CRM (customer relationship management) software has become a must-have in the modern business environment. These tools can drastically improve the way your organization deals with leads and customers.
From sales to marketing and customer support, CRM can improve KPIs across all departments. It’s one of the best ways to manage customer relationships while keeping them happy and coming back for more.
While the benefits of CRM software speak for themselves, implementing these tools and having success with them is a different story entirely.
The truth is, CRM software can be complicated—especially if you’re a beginner. But a CRM certification will ensure that you get the most out of the tools at your disposal.
What is CRM Certification?
CRM certifications are verified credentials that prove an individual has developed the necessary skills to use a specific CRM software. These certifications typically involve training, courses, and exams to officially get certified.
With so many organizations deploying and scaling CRM strategies, the demand for certified CRM professionals is growing.
Once certified, you’ll not only be an asset to your existing employer, but you’ll also open up the doors to new opportunities in your career.
4 Tools to Improve Your CRM Certification
To make sure you’re well prepared for your CRM certification exams, you can take advantage of online training resources, courses, practice exams, and other tools. These are four of the best CRM certification prep tools to consider:
#1 — HubSpot Academy
HubSpot is one of the most popular, versatile, and reputable CRM platforms in existence. That’s why this provider ranks high on our list of the best CRM solutions. The HubSpot Academy is an easy way for professionals to advance their careers with online training, courses, and certifications. The courses and certifications alike are all free. So there’s no risk for you to sign up and get started.
HubSpot Academy has courses and training materials for marketers, sales reps, and service agents. So you can prepare for your CRM certification regardless of your role and apply those concepts directly to the way you use HubSpot’s software. Over 165,000+ business professionals worldwide have been certified through the HubSpot Academy. You can prepare for exams, take courses, and get certified in the same place—all for free.
#2 — Trailhead
Trailhead is a learning portal that’s developed and maintained by Salesforce. So if you’re interested in obtaining one of the 30 different Salesforce certifications, Trailhead is the place to start your journey. In addition to the actual certifications, Trailhead has tons of different training resources and learning tools.
You can take classes from the Trailhead academy and learn directly from Salesforce experts. These classes are held in-person and virtually as well. The platform also has guided learning paths called “trails.” Whether you’re a CRM beginner, expert, or somewhere in between, you can find a trail that accommodates your needs. Trailhead even offers free half-day webinars to prepare for your CRM certification.
#3 — Focusonforce
Focusonforce is another excellent online tool that’s an easy way to prepare for Salesforce certifications. But unlike Trailhead, Focusonforce is not directly affiliated with Salesforce. The website’s founder had eight years of experience working with Salesforce and obtained ten different certifications before ultimately creating a dedicated learning platform with the information needed to pass these exams.
Over 100,000 business leaders and technology professionals worldwide have used Focusonforce to prepare for a Salesforce CRM certification. The platform contains practice exams, online courses, Salesforce study guides, and simple resources for every Salesforce topic imaginable. Focusonforce is mobile-friendly as well, so you can study on the go and take practice exams whenever you have free time. Study guides and practice exams start for less than $20.
#4 — Zoho Spark
Zoho Spark is a complete online training solution with a wide range of learning tools that can take your Zoho CRM expertise to the next level. Zoho’s certifications don’t quite have the same industry-wide recognition as some of the other options out there. With that said, Zoho Spark is still a viable training option for any business professional that’s using Zoho CRM.
Getting certified through this program is a great way to show off your technical knowledge and expertise with Zoho CRM. Zoho Spark offers two different types of training—virtual classrooms and one-on-one training sessions. In addition to the lessons, you’ll also have access to a plethora of learning materials and resources to help you master Zoho CRM.
Core CRM Certifications
CRM certifications come in all different shapes and sizes, depending on your role and the software you’re using. We’ll take a closer look at some of the best CRM certifications to consider so you have a better understanding of what it takes to get certified.
HubSpot CRM Certifications
HubSpot has an extensive list of CRM certifications that business professionals can use to advance their careers. With 100,000+ businesses using HubSpot’s software, your certification will appeal to a wide range of prospective job opportunities.
One of the best parts about a HubSpot CRM certification is the cost—it’s free. As an industry leader in the customer relationship management space, a certification from HubSpot definitely adds value to your resume. Once certified, you can even add industry-recognized badges to your LinkedIn profile.
The HubSpot CRM certification process is really straightforward. Work at your own pace by watching video lessons and taking quizzes. To earn your certificate, you’ll just need to pass the certification exam and complete some practical exercises to prove your proficiency.
HubSpot has CRM certifications in every category. Top options include:
- HubSpot Marketing Software Certification
- HubSpot Sales Software Certification
- HubSpot Service Hub Software Certification
So whether you’re a marketing professional, sales rep, or customer service agent, you can get a CRM certification from HubSpot. The marketing software certification is the most demanding. It takes about 3.5 hours and contains 14 lessons with 71 videos and 11 quizzes. The sales certification can be completed in roughly one hour, and the service certification falls somewhere in the middle.
Salesforce CRM Certifications
Salesforce is an industry leader in the CRM software space. So getting a certification from this provider can definitely help advance your career. There are 30 different Salesforce certifications across five different roles, including administrators, architects, consultants, developers, and marketers.
Some of these are advanced and require in-depth technical knowledge and experience. Most of you should start with the Salesforce Administrator Certification.
This certification is designed for individuals who have experience using Salesforce and want to get the most out of additional features and capabilities of the software.
To pass the Salesforce Administrator exam, you’ll need to master concepts like:
- User management
- Data management
- Security management
- Customization for Salesforce Sales Cloud and Salesforce Service Cloud
- Maintaining Salesforce Sales Cloud and Salesforce Service Cloud
- Generating reports
- Building dashboards and workflows
Generally speaking, you should have 6-12 months of experience with Salesforce before you apply for this certification. The total time commitment is roughly 115-125 hours.
Once you’ve been certified, you can continue your career advancement by going for a Salesforce Advanced Administrator Certification. Salesforce recommends that you have 12-24 months of experience using the software before getting this certification. But the time commitment to go through the process is about half the time of the first one, at just 55-65 hours.
Zendesk CRM Certifications
Zendesk’s CRM software isn’t quite as extensive as some of the other platforms on the market today. The tool is primarily used for customer service, although it does have solutions for sales as well.
If you want to advance your career as a customer support representative or a customer support manager, a Zendesk CRM Certification should be on your radar. Popular certifications from this provider include:
- Zendesk Support Administrator Certification
- Zendesk Explore CX Analyst Certification
- Zendesk Chat Specialist Certification
- Zendesk Talk Specialist Certification
Zendesk even offers bulk certification bundles, where you can save 15% by getting multiple certifications simultaneously.
If your company is using Zendesk for support or sales, it’s definitely worth getting certified. But this option isn’t as versatile as some of the more popular CRM software on the market today. So it won’t be as appealing on your resume to organizations that aren’t using Zendesk.
4 Tricks For Getting a CRM Certification
Getting a CRM certification might feel like a daunting task, especially if you’re a beginner. But these quick tips and hacks will make your life much easier.
Trick #1: Join a Community
Nonstop studying on your own and taking online lessons will only get you so far. An easy way to improve your experience as you go through the CRM certification process is by joining a community with your peers who are having the same experience. One example is the Trailblazer Community, which is part of Trailhead—the Salesforce training platform.
When you join this community, you can get quick help and inspiration from community leaders, experts, and peers. The platform has collaboration groups and FAQs. You’ll even have access to Salesforce MVPs, who are experts with the Salesforce platform and offer insights to everyone in the Trailblazer Community.
Trailblazers can join different groups within the community, share insights in an idea exchange, and attend events to help network and succeed together. If you come across any problems or issues while you’re studying for a Salesforce certification, you can always turn to the Trailblazer Community.
Trick #2: Take a Practice Exam
Remember taking the SAT? If you’re like most people, you probably took a practice exam or two to prepare ahead of time. The same concept can be applied here.
CRM Certifications aren’t always easy. Studying will only get you so far. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your knowledge and training actually translate to a test. The only way to do this ahead of the actual test is by taking a practice exam.
Practice exams are designed to mirror a real testing environment, so you can assess where you stand and if you’re actually prepared for the real thing. If you don’t pass the practice exam, then it’s a sign that you need to keep studying before taking a certification test. Failing your exam can cost you more money and extend the amount of time it takes to get certified—nobody wants that to happen.
Trick #3: Get the Right Certification For You
This might sound silly or obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times I’ve seen beginners make this mistake. There are dozens of different CRM certifications out there, and few are created equally. Don’t just jump on the first one you see without taking the time to evaluate your situation.
CRM certifications are ultra-specific. So if you get a HubSpot certification, it doesn’t translate to Salesforce. If you’re getting a Zendesk certification, but your company uses Zoho CRM, you’re not really helping yourself at all.
For those of you who are currently seeking employment or looking for opportunities to advance your career, the HubSpot and Salesforce certifications will be your best option. These are two of the best CRM software solutions on the market today, so you’ll be appealing to the widest pool of prospective employers.
Even within each specific software, there are subtle differences in the certification options available. For example, some certifications are designed for marketers, while others are made for sales, support, or IT. Your experience level will also play a role in the best CRM certification for you.
Taking a few minutes to truly assess your options will save you lots of wasted time and headaches down the road.
Trick #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
Again, it sounds obvious, but so many people just don’t ask for help when they’re stuck. If you’re interested in getting certified and have questions or concerns, lean on your coworkers or superiors who have been through this process before.
A manager probably won’t get upset with you for asking a question. Instead, they’ll likely commend your initiative and potentially offer guidance on which certification will help you advance the most within your current company.
Like anything else, people who have been through the CRM certification process before can offer insights and give you some tips for success. They might even have some study resources that you can use as well.