30+ Key Salesforce Terminology for Beginners

By Mariel Domingo

As a beginner, navigating the Salesforce landscape can feel like learning a new language. It is densely populated with terminology – from leads to flows, custom objects to dashboards, record types to related lists – the list can go on and on. When people share Salesforce-related content on Linkedin or other platforms, the abundance of technical jargon can sometimes leave beginners feeling overwhelmed and struggling to grasp the meaning behind some terms. In this article, we’ll go through some wors and terms that are essential for Salesforce newbies to understand.

However, this article isn’t only for beginners though! Refining your understanding of these foundational words/concepts, even as an experienced Salesforce expert, will put you on the right path to success in this ever-changing platform. You can treat it somewhat like a mini glossary, as everything is arranged alphabetically.



An Account represents an individual or organization that is involved in a business transaction. It is meant for storing information like contact details, interactions, and transactions. Since it represents a company or individual that your company does business with, it makes every customer, partner, or competitor easy to track. 

READ MORE: Salesforce Account Object Best Practices


You can think of this as something that represents your actions, such as events, tasks, logged calls, or emails you’ve sent. When related to other objects like Accounts, Leads, Opportunities, or Cases, they help in managing and maintaining customer relationships effectively since all actions/activities are tracked.

READ MORE: Salesforce Activities: Tips & Best Practices


Apex is Salesforce’s object-oriented programming language, used for developing and extending functionalities within the platform. Sometimes businesses need functionality that doesn’t come with Salesforce out-of-the-box, so this enables developers to write custom business logic, automate processes, or integrate with external systems.

READ MORE: What Is Salesforce Apex and How Does It Work? A Guide for Admins


AppExchange is Salesforce’s official marketplace where users can find and install pre-built apps, components, and solutions to extend the functionality of their Salesforce org. Though it’s a marketplace, not all apps are paid – you can actually find really useful solutions here for free!

READ MORE: Salesforce AppExchange



A Case represents a customer’s question, feedback, or issue that needs to be resolved. It serves as a record of interactions as well as attempts at problem-solving which can be used to track and resolve these inquiries. Cases can be created manually by agents or automatically through web forms, emails, or social media channels.

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Salesforce Case Scoring


Chatter is Salesforce’s native enterprise social network or collaboration tool. It is designed to enhance both communication and cooperation among employees by allowing them to collaborate, share information, and stay updated in real-time. It’s similar to a social media platform – users can post updates, share files, join or create groups, as well as follow records. 

READ MORE: Ultimate Guide to Salesforce Chatter


In Salesforce, a Contact represents an individual person (such as a customer or a prospect) who is associated with an Account. Contacts are the actual people being interacted with at those companies/Accounts, and they hold important information such as phone numbers, email addresses, job titles, etc.

READ MORE: Why Salesforce Accounts Need Contacts (And 6 Ways to Add Them)



Dashboards in Salesforce are visual displays of key metrics, trends, and data from records in your org. They aggregate data from reports into visual aids such as charts, graphs, and tables, providing a comprehensive view of the organization’s performance at a glance. This helps users make smarter decisions based on analytics and trends.

READ MORE: Creating Dashboards in Salesforce

Data Import Wizard

One tool that comes with Salesforce out-of-the-box is the Data Import Wizard. It allows users to easily import data into Salesforce from external sources like CSV files. Both custom objects and standard objects like Accounts, Contacts, and Leads are supported by this tool. 

Because of its step-by-step interface for accurately mapping fields from the source onto Salesforce, it is fairly simple and more user-friendly compared to Data Loader. It is particularly useful for small to medium-sized data import tasks and includes options for updating existing records or adding new ones.

READ MORE: Introduction to the Data Import Wizard for Salesforce

Data Loader

Data Loader is a client application used for bulk import, export, update, and deletion of data within Salesforce. It does not come out of the box like Data Import Wizard but is actually better for managing large data sets by executing substantial modifications or migrations using CSV files. This is especially useful for tasks like data migration, cleansing, and backup. 

READ MORE: Introduction to the Salesforce Data Loader


In the Salesforce ecosystem, a Developer is a professional who builds custom applications and integrations on the platform. They are responsible for writing code using various tools and languages like Apex, Visualforce, and Lightning Web Components in order to create new functionalities that cannot be met with out-of-the-box solutions. 

Developers extend the capabilities of Salesforce to meet specific and unique business needs and create tailored solutions that enhance the platform’s functionality. Since they often manipulate both backend logic and frontend UI elements, a Developer’s work can be pretty complicated compared to an Admin’s.

READ MORE: Salesforce Developer Job Description

Dynamic Forms

Dynamic Forms is a feature that allows users to create highly customizable and responsive layouts for Salesforce records. With this, you can set up fields and sections to appear or hide as you please based on specific criteria. It makes the user experience more personalized. You can think of it as a more flexible and customizable version of Page Layouts. This feature helps streamline data entry and display, making it easier for users to focus on relevant information without unnecessary clutter.

READ MORE: Salesforce Dynamic Forms: Overview & Deep Dive Tutorial



Fields are individual pieces of data stored in a Salesforce record. Just as fields on a form collect particular pieces of data, fields in Salesforce capture everything from names and addresses to dates and status updates. They can be customized or standardized depending on the requirements of every business. Each object (like Accounts, Contacts, etc.) has fields (like name, address, phone number, etc.) that capture specific details about the record.

READ MORE: A Beginner’s Guide to Salesforce Fields


Flow is a powerful automation tool that enables users to create and automate complex business processes without writing any code, as it utilizes a point-and-click interface. Flows can automate tasks, send emails, update records, and even integrate with external systems. Even individuals who are not experts in programming languages like Apex can utilize Flows to direct the paths of automation.

READ MORE: The Complete Guide to Salesforce Flow



Knowledge in Salesforce refers to a feature designed to create, manage, and share information within the business’ internal teams or its customers. It gives the ability to build a comprehensive knowledge base where users can find answers to common questions, troubleshoot issues, and access helpful resources. It serves as a repository of articles that can be published on various channels to help provide support and guidance, so it’s very helpful in making important info accessible and searchable!

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Salesforce Knowledge



A Lead represents a prospective client or potential customer who has expressed interest in your business’ product/service. These are typically generated from marketing campaigns or website inquiries, as well as  other engagements. 

Like Accounts, Leads contain information such as contact details, company name, and how the lead was acquired. However, unlike an Account which represents an entity already doing business with you, a Lead is in the preliminary stage of the sales process. Once a Lead is qualified, it can finally be converted into an Account, Contact, and Opportunity.

READ MORE: Salesforce Opportunities vs. Leads

List View

List Views are customizable lists that show records meeting particular criteria. They allow users to view a filtered set of data or a subset of records within an Object. From there, they can further manipulate, filter, and sort the data within these lists so that they are tailored to show relevant information and offer easy access to records that are used frequently. For example, a sales team can create a list view to display only currently active Accounts.



An Object functions as a container for storing data specific to your organization. Think of it as a table in database terminology, where each object holds data in fields and records. Two types of objects are Standard objects (like Accounts and Contacts) which come with Salesforce out-of-the-box, and Custom objects which can be created to meet unique business needs or requirements.


An Opportunity represents a sale or pending deal with potential revenue. It tracks the progress or various stages of a sales process, all from initial contact until closing the deal. These can be associated with Accounts and Contacts and includes details such as the prospective sales amount, expected close date for the deal, negotiation stage, and probability of closure. 

Opportunities help sales teams manage their sales pipelines effectively as each Opportunity can be monitored through its various stages until it’s either won or lost.

READ MORE: Salesforce Opportunities vs. Leads


In Salesforce, an Organization (or Org) refers to a specific instance of Salesforce that contains your company’s data and applications. It represents a single customer’s instance. Each org is separate from others – like an encapsulated environment where its own set of users, security settings, and customizations specific to the business can be stored and managed. Organizations can be Production environments, Sandboxes for testing, or Developer edition orgs.


Page Layout

Page Layouts determine the organization and presentation (as in the arrangement of fields, related lists, and other components) of information on a record detail page. It is designed to control how information is displayed to the user, but consider that this is not the sole factor that determines what users see on a record. It facilitates a tailored view that aligns with the business process or role that the viewing user is involved in, ensuring that they see only the most relevant information for maximum efficiency.

READ MORE: Guide to Page Layouts in Salesforce

Permission Set

A Permission Set is a flexible and customizable collection of permissions and settings that grant users additional access rights beyond what is specified in their Profile. It is especially useful for managing exceptions or unique cases, as it enables administrators to expand a user’s capabilities without making changes to their primary Profile. 


A Picklist is a field type that allows users to select a value from a predefined set of options, very much like a dropdown in ordinary forms. Picklists help ensure uniformity and accuracy of data entry since users may only choose from the choices specified instead of typing their own entries. It’s particularly useful in scenarios where categorization or classification is crucial (like customer types, statuses, or priorities). Picklists can be set to single-select or multi-select, depending on purpose.

READ MORE: Guide to Salesforce Picklist Fields


A Profile is a set of permissions and settings used to define and control user access to various objects, fields, and functionalities within the org. It basically dictates what users can see and do on the platform, and is responsible for segregating user privileges. Profiles help ensure that users only have access to the data and actions necessary for the specific roles in the business. Every user must be assigned a single Profile.

READ MORE: Learn Salesforce Roles and Profiles in 5 Minutes



A Record is an individual instance of an object, containing data within the fields of that object. In database terminology, we treat objects as tables and records as the rows on that table. Each Record corresponds to one instance of an object type (e.g., Account, Contact) and holds relevant data in structured fields. For example, a single customer’s information in an Account object would be considered a Record.

Record Type

Record Types allow you to define different sets of picklist values and page layouts for different business scenarios within the same Object, and assign them to users based on their Profiles. They are mainly used to differentiate types of records within one Object. 

For example, you might have different record types for different sales processes or types of customer Accounts. Or within the Opportunity object, there could be distinct record types for “New Offer” and “Renewal”, each displaying relevant fields, picklists, and page layouts tailored to separate processes and user Profiles.

READ MORE: Complete Guide to Salesforce Record Types

Related List

Related Lists refer to a section on an object’s record page that displays a list of other records linked to the record you are viewing. For example, when viewing an Account record, you might find related lists for Contacts, Opportunities, or Cases associated with that particular Account. It helps users see and access interconnected data effortlessly. 


A Report is a customizable list of records that meet specific criteria. It allows users to organize, analyze, and share information effectively as it is presented in a structured format. They are a key tool for transforming raw data from records into insights or grouping data in meaningful ways in order to track performance and make data-driven decisions. Reports can be saved, shared, and scheduled for regular updates.

READ MORE: How to Create a Report in Salesforce


Roles define the hierarchy of users within an organization and determine the level of record access that users have. They are used along with sharing settings/rules to control visibility and access to records. Every user assigned to a role can access records owned by or shared with users beneath their roles in the hierarchy. This not only helps in safeguarding sensitive information but also makes workflows efficient by making relevant data accessible to the right tiers within a company.

READ MORE: Learn Salesforce Roles and Profiles in 5 Minutes



A Sandbox is a separate environment used for development, testing, and training purposes without affecting the actual Production environment. It can replicate the exact state of your Production org at a specific point in time. Having a Sandbox allows Developers and Admins to safely experiment and test new features or integrations before they are implemented into the live environment. There are different types of sandboxes, such as Developer, Developer Pro, Partial Copy, and Full Copy, each serving different needs and capacities for testing and development.

READ MORE: What Is a Salesforce Sandbox?

System Administrator

A System Administrator is a user with the highest level of permissions and access. They are responsible for configuring and maintaining the Salesforce org – basically everything minus the coding. Admins have mastered Salesforce’s out-of-the-box functionalities and play a crucial role in maintaining the overall health and functionality of the environment. It ensures the platform runs smoothly and efficiently to meet all the businesses’ needs.

READ MORE: What Does a Salesforce Admin Do?


Validation Rule

⁤A Validation Rule is a set of criteria that ensures the data entered into a record meets certain standards before it is saved. ⁤⁤This feature helps maintain data quality by preventing users from entering incorrect, incomplete, or poorly formatted information. 

⁤⁤They consist of a formula or expression that evaluates the data and returns a true or false value, along with an error message that’s displayed if the formula returns true. ⁤⁤For example, a validation rule can prevent users from entering a future date in a field meant for past events, or it can enforce that a mandatory text field is not left blank. ⁤

READ MORE: How to Use Validation Rules in Salesforce (+ Examples)


Visualforce is a framework that allows developers to build custom, dynamic user interfaces for mobile and web apps within the platform using a markup language similar to HTML. They can be used to extend the standard Salesforce UI or create entirely new applications as it enables the creation of sophisticated and unique pages that can be integrated seamlessly with standard or custom Salesforce objects.


To navigate the vast Salesforce ecosystem effectively, one must be familiar with its vocabulary. This mini glossary helps both newbie and experienced users improve their knowledge with short definitions of key and often-used tech jargon in Salesforce. What other terms do you think should be on the list? Let us know in the comments!

The Author

Mariel Domingo

Mariel is the Courses Administrator at Salesforce Ben.

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