After 45 days of consistent online work, 15 Darla Moore School of Business students earned their National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP) certification at the end of March. The Moore School is the first school in the world to offer an advanced sales track that ends in students earning this certification.
Last semester, a couple of marketing professors were looking for ways to heighten the caliber of the sales curriculum within the marketing major. Two of them found and went through this certification, ultimately earning the certification and deciding to incorporate it into the final sales track course. One of those professors, Beth Renninger, teaches that class, Sales Proficiency and Certification, an intimate, 15-person discussion course.
“By the time students finish the certification, they have a better understanding of themselves and can translate that into the sales process,” she said.
The certification training requires that students complete each day’s assignment, which can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, for 45 days straight. The assignments range from weekly instructional videos to practical sales activities. If a student misses more than two days of work, they will fail.
“At first, it’s exciting,” Renninger said, “but by week two, it’s a drag. They have to learn to push through the pain, just like if they were at the gym. It takes 21 days to form a habit, and this training takes twice as long, so it teaches them discipline as well as core sales skills.”
Of the 15 students who completed the certification, seven were able to do it without missing a single day, beating Renninger, who missed one day in her training.
“I challenged them at the beginning to see if they could beat me,” she said. “I’m so proud of all of them.”
The course in which students earn the NASP certification was launched as part of the initiative to incorporate more sales learning into the classroom through the Moore School’s Center for Sales Success, which is set to launch this July. Because of this initiative, the Moore School now offers a sales track within the marketing major.
“Creating the Center for Sales Success is all about creating opportunities for students,” said Renninger, who is also the director of the center.
Back in the fall when the center was first being developed, she and the other professors and business leaders involved realized there was a disconnect in what students perceived sales to be and what it actually is. To rectify that misunderstanding, they increased the number of sales-specific courses offered from one to four and incorporated the NASP certification, effectively creating the sales track.
“We looked outside of the Moore School to find out what the students need,” she said.
By Madeleine Vath