Learning Salesforce.com

Matthew John Brady


whether you are in Sales, Operations, or HR, the advantages of learning the industry-leading CRM platform are clear

Photo by Chris Briggs on Unsplash

Over the last 20 years, Salesforce.com has grown from a scrappy startup founded in an apartment, to an industry disruptor and category captain. They have outgrown that apartment; the photo showcases their new HQ, which is the tallest building west of the Mississippi.

Salesforce is the leading CRM platform as confirmed by the reliable G2 Grid.

G2 Grid (R): CRM Leaders Quadrant

As part of their ever-growing portfolio of web applications and properties, Salesforce has developed their own Learning Management System (LMS) called Trailhead. This system is a trove of valuable content to take your knowledge to the next level, whether you are completely new to the world of CRM or have become an expert in one or more of the “clouds”.

While there are many career paths that a strong understanding of Salesforce can add value to, the massive need for qualified administrators is important to call out. You can learn Salesforce by “jumping in” and immersing yourself in the platform and/or by taking on client projects. But to validate that you have established a robust understanding of the critical elements of administration, and to have a credential that the industry recognizes, it is highly recommended that you pursue and earn the Salesforce Certified Administrator (SCA) certification.

To prepare for the SCA, the best and most efficient set of content is the Trailmix on that topic. This content is expected to take ~26 hours to complete. Here is a breakdown of the modules and projects, with the estimated effort for each:

analysis created by the author

Once you complete that Trailmix, the next step is to study for the SCA exam. Gratefully, there is a Trail for that as well. If you prefer instructor-led training, CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business offers a tailor-made course. [Note: the author of this post teaches that class]. To prepare to take the exam, Salesforce provides an exam guide.

Including the studying and the actual exam, you are looking at spending about 30 hours of effort all in. That’s not bad considering that this skillset is a potential cornerstone to build your career growth upon.

There are other ways to brush up on your knowledge of Salesforce from an administration perspective. Geckoboard posted a list of resources, and Amit Arora wrote a 27-day plan. But all paths point back to Trailhead, which also provides a Trailmix for comprehensive certification preparation.

Salesforce offers many other certifications that can take you into more specialized realms:

— Marketing, including ExactTarget

— Sales, including Configure Price Quote (CPQ)

— Platform, focusing on low-code and custom-developed applications

You can earn Superbadges on myriad topics as well. But all of these credentials are just the beginning, as there are so many opportunities to gain hands-on experience by working full-time, part-time, or as a volunteer in many great organizations around the world.

Investing in yourself is the best move you can make. Whether you’re in college, or a life-long learner, gaining new understanding and technical skills in CRM tools and Customer Success strategies is going to serve you well.

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Matthew John Brady

Founder & CEO of @VolleySolutions , Instructor @LeedsBiz. Successful exits as CEO @AbsenceSoft; CTO @Opolis; COO @2lemetry. MBA @Kellogg; BS @TechPurdue