WorldatWork has recently announced a new Certified Sales Compensation Professional designation. Marieke Pieterman and I (Donya Rose) are two of the sixteen people holding the designation as of this moment. I have had several people ask me recently why we did it, whether or not they should consider it, and how best to prepare.
We earned it by taking part in the “test of the test” – so the test has only been given once. Like others taking that first test, I filled in my answer sheet AND added suggestions on the test booklet itself to help improve the test. So I don’t actually know what the official final test includes. But I do know that it’s thorough, covers many sales effectiveness topics beyond comp (go to market strategy, coverage models), and does require some real mastery of the field.
Compared to other WorldatWork certifications, the available information about the required “body of knowledge” is somewhat general and broad – so that makes it hard to assess your readiness or prepare. I have had several people ask me how I would suggest they prepare and I’m not sure what to tell them. Read one of the solid books on the subject (The Sales Compensation Handbook edited by Stock Colt is old, but still my favorite), maybe take the W@W C5 class, design a few dozen sales comp plans, or at least get your hands on them and truly understand them, and learn about sales effectiveness basics (anybody have a recommended resource for that?).
I believe that credentials matter. Taking the time to be certified demonstrates commitment to the field as a profession (not just something one might dabble in for a few years). A community of practitioners can generate a richer and better developed approach to the subject than one smart person operating without that community. Becoming certified is an acknowledgement of the value of the community and its work. And, ideally, the process of preparing for certification should make one a more capable practitioner.