certifications

  • Passing the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Certification

    Although not strictly part of the pathway to Certified Technical Architect, sometimes you just want to branch out a little and demonstrate your knowledge of the platform. So with this in mind, I recently sat the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Certification Exam (that is a mouthful!)

    Happily, I can report back, that I passed! And to help others also pass, I have compile a list of tips and resources I found beneficial to passing the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant.

    Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant ‚Äď Who is it for?

    Firstly, let’s clear the air a little.

    You don’t have to be a consultant to sit this exam. Much like I mentioned in the Sales Cloud Consultant exam, it is a good way to certify your understanding the features and benefits of the various aspects to Service Cloud and following on from that, also the implementation of it.

    If you are an Admin, Application Manager, etc – and are working within Service Cloud, and want recognition for your skills. Or wanting to learn specifically about implementing Service Cloud, this is the certification for you.

    Additionally, if you are a consultant and wanting to demonstrate your understanding of Service Cloud – then yes, this is also the exam for you. ūüôā

    What does the exam cover?

    Even though the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Exam is based on Service Cloud products and knowledge – there is a sizeable chunk of the exam dedicated to which solution fits the business problem the best. Along with best practises for implementation steps and delivery of a Service Cloud project.

    Image result for lightning service console
    Lightning Service Cloud Console, unsurprisingly, forms a big part of the Service Cloud Consultant Certification Exam.

    Breakdown of the exam:

    • Industry Knowledge: 10%
    • Implementation Strategies: 15%
    • Service Cloud Solution Design: 16%
    • Knowledge Management: 9%
    • Interaction Channels: 10%
    • Case Management: 15%
    • Contact Center Analytics: 5%
    • Integration and Data Management: 5%
    • Service Console: 15%

    Salesforce’s Exam Guide gives you an official breakdown of each section.

    I found that the key topics/areas in my exam included – in no particular order:

    • Case Setup, including Console (both Classic with Case Feeds and Lightning Service Console)
    • Case Escalations rules
    • Entitlements and Milestones
    • Also, when you might use an Entitlement/Milestone vs Escalation rule
    • Knowledge, and all things relating to Knowledge (Articles, Permissions, Integration with Communities, Knowledge ‘Lifecycle’, Migrating to Knowledge, etc)
    • Marcos and Quick Text (why and how you might use them)
    • Email to Case, versus On-Demand Email to Case.
    • Migration of data, and best practises involved in such activities.
    • Industry knowledge, around metrics/SLAs and how to best report on them.
    • Use cases for customer retention (ie using Service Cloud and Sales Cloud together)
    • Different Service Channels, and why/when and how you might use them (Calls, Email, Live Agent, Social, etc )
    • Omni-channel, what it is used for and capabilities.
    • Different Console configuration options, and what might be best in specific scenario. Keep in mind, some of these questions still focus on both Classic Service Console and Lightning Record Pages with Components.

    Exam Format

    Like other Salesforce Exams, this in the format of a multiple choice exam.

    All up, there were 65 questions in total (n.b. this is at time of writing Jan 2020).

    Though this included an additional five questions, which don’t end up counting to your overall mark. Instead providing feedback to Salesforce on user understanding of newer practices, products and features.

    FYI – this is similar to other exams, like the Platform Developer I exam (where it had additional questions testing on your understanding of Heroku).

    Resources that helped me

    After using and implementing Service Cloud for a couple of years, I still found it really useful to study.

    For example, I didn’t realise there was a difference between Email to Case and On-Demand Email to Case… And there were a few questions about the different solutions and why you might use one versus the other.

    In short, studying helps! ūüôā

    If you don’t have experience using Service Cloud, this might be a little more difficult for you to pass. But not impossible. The key is preparation.

    And when studying, don’t just learn the feature. Try and pay attention to the scenarios and the ‘why’ you might use a particular feature/solution.

    Trailhead, is a great place to start.

    The Service Cloud modules and projects, are very hands-on and give you that implementation experience. And Salesforce has grouped a large number of the courses together, into a ‘Prepare for Your Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Credential‘ trailmix.

    Even though I have hands-on experience, I still did the Trailhead modules. I always feel that you can never have enough hands-on experience. As it helps build your confidence, and if you get stuck in the exam, you can at least think back and try and visualise how you did a particular step.

    Online Course

    I also purchased the ‘Service Cloud Consultant Certification’ course on Udemy from Mike Wheeler.

    It is a good course and really outlines the foundation of the exam and how to implement certain solutions. I was concerned when watching the videos, that it was a little dated, especially considering there has been a big push over last few years to bring Service Cloud up to parity in Lightning.

    But from my own experience, there was enough on the exam still based around Classic… And the reasons of ‘why’ you would use a particular product is still the same.

    Community

    Most other blogs I researched before hand, seem to mainly focus on the exam and reiterate the outline of the exam… So I decided to also asked the Reddit Salesforce community for some tips & pointers for the exam, you can check out that thread here.

    One user ‘yummyyummybrains‘ (great username btw!) pointed out that with these Consultant exams:

    …I can say: the questions are going to involve a lot more qualitative and evaluative analysis than the Specialist Exams. Less: “What does this function do?” and more: “given these parameters, what’s the best way to achieve the client’s stated goal?”

    I’ve had a hard time recommending study materials for the MC Consultant Exam for that very reason — how do you study for an exam that requires deep knowledge of the relative pros and cons of different features, and how they would be impacted by the specific needs of a client?…

    yummyyummybrains on Reddit re: Service Cloud Consultant Exam

    One blog article I did find that stood out for me was from Ashish, who created an in-depth study guide, including checklist of topics and direct links to Salesforce Help articles for each specific topic on the Exam Guide.

    Wrap-up

    So there you have my little debrief of the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Certification Exam.

    As mentioned about, there is a big focus on why and when you would choose a particular solution to match a business requirement. So learning just the features of Service Cloud products won’t be enough…

    If you have any tips or insights you would like to share, please feel free to use the comments below.

    And if you are sitting the exam, best of luck to you!

  • Becoming a Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant

    Recently I did the double whammy of Platform App Builder and Platform Developer I¬†exams.¬† I have had a few questions about another certification I have done recently, the¬†Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant Certification (CRT-251).¬† So in this post let’s cover what the exam is, what it is testing and some resources to help you prepare for the exam.

    Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant – Who is it for?

    First thing is first, you don’t need to be a consultant to get this exam.¬† I would actually strongly recommend Admins prepare and sit the exam.

    Why?

    The exam obviously tests you on a number of areas within the Sales Cloud package.  But the primary focus of the Sales Cloud Consultant certification is implementing the right solution within Sales Cloud.

    So you will need to use your understanding of the features within Sales Cloud, and chose the right way to implement a solution.

    Sales Cloud in action... Important to know if your planning on becoming a Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud ConsultantTo this extent, most of the questions on the exam are scenarios/use case based. And like most other exams, you have to select the right multiple choice answer.

    Sample question…

    Here is a sample question from the Study Guide:

    Universal Containers is using Salesforce and has set up a private sharing model. Sam is a
    sales executive who reports to John, a sales manager. Sam has ownership of the ABC
    Company account record and has created an opportunity for ABC Company. There is a
    sharing rule that allows the finance team to see all accounts and opportunities.
    Which statement about data visibility is true?

    Choose one answer
    A. John and Sam can see all of the same data.
    B. John can see all of Sam’s data but Sam CANNOT see all of John’s data.
    C. The finance team must be added to the sales team in order to see Sam’s op
    D. John must be added to the sales team in order to see Sam’s opportunity.

    As you can see, this is a scenario any business with Sales Cloud may face.  Who can see what, is one of the fundamental things of the Salesforce platform.

    So to choose the right answer you need to know how the core system works.  How do Sharing Rules, Org-Wide Defaults, Record Ownership, Role Hierarchy and Sales Teams work together?  And how would they affect the above scenario, based on the information you are given?

    So what did you select for the answer?  (Answer is at the end of the article).

    Let’s break it down…¬† What does the exam cover?

    The exam does cover a lot of topics within the ‘Salesforce universe’.¬† But the good news is that it is focused on the Sales Cloud only.¬† So Service Cloud/Marketing Cloud/Wave Analytics/etc are not covered, meaning you can focus your energies.¬† But I will stress that there is a sales/marketing element to the exam, particularly around Campaigns within Sales Cloud…

    Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant badge

    One way I like to prepare for an exam is to reference to the official Study Guide, and look at the weighting for certain topics within the exam.  So for the Sales Cloud Consultant Exam (in order of % weighting):

    • Sales Cloud Solution Design (25%)
    • Opportunity Management (15%)
    • Account and Contact Management (12%)
    • Sales Productivity (12%)
    • Integration and Data Management (8%)
    • Marketing and Leads (7%)
    • Implementation Strategies (6%)
    • Sales Cloud Analytics (5%)
    • Communities and Site Management (5%)
    • Industry Knowledge (5%)

    This is a little high level, but you can see a breakdown of these topics in the study guide.  Now to break it down a bit further, some of the key things you will need to make sure you understand include (in no particular order):

    • Campaign management
    • Person Accounts
    • Sales Processes within Sales Cloud (Lead->Opportunity->Quote->Contract)
    • Products & Pricebooks
    • Orders
    • Using multiple currencies within Salesforce
    • Territory Management
    • Forecasting
    • Communities
    • Role Hierarchy
    • Approvals & Workflows/Process Builder
    • Sharing Rules / Org-Wide Defaults
    • Sales Reports and Dashboards (KPIs / metric based reports for Sales teams)
    • Role Hierarchy
    • Sales Teams
    • Lightning Experience!¬† (make sure you know how the above work within Lightning Experience too!)

    This isn’t a complete list, but it will get you started and covers the majority of the exam.

     

    Resources to help you study for the exam

    As you can see above, the largest percentage of the exam is around solution design.  And so many of the questions are around implementation/solution choices.  Study will help but you will likely need hands-on experience.  It is all about taking use cases and choosing the right solution.

    But study does help… So fear not there is plenty of help you¬†become a Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant!¬† Keep in mind, a lot of the following sites¬†are from mid 2016 or earlier though, so always check the release notes since to see if there are updates.¬†¬†

    Starting out, there is a Trailmix get help you learn the fundamentals.  This includes a lot of the fundamentals of the Sales Cloud package.

    I also found Youtube, immensely helpful by being able to search for specific videos on topics covered by the exam.  For example this one on Territory Management from Dreamforce helps understand the sales topic/business case side of things (it is a long video FYI).  But you have access to so many videos on each topic.  So if you are a visual learner like me, seeing a demo/the feature in action really helps me understand it.

    Next up, and one of my personal favs, is SalesforceBen’s post on resources.¬† There are links to a number of implementation guides from Salesforce, giving you some hands on experience (similar to Trailhead) but a lot more focused on the implementation.

    There is a post over at SalesforceMemo also covering some of the concepts/sample questions needed to pass the exam, which I found useful.

    Additionally, Heller Consulting have a ‘Q and A’ style approach to the exam.

    And finally, Tamara talks about her experience in sitting for the exam.

    Wrap Up

    A key theme throughout this has been ‘implementation’, and that has been very deliberate!¬† Knowing how you can use the base settings/features of Sales Cloud to meet business requirements and deliver a solution is key.

    One thing I am personally against is ‘Exam Dumps’.¬† Personally I would much rather study and practice and pass on my own merit.¬† In the long run, having the base understanding is so much more beneficial.

    Hopefully this post helps you out, and of course good luck for the exam.  If you have any tips of your own or resources you found useful, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

    Answer to the sample question above

    What did you pick?¬† If you picked ‘B’ you are correct.

  • Passing the Platform App Builder & Platform Developer I Exams

    Sometimes overconfidence catches up to you when you least expect it.¬† That is probably really obvious.¬† But for me recently it was about two months ago, when I sat both the Platform App Builder Transition exam and the Platform Developer I exam.¬† When I went into the exam centre here in London, sat down and clicked the ‘Begin Exam’ button, only to find I was woefully unprepared for the exams…

    The result of that day, two exams failed.¬† But the story doesn’t end there.

    So I am going to share some of my personal Salesforce experiences leading up to this point and more importantly my lessons learned and resources which helped me ultimately pass both exams.

    Journey To Certified Technical Architect

    Stepping back in time for a moment, I passed my first exams back in 2012.  And I do say exams, as in plural.

    In May 2012, I decided to sit both the Salesforce Admin (ADM-201) & Force.com Developer (DEV-401) exams on the same day.

    I decided to take the plunge after working with Salesforce for around a year and get certified.

    Passes for both the Certified Administrator & Force.com Developer exams...
    Passes for both the Certified Administrator & Force.com Developer exams…

     

    My objective was simple enough, and I wanted to get a recognised credential I could take with me when I moved to the UK.  I figured having a globally recognised certification would help the transition and ultimately help me find employment.

    My plane to Abu Dhabi on the way to London…

    It was a time of massive change (picking up and moving to the other side of the world).¬† But my main ambition was to set up in London and travel around Europe.¬† And if you know many Aussies in London, this is a little stereotypical ūüôā

    But those first steps I took, have set me on a path I have never looked back on.

    And over the last year, I have been continued planning next steps and my future direction within the Salesforce community and ecosystem.

    With the launch of the new certifications from Salesforce in late 2016, I have decided (like a lot of people) to slowly start working towards the goal of becoming a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect.

    Patterns are easy to form

    With a couple of other certifications over the last 18 months (like the Advanced Admin & Sales Cloud Consultant) – I relied more on my personal experiences and knowledge of the platform, rather than directly studying for the exams.

    Platform App Builder & Platform Developer I are both on the pathway to Certified Technical Artchitect
    Platform App Builder & Platform Developer I certifications are both on the pathway to Certified Technical Architect

    Sure, I ended up referencing the study guides, but after running through some practice quizzes, I was relatively sure I wouldn’t need further study.¬† But with this, I started to build a pattern of not taking the exams seriously enough.¬† Taking for granted my hands-on experiences and knowledge over the years getting me across the line.

    And so, I found myself eagerly booking in my App Builder transition exam & the Platform Developer I exam…

    Overconfidence and failure

    Why was I so unprepared?  You can probably guess where we are heading with this next part!

    I made the first mistake of where I expected the Platform App Builder exam to be the easier of the two exams that day.  In my head I just assumed it was just like the Force.com Developer Exam (DEV-401), which it was replacing.

    The transition exam is only 20 questions, but there is new material which is covered by the exam (and rightly so!).  But with only 20 questions, and being over-confident blinded me to the fact I should have studied.

    Overconfidence can get you in trouble

    Secondly I had booked both exams on the same day…¬† Which isn’t generally a great idea in the first place.¬† As it doesn’t leave you time to deal with a negative result before moving straight onto the next exam.¬† The unexpected failure on the Platform App Builder transition knocked me for six (a cricket metaphor for those who don’t know what this means).

    And I knew going into the exams that the Platform Developer I exam was going to be the weaker of two…¬† But even still, I assumed by developer experience of the last year would be enough to get by.

    Leaving the exam centre that day, I took the result badly.  I was being very hard on myself and kicked myself for not taking the exams seriously enough.  How could I have just expected to coast by?  Did I not know Salesforce at all?

    With my anxiety, my mind was the harshest critic and it tore me to shreds…¬† But I vowed to make sure not to repeat the mistakes again.¬† And to do that I needed acknowledge what went wrong, and plan a way forward.

    Take Two: Adam Strikes Back

    So quietly I made preparations to re-sit both exams.

    After coming up with a study plan and finding a number of helpful resources (which are shared below).  I can proudly say I am back on track and have passed both exams.

    row of traffic lights, green lights illuminated (digital composite) - source: TelegraphI must be a glutton for punishment as I still re-booked both exams on the same day, but the exam centre isn’t that easy for me to get to, so I ensured I booked time slots which would give me some time in between¬†if needed.

    And as a funny/side anecdote¬† – as I was driving to the test centre, I had a ‘green light’ run.¬† Where every traffic light was either green or turned green on my way…¬† That never happens in London!

    Salesforce Platform App Builder Platform App Builder: Where did I go wrong?

    Now this may come from my past experiences and working with Salesforce now for over 7 years (hence over-confidence) but some of the questions on the Platform App Builder exam are easy… I mean really easy.¬† And almost make you second guess the answer as it is so obvious you think it is a trick question.

    I second guessed my answer about sandboxes the first time round, and ended up over thinking it and picking the wrong option… **DOH**

    But the area that really sunk me the first time around, generally related to the setting up of External Objects.¬† As I haven’t used these features of Salesforce, I was guessing.¬† And after studying External Objects, I know I got these completely wrong in that fateful first go of the exam!

    Also understanding the system limitations re: changing field data types was important as I had a couple of questions on this topic.

    Platform App Builder: Study Resources

    • SalesforceBen is pretty much a one stop shop for most certification exams nowadays, and the Platform App Builder was no exception.
    • Trailhead has a Trailmix specifically aimed at this certification
    • Salesforce888 & SalesforceMike both have a breakdown of the Platform App Builder Transition Exam

    And the Quizlet also has a number of flashcards/practise exams, but I found some of them had incorrect answers… So not 100% useful if you don’t know the answers.¬† Personally I used this one (link broken), and they seemed correct.

    Salesforce Platform Developer IPlatform Developer I: Where did I go wrong?

    There were a couple of areas, but the biggest areas I found when I failed needed to work on were the test execution/design patterns.¬† As I have never used Test Factory Data design or stored test data in Static Resources. Instead I have generally included a test method in the code I have written… But this isn’t very efficient in the long run!

    I also forgot topics in the exam that I know.¬† As an example I forgot the Order of Execution during the exam… Does a validation rule fire after a workflow?¬† I went completely blank…¬† I put this down to sitting this exam directly after failing the Platform App Builder.

    There are also five ‘product related questions’ throughout the exam, which actually have no bearing on the end-result.¬† At the time I did my exam, these related to Heroku (and I assume I got these wrong).¬† And I remember getting most of these early in the exam and this combined with the early failure in the exam before left me mentally panicking and I was freaking out that I knew nothing!¬† It was like reading another language!

    Platform Developer I: Study Resources

    • Order of Execution is key knowledge which is tested multiple times in the exam.¬† The questions I got in the test related to workflows, validation rules and triggers specifically.¬† But there could be other questions testing your understanding of this, and how to avoid recursion.
    • Vandevelde Jan’s blog post about the Platform Developer I exam was one of the most comprehensive I found online.¬† I can’t recommend it highly enough for those studying for this exam.
    • As mentioned above,¬†SalesforceBen is also a go-to resource for certification resources and unsurprisingly has a post dedicated to the Platform Developer I.
    • There are additional resources available in this Trailblazer Community post.
    • And finally there is also a Trailmix focused on the Platform Developer I certification

    If you have access to Premier Support, you also have this online course for the Platform Developer I available to you.  It is an extensive overview of the course and exam questions.

    Have you got any resources relating to these exams to share?

    Please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

Back to top button