It’s Official: Sales Cloud Consultant

I bit the bullet last Saturday and took the Sales Cloud Consultant exam.

(She writes, as if she hadn’t been studying 1-2 hours per night for the past two months.)

I did the online proctoring, something I said I would not do again. But you know the saying about the best laid plans. It only took 10 minutes to get it set up this time. We’ll call it a win.

I thought about how I wanted to share this, if at all. My natural instinct is to provide some sort of guide, some insight to those that are considering taking it, preparing. There are already some great resources out there, though, and I’m not a fan of reinventing the wheel.

So instead I’m going to give you some honest feedback about what you can expect:

  1. Most people don’t pass this exam on the first try
  2. Your test-taking ability will come into play on this exam
  3. There is a LOT of information covered – both breadth and depth
  4. No matter what you study, there will be things you did not anticipate

I prepared for this exam for almost two months, starting with about an hour study each day and moving up to 2 hours each day a couple of weeks out.

I did what I always do. I downloaded the study guide, prioritized topics based on what I felt the least comfortable with, and I went to work. I used Salesforce’s existing documents, reviewed some Trailhead modules, inspected existing blog posts about Sales Cloud (shout out to Salesforce Ben!), and took copious notes. This method got me through both Advanced Admin and App Builder.

I guess technically it got me through Sales Cloud, too.

If you’re looking toward Sales Cloud on the horizon, here’s the best advice I can offer you: be patient with yourself and DON’T PANIC.

dontpanic

As I write this, I’m cool as a cucumber, ya dig? But literally five minutes before the exam, I could feel my heart trying to rip itself free from my chest. Taking these exams IS nerve-wracking. But guess what – it’s not the end of the world. All you can do is take a deep breath and focus on the question. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re going to answer the exact way Salesforce wants you to (because sometimes it’s really not clear). Worry instead about understanding the problem presented, understanding the potential solutions.

Having certifications is great. I love it. I love getting my name printed on paper.

But certifications aren’t going to make you a good consultant. Listening will. Empathy will. Curiosity will. A growth mindset and patience will. If you have those things, then you’ll do fine.

And, if you are taking the exam soon and somehow stumbled here, I hope you take a moment to breathe and relax. You’ve got this.

 

 

I’m Learning Pardot

I am taking the plunge.

When I accepted my new job offer, it came contingent upon my finishing a few more exams, including at least one for Pardot.

I thoroughly enjoy marketing, and I’m a big fan of marketing automation (if it’s not clear from my speaking sessions always including it), so I’ve decided to tackle the Pardot cert first.

I realize that doesn’t seem like a big deal. “Ok. A certification. Great. Don’t you have some of those?” Yeah, I do. And I’m not writing this to reinvent the wheel and provide a “how I passed” overview. First off, I haven’t taken it yet, so that would be premature and a little conceited. Second, those exist.

The only reason I felt this news needed any sort of nod is because I ran a Marketo shop, and I have at least one purple piece of swag in my possession. My backpack from Marketing Nation is pretty much my favorite – it is the perfect size for my work computer, and it carries more than it seems like it would.

The fact is, Marketo doesn’t allow re-certification if you’re not a customer. That puts me in a bit of a bind. When I left my last company, I knew that the day would come when I have to remove “Marketo Certified Expert” from my resume and LinkedIn. Frankly, that sucks. I earned that. Twice, in fact because Marketo’s exam maintenance consists of re-taking the exam every year.

My cert is up in December, so until then, I can call myself “MCE,” but afterwards…well, I need some feather in my cap.

And so it begins.

Success: Destination Success

or “What Happens in Vegas Goes on Your LinkedIn Profile”

What a week.

My brain still hurts. In a good way. Although shoving knowledge of Visualforce into a two hour block glances at the border of sadism. In a good way.

workbooks

A sample of notes/workbooks/work from the week

I came into the office Monday feeling a lot of different things. Tired. Refreshed. Accomplished. Inspired. Hungry. For both breakfast and knowledge…

There is something really cool about being one of the first people to attend this event. I ran into a few other attendees at the airport on the way home, and we chatted about how we’re the OG alums of Destination Success. Salesforce University, we’re looking at you to make something out of that.

Like pretty much every Salesforce event I’ve attended, this one was inspirational, and it created a sense of community. Given that we all lined up for exams like the huddled masses, commiserating and pep-talking, I would say there was an even greater sense of community than normal. We were all in it together. Who else could understand the exhaustion and excitement that was Destination Success?

And man, what a freakin’ week.

It really was great. I got to meet a lot of Salesforce folks, share my story, take tests (yay?), collect swag, and learn a ton. Hooray!

You feel it, though, don’t you? You know what I’m saying…

But

It can’t be sunshine and lollipops all the time. Here’s what could have been handled a little better:

  1. Infrastructure. I feel like I don’t really need to say more, and I don’t know that it was entirely on SFDC. But the connection/server issues…they were issues. Provided resolution was great, and this isn’t a complaint, but next year, plan for bigger.
  2. Circles were so far away. First world problems, I realize. The Circles of Success sessions were being held in the Delano, and I feel like a lot of folks didn’t go because a) they didn’t know how to get there and b) it was kind of a hike. But Circles are so amazing, and it makes me sad that they were all the way on the 5th floor over there.
  3. All lessons are not created equal. I was in the Dev 1 track, and I can safely say that we did not have enough time to cover Visualforce (among other things). Every single module was given 2 hours; some didn’t need the full 2 hours and others needed way more. The pace was inconsistent, accordingly, and it made it really difficult to retain some things.
  4. Consistency was absent. There were two Dev 1 classes, and depending on which one you were in, you may have learned slightly different things. That’s not unusual – I get it; I was a teacher. But I also know that when there is some sort of test, or there are certain skills that students absolutely must know, then working with the other teachers is necessary. There was definitely a bit of a vacuum feeling at times.
  5. Unprepared for crowds. I guess in a way this goes hand-in-hand with infrastructure. When I lined up for my exams, the crowd was just kind of a blob (Lol, Apex). And we would have a friendly Salesforce U person come over and say something like “if you could create five single-file lines…” We really wanted to make lines, but when you get more than a handful of people in a space with no clear direction, they’re going to end up in just 5 vaguely line-shaped blobs. Tape on the floor is helpful here.

That’s about all I have for constructive criticism. But none of that surprised me, either. This was the first year; hiccups are bound to happen, and I think overall it went off extremely, surprisingly smoothly. The little things (save the infrastructure issues) did not detract from the value of the event.

The benefits for me far, far, far outweighed any minor grievances. I am now 3x Certified, and I am ready to tackle the next couple of exams, too. I met a lot of great people. I had a blast in Vegas. I have some sweet shades for the summer.

It really served as a week to remind me just how amazing this community and the opportunities available through Salesforce really are.

So thank you, Salesforce. Again.