Salesforce consultant certification is the rainmaker for CRM workers

Hamza Abib has 18 Salesforce certifications and is aiming to earn all 25. But his Salesforce consultant certification provides a foundation that informs all of his work.

With four Salesforce consultant certifications under his belt, Hamza Abib believes he can put himself in the shoes of almost any professional. He can stop by the desk of a company's marketing representative to review the intricacies of running an email campaign through Salesforce. Minutes later, he would feel just as comfortable down the hallway having a high-level conversation with the CMO about Salesforce's place in long-term sales.

As a Salesforce solutions architect for Cloudreach, a London-based computer support and services company, Abib also believes that his four Salesforce consultant certifications aren't enough. Not only does he intend to earn the remaining two credentials under the consultant umbrella, but he has a larger goal of earning every single Salesforce certification, of which there are 25 across eight certification tracks.

Abib now has 18 certifications on his resume, which is a considerable accomplishment when considering that he earned his first one in 2014 and took time off from his Salesforce studies to become a father for the first time.

Salesforce Architect: The Holy Grail

Hamza AbibHamza Abib

Now back in the saddle, Abib is taking exams at a rapid pace, striving to soon reach the 25th accreditation, what he calls the Holy Grail of Salesforce credibility, Certified Salesforce Architect. That certification demonstrates not just "complete knowledge of Salesforce, but knowledge across the board in all industries," he said. "Every company will have some of these types of technologies."

Abib started at Cloudreach in September 2015, and for more than a year, was a Salesforce consultant. As the job title implies, his Salesforce consultant certifications -- in Pardot, Service Cloud, Sales Cloud and Community Cloud -- specifically shaped his work.

In October 2016, Abib received a promotion to Salesforce solution architect. Working alongside a Cloudreach salesperson, Abib provides technical support. He presents use cases, details the logistics of implementation and helps plan the future uses of Salesforce technology.

Certifications help see business drivers

Abib's Salesforce consultant certifications still come in handy. Those certifications made him realize that, no matter his job title, he ultimately consults by putting himself in the shoes of the people he's trying to help.

"You have to understand their challenges, the pain points," he said. "It's not about Salesforce; that's just a tool. It's about the business priorities of the company and how Salesforce can meet their requirements and let them do a better job."

The Salesforce consultant certification track got its name in late April 2016; it was previously the implementation certification track. The other two certifications in the track, which Abib intends to eventually earn, are Field Service Lightning Consultant and Marketing Cloud Consultant.

Each of the eight certification exams for the consultant track have 60 multiple-choice questions, but vary in how much time applicants have to take them: anywhere from 90 to 105 minutes. They each cost $200, with a retake fee of $100, and require holders to take anywhere from one to three maintenance exams annually to maintain their status. These exams cover new solution releases, and they cost $100 each.

Certification can mean more on payday

Foote Partners LLC tracks IT compensation trend data from 3,038 U.S. and Canadian employers -- including 422 certifications -- among more than 262,000 workers. Three accreditations from the Salesforce certification list show up with enough statistical significance to confirm their impact on base pay -- as reported by employers -- versus workers doing the same jobs without certification, said co-founder David Foote.

"Not all employers see fit to pay their workers anything beyond their salary for Salesforce expertise," Foote said.

But for employers that do recognize Salesforce certifications, their employees receive the equivalent of a 10% boost in base pay at the median and an overall range of a 8.5% to 11.3% boost in pay, he said. 

Foote Partners' data suggests that workers are taking a page out of Abib's book and are getting schooled in Salesforce.

"Salesforce skills and certification pay has been at a slight decline (-2.4%) over the past six to twelve months," Foote said. "This usually means that supply is catching up to demand and, in fact, exceeding demand slightly. So premium pay isn't necessary to attract and retain Salesforce talent."

Abib holds one of the three Salesforce certifications that appear in Foote Partners' data: Platform Developer I, which has a median of an 8% boost in compensation when discarding statistical outliers. Without specifying his salary, Abib said his pay has nearly tripled in a little more than two years because of his various Salesforce certifications. That's not a bad deal considering that his employers have paid for all of his first-time and annual maintenance exams.

Why more certifications matter

Having 18 certifications -- and the hopes of earning seven more -- isn't redundant, Abib said. Each one has provided him with a unique perspective on Salesforce technologies and practices, and all inform the in their shoes perspective that he appreciates as a consultant. Clients see Abib's long list of certifications on his resume, but come to value what that status means after he works with them.

The Salesforce consultant certifications have also improved his standing on the job market. Abib enjoys working for Cloudreach, but some day might want to look elsewhere. Recruiters have made it known his Salesforce certifications have weight, he said.

"It's really weird to be on the other side of the fence and no longer look for jobs, but have jobs look for you," Abib said.

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