Salesforce Marketing Cloud Certifications
The growth of Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) has been astounding. Borne out of the acquisition of Radian6, Buddy Media, and ExactTarget from 2012 to 2013, Salesforce is now the number one global CRM provider, as awarded by IDC for its seventh consecutive year.
Last year, its overall market share position grew and its revenue increased more than any other CRM vendor globally. IDC have estimated that Salesforce will add 4.2 million new jobs globally by 2024. In Europe in particular, the CRM market is expected to grow at a rate of 5.3% during the period of 2021 to 2026.
This growth is in part driven by a marketing landscape that is evolving at pace. The SFMC platform is an all singing all dancing marketing automation tool, that can be configured to reach customers and deliver insights across multiple channels, be it email, mobile, social or online more generally.
The sophistication of SFMC’s offering is able to capture and activate data across multiple sources, customise interactions with the help of AI, deliver the holy-grail of real-time customer engagement, and perform measurements right across the customer journey.
What are the certifications options?
What’s more, marketing leaders are keenly aware that cross-functional dynamics are shifting to satisfy customer and business demands, that data is transforming how marketers operate; and that customers expect new standards of engagement (including personalisation).
As the sophistication of the SFMC offering develops though, so will partners have more complex and nuanced requirements from marketing automations specialists and Salesforce consultants, who will find themselves needing to demonstrate specifically required expertise, and to simultaneously differentiate themselves from other candidates.
Fortunately, Salesforce offers more than 30 certifications across a range of roles and experience levels which enables candidates to do just that. According to Kristine Lande, SVP of the Trailblazer Ecosystem, Salesforce certifications are globally recognised credentials that allow you to transform your career by proving your hands-on experience with Salesforce and getting a competitive edge that leads to new opportunities.
"Each certification includes a curated certification prep learning journey on Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online platform," Lande said. "With Trailhead, learners can complete learning modules and projects to learn not only the tech skills the job market demands, but also the soft skills to become a well-rounded certified professional. The secret sauce of Trailhead is the ability to get hands-on with Salesforce technology and complete real-world challenges for free with the Trailhead Playground, their own free instance of Salesforce."
Marketing automation specialists can demonstrate their baseline skillset and appetite to learn, by starting off with the Marketing Cloud Email Specialist certification. This provides a solid foundation to SMFC by focusing on the capability of only one Marketing Cloud Studio. Email marketing is at the core of every marketing automation platform and is the functionality universally used by organisations.
The Marketing Cloud Administrator certificate is the next natural choice in terms of certifications. This certification will require studying with breadth, mastering all foundational knowledge of Marketing Cloud’s ‘studios’ and account administration. Kerry Townsend, a Marketing Cloud expert, notes that this certification gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your broad knowledge of the platform, by testing the foundational components of Marketing Cloud (like Mobile Studio and Journey Builder) that the other certifications don’t.
The Marketing Cloud Email Specialist certification is a prerequisite for the notoriously demanding Marketing Cloud Consultant certification. This is an advanced certification that emphasises deep knowledge of the advanced configuration options within Marketing Cloud, as well as builders and studios within Marketing Cloud. An advanced certification such as this greatly enhances a candidate’s application.
The rewards of being certified
Whilst certifications demand time and money, professionals can be assured that their efforts will lead to material benefit. In the Salary Survey, respondents were asked if they experienced an increase in their salary after earning a certification 44% did, reporting an average salary increase of 24%. All Salesforce Certified professionals must successfully complete one Trailhead maintenance module per year in order to maintain their certifications.
Although certifications like these are not a panacea, they can crucially supplement a candidate’s pre-existing experience. In particular, certifications are beneficial especially for candidates establishing themselves at the mid-level, looking to strengthen their Salesforce best practice knowledge. In an environment where the landscape is constantly evolving and client expectations are changing, certifications are a great way to obtain knowledge and signal drive.
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