The largest and most popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provide certifications at an additional cost for their customers.
Huge platforms like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Oracle CRM address so many features and possible use-cases across departments, that it's often beneficial to have a team member develop an expertise in the entire platform. The certified employee can help with a smooth implementation and ensure that your team is taking advantage of all the features that fit your use-case. If they have a more advanced certification, they can even build applications on top of the CRM for a more customized experience.
There are a number of different certifications you can get depending on how technical of an implementation you're looking for. While there are slight variations between CRMs, here are the main specializations:
- Certified Administrators are experts in the platform's consumer-facing features. They can find the best way to customize each feature to fit your particular project's use case, and also can provide support.
- Certified Developers are technical experts in the platform's APIs. They don't necessarily need extensive engineering experience, since the exams typically test mostly declarative and some rudimentary programmatic skills. They know how to build basic custom apps on top of the existing platform, extending its capabilities.
- Certified Consultants are high-level experts in the platform. This is the first exam that requires project experience, so it's not a test team members can simply study for. A consultant knows all use-cases of the platform thoroughly, so they can advise a team on the best possible way to implement the CRM for any given project.
- Certified Architects have the highest level of CRM certification for any CRM. They usually have experience as a lead developer and architect, and have the expertise to design an entire infrastructure designed for your business goals, specifically.
Each specialization usually has several tiers of certification that requires a separate exam. Each certification exam can cost anywhere from $100 to $400, depending on the CRM and the certification level. To maintain official credentials, most certifications require a test at least once a year to stay up-to-date on changes and updates to the platform. A certification has been known to boost employee's resumes and increase their marketability.
Most CRMs provided both free and paid resources in the form of classes, online communities, and digital study guides to help candidates prepare for the certification. Salesforce.com has an entire online learning hub, Salesforce University, as well as a developer hub for this very purpose. These courses can get expensive, so many people take advantage of free or less-expensive resources provided by third-party businesses.
Employers who don't want to pay for their employees to undergo training often contract certified consultants to set up their team. In this event, you want to be sure that each consultant you work with is certified, and not just the firm as a whole.
Perspectives on CRM Certification and Training
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