The Value of a Sales Certificate

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Those in the IT world are often known for having a string of letters following their names. So too are those employed in the project management, accounting and healthcare fields. These strings of letters indicate a specific certification, earned by the individual. In sales, earning a sales-specific certification is becoming more popular among those who want to give themselves an edge during a job search, for those looking for a promotion and for those simply seeking to improve their sales skills.

But since there is no standardize certification, is spending the time, energy and capital to earn a certification worth it?

As a Benefit During a Job Search

When it comes to job hunting, every tool that you can employ that gives you an edge over other candidates needs to be considered. Having a professional sales certification can either give you an edge or can keep you in the running with other candidates that possess a sales certifications.

Imagine that you and one other job candidate are finalists for a top-paying sales position. During the final interview, you learn that the other candidate is touting a professional sales certification and you are asked if you hold any certifications. Having to answer "no" may put you behind in the job race. Conversely, if the tables were turned and you held the certification, your competitor may be scrambling to recover from not earning a certification.

As an Indication of Dedication

For those already in a sales position and have no current interest in searching for a new job, earning a certification demonstrates a commitment to the sales industry and a dedication to excellence. For those interested in advancement, the certification serves as a strong indicator of an individual's long-term dedication to a continual improvement of sales skills and may impress senior leaders with the belief that the certification holder can also be skilled at teaching others how to improve their skills.

Earning a sales certification also can impress customers. Most people would rather do business with a professional; someone who takes their job seriously and has proven themselves in their chosen field.

As an Added Competitive Edge

The true value of any certification is not the ability to add letters after your name on your business card or email signature, but it is the knowledge you learned while earning the certification. A sales certification is certainly no different.

Those sales professionals who are not interested in changing jobs, advancing into a sales management position or even to impress their customers and prospects, may simply choose to invest their time, energy and capital into earning a sales certification in order to improve their skills, close more sales and earn more money.

At the end of the day, doing better at what you do is the most important reason to improve your skills and to earn a sales certification.

Where to Get Certified

If you decide that adding a certification would serve you well, a quick Google search for "sales certifications" should be your first step. In no particular order and with no preference suggested, here are links to sites offering sales certifications.

NASP

The Sales Management Association

The Sales Association

The NRF Foundation

When choosing where to get your certification from, be selective. Choosing an industry specific sales certification, like the certification offered by CompTIA for those in IT sales, may make more sense in you are in a specialized sales industry. Some professionals feel that a broader reaching certification is better than a targeted one because the skills learned and the overall improvement is not limited to a particular industry but to sales in general.