Why you should get Salesforce certified — and how you can get it done in one month
Last week, I became a Salesforce Service Cloud Certified Consultant, even though Innovate42 is not building a Salesforce consultancy. But as startup building an app in Salesforce, it makes sense not only to know the specific features we are relying on, but to have a wider knowledge of the tool we’re enhancing. Not only can we build a product more coherent with the features and architecture of Salesforce, but we can also help and advise customers on challenges related to Salesforce that could stand in the way of adopting our app.
This has been a source of personal frustration in the past for me — if your business says “I’ve got a billing solution, so I can only help you with your billing issues”, that won’t be very useful to a business struggling to create a checkout experience or having trouble tracking orders — which you’ll need to have in place before you can invoice these orders. The explosion in the number of SaaS tools and the complexity of integration has only made problems more interconnected and the need for advice more pressing.
It doesn’t mean you have to know every SaaS tool and process under the sun. Startups thrive on focus and you should identify the specific processes and tools that are upstream from your app and make sure you can help your customers and prospects navigate them. Otherwise, you’ll just be out of sync with your customers, pushing for discussions on features that are not top of mind. I became a Salesforce Service Cloud Certified Consultant, so that we could help customers trying to build robust case management for their orders and make sure agents navigate an intuitive flow.
Now, how to get there.
Materials you’ll need
First, download the Certification eBook and the relevant study guide(s) to the certification you need (e.g. Certified Administrator, Certified Service Cloud Consultant). Then, create a development org in Salesforce to reproduce everything you learn in Salesforce.
There are many certification tracks in Salesforce. I’ll be giving an example of how to become an Implementation Expert in Service Cloud — the offering of Salesforce for call centres and support teams. As for many other tracks, its first requirement is to become a Certified Administrator.
This exam is pure memorisation. The goal is to understand most of Salesforce features and data models. There is a lot of material to cover, but it’s more breadth than depth. Being an admin is quite different from being a user, so even if you’ve got some familiarity with Salesforce, expect to spend 20 to 30 hours prepping for the certification.
- Complete every recommended material covered in the section ‘Understand the Basics’ the Certification eBook, including the trailhead Admin Beginner and Learn CRM Essentials (~10h)
- Complete the following additional Trailhead modules: Formulas & Validations, Data Security, Process Automation in the trail Admin Intermediate (~2-3h), and the Reports & Dashboards module (~2-3h)
- Go through every step of the exam outline in the study guide, then search the corresponding feature in Salesforce Help. Along the way, reproduce every single feature in your dev org (~10-20h)
- Do quizzes along the way to test your knowledge gaps (Google “admin certification quiz”)
Some available quizzes as of Feb 2017: http://www.salesforceben.com/certified-admin-mock-exam/, http://www.salesforceben.com/adm201-quiz/, http://focusonforce.com/salesforce-adm-201-exam-questions/, http://www.sfdc99.com/2014/10/02/guide-to-passing-all-salesforce-certifications/
Certified Service Cloud Consultant
This exam covers less than Certified admin, but goes deep into Salesforce Service Cloud, the Service Console and Knowledge. It’s also worth knowing how Service interacts with Community. Questions are mostly scenario-based, e.g. how to best satisfy a client requirement as an Service Cloud implementation consultant. Few questions are solely focussed on feature memorisation, meaning that it could take between 30 and 50 hours to prep for this exam depending on how much consulting experience you have or how familiar you are with IT or call centres concepts.
- Complete every recommended material in ‘Understand the Basics’ the Certification eBook, including the trailhead Service Cloud Basics (~10h)
- Complete the trail Expand your reach with Community to become familiar with Community (5h). Also, create a Community (1–2h).
- Do the free Udemy Salesforce Certification: Service Cloud Industry Knowledge (2h)
- Go through every step of the exam outline in the study guide and searching the corresponding feature in Salesforce Help, reading the material and reproducing every single feature in your dev org (~15h). This can be tricky as a lot of the exam content is about industry knowledge or consulting methodologies, so the best sections of the exam to tackle this way are: Knowledge, Case Management and Interaction Channel.
- To cover industry knowledge, complete the Udemy Salesforce Certification: Service Cloud Rapid Exam (5h)
- To prepare in the lead up to the exam, read this blog and go through every implementation guide recommended there (Salesforce Cloud Implementation Guide, Knowledge Implementation Guide, Entitlement Management Implementation Guide, Case Management Implementation Guide) (5-10h). Pay special attention to the implementation guide for Social Customer Service, as you won’t be able to try the features in your dev org.
- Google “Salesforce certified service cloud quiz” to find the latest quiz.
- Read this blog post and this blog post (as of Feb 2017)
That’s all it takes. Good luck!
Innovate42 is a London-based startup focussed on helping companies provide better ordering experiences to customers. We empower customer service agents with streamlined, integrated flows to rapidly acquire, renew or upsell customers. We help technology teams to merge disparate systems (product catalogue, billing, payments, provisioning…) into a unified workflow in Salesforce. And we enable marketing teams to surface the latest and most relevant offers to agents at the right time. Check us out at innovate42.com or get in touch at email@example.com.