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CRM Certification – The Complete Guide

If you’re using CRM software for the first time or have been using it for a while with no results, CRM certification is a great way to make the most of your investment. Whether you’re a freelancer, a customer support team, an IT department, or something else entirely, it’s the best way to learn the ins and outs. The things you learn will transform the way you use your CRM and help you build a competitive advantage—the ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Why CRM Certification Is So Important

CRM software plays a critical role in managing customer relationships at every point of the sales funnel. However, the first step is learning how to use it.

Ineffective use of your CRM can be just as detrimental—if not more so—than not having one at all. Plus, you’ll miss out on the most significant value that comes with CRM software if you’re not sure how to use it to its full potential. The right CRM certification program can teach you skills and fine details of the software you’d never otherwise know.

From there, you can use what you learn to develop high-level strategies to improve customer relationships in the long term. So, it’s worth investing time and money in high-quality CRM certification for your and your team.

CRM software is notorious for being hard to learn. Because of that, many start using it from a place of hesitation, afraid to make mistakes. After certification, you can conquer any situation with confidence and vigor knowing you’re starting from a place of knowledge. Plus, you’ll be able to help others on your team feel the same way

Adding on to that, you’ll have the confidence to make decisions and implement strategies that actually drive your company forward while also opening up new career paths for the future.

According to a recent study, CRM is the fastest-growing software market, so it’s no secret that mastering CRM software will give you (and your team) a differentiating factor you can use against your competitors who waited longer to join the race.

As they’re getting started, you’ll already be implementing winning strategies and seeing the results of your efforts.

Quick Tips to Improve Your CRM Certification Today

If you use Salesforce, becoming a Salesforce Administrator is an excellent place to start your CRM certification. Because of Salesforce’s prevalence in the CRM market, its CRM certification program is one of the most popular options out there. It’s also one of the most sought-after certifications.

A Salesforce Administrator designation shows that you have the skills, knowledge, experience, and dedication to help your company continuously improve customer relationships. Not only will it benefit your career, but it’s also a great way to expand your skillset.

The exam itself consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, and you have 90 minutes to answer them. If you get a 65% or better, you’ll pass and receive the official CRM certification.

If you decide you want to take your certification one step further, you can also get a Salesforce Advanced Administrator certification.

The first certification is designed for those who have some experience as an admin but want to become a CRM expert. The advanced certification is more difficult to get and carries more credibility. Both exams are $200 each for your first try and $100 per attempt if you don’t pass.

If you’re looking to get your certification and aren’t sure where to start, here are our top quick tips you can implement in the next 24 hours to help you prepare.

Use the Trailhead Portal

To help people prepare for the exam, Salesforce has created a learning portal called Trailhead.

This portal is one of the most in-depth, sophisticated, and well-built learning portals we’ve seen—it’s clear that Salesforce truly wants everyone to pass and learn to make the most of its CRM software. If you learn to use it correctly, it can help you breeze through certification.

Trailhead features many different online training courses that are both DIY and instructor-led, depending on how you prefer to learn.

There are over 35 hours of training materials in the Salesforce Admin Trailmix for free via the Trailhead portal. The exercises on Trailhead are broken down into:

  • Modules: Individual lessons that teach you specific skills
  • Trails: Guided lessons that include multiple modules
  • Trailmixes: Custom lessons that have both modules and trails

Working through these exercises will give a broad scope of experience in the software while also offering examples, practical tips, walk-throughs of specific features, and useful strategies for CRM use.

In the exam guide, Salesforce recommends the following self-study materials:

Before you start the exam, we recommend taking the time to read through everything that Salesforce offers. Doing so will improve your chances of passing while equipping you with the skills you need to improve your overall expertise with CRM software.

There’s no such thing as learning too much.

Study Guides

There is no shortage of study guides available online for your certification, but the best place to begin your studies is with the Salesforce Administrator exam guide. This official guide gives you a brief overlook of the exam.

Included in this guide, you’ll find:

  • Details about the exam and the program
  • Description of the program
  • Purpose of the exam guide
  • Recommended training and references
  • Exam outline
  • How to maintain your certification

The purpose of the guide is to determine if you are ready to attempt the exam. It provides information about who the target audience for the exam is, what you need to do to prepare, and all the exam objectives.

A great non-Salesforce-affiliated study guide can be found via Focus on Force. While this tool isn’t free, it won’t break the bank and comes highly recommended by those in the Salesforce community. 

People love it because it provides a clear and comprehensive guide to the exam and breaks down the exam topics into individual lessons. It also features flashcards at the end of each section as a great way to quiz you on the material you’ve just read.

Practice Exams

Just like the SAT and the ACT, it is best to take practice exams for your Salesforce Administrator certification. This is the ideal way to simulate a test environment and take what you’re learning, and see how you can apply it to the actual test.

Practice tests are also great for getting comfortable with the format and concept of a test so that you can alleviate some of the test anxiety.

To take practice exams for your certification, head to Focus on Force. While the practice tests aren’t free, by paying the $19, you gain access to six full practice exams, each with 60 questions just like the real exam.

Here are a number of the other things you’ll get with this practice exam:

  • Over 400 practice questions
  • Questions that cover all 12 sections and 34 objectives of the test
  • Timed exams
  • Exams specific to topics
  • Explanations and screenshots
  • Reference links
  • Feedback
  • Access to a forum where you can ask questions
  • Repeat the practice exams as many times as you want in 12 months

Salesforce also has an Administrator Practice Test that allows you to feel what the real test will be like.

Ask For Help

Chances are good you have people in your network who have become CRM certified in Salesforce, and they likely have tips to share on how to pass the exam. People who have been through the process can offer valuable advice and resources to help you study.

Join a Community

While the study guides and lessons provide great material, you may encounter some questions in your studies that you can’t find the answer to. Thankfully, there is a community you can join. The Salesforce Trailblazer Community brings together Salesforce users worldwide that can help you work through any issues you find while studying.

Review The Test Before Submitting

Because the test provides plenty of time (90 minutes) to answer the 60 questions, if you struggle with a question, simply skip it and plan to come back. Once you’ve finished the entire test, return to answer the questions that stumped you.

You should also have time to review all of the questions and answers before submitting them to ensure you didn’t make any mistakes.

Long Term Strategies for CRM Certification

Getting your CRM certification in Salesforce will do more than just provide you with a piece of paper saying you passed the exam. There are more long-term benefits and strategies involved in this exam that you likely wouldn’t get any other way. 

Increased ROI

CRM software can get incredibly complex. Enough so that some—perhaps most—companies aren’t flexing their CRM’s full potential.

You’re going to learn a lot on your way to a CRM certification. That’s valuable knowledge about wringing every bit of value out of your CRM that you get to bring back to your organization.

That sort of quick injection of information can do wonders for your team’s overall capability. And also really start to multiply the return on your investment in CRM software.

Teach Others In Your Office

It’s not just you bringing back knowledge and becoming a CRM whiz at your workplace. Your CRM certification lets you be a conduit of information for your team.

By getting certified, you become a trusted go-to source for teaching other people in your company how to use the CRM software features that may increase their job function and productivity. Even a little “insider” information for the managers and higher-ups in your company can make a world of difference.

Understand What’s Going On With Your Customers

One of the greatest long-term strategies in getting CRM certified is having a solid overarching understanding of your company’s customer relationship. This includes things such as:

  • Better knowledge of your customers
  • Improved segmentation of contacts
  • Stronger customer retention
  • Ability to anticipate needs
  • Better communication
  • More protected data

Stay Up-To-Date on Releases

As a certified Salesforce Administrator with current certification, you get first access to new updates in Salesforce. These updates happen a few times a year. So, rather than waiting for the software updates to hit regular Salesforce users, you get first access and the ability to upgrade to the new version before anyone else.

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