April 18

Charting Your Salesforce Certification Path


Update: Salesforce Partner Program scoring for FY2023 

For the latest scoring for the partner program and related certifications, refer to this Credentials by Level table and the FY23 Consulting Partner Program Credentials Tracker (External) table.

Older information is below...

Here is the new Salesforce Partner Program scoring methodology for FY2020.

I have previously written on Salesforce's Partner Program, and how they score their own Consulting Partners for Silver, Gold and Platinum rankings.

Salesforce has recently updated their Consulting Partner Program scoring methodology for 2018-2019. There are 3 core areas that they measure:

  • Annual Contract Value (ACV) (45%)
  • Expertise (35%)
  • Customer Success (20%)

Here is a visual of what falls under each of those 3 main categories.

If you are interested in landing a job with a Salesforce Consulting Partner, you need to focus your attention on the middle column - Expertise.

It is here that Consulting Partners derive 35% of their scoring toward attaining Silver, Gold, or Platinum status. You will notice Certifications mentioned in this middle column, along with the growth in the # of certified consultants, as well as Trailhead.

You may not have realized it until now, but if you go on an interview with a Salesforce Consulting Partner, they won't only be weighing your experience and interview skills, but they will be assigning a number to you. This Expertise Number helps them to raise their own Partner level.

Simply put...

The higher your Expertise Number, the more marketable you are.

Let's get into the nitty-gritty and figure out how much these certifications are worth. If you scroll down on this page you will see this table:

You see the ACV section represented by the first columns represent Annual Contract Revenue. You can't control that on the behalf of the partner company (unless you want to start your own Consultant Partner Company, which is an option for you as well).

The Customer Success section to the right also has to do with how satisfied the Consultant Partner Company's customers are. You don't have any sway or impact in that area until you are hired.

Focus on the middle section with the read dots. I have numbered these for reference. And also notice the Max Points column. For the Expertise part of the equation, which if you recall from the first graphic accounts for 35% of the Partner's score, this breaks into the following:

  1. 1
    Architect Certifications (50 point maximum)
  2. 2
    Consultant Certifications (200 point maximum)
  3. 3
    Expanded Knowledge Certifications (50 point maximum)
  4. 4
    Growth in # of Certified Consultants (50 point maximum)
  5. 5
    Trailhead (50 point maximum)

I will get into more specifics in a moment, but notice that the Consultant Certifications have a 200 point max. This is the same as the other 4 designations combined. This means that Consulting Partners can stack up a lot of points in their Expertise Number by amassing a lot of Consultant Certifications among their staff.

Diving deeper...

Let's look at the 3 areas that specifically mention Certifications:

  • Architect Certifications (50 point maximum)
  • Consultant Certifications (200 point maximum)
  • Expanded Knowledge Certifications (50 point maximum)

The Architect Certifications account for 25 points per Architect Certification. This specifically means that each of the following certifications account for 25 points each:

Next are the Consultant Certifications, which account for 3 points per certification. This specifically means that each of the following certifications account for 3 points each:

Finally, we are left with the Expanded Knowledge Certifications, which account for 1 point per certification. The following certifications are a single point in this formula:

Notable in this is that the Administrator certification does not account for any points. The Administrator Certification is a pre-requisite however for many of the Consultant certifications.

Simply put, you won't wow a Consulting Partner with your Administrator Certification and no experience. But you will become increasingly more marketable as you weigh this specific point system against your own skill set, interest and goals.

Use it wisely in order to maximize your marketability in the economy of NOW.


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  • Excellent article. Thank you. I may be confused on one point so let me ask a question to clarify. The organization can only benefit from a maximum of 50 points from the architecture certifications, for example. If one person gets the certified technical architect and the other two architect exams are prerequisites, they would have earned 75 points, but the organization can only benefit from 50 points per region, so therefore there isn’t a benefit to the highest certification? Obviously I’m confused, but I re-read the section and I haven’t figured it out yet. You would think that certification would be the most valuable.

    • Yes, I agree that this seems backward. The Technical Architect certification is considered the ultimate and is so rare, yet the maximum points that firms can stack up in the architect space are 50. I see that the area where you can really pile on the points as an organization is that of consultants, with the 150 point max or 200 point max (there are conflicting numbers on the max for consultants given on this page https://partners.salesforce.com/s/education/consultants/Consulting_Program )

      What I have seen is that usually a partner company will have 0 to 1 true architect and they will have many, many consultants. I suppose it comes down to the law of averages and the purpose and strength between the two roles. Salesforce is trying to incentivize/structure/encourage these companies to have a single architect overseeing the big picture architecture for all projects and then individuals or teams of consultants working in individual projects that they are devoted to for the bulk of the hours. That’s my guess, at least.

      On another note, I have heard that over half of the 200+ technical architects that exist are employed by Salesforce – so perhaps they ultimately want those people to work for the mothership?

  • Trailhead is listed in the expertise section. Just about anyone pursuing a career path in Salesforce is using it. So what are they looking for specifically? How many points or badges each consultant has earned?

    • Good question. Here are the specifics for a partner company, as it relates to Trailhead.

      80% of Certified Consultants have earned Mountaineer Rank or higher. (50 points). No partial points will be awarded.

      This attribute requires that 80% of the individuals who hold a Consultant level Certification achieve Mountaineer Rank (25 badges and 18,000 points) or higher in Trailhead. This also involves the individual linking their Trailhead account to your company’s Partner Community account (see “What You Need to Know” tab), and successfully completing enough learning in Trailhead to earn Mountaineer Rank or higher.

      The following are the Consultant Level Certifications:
      Sales Cloud Consultant
      Service Cloud Consultant
      Platform Developer I
      Community Cloud Consultant
      Marketing Cloud Consultant
      Pardot Consultant
      Commerce Cloud Digital Developer
      (e.g. If I have 100 people in my firm who hold a consultant level certification, once 80 people have linked their account to my Partner Community account and earned Mountaineer rank or higher, I will get 50 points). You can track your team’s Trailhead rank attainment on the Education section in the Partner Community. Note that you need the “Manage Education” permission to track your team’s Trailhead badges. If you don’t have this permission, please reach out to your Partner Community administrator.

      So if you can bring a Mountaineer Rank to the table for an interview with a Partner company, be sure to highlight this as a way for them to get an easy 50 points in their scoring formula. All it takes if 4 out of 5 of their consultant to have that rank and they get the points.

      • Do you have any idea if companies are awarded additional points for the advanced Trailhead ranks? I can see how they use Mountaineer as a general baseline for an entry-level SFDC Consultant, but it would be nice if they also recognized individuals that went all the way to Ranger and dedicated significant time to learning on Trailhead.

  • Thanks Mike for insider information.

    Just wondering why certs like Advanced Administrator, Platform Developer II count as 1point

    • I’m not sure why they count for only 1 point. I think it must be because they are built upon a previous certification that counted for 3 points. It seems like due to the advanced nature of both that they would be equal to 3.

      • Especially Platform Developer II. Just the sheer amount of pre-requisites you need (4 advanced Superbadges, PDI) to even take the exam is staggering. I just finished the Lightning Component Framework SB and it took me 15-20 hours to finish the project (although it was a great learning experience and an excellent course IMO).

        Advanced Admin is pretty simplistic though compared to the others.

  • Very Helpful Mike, thank you. Do you have any information as to where the Einstein Analytics Certification might fall? Also- do you have any informattion as to whether the Tableau Certified Associate (CA) certification will be transitioned into the Salesforce certification world? Thanks in advance.

  • Mike, does the non-profit certification count for nothing in the eyes of partners? I am set to take that cert exam as well as Service Consultant.

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