Certifications are becoming a popular way to develop skills and set sales organizations apart. These customizable skill-centered programs are a flexible, less costly way to develop talent for organizations, especially compared to traditional education routes.
While this doesn’t mean certifications are replacing traditional education programs, they are becoming an increasingly attractive way to build talented teams.
Sales certification programs represent an opportunity for organizations to invest in their talent and see a great return in terms of measurable results. Employees win too, as they are getting to further develop their skills and knowledge, making them more relevant in their current role, and for future roles to come.
Sales certification programs certainly aren’t new, and there are plenty of other options out there to develop talent internally. So what’s making these programs such a hot topic?
What Makes Sales Certification Programs So Popular?
There are many ways organizations can develop talent. From home-grown solutions, to funding external traditional education degrees, sales leaders have a history of pushing their teams to grow. With a multitude of options out there, what exactly is driving flocks of sales organizations to sales certification programs? It may have something to do with the following sales certification benefits:
- Timeliness. Certification programs are often customizable, and relevant to what’s happening in the market. These qualities make them more desirable for organizations, and easier to obtain than traditional degrees. Not to mention certification program curriculum is constantly changing to meet a client’s specific industry needs or new relevant trends, while traditional education takes a slower approach to material adjustments. Employers are finding value in the relevant education and knowledge base sales certification programs provide.
- Focus. Certifications programs are designed for a specific skillset. Each part of the program is focused on building and expanding knowledge around a skill, like sales, demos, or communication. Traditional education programs vary in terms of specificity, but generally scratch the surface on a variety of topics. A certification program will most likely provide a more detailed look and variety of angles on a particular skill, giving an employer a better return on their investment for a particular role.
- Competitive Advantage. Staying ahead of the competition is crucial for sales organizations, and often times, simply investing in sales skills does the trick. Sales professionals appreciate the investment their employer is making, and employers are happy to make that investment when they can see a clear return. While a sales leader can’t necessarily change the scope of the product or services their team is selling, they can most certainly develop their talent to be as successful as possible, and make sure that everyone is on message.
- Results. From an employer’s perspective, implementing a certification strategy can be a great way to develop talent in-house and see visible improvements. The majority of sales certification programs out there promise incredible results. Even better, many of them have technology integration capabilities so leaders are able to manage their team’s activities and performance through existing tools, like Salesforce.
How to Choose a Sales Certification Program
There are endless opportunities when it comes to choosing a sales certification program. The goal though, is to find the right program for your company. When considering a program it’s important to ask the following types of questions:
- How long has the certification program been around?
- To what level can the program be customized by industry and product?
- Has there been any reputable research completed on results driven by the program?
- What companies or thought leaders endorse the certification program?
- What automation tools or technology integration opportunities does the program have?
- Is the certification recognizable and held to a high standard in the industry?
The questions above are simply a starting point. Make sure to fully research any program before investing significant time and money. Still not sure where to start? Get a better idea about what types of programs are out there by exploring these five reputable sales certification companies:
2Win! offers a variety of workshops organized by topic or role. Topics cover information like demonstrations, presentations, kick-off events and coaching. Courses are offered for a slew of specific roles including pre-sales, sales, customer success, leaders and executives, services and channels.
2Win! customers include top companies across the software and technology industries. 2Win! also offers the opportunity to explore some of their philosophies and strategies, specifically surrounding software demonstrations, by reading their book, “Demonstrating to Win!: The Indispensable Guide for Demonstrating Complex Products.”
2. Force Management
Force Management creates customized sales certification programs for their clients using their implementation roadmap system. The roadmap includes five stages which help guide the creation of a relevant program for their customer. Each client follows the discovery, workshops, integrate, deliver and sustain steps to complete a reputable, and customized program that works. They use a three-pronged adoption model to determine success, which includes relevancy, reinforcement and measurement.
Force Management focuses on service specialized industries including healthcare, high tech, manufacturing, and IT staffing. Some of their clients include Medallia, Welch Allyn, Athena Health, Sophos, RSA, ClearSlide and EMC.
3. MHI Global (formerly Miller Heiman)
MHI Global offers a large portfolio of sales certification solutions, and even offers programs for other departments like service teams as well. MHI Global programs cover skillsets for CEOs, to sales managers, to individual sales professionals. Their suite of products ranges from customizable programs to be implemented organization-wide, to prefabricated sales workshop events. Before jumping into any commitments you can sign up for MHI Global Communications and get a feel for the types of knowledge and philosophies they have to share.
MHI Global boasts a client list of over 15,000 engagements over 35 years and includes brands like Kodak, Medtronic, ProQuest, McKesson, JDSU, McCormick, FirstData, Noresco, and others.
Richardson sales certification programs use a sales effectiveness system built on assessments, customized sales training, and performance support tools. Their programs include curriculum that covers aspects of generating opportunities, winning opportunities, managing relationships, and expanding relationships. There are also additional options for higher level employees that include topics covering leading and managing people. Many courses are available in-person, webinars, or online learning, giving clients a variety of deliverable options.
Richardson’s client list includes SunGuard, Harrah’s Entertainment, Wellpoint, and Kelly Services, among others.
5. Revenue Storm
Revenue Storm offers a variety of services from sales training to sales and marketing alignment. They base a lot of their assessment on what they consider the four main types of selling, and encouraging organizations to see the possibility of selling differently. They use a series of diagnostic questions online to help point their clients in the right direction and get started with an engagement.
Revenue Storm services 45 countries and offers programs in seven different languages. A few of their clients include DMA, Geometric, IMS Integrated Manufacturing, and TVNS.
Have other sales certification suggestions, or experiences worth sharing? Tell us about them!