Sales qualifications are a vital component in strengthening your salesforce and making your business more profitable. They are designed to constantly enhance and evolve your salespeople’s understanding of the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be a successful sales professional.
Sales qualifications programmes are designed to be relevant for each and every salesperson no matter what stage they are at in their career – from the very early stepping stones through to masters of their craft.
There are several options available to businesses when providing sales qualifications to their employees. They can look to an external provider that offers a wide range of sales qualifications for salespeople, or businesses that bring the learning in-house. Below we take a look at these two options, with The ISM and the Professional Academy.
Train your employees externally
The Institute of Sales Management is recognised by the UK Government’s regulator OFQUAL as an organisation offering sales qualifications in Sales and Sales Management. The ISM Sales Qualifications are industry-led and directly related to sales roles, and are available as certificates and diplomas on a scale of Level 2 to Level 6. These are delivered in a combination of online and face-to-face tutoring and are located across the UK.
The ISM’s qualifications combine the practice and principles of sales management to ensure universal relevance, regardless of the sector, organisation or country your business operates in. They are built on principles that set out the knowledge, skills and behaviours that you would expect your salespeople to work to as representatives of your business.
ISM Level 2
ISM’s sales qualifications begin at Level 2, which offers an introduction to sales and marketing. It provides a government recognised qualification and is available to anyone in full or part-time education, is on a government training scheme such as an Apprenticeship, is in their first sales job, is taking part in Enterprise Week or is on a business project, is interested in working in sales or has little to no work experience in sales.
This course will provide rudimentary information about sales. It can be a supplement to a Business Studies course and offers a qualification that is equivalent to a GCSE grade of A* to C, a BTEC first or NVQ level 2. There are seven smaller qualifications available, covering the laws and ethics of selling, understanding buyer behaviour, sales targets and selling to customers, as well as a bigger qualification that offers a certificate in sales and marketing.
This sales qualification assesses people on their ability to select and use relevant knowledge, ideas and skills to complete tasks and address straightforward problems. It will also teach them to take responsibility for completing tasks and build autonomy in their work.
ISM Level 3
Moving up from this, Level 3 is a sales qualification that helps someone in their first or second sales job to progress their sales and marketing career. It will help them deepen and broaden their knowledge and expertise in selling and marketing and understand to further develop this to progress up their career ladder.
Salespeople taking this course will need to have a responsibility for a sales account or a sales area. It will provide them with a sales qualification that is equivalent to an A-Level, BTEC National or NVQ level 3. Participants will be assessed on their ability to identify and use relevant understanding, methodologies and skills to complete tasks and solve problems of some complexity and take responsibility for initiating and completing tasks.
Ten different small qualifications are available, covering focuses such as influencing buyer behaviour, using market information for sales and sales pipeline management, and two larger qualifications, a certificate and diploma in sales and marketing.
ISM Level 4
For sales professionals that are considering moving into sales management or account management, Level 4 will be a great option. This qualification is designed to equip participants with the knowledge and understanding of sales and account management theories.
Level 4 is applicable to your aspiring or practising sales managers and account managers, and whose role requires them to manage other people and resources. This sales qualification is equivalent to a first-year degree or Higher National Certificate. It will assess participants based on their ability to identify and use relevant understanding, methods and skill to address problems that are well-defined but complex and non-routine. They will also be expected to take responsibility for courses of action and exercise autonomy and judgement within relatively broad parameters.
There are eight smaller qualifications available, which cover topics such as responsible selling, sales negotiations, managing a sales team and how to write and deliver a sales proposal, and two bigger certificate and diploma qualifications.
ISM Level 5
This sales qualification is aimed at sales and account managers who manage other people and resources and are looking to perform to even higher standards in their role. It will help them further their development and knowledge of sales and assess them on their ability to address broadly-defined complex problems, take responsibility for planning and developing courses of action and exercise autonomy and judgement within broad parameters.
This level of sales qualification offers 11 bite-size courses, covering issues such as motivation for sales teams, coaching and mentoring, leading a team, analysing the performance of customer accounts and developing a product portfolio, as well as the Level 5 certificate and diploma.
ISM Level 6
The ISM’s highest level of qualification is aimed at senior sales managers or sales directors who are looking to further their expertise. Completion of this sales qualification will enable participants to aim for a senior sales manager or senior sales director position and assist them in developing strategic leadership skills.
This highest level of qualification is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree and assist salespeople’s ability to refine their understanding of and address complex problems that have limited definition. This includes taking responsibility for planning and developing courses of action that underpin substantial change or development, as well as providing broad autonomy and judgement.
The highest tier of sales qualifications from ISM offers eight smaller courses, which cover subjects such as leading a culture of responsible selling, planning and implementing sales and marketing strategy, developing strategic relationships with major customers and managing sales-related change, plus the Level 6 certificate and diploma.
Encouraging your sales teams to participate in the ISM’s various levels of sales qualifications will not only hone their skills and expertise but also increase the level of knowledge and skill base at your disposal. This should enhance the quality of sales offering your business is providing to customers and boost your chances of increasing profitability, win new customers and retain business.
Bring your training in-house
An alternative to putting your salespeople through sales qualifications operated by external bodies is to work with a provider that brings the learning in-house. For example, the Professional Academy has a long-standing record of helping businesses to develop comprehensive in-house learning and development programmes, tailored training and learning management systems and apprenticeship training services.
It offers sales qualifications through ISM in addition to a wide range of courses outside of simply sales qualifications, which will help to broaden your sales teams expertise. As the world’s leading provider of training and qualifications in marketing, digital marketing, sales, management and leadership they can help your sales teams broaden their horizons and build out their skillset.
For example, it offers marketing qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the world’s largest professional body for marketing courses. Encouraging your sales team to take part in these courses will help them gain a better understanding of marketing and keep up with the latest marketing trends and best practices.
The Professional Academy is at the cutting-edge of in-company training and can create the ideal mix of face-to-face workshops and interactive online training to suit your business, people and objectives.
Its face-to-face workshops are interactive and built around action-based learning, which is designed to help your salespeople to apply what they learn in the workshop immediately. Workshops can be hosted in your offices, off-site or see your employees integrated into Professional Academy’s regular programme of professional development training.
The virtual workshop option sees your employees use the latest interactive online classrooms scheduled to suit your location and working hours. This enables your employees to remain on-site and greatly reduces the time they’ll spend away from your office.
You can also opt to have your employees blend the two delivery services by combining virtual and face-to-face learning. This offers a highly efficient and effective programme that is convenient for employees but also helps them quickly implement their learning and delivers outstanding results.
Support for this in-company training programme also includes access to Professional Academy’s online learning management system, unique study guides and interactive learning resources, individual tutor support, coaching and mentoring, and a dedicated account manager that oversees the project.
Grow your business with sales qualifications
Sales qualifications are vital to increasing the effectiveness and expertise of your employees. A team of salespeople with accredited qualifications under their belt will be better positioned to understand customer requirements, better equipped to meet customer demands and become better advocates of your organisation. This means your business reputation will increase and greater business growth.