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Should You Be Certified to Sell B2B? With Bridget Gleason [Epsiode 583]

Bridget Gleason is VP of Sales for Logz.io and my regular partner on Front Line Fridays.


Andy starts the 101st episode of Front Line Fridays with the topic of professional certification for salespeople and sales managers. It’s time to embrace it as an industry.

It can help in hiring and has value to buyers looking for knowledgeable reps as trusted advisors. Bridget has started a certification program at Logz.io. SMEI has been offering sales and marketing executive certifications for 80 years.

Will employers start to ask for certifications as a prerequisite for employment? Bridget always looks for people who have had professional sales training.

SMEI is starting to work with universities to certify coursework they are starting to offer for sales, to start graduates toward their own certification. Would one certification cover all current methodologies?

SMEI focuses on certifying people on the fundamental enduring principles of sales, rather than certifying on the methodologies. There is an on-the-job experience component required, as well.

Bridget agrees such certifications would be useful. Andy would like to see a standardized certification,  that employers could specify in their job postings, rather than seeing individual companies create their own certificates.

Bridget says yes. Now, who will do it? Is there a movement? Andy hears more talk about it, including colleges starting to offer degrees in sales. Bridget used to hire interns from a college in Ohio for BDRs to work for SumoLogic.

The issue in sales today is that it is very risky to hire new people. Anything that can reduce the risk is a welcome step towards the ultimate answer. An MBA does not qualify a salesperson to sell.

Andy has talked to the CEO of SMEI, who told him sales managers are hesitant to approach their CEOs to take a certification course. They are unwilling to bring up what might be considered their lack of qualification or their need of help.