People gathered in front of a screen with the Dreamforce logo on it.
PHOTO: JD Lasica

Salesforce, which provides customer relationship management (CRM) software for sales professionals and software for marketers, offers multiple certifications for customers, developers, consultants and others. The ultimate goal of a Salesforce certification is to enhance knowledge of the platform and, as Salesforce officials say on its website about its administrator certification, “get the most out of Salesforce.”

Salesforce is one of the fastest-growing software companies. It is the largest private employer in San Francisco with about 8,000 employees in the Bay Area and 35,000 overall worldwide. It has reached $13.3 billion in revenue and projects that number to double within four years. It’s shown similar growth in the past two years: Salesforce was at $6.7 billion revenue just two years ago.

With that growth in mind, we’ve explored some of the important considerations for those seeking Salesforce certifications and what you need to know about obtaining them.

Salesforce-Driven Certifications Make You More Marketable

While you can take certification courses from other learning platforms like Udemy, you gain the most knowledge and best practices if you are not familiar with Salesforce by using the training references and taking the actual certification test from a Salesforce proctor, according to Omar Fonseca, digital marketing manager for Medicare Plan Finder

The Salesforce certification Fonseca has completed is within the Administrator track. “With this track,” he said, “you learn how to customize Salesforce, manage users and get the most out of its features and capabilities.” The importance of getting Salesforce certified depends on your organization, Fonseca added, but it makes you “exponentially more marketable [to employers].”

Related Article: Marketing Certifications That Can Help You Earn More

Salesforce Certification Cost

There is a price to getting certified. The costs for a Salesforce certification range from $200 all the way up to $6,000. The $6,000 tag is only for one certification: Salesforce Certified Technical Architect. All the other certifications are either $200 or $400. A retake exam for those who fail is offered at half-price. However, there is one free certification — Salesforce Accredited Sales Professional. That free course is designed for “pre-approved” Salesforce partner sales, pre-sales and business development professionals who are “engaged in marketing and selling Salesforce solutions.” Exam-takers must demonstrate Salesforce Advantage knowledge “through a stand-and-deliver whiteboarding presentation prior to passing a multiple-choice exam.”

Salesforce Certification Training

Salesforce offers plenty of training courses to learn more about its platform. Some of those courses will cost you. Others will offer free courses. According to Geckoboard, the formal, in-person instructor-led classes are “intensive” and usually the most expensive training programs. There are also online, instructor-led classes that are cheaper, researchers found.

Some of the free resources cited by Geckoboard for training include:

Top Salesforce Certifications

Salesforce classifies its certifications and credentials via a few key roles:

Each of those roles have their own sub-credentials. For instance, a Salesforce Marketer certification includes:

For each of these sub-certifications, Salesforce walks you through paths to sign up for a certification course. It will tell you what you should demonstrate in order to achieve certification. For instance, with the marketing cloud email specialist certification, Salesforce requires “knowledge, skills, and experience using Marketing Cloud for message design, subscriber and data management, inbox delivery and external integrations.” It offers resources for training, an avenue to its Trailblazer Community, classes and workshops and the ability to register for its courses.

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Maintaining Your Salesforce Credential

Your work is not done once you’ve earned a Salesforce credential. In order to maintain Salesforce certifications, you must be aware of system feature updates that are produced three times a year. According to Salesforce officials, certified individuals must take maintenance exams/modules aligned with the Salesforce product release cycles. Each Salesforce credential will require different levels of maintenance based on release cycles. The number of certification release exams/modules published per year may vary. Salesforce has published a helpful chart for the varying levels of releases.