What It Takes to Become Salesforce-Certified – and What It Means for Our Clients

Hannah Wilson

4 minute read

At Trendline Interactive, we believe investing in employee education and training pays off in better service for our clients. Continual Improvement is one of our core values, and we encourage employees to seek training that will further their skill sets.

We’re pleased to add the name of Steve Schweiss, a Solution Engineer, to the list of Trendline professionals who have earned recognition as a Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Consultant.

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consultant credential is designed for those who can set up and implement the Salesforce Marketing Cloud email application tools, providing solutions to execute both tactical and strategic email campaigns.

Additionally, SFMC Consultants are able to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and experience in email marketing best practices. This includes message design, subscriber and data management, inbox delivery, and external integrations with the Marketing Cloud email application.

Earning his certification meant Steve had to do more than just take a quick online test. Instead, he spent hours after work studying and practicing to learn how to better navigate the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform.

We sat down with Steve to find out what he had to do to become certified and what it means for his work with Trendline clients.

Q: What was your certification process?

A: There are two levels for certification: as an Email Specialist, which I earned in 2018, and the second tier, the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Consultant.

Rather than just taking a course, I used hands-on experience and self-study. Getting certified did not involve a structured environment. I used a combination of my experience over the years and doing in-depth research on the various functions in Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

I spent 6 to 8 weeks working in the evenings, taking an hour here and there, doing practice questions and quizzes, and polishing up areas where I needed to improve. If there were areas I was unsure about, I referred to SFMC for Dummies to learn more about them. It was a large undertaking, and balancing my job and this course of study wasn’t easy.

Q: Why did you want to get certified?

A: I became a Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist in 2018. Since then, I’ve wanted to increase my understanding of the platform and learn new ways to solve marketing and technology problems for our clients. Obtaining the Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Consultant designation seemed like the logical next step, as I am continually looking at news ways to get results for clients and get the most out of this complex platform. I’d like to get more into a Solutions Consulting role, and there are different areas in the Marketing Cloud that I can work in now, such as technical architecture. Trendline upper management, as well as my colleagues were very supportive and they encouraged me to pursue this certification.

I was also inspired by seeing that a colleague had obtained the same certification on LinkedIn. That gave me the impetus to go ahead and pursue it. I also wanted to get certified to demonstrate to clients that I know my way around the platform and to give them added confidence in my abilities.

Q: What was the certification process like?

A: It involved 60 questions that covered everything from Salesforce integration, Journey Builder, Content Builder, Marketing Cloud configuration, database structure and more. The toughest part is that much of the test is not black-and-white correct or incorrect answers. Instead, it’s situational. You’re given five options to resolve an issue or suggest a way forward, and you have to pick the three best options. So, you have to analyze a situation, much as you would do for a client, and then choose or recommend the best options. The questions were mostly centered around client problems, so it was my job to offer three of the best recommendations on how I would solve the problem for them and go from there.

I’ve been working with all types of platforms for close to 20 years and I thought the test was tough. It required quite a bit of studying, and now that it’s behind me, my recommendation to others is  to take your time, look at the questions, and make sure you understand each question fully. Hang in there. Overall, it was a difficult exam. Don’t feel bad if you don’t pass it the first time. Take a couple tries to learn the areas you need to focus on.

Q: What will it allow you to do moving forward?

A: The certification itself is an official endorsement from Salesforce, stating that you meet requirements to operate within the Marketing Cloud. It’s an advanced course, so it means something to be certified. More than anything, it proves that you have an in-depth understanding of the Marketing Cloud and at a minimum, it gives the clients you work for peace of mind that Salesforce has endorsed your technical skills. I’ve been excited to see how this certification has helped my everyday job and has helped me better navigate the platform when  working with clients.

Q: What advice would you give to people looking to increase their knowledge and skill set in Salesforce Marketing Cloud? 

A: Having practical experience in the platform is one of the best pieces of advice I can give. I used to work for Salesforce, so I had some experience navigating the platform previously. However, this still did not prepare me fully for the exam. I used online study guides and took practice exams. Any topics that I wasn’t familiar with or needed more work on, I used SFMC for Dummies to help me study.


About Steve Schweiss

Steve Schweiss is a Senior Platform Specialist and has been with Trendline since 2017. Before Trendline, he spent more than 10 years in IT and global support for GE and Salesforce. Steve is based in Indianapolis. He earned his “Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Email Specialist” credential in 2018, and became a “Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Consultant” in March 2019.

About Salesforce Marketing Cloud For Dummies 

Trendline was honored when Salesforce asked us to write a book sharing our insights on how to drive outstanding results for users of their platform. Salesforce Marketing Cloud for Dummies walks you through the use of Salesforce’s dynamic suite of cloud-based digital marketing solutions, giving you the power to plan, personalize, and optimize your customer’s journey. This book will help get your head in the Cloud and ahead of the competition. For a limited time we are giving away Free Copies of Salesforce Marketing Cloud For Dummies to all who sign up here.

Trendline Interactive

Ready to send better messages?

About the Author(s)

Hannah Wilson

Marketing Manager with a BBA Marketing from Baylor University. Enneagram Type 6. Notorious picky eater. You can find her listening to the Jonas Brothers, playing Catan, binging a TV show in record time, or trying to sneak backstage at a concert. Follow Hannah on LinkedIn

Let's Take This to the Inbox

Sign up for our news, resources and updates. The inbox is our favorite place after all. We’ll make sure it’s worth it. (You can unsubscribe at any time, but you probably already knew that.)