Last week, I became a Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist, earning my seventh Salesforce certification.
While I already wrote a post on Reddit about my experience taking the CPQ Specialist exam and added my CPQ Specialist certification to my LinkedIn profile, I wanted to write a series of articles diving into what I learned taking the CPQ Specialist exam.
Here are my actual scores by the way.
Test Taker Name: John Garvens
Exam: Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist (SU17)
Date Completed: 10/20/2017
Products and Bundles: 85.00%
Quote Templates: 63.63%
Pricing and Discounts: 61.90%
CPQ Platform: 87.50%
My goal is to help you prepare for and pass the CPQ Specialist exam yourself. This week, I will share the strategies I used to get a passing score.
While I struggled more than I expected to pass this exam, I am still pleased with my results, for three reasons:
- I learned what I do not know. This matters to me more than earning the certification, although that was pretty cool, too. Learning what you do not know is extraordinarily valuable because it helps you bridge your gaps and grow professionally.
- I earned a highly regarded credential in the Salesforce ecosystem. More and more companies are using Salesforce CPQ to sell faster and grow revenue. Because of that, the demand for Salesforce CPQ skills is “crazy” right now according to one recruiter I know.
- I will get a pay bump. Skill pay bills; Salesforce skills are no exception. In addition to getting reimbursed for the cost of the exam, I will also get a pay bump, which is always nice.
Why Salesforce certifications matter
If you are wondering why I am making such a big deal out of earning another Salesforce certification, wonder no longer. Salesforce certifications are a critical piece of your Salesforce career puzzle.
A growing number of Salesforce-related jobs—including Salesforce Administrator, Salesforce Developer, etc.—require at least one Salesforce certification. Many jobs require more. So you want to earn lots of Salesforce certifications.
With that said, you should be strategic about acquiring Salesforce certifications, earning the right certifications in the right order at the right time to maximize your investment of time, energy, and money. Which certifications you target after you become a Salesforce Certified Administrator depends on where you want your Salesforce career to go.
If you are just beginning your Salesforce career, I highly recommend you earn the Salesforce Certified Administrator credential, even if you want to become a Salesforce developer.
Great Salesforce administrators understand how development works; great Salesforce developers understand how administration works. Both “sides” need each other, like Yin and Yang.
Too often, Salesforce professionals pick a team—Team Clicks or Team Code—and cultivate an “us vs. them” mentality. The reality is we all need each other. By “picking a team” so to speak, you are only limiting yourself and your potential. You should open your mind to new ideas and approaches for solving business challenges with Salesforce.
But I digress.
Let’s dive in to my Salesforce CPQ journey.
My journey to Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist
I serendipitously stumbled into Salesforce CPQ in my last role as a Senior Salesforce Administrator at Mediaocean, an advertising software company.
In my first seven months at Mediaocean, I got to participate in a global implementation of Salesforce, which included Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud, Knowledge, and Salesforce CPQ plus integrations with several other platforms. As a solo Salesforce administrator, I had a lot to learn, fast.
Fortunately, Mediaocean sent me to CPQ-201 to help me get up to speed on Salesforce CPQ, which was the most complex piece of the entire implementation. It was there that I met Peter Averbukh, who later referred me to Simplus, a Certified Platinum Salesforce Partner and my current employer.
I learned a ton during the two-day CPQ-201 course, applying what I learned during and after the implementation project, and in subsequent Salesforce CPQ projects at Simplus.
One year after Peter and I met, Peter reached out to me, asking if I was in the market for a new role. I was. Specifically, I was interested in moving from Salesforce administration to Salesforce consulting because I wanted to 10x my rate of learning Salesforce CPQ.
Peter then introduced me to Kirsty Tait, a phenomenal Salesforce CPQ recruiter. Kirsty and I had a number of conversations about Salesforce CPQ, careers, life, improv, jujitsu, and more. We probably spent 80% of our time on the phone talking about non-Salesforce topics. So it goes.
My conversations with Kirsty went extraordinarily well. So I advanced to the next two rounds of interviews, with Baylee Miller and Randy West, who have since become mentors as well as managers. Less than a week later, I had an offer in hand to join Simplus as a Senior Consultant, specializing in Salesforce CPQ.
Since then, it has been a wild ride. Simplus has been growing like crazy, and I have had the opportunity to work on more than a dozen projects since May 2017.
This month, I took advantage of a new opportunity at Simplus, transitioning from our delivery team to our brand new training team where I will soon begin delivering Salesforce CPQ training to Simplus employees and clients. After earning my Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist credential last week, I am confident I will add tons of value to the courses I teach.
Even though I have no idea where my CPQ journey will go next, I am excited to find out. Now, I’d like to hear from you.
Leave a comment and let me know why you want to become a Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist. What’s in it for you, internally and externally?