Has your organization ever invested money to grow revenue? The answer is yes. Every year, millions are spent on new products, sales processes and new technologies. So how do you ensure your investment isn’t wasted? How do you ensure a fast start to your new initiative? You employ a Sales Certification Program. This post will discuss the benefits of the certification program. And be your blueprint to implementing it in your sales organization.
What is a Sales Certification Program?
The definition is simple: A program to ensure training has been absorbed by the sales team. It’s a methodical series of activities to make sure that is accomplished. The goal is to drive adoption and turn novices into experts.
This should be done as expeditiously as possible. Why? You want time to value to be maximized. Also, the likelihood of adoption decreases as time moves from theory to implementation.
What are the benefits to a Sales Certification Program?
- Education and Retention: The program is not meant to be burdensome to your sales team. It’s meant to educate and reinforce. With a multi-tier certification program, you take your sales team from novice to expert.
- Speed: You are not only educating, but you are getting out of the gates fast. Adoption is key, but slow adoption can lead to a missed opportunity.
- Visibility: You know who in your sales organization is capable of executing on the initiative. You also know who is adopting the new initiative. Most importantly, you obtain visibility into the effectiveness of your enablement program.
- Repeatability: This is a program that you know you can replicate and scale. With certification as part of your entire Enablement Program, you are driving consistency.
- Adoption: Plain and simple. Certification drives adoption. Education and reinforcement are the precursors to adoption.
- Coaching: The program will identify gaps in knowledge and behavior for certain individuals or roles. This is the perfect opportunity to interject coaching and Individual Development Plans. Plug the gaps with coaching.
What are the components of a Sales Certification Program?
- Pre-work: Anytime you conduct training or launch a new initiative, you should administer pre-work. This is to ensure foundational knowledge. Example: Send out a list of books and articles that are pertinent to the training.
- Courseware: This would be the ‘content’ of the training. The content should always provide the WIIFM to the sales team. Examples: Sales Process Courseware, New Sales Collateral, Process Documents, etc.
- Testing: The tests would be written/online or quizzes comprised of the pre-work and courseware. It’s meant to drive re-enforcement of the knowledge transferred to that individual.
- Role Play: This is an internal process with Sales Management and Sales Enablement. Use real life case studies. Give the reps a scenario. You and sales management will then score each role play objectively. The scoring is based on a set of pre-determined criteria. The results are then validated through external interactions with a prospect or customer.
- Coaching: The sales management team will now have visibility into gaps in knowledge and behavior. The manager can leverage this into coaching opportunities. In addition, the individuals that have gone through the certification can coach their peers. This will help in their knowledge retention.
- Recognition: Reward the team for completing the program. It could be monetary incentives or individual accolades. Regardless, use what will resonate with the team. The positive recognition will reinforce the behavior.
- Re-certification: Like all of your initiatives, they evolve over time. You need to be agile. The point being, Sales Certification is not a one and done event. Leverage tiers or levels of expertise to show progression. An example would be the martial arts belt system. With a novice being a White Belt as they enter the program. Experts are recognized with a Black Belt once the re-certification is complete.
You now have the benefits and the components of the Sales Certification program. You can see that as part of your enablement strategy it can be very effective. You need to ensure that the new initiative translates into reality ASAP. Don’t let slow adoption hinder your team’s ability to succeed. Educate and equip your sales team for success. Ensure that a Sales Certification program is implemented in your organization today. Download this tool to help you implement a Sales Certification Program.