Marketing Cloud Account Engagement1 is the B2B marketing automation solution in the Salesforce ecosystem. Like most Salesforce products – as well as other marketing automation platforms – there are professional certifications available for Account Engagement practitioners. This blog aims to explain the purpose of the credentials and to outline the steps to obtain the certifications.
The Two Account Engagement Certifications
There are two credentials available: Specialist and Consultant. Note that certification names still use the legacy product name, though this may change in the future. The specialist certification is intended for practitioners who have skills in building marketing workflows in Account Engagement, while the consultant certification is geared towards people who have implemented Account Engagement solutions for customers. Account Engagement Specialist is a prerequisite for Account Engagement Consultant.
To become certified, candidates must pass a proctored online or in-person multiple-choice exam with no outside aids. Scheduling, payment and identity verification is required and is done online.
The Challenge of Measuring Complex Skillsets
MOPs professionals know there is a lot to learn and understand about marketing automation platforms. With so many features and best practices involved, it can be a challenge to quantifiably measure your expertise. The Account Engagement certification exams follow industry standards to demonstrate knowledge and qualifications to work in Account Engagement across key areas, as outlined in the exam guide.
It’s often the case that a practitioner may not encounter all of the features within a single instance, so certification preparation can actually expand your platform knowledge by exposing you to features and aspects of the tool you haven’t used yet. Holding a Account Engagement certification can also help you stay abreast of product updates; in order to maintain your credential, you must complete annual maintenance modules that cover new releases. Having a current certification can help you stand out among other job candidates and could be a differentiator in the hiring process.
Companies will find that MOPs professionals can have a wide range of experience levels across a variety of platforms. In the talent acquisition process for roles that will use Account Engagement, candidates with certifications are more likely to have a broader, higher level of ability in the tool. They had to demonstrate their competence in the course of the exam, investing time and money in the process and continuing to do so to keep the certification current.
The Competitive Advantage of Credentials
A primary reason for pursuing Account Engagement certification is wanting to demonstrate your expertise you’ve built over time as a practitioner. This might be in the context of looking for a promotion or a new role. Other MOPs professionals can find value in the Account Engagement certification process to prepare for new-to-them Account Engagement work, especially if their previous experience was in another marketing automation platform. This might also be relevant when managing Account Engagement becomes a new responsibility for an existing team member, whether or not they had past MAP experience.
For companies, finding a certified professional will be key when setting up a new Account Engagement instance. This will help them start out on the right path and avoid ending up having to reconfigure and undo a bunch of things later.
If a company has had Account Engagement for a while and isn’t sure they’re making the most of it, or they aren’t getting the results/data they want, they’ll need someone who has more experience and specialized knowledge to help untangle the instance. This would be a good case to bring in a certified Account Engagement Consultant. Why continue struggling on your own, delaying your ability to have the greatest impact on the business?
The Path to Certification
The process to pursue Account Engagement certification can be the same, whether it’s initiated by the individual or encouraged by their employer.
The first step to take for Account Engagement Specialist is not only super-comprehensive, but also free: “Prepare for your Pardot Specialist Credential” Trailmix on Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform. The Trailmix contains a combination of links to the exam guide, topical modules with knowledge checks, official product documentation and also an optional paid three-day class. To expedite your path to certification, consider spending one hour a day on Trailmix content. You can prioritize your efforts by reviewing the exam guide and noting your level of familiarity with each topic, as well as the percentage of the exam the topic accounts for.
Unlike some of the other Trailhead components, unfortunately there isn’t a “playground” (demo instance) for Account Engagement integrated into the modules. It’s highly recommended to get hands-on experience in a real Account Engagement instance before attempting the certification. However, it is possible to prepare for and take the Account Engagement Specialist exam even without hands-on experience. Along with screenshots in the modules and documentation, you can see portions of the user interface and step-by-step walkthroughs in the Marketing Cloud Account Engagement interactive tour and the Salesforce Support Expert Coaching Session videos on YouTube.
Learning from other practitioners can also expose you to features and concepts you haven’t encountered in your own real-life instance. Read through posts on the Account Engagement Trailblazer Community group and also look for relevant local or virtual user group events. Sometimes recordings of past events are available, such as the Account Engagement Specialist Certification Exam Prep series. Should you feel you want more practice and support in your certification journey, there are third-party courses available online through various vendors such as Udemy.
Once you have obtained your Account Engagement Specialist credential you may be interested in pursuing the Account Engagement Consultant certification. There isn’t a full Trailmix but there is an exam guide as well as another community-group-led Account Engagement Consultant Certification Exam Prep series available. Much of the preparation will be based on your hands-on consulting experience working on multiple implementations of Account Engagement for different customers. The Account Engagement Consultant credential incorporates concepts around addressing business needs and strategy and translating those requirements to technical features, rather than simply knowing how to execute specific tasks in the interface.
Advocate for Account Engagement Excellence
Anyone who is or will be working in a Account Engagement instance should consider pursuing the Account Engagement Specialist certification. It may also be useful for marketing operations leaders who want to better understand the tech stack capabilities. The Account Engagement Consultant certification is more useful to individuals who are regularly in a consulting role, such as those working in an agency.
Hiring managers should consider certification credentials when filling permanent positions on their team to ensure they have the best qualified Account Engagement practitioners. Marketing leaders should seek out certified Account Engagement Consultants for project-based initiatives to get their Account Engagement instance in good order.
The two Account Engagement certifications, Specialist and Consultant, provide a standardized way to assess the skills of Account Engagement practitioners. Both individual professionals and companies can gain a competitive advantage by valuing the credentials. With the resources available in this blog, certification is within reach.
1In April 2022, Salesforce renamed Pardot to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement.