The Institute of Sales & Marketing Management (ISMM) has launched new qualifications as part of a long-term national framework initiative to raise the parity and esteem of vocational training.
“The notion that sales people are only as good as their last year’s sales is starting to disappear,” said Denise Edens, the ISMM’s Director of Education, “and, with the sluggish economy and the emergence of sales academies, employers are looking for sales people who have something over and above the average. Those who can show that they’ve invested in their professional development, on top of a great track record and excellent references, stand a better chance of moving up the career ladder.”
The ISMM’s new qualifications fit into a framework, called the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). The QCF is a database of qualifications mapped to a grid showing on one axis the level of difficulty and on the other axis the ‘size’ of the qualification.
The levels go from one to eight, and the size is determined by name, with ‘small’ qualifications being called Awards, ‘medium’ ones Certificates and ‘large’ ones Diplomas. Qualifications comprise units which different awarding organisations, such as the ISMM, share, and each unit is worth a certain amount of ‘credit’, based on the size of the unit.
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The ISMM’s level 1, 2 and 3 qualifications are now open for registration.
“There are Awards at level 1; Awards and a Certificate at level 2 and Awards, a Certificate and a Diploma at level 3,” said Denise. “We’ll be introducing level 4, 5 and 6 Awards, Certificates and Diplomas on 1st April.”
The ISMM’s qualifications have been written by practising sales trainers and reviewed by companies, colleges and universities to make sure they cover all the up-to-date content needed to succeed in a sales role today. They contain some theory, such as understanding the sales cycle and the ‘7Ps of marketing’, as well as skills such as negotiating and closing sales.
ISMM qualifications are recognised by Ofqual, the UK Government qualifications regulatory body, which ensures that qualifications are of the highest standard through its rigorous quality assurance procedures.
Denise Edens added: “ISMM qualifications can be taken full or part-time, by classroom, blended or distance learning. At levels 1 and 2, students don’t need any experience of working in sales but it helps to have more experience at level 3 and above.
“QCF qualifications are designed to fit around work and family, consisting of small bite-size units which can be taken one by one, banked and built up over time. Learners are entitled to their own nationally recognised Learner Record where they can bank all of the credit they’ve achieved. “