Where a career in sales is concerned, on-the-job experience is only part of the equation. How attractive your resume is to recruiters is as much a matter of the certifications you hold as it is how long you’ve been in the field. With that in mind, here are a few of the most important in the industry – courses and programs you should almost always add to your repertoire.
Whether you’re a first-time job-seeker looking for a career in sales or a seasoned professional, there’s always something more you can learn. You need to always be on the lookout for a program or sales certification that could help you take your knowledge and expertise to a new level. Let’s talk about that.
Today, I’d like to go over a few certifications that I believe every salesperson – no matter how green or experienced – should have in their portfolio.
1) Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP)
The foundation of a career in sales.
Certified Professional Sales Person credential is among the most widely-recognized programs you can complete. It’s created by the National Association of Sales Professionals- the largest online sales association in the world. You’ll acquire an array of valuable skills and new tactics through a six-week online course. More importantly, through membership in the NASP, you’ll gain access to a wealth of networking, training, and career opportunities.
2) Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP)
Demonstrate a commitment to excellence in the field of remote sales.
Founded by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, the CISP certification is intended to serve as a framework for excellence for virtual salespeople. It’s among the most intensive certifications on the list. It requires additional sales education courses to be completed at least every three years. Holding a CISP credential shows prospective employers that you make a point of staying on top of emerging trends in the inside sales industry.
3) SPIN Selling
Take your people skills to the next level.
People skills are nine-tenths of what makes a salesperson effective. If you don’t have a solid grasp of how to be personable and persuasive, then it doesn’t matter how valuable your products are. You simply aren’t going to be able to sell them.
That’s where the SPIN Selling Course comes in
Devised by international training provider and behavioral specialist Huthwaite International, the certification is geared towards helping salespeople improve their emotional intelligence. It teaches salespeople how to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their selling style. Furthermore, it allows them to gain a deeper understanding of the behavioral principles underlying effective sales tactics. Participants who enroll in the certification program are put through seven weeks of on-the-job training conducted by Huthwaite’s own experts.
4) Challenger Development Program
More effectively navigate the complexities of the modern sales landscape.
Today’s buyers have a near-paralyzing array of choices. That means you must work harder than ever to both attract and retain prospective leads throughout the sales process. If you lose their attention or interest for even a moment you already risk them drifting away to one of your myriad competitors.
This is the issue the Challenger Development program is intended to solve. It is a two-day workshop for sellers and managers. Its base course is designed to foster enhanced awareness of the most effective sales tactics and behaviors. There are multiple augmentations to the Development program, each intended to further deepen the expertise of participants.
It’s important to note here that the Challenger Development program is primarily geared toward agencies rather than individuals.
5) Software Certifications
Adapt to a digital, hyper-connected world.
Last but certainly not least, it’s important to remember that we live in an increasingly digital world. No matter your field, software knowledge will be greatly valuable in helping you get ahead. Do a bit of independent research to figure out what platforms and tools are typically used by sales teams in your industry. You generally cannot go wrong with the following certifications:
- Salesforce. Salesforce is one of the leading customer relationship management platforms used by agencies across the world. Not surprisingly, this means that it’s important for any aspiring sales professional to be well-versed in how the solution works.
- Google. Tools like Google Analytics and Google AdWords are indispensable for online demographic research. Moreover, a solid understanding of search engine optimization and digital advertising is a cornerstone of an effective sales strategy.
- Hubspot. Similar to Salesforce, Hubspot is one of the most widely-used sales and marketing platforms on the web. The Hubspot Academy offers a huge range of training and certification program. At minimum, I’d advise registering for the Inbound Sales Certification, Social Media Certification, and Content Marketing Certification – sales, social media, and content marketing often go hand-in-hand these days, after all.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list. There are countless other certifications available to you online. And while you can’t go wrong with some of those mentioned here, don’t let the fact that a program you’re considering isn’t included here prevent you from pursuing it.
At the end of the day, the more reputable credentials you can add to your resume, the better.
This is a guest contribution by Brad Wayland of BlueCotton. Interested in contributing to the CloserIQ blog? Check out our guidelines here.
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