7 Types of Sales Certifications & How They Help Reps Drive Results
January 16, 2023
Sales certifications help ensure your sales reps are qualified to find, nurture, and close leads, bringing new customers to your business.
Some sales certifications serve as a baseline, while others are more in-depth. However, even industry-focused certifications can help a sales rep connect more effectively with leads in your specific industry, from SaaS to pharmaceuticals.
Best of all, you can help your sales reps prepare for sales certification exams with in-house training and access to additional resources. Sales certifications and training can help you develop a team that is highly skilled, specialized, and ready to skyrocket past their quota goals.
Learn more about the different types of sales certifications and how they can help your reps hone their skills and drive results.
Note: the certifications included in this article are external sales certifications. These differ from internal certifications that an enablement team might roll out for their team on messaging, product, sales skills, etc.
Sales professionals can take these external sales certifications from role to role in their career, vs. company-specific certifications.
Sales certifications in this article:
- Certified Sales Development Representative (CSDR)
- Certified Sales Professional (CISP)
- Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP)
- Certified Professional Sales Leader (CPSL)
- Certified Master Sales Professional (CMSP)
- HubSpot Inbound Sales
- Customer Service and Sales Certified Specialist
What are sales certifications?
Sales certifications show that a sales rep has mastered the specific skills taught in the course. The more recent the certification, the more likely it is to be helpful to the rep and your business.
Different types of sales certifications can reinforce basic skills, help reps learn new approaches, and specialize in specific industries. As a result, someone who has taken multiple certifications can be especially valuable to your team.
Finally, a sales certification can help your team members learn powerful ways to use specific sales tools, such as a CRM, sales management software, or customer service tools. These platforms can make a rep more effective and give them an edge as they seek to identify and nurture leads.
How can sales certifications help a sales rep’s career and skillset?
Sales reps need a particular set of skills and the ability to learn about your product or service in a way that helps them present it effectively to leads. So when a rep gets certified, they demonstrate a strong commitment to their career in sales.
Certifications can make a rep more effective in sales, which can help them hit quota and increase their win rates. It can also help specialize your team in lead discovery, lead nurture, and closing sales. Even experienced sales reps can learn new approaches and get updated information about the current market.
A certified sales rep has demonstrated their commitment to professional development and may be a strong candidate for promotion and growth within your company. As a result, you can showcase certifications as a desirable way to stand out when applying for leadership opportunities.
Sales certifications can benefit your company and help reps advance in their careers.
Which sales certifications should your team members focus on? Let’s take a look at seven different options.
Certified Sales Development Representative (CSDR)
What is the CSDR?
The CSDR certification is offered by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP). This certification is perfect for those who are new to sales. Employees learn to generate leads, personalize sales communications, and set and measure goals. Completing the certification indicates that the sales rep has mastered the sales fundamentals.
The CSDR exam costs $575 for AA-ISP members and $720 for non-members and can be completed in 2 to 4 weeks of self-paced study.
Is the CSDR worth it?
The CSDR is a great investment for individuals early in their careers or anyone who could use a refresher on sales basics. Having your reps CSDR certified is also a good way to provide a level playing field for future training opportunities within your organization.
With that said, there are other options for beginner sales certifications, so review each one before making a final decision for your team.
Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP)
What is the CISP?
The CISP offers a great next step for inside sales reps. The CISP is offered by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) as a second step after CSDR training. It’s a good option for those with experience in sales who want to improve their results.
Reps learn strategies for choosing a sales channel, sales research, and prospecting, as well as how to qualify leads, overcome objections, and close deals. Reps are also taught professional skills like email etiquette and account management.
The CISP takes 8 to 12 weeks and costs $875 for AA-ISP members and $1,020 for non-members.
Is the CISP worth it?
The CISP can help inside sales reps take their skills to the next level. It can help them move beyond the basics of making a sale and start digging into how to identify the best prospects to focus on high-potential leads. The CISP is a great way to help your new and mid-level sales reps gain confidence and meet their goals.
Professional Sales Person (CPSP)
What is the CPSP?
The CPSP is offered by the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) and is intended as an introduction to sales. This beginner course starts with a foundation of understanding the sales cycle as it teaches reps the basics of the sales process. The course focuses on the client experience as they move through the sales cycle and how to communicate effectively. There are also modules on work habits and sales strategies.
The CPSP costs $695, and it takes 45 days to complete the training. Then you must pass the certification exam with a minimum score of 80 percent.
Is the CPSP worth it?
As a member of the sales enablement team, you’ll want to look at all the available beginner-level courses before committing to a certification plan. If you like the philosophy and approach of NASP, the CPSP is a great starting point for your sales reps.
Certified Professional Sales Leader (CPSL)
What is the CPSL?
The CPSL helps people leading sales teams to be more effective at motivating and developing employees. The training focuses on building an empowered and self-directed sales team, aligning individual motivation with company goals, and giving sales teams the tools and coaching they need to excel.
The CPSL costs $795 and takes 45 days to complete training. After training, you must pass a certification exam with a minimum score of 80 percent.
Is the CPSL worth it?
Understanding how to lead sales teams is an entirely different skill set, and management training is often overlooked. In fact, a study by the Sales Management Association found that 41 percent of companies have no budget for sales manager training.
When you set your managers up for success, it benefits your entire organization.
Certified Master Sales Professional
What is the Certified Master Sales Professional certification?
The Certified Master Sales Professional combines the CPSP and CPSL certifications into a single course and adds access to the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) Advanced Sales Influence program and a year’s membership in the Sales Mastery Group.
This training is comprehensive and takes 14 months to complete. The cost for this all-in-one course is $3,400.
Is the CMSP worth it?
The CMSP is an all-in-one class that takes an individual from beginner to expert in less than two years. It’s a great way to prepare someone with some sales experience to step into a leadership role by giving them a refresher on the basics, teaching them critical leadership skills, and then giving them advanced sales training.
Sales professionals who want to attain true sales excellence should consider this advanced certification.
HubSpot Inbound Sales
What is the HubSpot Inbound Sales certification?
The HubSpot certification course teaches sales strategies and how to implement them using the HubSpot platform. The full training includes five lessons, quizzes, and 22 videos.
The full training lasts two hours but may take a sales rep a day or more to fully understand and absorb the content.
The HubSpot Inbound Sales certification is free.
Is the HubSpot Inbound Sales Certification worth it?
If your organization uses HubSpot, this is a great way to help sales reps get oriented to the platform and understand how to use its many capabilities. Since it’s free and takes only a few hours, there’s little to lose.
Customer Service and Sales Certified Specialist
What is the Customer Service and Sales Certified Specialist certification?
The Customer Service and Sales certification is offered through the National Retail Federation (NRF). The course includes assessing customers’ needs, understanding the customer sales process, and closing the sale. Students also learn about customer service, customer retention, store operations, and more.
The course takes 14 hours and costs $125.
Is the Customer Service and Sales Certified Specialist certification worth it?
This certification is focused on those who are just starting their retail careers. It’s great for retail companies who want their new associates to understand how the business works and improve their sales skills. However, for most B2B companies, this certification will be less useful.
How WorkRamp can help your employees train for sales certification tests
WorkRamp is an All-in-One Learning Platform that can help you create effective training for your sales team, from internal sales training to materials that will help them prepare for a certification exam. With WorkRamp, you can build a resource center with a self-service library that team members can access on demand and learn whenever and wherever they want.
Learn more about how to use WorkRamp to equip your sales team with on-demand training. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo.
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Anna SpoonerFreelance Writer
Anna Spooner is a digital strategist and marketer with over 11 years of experience. She writes content for various industries, including SaaS, medical and personal insurance, healthcare, education, marketing, and business. She enjoys the process of putting words around a company’s vision and is an expert at making complex ideas approachable and encouraging an audience to take action.
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