5 Tips to get your Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant Credential
For those who have taken exams like Salesforce Certified Administrator and Platform App Builder, the Sales Cloud Consultant exam will feel a little different. While there are certainly overlapping topics and information, this exam covers quite a bit of new territory as well.
Like many areas of expertise, the world of Salesforce strikes a blend of Art and Science. Many in the ecosystem tend to gravitate towards the science side, not surprising since many Salesforce administrators and especially developers and architects have a technical inclination. The Consultant series of certifications (Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Non-Profit Cloud, etc), wade much more into the “art” end of the pool.
Before beginning the tips to achieve the credential, a good starting point is to answer the question: Why should I get a Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant certification?
The answer starts with the role and there are three primary places where this certification comes in handy:
- Salesforce Consultant as part of a team. Many organizations – large and small – will provide third-party Salesforce work for organizations who use or plan to use the planform, but don’t have internal resources. A Sales Cloud consultant can be a critical part of the team as early as initial sales discovery, through RFP and proposal, and throughout the project. Because the Salesforce Consultant is expected to have knowledge of both the Salesforce Platform and real-world Sales Operations, this person is a critical link between stakeholders and those doing more complex work.
- Independent Consultant. This could be the head of your own team, part of an independent consulting group, or the one-man/one-woman powerhouse that you are! Independent Consultants know that a lot is expected of them, and this certification matches that expectation. For those in this sector of the Salesforce world, they know that they need to come to the table with a broad array of knowledge and the ability to solve countless problems. Unlike a consultant who is part of a team at a Deloitte or KPMG, there typically aren’t internal resources to go to for areas outside of your domain. Being able to speak intelligently about key sales practices in addition to core Salesforce functionality is often the difference between winning and losing the client.
- Business Analyst / Project Manager. Not every company outsources their Salesforce projects. While these job titles don’t mimic the certification’s name, these are essentially Consultants within the organization. The same expectation would exist for the team’s Business Analyst – to be there to tie together the organization’s sales and marketing needs with the platform’s capabilities. Once the project is complete, the BA and PM will also be responsible for ensuring the hard work that the Salesforce team has done is translated into a successful roll-out and adoption. Understanding how the system works as well as how sales teams operate make a huge difference.
If you are in one of these roles, or aspire to be, then the Sales Cloud Consultant Certification is a great addition to your knowledge base and resume. This article goes through some tips to success when preparing to earn the certification.
1. Understanding where the Certification fits in the bigger picture
The list of Salesforce examinations continues to grow as the ecosystem flourishes. Focus within the industry has been on specialization, with teams looking for individuals with specific skills to work on their projects or fill out their team. Salesforce Ben has an excellent visual depiction of the different certifications and how they fit into various career paths.
On this chart, the Sales Cloud Consultant is in orange, directly under the darker blue Certified Administrator exam. That entry level exam is the only prerequisite for the Sales Cloud Consultant exam. Based on this chart, the certification fits into a Consultant career path with a possible link to future Architect roles. The progression from Consultant to Architect is certainly not the most common or direct route (probably why Salesforce Ben uses a dotted line to link these section).
The technical knowledge needed for the Sales Cloud Consultant exam aligns with information covered during Certified Administrator, Advanced Administrator, and Platform App Builder. While that is not necessarily a linear path to take, the exam builds on that core knowledge and blends in a heavy dose of the real-world Sales Operations and project roll-out information.
2. Understanding Sales process outside of CRM’s
Individuals taking this exam come from either the technical/Salesforce/IT side, or they come from the Sales/Marketing side. For the latter, the path to prepare for this certification is simple: take the prerequisite (and possibly a couple other certifications). For those coming from the technical side, building up the knowledge outside of Salesforce can be just as important.
As with any certification, Trailhead is a great resource to get started. You will notice that there is a heavy focus on items that have less to do with designing and implementing the org, and more to do with real usage.
- For example:
- Industry Knowledge (7% of exam) includes Adoption Strategies
- Implementation Strategies (12%) discusses Rollout Strategy and User Adoption Metrics
- Sales Cloud Solution Design (21%) which does include Salesforce design items, also present things like High Velocity Sales, Lightning Experience, and Team Collaboration in a manner that comes across as a sales pitch. This is relevant because as a Sales Cloud Consultant, you often will need to be able to describe the features to others in a way that encourages them to utilize the platform (and hopefully work with you!)
- Discussions of things like Mobile App Rollout and Pardot Process Automation focus less on the nuts and bolts of implementation, and more about the big picture
- Nearly every section leans towards understanding use cases and best practices over pure functionality
3. Understanding Salesforce Products
When first venturing into the Salesforce world, anyone new to the ecosystem should focus on understanding the core functionality of the system. There are always shiny new objects, and Salesforce as an organization is masterful at promoting the cool new toys. However, trying to gather knowledge about various different apps and add-ons can make your knowledge a mile wide and inch deep. During early stages, stay focused on building a deeper understanding of what Salesforce does.
However, at some point we inevitably venture out into these other tools, which ultimately make the Salesforce Platform so powerful, especially when they are used properly in union with one another. The Sales Cloud Consultant exam expects the exam taker to have grown their knowledge in these other areas.
- The following areas are covered in this exam:
- High Velocity Sales – this solution is streamlined and designed specifically for Inside Sales Team. The out of the box solution can be used quickly (especially for smaller/newer teams) to make everyone more efficient.
- Mobile – this may seem like a basic benefit, but the initial Administrator Exam and even the follow up Advanced Administrator only give a cursory touch to mobile. The Sales Cloud Consultant exam definitely covers this area in more depth.
- Einstein Analytics – the various Einstein features and capabilities have been of heavy importance to Salesforce over the last few years. As more people become aware of Salesforce’s AI tools, there is a growing need for consultants who understand what it can really do.
- Pardot – the marketing automation tool has its own exam, so needless to say the level of detail is pretty low for this exam. Still, there will likely be a question or two so don’t gloss over this completely.
- Email Integration – linking Salesforce with Gmail and Outlook has become significantly easier in recent years, and this is a very common request from clients, so this information is valuable both for the exam and the real-world application.
- Tableau – like Pardot, this is only going to be a high-level overview of Salesforce’s more recent acquisitions. Tableau has its own ecosystem like Salesforce, and as the worlds merge closer together, expect as a consultant to field increased inquiries in this area.
There are other areas as well (i.e. references to CPQ, etc). As a Sales Cloud Consultant, it is also important to understand the difference between Salesforce license types. The exams tend to steer away from too many questions related to Professional vs Enterprise edition, for example, but still very useful when actually working with a client or your project team.
4. Understanding when to take the exam
The Salesforce Certified Administrator and Advanced Administrator contact a ton of modules that overlap with the Sales Cloud Consultant trail mix. This also includes a few Superbadges, which if you have ever attempted one, are significantly more work (and a better measure of applied knowledge). Rolling into the exam quickly after completing one or both of the Administrator exams is a very efficient way to double down on the knowledge you gained while preparing for the other one.
As soon as you complete the Admin or Advanced Admin exam, look for a Certification Day. This is great because it will help prepare you for the exam and typically offers a $40-$100 couple to discount the cost of the exam. Once you have the Certification Day booked (they usually have multiple Certification Days per month, but watch out because they fill up quickly and you may need to take one at an odd timezone halfway around the world), go ahead and schedule the exam. Nothing forces you to buckle down and do the work like having it on the calendar!
5. Understanding Sales Cloud Consultant Exam resources
Unlike the more common exams like Administrator and Platform App Builder, the Sales Cloud Consultant track does not have as many resources available. In addition to Trailhead, you can still get paid training and preparation through steady faithful sites like Udemy, Salesforce Ben, and Focus on Force. Example problems can also be found on sites like Quizlet, although these are not vetted or moderated by anyone for accuracy, so use this with caution.
As mentioned before, Certification Days are good sessions to learn in a different manner than just reading and following along through Trailhead. And speaking of Trailhead, don’t forget to click on the Resources links at the bottom of each module and lesson. These link to videos, additional trailhead pages, or Salesforce help pages with facts that are ripe for exam questions.