At first, I hesitated to write this blog because I am possibly the slowest person ever at studying for and taking tests. I am a visual learner so I often have to write things down in detail in order to learn them and I get anxious about repeating tests so I want to know it all and to know it well. So when presented with this title for a blog at first I thought: Is this a joke? Who am I to give advice on how to pass this certification faster? Then, after talking it over with my husband I realized that I’m the perfect person to write this blog because getting through these type of trainings is not an easy task for me. Furthermore, this blog is not just about passing the test faster, but it’s also about learning the material efficiently so that you can actually implement changes when you’re done.
I have great news for you and it’s that the HubSpot Inbound Sales certification is both straightforward to understand because the concepts make so much sense and also, that the test is fair and reasonable because they really do quiz you on the actual material presented throughout the certification. Don’t you hate it when you study for something and the questions don’t reflect that? There shouldn’t be any surprises for you when you hit the test button.
That said, below are 8 pointers for those of you who have not gone through the training and certification process for the yet:
1. Make sure that you eat something and drink coffee, if you need to, before you start
Few of us can stay awake even through the most fascinating of trainings without enough calories and for some, without caffeine. Don’t study or test when you are hungry, hangry, withdrawing from caffeine or feeling run down because you will just have to review the information over and over again, which will make you lose more time in the long run.
2. Set aside the time to review the material and figure out if you learn best by chunking it or flooring it
Four hours may not seem like a long time, but there is plenty of material to review so determine the day of the week and the time of the day when you are most awake and put it in your calendar. Are you an early bird (a lark), night owl or hummingbird (time of the day does not affect you)? If you try to study at a time when you are not alert, you may keep having to rewind the videos to watch them once more, thereby wasting time. Also, figure out if chunking the four hours into distinct time periods is most fitting for your brain’s natural rhythms or if flooring it and going at it all the way from start to finish is most advantageous for you.
3. Make full use of the video and downloading of slides options depending on whether you are mostly an auditory, visual learner, read-write or a mixed learner and keep in mind that you can adjust the speed on videos to go faster or slower
My husband and I learn differently and thankfully, HubSpot offers choices for two different learning modalities. I am mostly a visual/read-write learner and I need to download slides so that I can read and review them and take notes at my own pace. Furthermore, because I’m not an auditory learner, I found the normal pace of the videos to be too fast for my auditory processing speed so slowed down the videos to a comfortable velocity which prevented rewinds. Ironically, my husband actually sped up the video pace because he is an auditory learner. Needless to say, we did not watch the videos together.
4. Take organized notes on the side if this helps you to download the details of the information provided
Due to the abundance of detail presented, it might help you to organize your thoughts to jot down the main points and to review them before the test. As I mentioned, I am a visual/read-write learner so taking notes really helps me to get the information in my mind. Being a fast typist helped in this case as I was able to transcribe information quickly.
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5. If you have sales experience think of your own real life sales examples and what you could have done differently in the past and what things you can modify with your existing prospects
Because the ultimate goal of this training is to improve your sales process don’t just memorize everything for the sake of passing the test and then forget about it. Although a framed certificate on your wall is impressive, consider using this training as an opportunity to begin to practice, in your mind, the type of sales process that you would want to be subjected to if you were in your buyer’s shoes. Not only will this approach make you a better salesperson, but also, you may be better able to remember the material when it has real-life implications for you. If you are the type of person who learns best with analogies bend the material to fit your positive as well as your negative sales experiences to make the teachings salient for you. Furthermore, keep in mind that the test actually requires you to make sense of some sample scenarios, so truly understanding the material is necessary.
6. If you do have a lot of experience with Inbound Sales, don’t spend hours reviewing the material if it already makes sense to you
My husband is excellent at Inbound Sales following the HubSpot Inbound Sales Methodology and frankly, learning this material was obviously easier for him because he practices “the recipe” every day. If you are like him, don’t obsess over the test - go over the material once and if you find it totally intuitive, just take the test.
7. If you don’t have a lot of sales experience but have seen someone with lots of Inbound Sales experience in action, use what you have observed and tie it to the guidelines offered in the training
Although I personally do not have much sales experience of my own I was able to think about the multiple meetings where I have observed my husband in action in order to make meaningful connections to the material that I was being exposed to. If you happen to have the opportunity to observe/shadow a person with sales experience during your training you may want to jump at the opportunity.
8. If you are able to, and if it’s helpful to you, do the training with other salespeople to discuss what you have learned. If possible, discuss past clients or current clients with others to help cement your training in real world examples
Some persons learn best by studying alone while others benefit from discussing actual cases with other people. If you prefer to share the studying ordeal with others, remember that there are added benefits such as setting a definite date to be certified by, which can motivate you to finally get it done, as well as celebrating together when everyone has passed.
Although some of the above pointers might seem designed to slow you down, nothing will slow you down more than having to retake the test multiple times. In the end, remember that it’s not just about passing a test, but about learning a new methodology to do sales in a more effective and ethical way. The more that you can actually learn from this process the better for you, your company, your employees and your clients. Ultimately, what I most recommend is to use everything that you have learned, to review your current sales process in order to align it to the Inbound Sales way and then to implement it right away.
Jackie Marguglio, Ph.D.
Master Idea Curator