Dreamforce – The largest technology conference in the world, which is run by Salesforce. It lasts four days long, offers over 2,000 sessions and features speakers as prominent as Susan Wojcicki (CEO of Youtube), Klaus Schwab (Chairman of the World Economic Forum) and Michelle Obama.

Also the worst time of the year to find a hotel in San Francisco.


Ecosystem – The general term for the community of businesses and products that use or connect with Salesforce. Used most often when referring to the broader conglomeration of Salesforce users that newcomers can learn from at conferences, user groups (see below) and online resources. Also commonly used to refer to the variety of third-party apps and connectors compatible with Salesforce.

Lightning – Salesforce’s newer UI, released in 2015. Offers a slicker interface, more customizable styling and more modern features than Classic.

Salesforce Lightning InterfaceSalesforce Lightning Interface

Org – The specific configuration of Salesforce a user sees when they log into Salesforce. Your org (also called an “instance”) contains its own unique data and metadata, and every user in it has a unique username to that org. To clarify, one person can log into multiple orgs, but they must have a unique username for each of them.

Partner – A business that works in the Salesforce ecosystem. These include independent software vendors (ISVs), who develop their own products that run on the Salesforce platform, and system integrators (SIs) or implementation partners, who consult, advise, build, and train on the Salesforce platform to help their clients develop custom solutions that fit their business needs.

Release (as in “Summer ‘18 Release”) – Salesforce never stops improving. Three times each year, the company improves the product by adding new features, enhancing existing features and fixing bugs. Each of these improvements is called a “release.” These releases are labeled with the season and year they come out: Summer ‘18 Release, Fall ‘16 Release, et cetera. Before each release, Salesforce publishes a guide on what will change — its release notes.

Salesforce mobile app (previously “Salesforce1”) – Salesforce’s mobile solution, compatible with Android and iOS alike. Allows users to add, edit, browse and interact with records on the go in a simplified Lightning-esque interface.

SFDC – An acronym for SalesForce Dot Com. It means the same thing as saying “Salesforce.”

Trailblazer – A professional basketball player in Portland. Also a member of the Salesforce success community, or someone learning Salesforce using Trailhead (see below). The Trailblazer Community is an excellent forum in which to ask questions to Salesforce experts and learn from others’ solutions.

basketball playerNot this kind of Trailblazer (Image Credit)

Trailhead – Salesforce’s very own learning platform. Trailhead offers hundreds of hours of content packaged into “Trails,” “Modules” and projects that let you chart your own learning path through the Salesforce world.

User Group – Online or physical groups of Salesforce users that provide specialized forums for individuals to find advice. User groups can be segmented by industry, product or location. Regional user groups occasionally assemble for in-person events, so check if there’s one near you.

World Tour – Salesforce World Tour encompasses a collection of events around the globe to network and learn more about Salesforce. Since each World Tour is typically a one-day event, they aren’t as large as Dreamforce or even Connections, but they allow users to connect with others near them in a less packed atmosphere.

Looking to go beyond Salesforce jargon and understand even more about the platform? Check out this eBook, featuring essential advice from 25 Salesforce experts — tailored to newcomers to the ecosystem.