May 11, 2017
Updated: September 19, 2019

How to Use Sales Certification Programs

We’ve talked about the basics of sales certification programs, and how they help common training challenges, but how are sales organizations actually applying them?

We’re taking a closer look at the top sales certification use cases including how they work, best practices, and how technology can make it all a little easier.

Onboarding New Sales Hires

Using sales certification programs as part of your onboarding process ensures that your reps are client ready while making the information more digestible. Sales onboarding programs can typically last from around six-to-nine months, but using sales certification programs to break up your onboarding initiative into compact modules will keep reps focused and attentive.

Create an onboarding structure that turns each key area of information into individual sections and makes training more approachable and effective.

Topics can include:

  • Your product and/or services
  • Industry background
  • Buyer personas
  • Competitive landscape
  • Internal sales tools and processes
  • Sales methodology

Then, incorporate gamification. Create a public leaderboard that outlines each sales rep and their progress. When they successfully complete a section, announce it to the team and publicly display their accomplishment on the board. This will naturally create competition between your reps, and get them motivated to finish faster. You’ll also start to see a natural separation between your top performers and reps who need more coaching.

To successfully launch your onboarding sales certification program, use an online learning software partner, like Showpad Coach, to offer your training modules on-demand, from anywhere. Find a provider that helps you easily customize your efforts and provides tools for analysis and assessment to streamline your efforts and save valuable internal resources.

New Product Training for Sales Teams

Sales certification programs are also commonly used for new product launches, and training for messaging consistency. Every sales rep should start at the beginning for new product launches, because it’s all too easy for confusion and poor messaging to derail your efforts.

Designing your sales certification program around a new product launch means you can ensure detailed knowledge and client readiness for every single team member. You can teach your sales reps to become experts on product information, pricing, upsell and cross sell opportunities, competitive advantages, target customers, and specific demo skills. Everything you sales reps need to excel at selling your new product should be included in your certification program.

Instead of conducting a standard classroom-style training session to highlight new products, a certification program will provide a detailed and accurate understanding of your rep’s knowledge. For the highest levels of accountability, utilize online assessments after each module in your certification program. Don’t let your reps move on to the next section until they pass and demonstrate the necessary level of knowledge to talk with prospects.

Sales certification programs are the best way to ensure your reps are 100% client-ready when it comes to new product launches. Keep the gamification tactics you incorporated into your onboarding strategy and add an extra level of competition for new product training.

Sales Demos

Have you ever wanted more control and influence on the quality of sales demos your sales reps are performing on a weekly basis? Demos are a critical part of the sales process, and using a sales certification strategy to give them a boost is a smart investment.

Just like sales certification programs can be used to ensure knowledge intake and understanding, you can leverage them to certify your rep’s ability to perform high quality sales demos as well. By incorporating online learning software with video recording technology, you can know your rep understands how to give a demo, and can actually perform one too.

The best way to use this creative solution is to start by building training modules that teach them the building blocks for success. Include topics like customization opportunities, time management, storytelling, data strategies, how to ask the right questions, qualifying leads, and follow up. Then, use video recording software, like Showpad Coach, to have them actually record and submit their demos for feedback.

Sales managers can provide feedback and build individual coaching sessions around areas that need improvement. Publish demo videos to the team for peer feedback, and the opportunity for your team to learn from each other. Don’t miss the opportunity to use top demo reps as inspiration for reps that may be struggling. Physically seeing someone else complete the task successfully is a much more effective learning opportunity than just reading about it.

Sales certification programs are a powerful way to keep your sales organization moving towards improved performance, and better results. Follow guidelines and best practices to implement each type of certification to make sure you’re getting the best return on your investment.