There are so many places through the course of daily life where we have to prove who we are.
Just think of the numerous times you are asked to show your credentials before boarding an airplane. Think about how many times you use your Driver’s License to prove your age or your identity.
Proving your skills to a prospective employer or at your current job isn’t always easy, but there is a proven way to build your career pathway in sales.
Credentials. And in today’s world? Digital credentials.
Especially in the highly competitive sales industry, showing how you stand out is essential for career growth. Differentiating yourself from others with similar education, skills, and experience is absolutely critical, and it can be done with digital sales credentials.
According to Jordan Wan, Founder & CEO of Closer:
Selling skills are often gained from experience, but candidates can stand out by including formal training or certification from a well-known sales philosophy on their resumes.
Why Digital Sales Credentials Are Important
Becoming certified in a sales-related field shows you are dedicated to continuous learning and self-improvement. This is an essential trait that employers look for when deciding who to hire. Having a certification takes a giant neon sharpie and highlights your resume. Couple that with a killer first interview, and you're nailing your dream sales job. Read on to learn why getting credentials gives you credibility and how you can level up your sales career:
1. Supercharge Your Profession to Keep Yourself Relevant
Digital credentials have emerged as an impactful tool to market yourself across a variety of industries including corporate training, associations, professional development and certifications, and higher education. - Hubspot
Few things demonstrate expertise at first glance like an official certification or credential from a recognized association or training program, and many employers now look for candidates with verified credentials. Platforms like Hubspot, Coursera, LinkedIn, and more have all ignited the self-paced model of self-education. Universities and colleges are expanding digital credentials, adding online career pathways with transferable credit and continuing education units attached.
The best salespeople know this and pursue the certifications and credentials that are most meaningful to their careers.
Supercharging your profession will keep you relevant and help you to reach the top 20% as detailed by Brian Tracy in, Be a Sales Superstar:
Elite performers — who constitute 4% of the sales force — deliver a disproportionate share (about 64%) of a company’s total sales receipts and rightly take home as much as 50 times the income of their peers in the bottom 80%. This finding validates the Pareto principle (aka the 80-20 rule) and should spur you to join the top 20%. From there, you can eventually achieve superstardom by being among the best of that already high-performing club.
For those already in a sales position and with no current interest in searching for a new job, earning a credential demonstrates a commitment to the sales industry and a dedication to excellence. For those interested in career advancement, certification serves as a strong indicator of an individual's long-term dedication to the continual improvement of sales skills and may impress senior leaders with the belief that the credential holder can also be skilled at teaching others how to improve their skills.
At the end of the day, getting better at what you do is the most important reason to improve your skills and earn a sales credential.
2. Grow Your Income and Learn for Life
Continuing your education can secure you a higher income, especially in sales. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, educational attainment correlates with earning potential. So the more education you get, the more likely you are to earn good money.
Having valuable skills makes you more valuable to employers. They’re not interested in hiring three people to do different tasks if they could really all be done by one person. Become that valuable employee, so it’s possible to negotiate a competitive salary. (Wondering how much you can make in Sales? Here’s a search on Salary.com already started for you.)
If your goal is to earn more money, look at the credentials that employers are requiring for leadership positions and what credentials leaders in the field have most often. “In career fields (like Sales) that value certifications, they carry significant salary premiums (as much as 18 percent in our sample),” according to the research report The Narrow Ladder: The Value of Industry Certifications in the Job Market.
And remember! Professional development courses at Universities and Colleges often come with transferable credit that you can use towards a degree you never finished or are just starting!
3. Help you stand out in the job search
“With more than 50% of business graduates entering a sales role upon graduation, a minimum of three sales courses can make a big difference in future employment. - Sales Education Foundation
When employers look for a new hire, they screen for anything and everything, and getting certified is a powerful way to stand out in the crowd. Getting certified shows that you were committed enough to complete a program. It shows that you care about always bettering yourself and being educated on the latest trends in the industry. It shows you’re serious about your career. It’s also a great way to prove your competency in a role.
Digital credentials are live business cards that contain embedded metadata that can be tracked and verified with information like:
- Dates of issuance and expiration
- Names of the recipient and issuer
- Description of what the badge represents
- Requirements to earn the badge
- Evidence attachments that add further proof of competency
While your resume can be a great way to introduce your skills to employers, having certifications provides living, growing digital proof that you can apply those skills to a sales situation.
Some sales positions require certification, so being certified can help you qualify for these roles. Even if a position doesn't list certification as a prerequisite, being certified can set you apart from other applicants. Having multiple certifications can show your industry knowledge and dedication, generating interest from employers.
According to a survey by HR.com, “100 percent of respondents agreed that industry certifications are preferred during the hiring process, in both new hire and internal employee placement scenarios. Certifications provide status to those who have proven their knowledge and give employers a benchmark standard for measuring employee candidates.”
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. If the tables were turned and you held the certification, your competitor may be scrambling to recover.
Seeking out extra relevant certifications or training experiences can make all the difference in helping you land new job opportunities.
4. Show you Have Expertise in a Particular Field or Skill Set
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 to help you showcase your new expertise.
Investing the time, energy, and capital it takes to obtain a digital sales credential certification like, say, UMBC-Training Center’s Technology Sales Program, powered by Virtanza, reinforces your commitment to excellence. This reinforcement of your dedication not only shows your employer or potential employer that you are not just someone looking for a sales job because you can’t find any other position, but it also proves you know how to learn new skills even on your own.
In this competitive and chaotic market with relentless changes such as Sales. No matter where you fall in the sales spectrum: if you are a new sales rep, a sales pro trying to break into a new industry like Technology Sales, a seasoned sales executive or a sales manager, a sales certification and training can improve productivity and enhance sales skills. Statistics show that a sales certification and training enhances performance not only for a short period but it remains consistent even during changing market conditions.
Bottom line? Stackable sales credentials are a perfect answer to a resume in growth mode.
5. Improve career satisfaction
Getting advanced certifications isn’t just about adding credentials to your resume. Learning new skills can make it easier to get more work done and do a better job overall. You are also learning valuable skills that you can apply to your day-to-day job. This can help you become better at regular tasks that might otherwise be time-consuming. You can also take on new responsibilities that you once weren’t qualified for.
Whether you are bound for a promotion or angling to make a move to a category, this is a really valuable way to get promotions and advance your career. Continuing education, especially with schools that have specific expertise like Technology Sales, can help you improve job performance. You’ll also have special skills your colleagues don’t, helping you stand out from the crowd when it’s time for your boss to determine who gets the lead on the new account or a promotion.
As a result, sales certification holders enjoy much higher job placement rates and better commissions. In fact, a recent WSJ cited the US Labor Department in stating, “Sales representatives who sell technical and scientific products and services to businesses earned a median annual wage of $108,830 in 2020.”
You just need to learn and apply the principles for training to be successful. A sales certification ensures that you produce adaptive reasoning skills required to dramatically improve sales performance.
6. Continuing Education Leads to Better Networking
There are lots of continuing education opportunities out there that give you the chance to meet new people. Even if it’s an online course, there are often forums or groups you can join to network and work together on projects. There are also study groups, membership societies, special conferences, and other opportunities to learn and network at the same time. You might find that a certification you got in search engine marketing helped you connect with a new partner who can help your business grow. Keeping connections is essential for careers and business today.
7. Develop New Professional Interests
Society likes to make people think they need to choose a single career “path” to succeed in life. So everyone invests in getting a very narrow education without broadening their horizons to other interesting subjects. But if you give yourself the opportunity to learn about topics outside your chosen field, you will likely develop some new interests. You might even discover you have an innate talent for a certain sector in Sales you’ve never explored before.
Learning about subjects outside of your normal discipline introduces you to new concepts and new ways of thinking. Getting a broader understanding of a topic can help you brainstorm more creative ways to handle related tasks and challenges. Very rarely does innovation come from someone who’s always thinking inside the box.
8. Growth opportunities and lifelong learning
Being certified in a subject related to sales can help you find opportunities for growth as a salesperson or as a company leader. You can seek out advanced sales certifications that emphasize your management skills to earn more responsibility and advance to senior roles.
Sales certifications are also great professional development tools that you can use to keep your sales knowledge relevant and up to date. Even if you're already experienced, getting certified can cause you to review vital information, refresh your skills and learn more about advanced sales concepts.
If you are early on in your career and want to establish yourself, getting a digital sales certification can provide a legitimate stamp of approval from a highly respected higher ed institution. Or gain credibility and supercharge a college degree in an unrelated field with a deep dive into specialized sales. Like a license to drive, a sales credential is proof that you know what you’re doing. It provides external validation that you have the skills needed to succeed.
To succeed in sales, it is necessary to demonstrate expertise. The best Professional and Technology salespeople have mastered the methods of demonstrating expertise in their current and future jobs.
Starting and pursuing a career in sales could change your life! If you're ready to upskill into a long-lasting, highly flexible career with an almost limitless earning potential, Sales might be the career for you, especially in Technology. The global digital economy will be driven by Technical Product and Service Sales Professionals of all roles, styles, and specialties. UMBC-Training Center’s Technology Sales Program, powered by Virtanza and now enrolling for its August cohort, offers motivated individuals the foundation to thrive as professionals and access unlimited career potential.