Sales qualifications can offer a deeper insight into the skills and knowledge you must possess to progress and thrive in specific roles in the Sales sector, such as an Area Manager, Director of Sales and Strategic Account Manager. Achieving a degree isn’t the only way into the Sales industry, and these top institutions prove it by offering a range of qualifications in Sales and customer service that will get your sales career off to a flying start or push it onto the next level.
The Institute of Sales Management
The Institute of Sales Management (ISM) offers widely recognised awards and qualifications from GCSE to Bachelors degree equivalent qualifications in Sales and Sales management. Their Certificates and Diplomas come in a range of levels:
This level is perfect for those who want a qualification in Sales equivalent to GCSE grades A* - C. You need to be one of the following: in full or part-time education, in your first Sales job or have an interest in working in Sales or on an apprenticeship. This qualification will teach you the knowledge and a deep understanding of the most common theories in Sales and account management.
To apply for level 3, it’s recommended that you currently have, or are interested in one of the following roles: Account Manager, Area Sales Manager, Direct Sales Manager. This qualification will broaden your knowledge in selling and marketing, deepen your understanding of how to use methods or skills to address problems and complete tasks and offer you a qualification equivalent to A-Levels.
You can apply to level 4 if you’re an aspiring or practising account manager, or if your role requires you to manage other people. This qualification offers you skills and knowledge for sales and account management, methods for taking responsibility for action and teaches you how to exercise autonomy. You shouldn’t apply to this level unless you’re a Group Sales Manager, Strategic Account Manager or a Franchise Development Manager. This level is the equivalent to the first year of a degree or Higher National Certificate.
Level 5 offers a greater understanding of the many sales and marketing functions and how they operate, how to communicate face-to-face with customers and further understand the process and Sales approach for selling products. This level is the equivalent to a Higher National Diploma or a foundation degree, and you can only apply if you’re an Area Manager, Direct Sales Manager or a Sales Engineer.
Finally, their level 6 qualification is equivalent to a Bachelor's degree. Teaching you how to deal or negotiate with buyers, understand your customers and their buying influences and how to apply theoretical knowledge to improve different functions of the business. It’s recommended you apply to this level if you are a Sales Director, Executive Vice President of Sales or equivalent.
The Institute of Customer Service
The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) offers a range of advanced customer service qualifications for several levels. But, they are only available to 400+ member businesses and paying individuals. This means that you can sign up as an individual, or talk to your employer to find out if they’re on the list. Big employers on the list include Amazon, Aldi, Boots, BT and Clarks - there are many small and growing businesses on the list too.
The ICS’s qualifications fit into four categories: communications, solutions, innovation and customer service coach. All of which focus on different skills, methods and developments to help you have a more rounded and in-depth set of skills. Professional qualifications like these are perfect for those who have their first job in customer service, or those who are team leaders or have managerial roles.
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The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
Although a CIM qualification is most commonly taken after a marketing degree (or equivalent), they also offer an advanced course in Managing the Sales Team. Perfect for Sales Managers, those who are about to move into a Sales Management role or entry/mid-level Salespeople with experience in Sales management responsibility. This course aims to help you develop skills, knowledge and strategies that deliver the best results, no matter the market conditions. By the end of this course, you should be able to forecast sales, maximise results, set meaningful objectives, and effectively motivate your team.
How would I fund a professional Sales qualification?
Professional Sales qualifications are funded by the organisation you work for. This is common among the big employers in the sector, as they have the extra funds to further qualify their staff to give their customers the best experience when using their business or services. Some degree courses are accredited by Sales institutions, meaning once you complete the course, you will become a member of the institution. A Sales institution membership offers extra support or guidance for your career and gives you access to courses that deepen your knowledge even further. Learn about the qualities you need to work in the Sales and Commercial sector.
Where can a professional Sales qualification take me?
A professional qualification in Sales can enable you to process further and faster up the career ladder. A degree in a very valuable and high-quality qualification that can help you achieve entry-level or mid-level roles. But, professional Sales qualifications can offer an extra understanding of the skills you’ve learnt and why having a deeper understanding can benefit in the long run. They also increase your confidence, show employers that you’re willing to work hard at that chosen profession and that you’re dedicated to the sector.
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Browse graduate jobs for the latest Sales and Commercial opportunities and take the next steps towards a career in this varied sector.