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Sales Certifications: Are They Helpful to Your Career?

RepVue Team
RepVue TeamFeb 15, 2024
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Sales certifications are courses, programs, and assessments intended to confirm a standard of professional knowledge related to sales. These can include skills like customer interaction, knowledge of the sales cycle, negotiation, and market research.

There are a variety of sales certifications available, ranging from entry-level to advanced. Some of the most popular certifications include the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) from the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP), the Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP) from the Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI), and the Certified Sales Executive (CSE) from the Sales Association.

But will a sales certification help you advance your career in sales? That depends on what you hope to get out of it — and that’s what we’ll cover below.

Are Sales Certifications Worth it? 

A sales certification is not required to get a job in sales. (In many cases, not even a college degree is a requirement to break into sales!) So, if you’re considering getting a sales certification as a way to start your sales career, the answer is no.

Also, sales certifications probably won’t distinguish you from other candidates for Account Executive or Sales Leadership positions.  

To break into sales, we’d recommend applying for Sales Development Representative (SDR) roles instead. These jobs typically require no sales experience, and they are the most common gateway to a career as a sales professional.

And to advance in your career to AE and Sales Leadership roles, your experience and your numbers are what matters.

However, there are other situations where a sales certification course can prove beneficial.

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Benefit of Sales Certifications

The value of sales certification programs really depends on what you hope to get out of it. A sales certification probably won’t mean much to potential employers — but there could be benefits to your career.

Sales certifications can help you develop new sales skills and knowledge that can be applied in your current or future roles. This can help you become more effective and successful in your current position. 

Improving your game as a salesperson is really what will open doors for you. Being a “Certified Sales Professional” may not stand out on your resume, but 200% quota attainment or being in the President’s Club definitely will.

Sales professionals who want to improve their skills, those are the reps who will see the benefits from sales certification programs.

Different Types of Sales Certifications

If you are hoping to improve your sales skills, there are several types of sales certifications available, ranging from entry-level to advanced or “mastery” courses. Some certifications are general and cover a broad range of sales skills, while others are industry or role-specific.

Common types of sales certifications include:

While obtaining a sales certification can help you develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in sales, it is important to do your research and choose a certification that aligns with your goals and interests.

Top Sales Certification Programs

Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP)

The Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP) certification program is offered by the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP). This program is designed for sales reps and managers looking to improve individual or team sales performance. 

The CPSP program covers a range of topics, including sales strategy, communication, negotiation, and closing techniques. The program consists of six-week online course modules followed by a final exam. 

Cost: $695

Certified Sales Leadership Professional (CSLP)

The Certified Sales Leadership Professional (CSLP) certification program is also offered by the NASP. This program is designed for sales leaders looking to improve their leadership skills and increase team performance. 

The CSLP program covers topics such as leadership strategy, team building, coaching, and motivation. The program consists of six-week online course modules followed by a final exam. 

Cost: $995

Strategic Sales Management Certification

The Strategic Sales Management Certification is offered by the Sales Management Association (SMA). This program is designed for sales managers looking to improve their strategic planning and management skills. 

The program covers topics such as sales forecasting, budgeting, performance metrics, and talent management. The program consists of six online course modules followed by a final exam. 

Cost: $1,495

All of these certification programs provide valuable knowledge and skills to help you advance your sales career. Consider which program aligns with your career goals and budget, and take the next step towards achieving your professional development goals.

Exam and Certification Process

To earn a sales certification, you will need to pass an exam that tests your knowledge and skills in a specific area of sales. The exam format and content will vary depending on the certification you are pursuing.

Exam Format and Content

Sales certification exams may be offered in a variety of formats, including online, in-person, or a combination of both. The exam may consist of multiple-choice questions, case studies, or simulations that test your ability to apply your knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios.

The content of the exam will also vary depending on the certification you are pursuing. For example, the Salesforce Certified Sales Representative exam covers topics such as planning, customer and prospect research, deal management, pipeline management, forecasting, and closing deals with value.

Certification Renewal and Continuing Education

Most certifications require you to renew them every one to three years by completing continuing education courses or retaking the exam.

Continuing education courses can help you stay up-to-date with the latest sales techniques and industry trends. They may cover topics such as social selling, account-based selling, or sales management.

Leveraging Sales Certifications

Sales certifications can help you increase your expertise and knowledge in the field, but they also provide you with valuable networking opportunities to advance your career.

Networking Opportunities

Many sales certification programs offer online forums or in-person events where you can connect with other sales professionals and industry experts. These connections can lead to new job opportunities, mentorship opportunities, and valuable insights into the sales industry.

Should you get a Sales Certification?

Whether or not you should get a sales certification depends on your individual situation. 

More than in almost any other role, in sales, people are measured by the results that they generate. That means that accomplishments and success selling to customers will nearly always trump those gained in the classroom.  

However, some of the knowledge that you gain while pursuing a certification can help you succeed in sales. If your learning style is such that you think that you would benefit from having a formal structure then go for it! But just be aware that you will be primarily rewarded for real-world success.

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