My Journey to Pass the Salesforce CPQ Certification
My journey with Salesforce started a little over a year ago. I have spent most of my career in the IT “world” and when I found out about Salesforce and what the ecosystem can do, I was immediately interested. I know first hand how impactful a CRM is to a company – good or bad. I immediately set out to get my Admin Cert and shortly after was hired on at Roycon. It was a great match with my own drive and Roycon’s environment of learning – the next logical step was to determine what my second certification should be. Between business needs and my love of numbers, Salesforce CPQ presented itself as a possibility, albeit a challenging one. I’ll share with you my journey to pass the Salesforce CPQ certification.
I decided to proceed with it and began doing everything possible at my disposal to prepare – trailhead modules, the Billing Superbadge, finding resources online, the official Salesforce course “CPQ-211”, and -most importantly- hands-on work in Sandboxes under close supervision.
Salesforce CPQ is no light undertaking and can be quite intimidating. The CPQ package contains over 75 objects while the most basic Salesforce implementation can use less than 7 objects. Now that is not to say that the CPQ Exam covers all 75 objects but it does cover at least 20 in some form or another – directly or indirectly.
I found that due to the nature of Salesforce CPQ being an emerging product and the development it’s gone through since being SteelBrick, there is a lot of misinformation floating around unofficial online resources. This misinformation can make studying difficult at best and doubtful of accuracy at worst.
My advice to the Salesforce CPQ Certification seeker: do hands-on work yourself in a Trailhead Playground. I am a kinesthetic learner but even if I was an auditory or reading/writing or visual learner, I think hands-on is still the best method to prepare for the exam. Below is a (relatively) shortlist of things to do to establish a fundamental, but quite thorough, understanding. As you go through the steps, don’t rush, but take your time to dive in and comprehend the records you’re working with – be that Product records or Price rules and their related records. Work through the list below and once the records and their relationships make sense you will have a good grasp of what I estimate to be 75% of the exam.
First, set up a Trailhead Playground with CPQ by following this section of a Trailhead Module.
Next, go into your CPQ Trailhead Playground and do the following:
- Set up Pricebooks and Products
- Set up Product Features and Options (see how bundling, components and related products behave)
- Create a Quote (creating an Account and Opportunity beforehand) and add Products via configuration and edit via Quote Line Editor (QLE)
- Set up Product Rules (along with Error Conditions, Configuration Rules, and Actions) and test in QLE
- Set up Price Rules (along with Price Conditions and Price Actions) and test in QLE
- Set up Summary Variables and use it in either a Product Rule or Price Rule
- Set up Discount Schedules and look at Block Pricing and Slab Discounting
- Modify a Discount Schedule in QLE and observe when new Discount Schedule is created
- Set up a Quote Template while using template sections, manipulate HTML, use merge fields and observe how Quote Line Section is different from other sections.
- Set up Quote Terms and implement on a Quote Document
- Set up a watermark (upload image and make it appear on Quote Document)
- Study the “Twin Fields” article – understand how Twin Fields map from Product to Quote Lines and Quote Lines to other objects like Assets and Subscriptions
- Set up at least 1 Twin Field from Product to Quote Line and test via CPQ
- Understand Approval Processes and Advanced Approvals
- Go through the CPQ Installed Package Configuration tab by tab, reading the help text to understand what settings are set that this level (e.g. Pricing and Calculation Tab: Calculate Immediately)
Doing the above list will help give you a better grasp of how Salesforce CPQ works. In my studying, research, and class, I was told that at least 1 year of intense hands-on experience with CPQ was practically a requirement to pass the CPQ Certification Exam. I passed the exam 9 months after my very first introduction and a little less than 12 months into my Salesforce career. I took it multiple times and as I mentioned earlier found that I had been studying erroneous material from well-regarded sources that, while was right previously, was no longer accurate. This is why my advice is to be hands-on. Jump into the playground and get muddy. Set up a complex scenario with Discount Schedules, multiple Price Rules, and Products Rules with varying evaluation orders. Break things then find out why they’re broken. The things that stick with us are things we work hard for. I’ve spent countless nights unable to figure out why something won’t work. I take a 5-minute break to get some water and as I’m filling up my water bottle I would have an idea, race back to the computer and figure it out!
I think CPQ is extremely rewarding because, while it operates off of strict rules, it is so customizable and pliable to accomplish a myriad of business needs. Creating complex functions through the use of things like Summary Variables and Price Rules can be a fun puzzle to create and solve and leaves me with such a feeling of satisfaction.
I know I’m nowhere near the peak of my Salesforce CPQ knowledge and I’m excited to continue learning. Hopefully, this post will shed light on what is possible – a person with less than a year of Salesforce experience can get their Salesforce CPQ Certification – you can too!
About Salesforce CPQ
Salesforce CPQ allows your sales team to create more accurate quotes with less effort. Salesforce uses a little rhyme to help you understand the capabilities of CPQ.
C is for configure. You pick what they’ll buy.
P is for price. We add it up, easy as pie.
Q is for quote: A nice PDF for you.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us.
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