Sales professionals are often judged on the revenue they bring into their company, even when they’re searching for another job. They scramble each day to reach “top salesperson” status, tracking down leads and crafting the perfect pitch. As one day turns into the next, it can be easy to lose sight of the long-term career ramifications of the work they’re doing.
When it’s time to move on to the next phase of your career, sales figures don’t necessarily win over employers. Hiring managers review those numbers and take them into account, but they want to see more substantial sales experience for a senior sales executive or management position. In addition to on-the-job sales experience, professional sales certifications can help you stand out in a stack of resumes when you’re looking to make a career jump.
Here are some of the best business certifications that can help you build your sales experience:
The National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) offers salespeople the Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP) credential through a six-week online course. In addition to enhancing your resume, this course will help improve your own sales interactions. Once certified, you’ll have an arsenal of sales tactics you can use to close deals. Another certification you can acquire is the Certified Sales Executive (CSE), offered by the Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI). The certification process consists of self-study course that concludes with an exam.
If management is your career goal, some leadership certifications can take you a long way towards it. Cornell University’s online school has a well-regarded executive leadership certification that can be earned in four months. If you prefer an in-person option, check with your local college or university about certification opportunities. You may be able to combine online learning with the classroom experience and add sales certifications to your resume at the end of the course.
Subject matter specific
Often the most important experience sales professionals can receive relates to the products they sell. Over time, many professionals develop a specialty, whether it’s selling healthcare products or software or insurance. The more mastery you develop over your specialty, the more valuable you’ll be to the businesses that hire you. Once you have your basic sales skills, a great next step is to seek a professional certification in your chosen industry. This will work in conjunction with your years of selling experience to show that you’re a sales leader in that field.
For medical sales professionals, the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) offers Accredited in Medical Sales (AMS) programs designed to help those who work for healthcare distributors and manufacturers. Insurance agents already need a license, but they can also take specialized courses in topics like wealth management and financial planning to give their resumes some additional polish. One of the most valuable things a sales professional can do, which might be surprising, is to achieve a certification in an in-demand area such as information technology. Amazon Web Services certification training can help a tech-savvy salesperson move quickly up the pay scale, as can partner certifications in specialty areas offered by companies like IBM. Whether you’re a longtime technology salesperson or you’re thinking about a career in this domain, these courses can give you a push in the right direction.
Today’s rising sales professionals need a certain level of technical expertise. Almost every interaction is logged in a database, which is then used to generate reports. As you move into management, you’ll spend more time working with this software, pulling reports and reviewing users. This is why it’s essential that you’re adept with the tools that sales teams use every day.
Software-specific certifications are some of the best business certifications available for a variety of sales roles, including Salesforce. While you can’t possibly cover every piece of software a potential employer might use, the most popular sales software certifications are likely to capture the attention of potential employers. Even if a business doesn’t use a specific piece of software, your proficiency in one popular tool will show that you can master an application that sales teams use. That expertise can easily translate to a less popular tool with a minimal amount of training.
Sales can be a rewarding career, but eventually you’ll want to take the next step. By beginning the certification and learning process now, you’ll become stronger in your current position while also preparing for a more senior role in the near future.