Sales Associations and Organizations
Beyond the network of friends, co-workers and businesses associates that you may have (and should!) there are many sales professionals who seek maximize their careers by joining sales-focused associations or organizations that provide training, guidance, and support beyond what a sales professional's employer provides. Choosing which association to join is largely a personal matter. The best thing you can do is to explore the top-rated associations and judge for yourself which one promises to deliver the greatest value to you.
The National Association of Sales Professionals, better known as NASP, serves as a valuable resource for sales professionals in all industries. NASP provides much more than most associations. Beyond sales and personal development articles, NASP provides a sales-only job board, free seller-style analysis's, a news stream dedicated to sales-related news, a library of resources geared to sales, marketing, and social media and a sales-certification area.
NASP offers a 45-day sales certification program that goes well beyond basic sales skills and challenges participants to improve any of their weaknesses that could negatively affect more than just their sales performance.
The NASP certification is called CPSP, and stands for "Certified Professional Sales Person." For those looking to add additional credibility to their resume and to improve their chances when job searching, adding sales focused certification may set them apart from others or give them the competitive edge needed to close a big deal. The NASP website proudly states that the CPSP certification is truly non-industry specific and can provide value to all in positions of influence.
NASP is free to join, which adds to its popularity. The CPSP certification, as well as other certifications offered by NASP, are fee-based. Since NASP has a history of consistent growth and improvements, visiting the site frequently is suggested.
The Sales Association is a professional society that offers networking and professional development for corporate sales professionals. The Sales Association is dedicated to company, team and individual sales performance improvement.
The Sales Association’s membership is experienced - 47% Sales Directors, Vice Presidents, and executive level -- and 53% of members have 11 or more years professional sales experience.
The Sales Association offers a sales-focused certification called the CSC, which stands for Consultative Sales Certified. In addition to the self-paced learning on the consultative sales process, each program participant is paired with a coach. Participants are given on-the-job homework associated with each subject, which they apply to actual sales activities. Your coach will help you apply the concepts and then assess your progress. Thus you not only learn online but apply the learning on the job and receive coaching on the results.
This "for-fee" certification awards Association members who complete the course a full curriculum, dedicated to learning about the consultative sales approach. Completing the course demonstrates not only that a sales professional is dedicated to the sales industry but also understands the importance of the consultative sales approach.
Who says that only sales professionals should get all the attention? Certainly not The Sales Management Association, which is dedicated to providing career-relevant content for sales leaders.
The Sales Management Association offers both free content and members-only content. Check the website for information on membership costs and benefits.
Inside sales positions are very popular for both those new to sales and career sales professionals.
While many tend to group all sales careers into a general "sales" grouping, the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals focuses on those in or interested in a career in inside sales.
Local and Regional Associations
Beyond the associations listed in this article, there are many associations that serve sales professionals within specific geographic areas. While each of these associations functions differently, many are similar to a Chamber of Commerce. The most probable difference between these associations and a Chamber of Commerce is that associations are more focused on the sales industry while Chambers are more general in their focus.