Your company is planning to implement a new CRM system. If anything beyond basic CRM configuration is needed, odds are you’ll end up hiring a third party implementation company for Phase I tasks such as customization, data migration and systems integration.
While you’d expect an implementation partner’s team members to have an assortment vendor certifications, what certifications are available to you as the customer?
From a professional development perspective, being formally trained and even certified as a CRM administrator or developer can only provide upside for your job and your career.
A CRM vendor’s product training and certifications may not give you all the skills that you, as a customer, need to manage all facets of an initial CRM implementation. Having attended the proverbial “School of Hard Knocks” is a key part of a third party’s value proposition.
However, once a CRM system is implemented, being formally trained and certified will give you a much better skill set for maintaining and enhancing the system.
So, what exactly do some of the major CRM vendors offer in terms of training and certifications for end customers (vs. for just consulting partners)? Here’s a summary.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Training Options
Microsoft offers classroom training through Microsoft Learning Partners such as DynamicsEdge, TechSherpas and Nicomp International. Courses currently offered include:
Customization and Configuration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
Customer Service in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
Sales Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
Online training is available to customers that are on service plans.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Certifications
Microsoft offers several customer-appropriate certifications. These include:
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Applications
Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
Salesforce Training Options
Salesforce University currently offers almost three dozen (PDF) different instructor-led courses. These range from administrator training to developer training.
As one example, Administrative Essentials for New Admins is a five day course that can be taken either as a virtual class on the web or at a training center in any one of over two dozen U.S. cities or Toronto, Canada. The current cost for either a virtual class or a live training class is $4,250.
Among the Salesforce.com certifications, there are a number that are customer-appropriate. These include:
Salesforce.com Certified Administrator
Salesforce.com Certified Advanced Administrator
Salesforce.com Certified Force.com Developer
Salesforce.com Certified Force.com Advanced Developer
According to SugarCRM, “Getting ready for certification requires training and on-the-job experience. There are several ways to prepare. You can complete self-paced learning, attend live training classes, shadow a peer, and practice on your own or with a peer. We highly recommend a combination of all the above to fully prepare for certification.”
Sugar offers a free three day, 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, virtual training for administrators called Sugar Administration Essentials.
There is also a self paced version, which is a series of videos.
SugarCRM offers two certifications that are available to customers:
Certified Sugar Administration Specialist
Certified Sugar Developer Specialist
Other CRM Vendors
CRM vendors such as Zoho and Nimble are currently more partner-focused with their CRM training and certification programs. We recommend contacting vendor representatives for companies such as these in order to find out what options are available to you, the customer.