- 6 months
Table of Contents
- Community Cloud Consultant Introduction
- Who’s the Ideal Candidate?
- Exam Topics Overview
- Key Topics
- Study Strategy
- Exam Strategy
- Final Thoughts
The Experience Cloud Consultant certification is for certified Salesforce Administrators experienced implementing communities in a customer-facing role.
Experience Cloud (formerly Community Cloud), is a paid add-on to Sales or Service Cloud. It serves as a portal for companies to better interact with customers, members, business partners, and resellers.
Be ready for a scenario based exam, with detailed questions about licensing, configuration, setup, security, access control, knowledge, reputation, recommendations, and more.
Experience Cloud is gaining popularity with businesses that see a strategic opportunity to connect more effectively with customers, partners, resellers, and members. If you are looking to advance your career and expand your skills portfolio, this certification is solid evidence of advanced knowledge with a strategic product.
This exam is different compared to other certifications you may be familiar with, such as Administrator. Questions are more complex and detailed. It requires a greater depth of knowledge, especially in areas such as click-paths through Setup, Experience Builder, Workspaces, and Administration (features, capabilities, and limits of licenses; nuances of various community templates, and security).
This article presents a three-stage strategy for passing the exam, starting with study resources to gain a big-picture overview of what communities and the exam are all about. Next, there are books, manuals, Trailhead modules and trails, on-line courses, blogs, developer orgs, and practice exams that help you learn exam topics to a level of detail needed to pass. Finally there are tips on test strategy to be successful on exam day.
Who’s the Ideal Candidate?
This exam is designed for customer facing consultants that have experience implementing Salesforce from scratch. Having said that, it is still very much applicable to Salesforce Admins that want to prove their advanced knowledge on the platform, and are dealing with slightly more complex Salesforce Org’s.
You might want to take this certification if you’re looking for a promotion, a change in jobs, or a move over from administration to consulting.
Exam Topics Overview
The Experience Cloud Consultant exam covers seven topics, each with a different weighting.
The most heavily weighted topics are Implementation, Security, and Setup, covering 60% of the exam. This is 36 of 60 questions. The passing score is 62% (38 questions).
Exam questions present customer scenarios and possible solutions. The scenario will present two to four customer requirements. The question will ask for one to three correct answers from four or five choices.
Salesforce Exams are made up of different topics, comprised of different weightings for each. It’s important to pay attention to these, as just a few sections will most likely take up the majority of the exam, such as the key topics below (Totalling 47% which is 28/60 questions).
1. Implementation 22%
This exam is aimed at the Consultant role. You are expected to understand how a community is implemented, and capabilities, limitations, and features of different community templates and licenses.
- Select appropriate license type for a given scenario
- Evaluate the infrastructure of a community
- Capabilities of different deployment types
- Mobility requirements
- Integration strategy
- Critical success factors for a community rollout
- Limits for different types of users, roles, and licenses
- Set up a custom domain
2. Sharing and Security 20%
Most Salesforce professionals would agree security is one of the more complex and challenging topics. With communities, security gets exponentially more complicated. External users are accessing an org, so Admins now have two sets of users to manage: internal users such as company employees, and external community users. There are different tools, considerations, and skills to learn, to manage external community users and administer security.
- Security requirements for a scenario that includes collaboration, business processes, object and document access requirements
- Appropriate security model for various use cases
- Configure users, person accounts, profiles, object permissions
- Steps to build a public community
- How to add new community users
- Grant access to information resources
- Protect critical internal information assets
- Differences between community and org security
- Sharing, sharing sets, share groups
3. Community Setup 18%
There are options in setup governing features of all communities in an org. Many are obscure, such as external account hierarchy settings, standard external profiles for self-registration, or editing the partner account field on leads. Access to a good knowledge base is one reason customers join communities. There are different ways to notify new community users that their account is active, and given the exam questions I saw, Salesforce seems to consider this issue important.
- Set up, configure, and organize topics
- Map topics to knowledge articles
- Community user login requirements
- Email notices to new community users
- Multilingual capabilities
- When to integrate Salesforce or AppExchange products
- Setup options applicable to all users and communities in an org
4. Experience Builder 12%
While Setup controls all communities in an org, Experience Builder is the tool for building an individual community. If you have experience using Wix or WordPress you will see similarities.
- Customize communities to match corporate branding and identity
- Customize navigation through community templates
- Create and configure Lightning pages
- Tailor templates and Lightning components
- Optimize community performance
5. Community Management 11%
We all know how to log into an org. Getting to and through a community is a different path. If you have experience using a community such as Trailblazers, the features and capability of Community Management will look familiar. Users rate other users, evaluate comments, and earn reputation points. Moderators control comments. Dashboards report measurements of user participation.
- Grant users access to communities
- Set up and configure community dashboards and insights
- Community moderation features
- Create recommendations
- Set up and tailor reputation management and reporting
6. Content 9%
Users log into communities because there is information worth looking at. Chatter and Search within a community knowledge base can be tailored to users’ convenience. Salesforce communities can be configured to pull from other content management systems (CMS), such as Adobe Experience Manager, WordPress, and Drupal.
- Explain features of CMS connect
- Personalize content for users
- Implement community search
- Use Chatter questions and Chatter groups
- Translate community content
7. Templates and Use Cases 8%
Templates in Experience Builder are like Themes in WordPress. They both have varying features, capabilities, specific use, and application; and there are exam questions about this. Lightning Bolts are user-customized templates built with lightning components. Like WordPress themes, they can be packaged, exported, imported, customized, and used to build other communities.
- Configure and use Lightning templates and Bolts
- How to use, create, import, and export Lightning Bolts
- Capabilities and limitations of various community templates
Over the last few years I have studied for and passed a number of certifications. In the process I have developed a study strategy that seems to work. I hope it will be helpful to you.
The strategy has three stages:
- Develop an overall understanding of Salesforce Communities. Enumerate key study areas. For this, use the official exam guide, Trailhead, and a good book.
- Learn the key study areas using diverse sources: Trailhead, practice orgs, books, official Salesforce documentation, training videos, practice exams, and articles. Study all exam topics. Do not ignore topics representing small portions of the exam.
- Use practice exams to test knowledge level, gauge progress, and assess readiness.
Official exam guide
Start by reading the official exam guide from Salesforce. It has essential information about the exam, topics, topic detail, weightings, passing score, question count, duration, and five sample questions.
Trailhead is your friend
Trailhead Expand Your Reach with Communities and Customize Your Community trails are an excellent place to start, even for experienced candidates. The first trail has four modules and three projects. The second has four projects and two modules. This gives you a good understanding of communities and detail about topics Salesforce considers important. The experience of building and configuring various types of communities in a Trailhead playground is great hands on practice.
“Practical Guide to Salesforce Communities”, from Apress, by Philip Weinmeister, is a great introduction and overview of communities. It is not a technical deep dive, and is now more than two years and six releases old, but coverage is good. It is a quick read and touches on every important exam topic.
There are several Experience Cloud trailmixes on Trailhead. These project, module, and document collections are best capitalized on by carefully looking at component modules and selecting those most appropriate for you. They all lead through the process of creating and configuring a community using themes, licenses, Builder, Workspaces, Reputation, Recommendations, creating community users, dashboards, access controls, and other key exam topics. A Google search for “Experience Cloud Trailmix” leads to a half dozen trailmixes created by Trailhead users. The best one is by Mechthild Kreuser.
It is important to mix Trailhead with practice in a developer org. This exam requires knowledge beyond Trailhead and hands on experience will solidify your understanding of complex subjects. Test takers must have an in-depth grasp of topics such as community limitations, community licenses, Salesforce license types, click-paths through Setup, Experience Builder, Administration, security, and more.
Study the community manager’s guide, release notes, and setup guide, in that order. These key study documents are long, detailed, and useful to a reader with good foundational knowledge of communities. I have read many of these guides over the years, and it looks to me like this is where a lot of exam questions come from.
Great Udemy Class
“Practical Guide to Setup and Manage Salesforce Communities”, by Debasis Jena, for $25.00, on Udemy, is an excellent study resource.
The course is over seven hours long. It was published in July, meaning content is current and up to date. It is well organized and teaches to a level of detail commensurate with the exam.
You should not be put off by the outward appearance of the course; the instructor is very knowledgeable. He covers every icon, screen, page, panel, feature, function, field, option, tab, menu, setting, picklist, license, template, limit, checkbox, and button in Experience Cloud.
This is the first exam where I found good articles and blog-posts related to exam topics. These articles cover topics I saw on the exam:
There are well-written practice exams on Focus on Force. They give a healthy insight into the nature and cadence of a real exam. These practice exams are effective when used as a study guide with a developer org open at the same time, so questions can be answered by exploring and experimenting in the developer org. Focus on Force exams have added educational value because there are explanations of answers, with charts, diagrams, illustrations, references to Trailhead modules, and links to Salesforce documentation.
Avoid exam dumps
Don’t waste your valuable study time on exam dumps! I largely agree with a recent Salesforce Ben article about exam dumps that they have limited value. The information is typically stale; Salesforce changes often and few sites keep up. Look at a few dump sites and it is soon apparent they all hawk the same obsolete questions. The questions are out of date, plagiarized, and recycled from professionally maintained sites, notably this one and FoF.
Most dump sites have the professional appearance of an abandoned grade-school science project. You don’t know who the authors are. If you write them with a question or correction you never hear back. I have seen questions on Quizlet and other dump sites that are just plain wrong.
When exam day arrives, there are tips gathered over the years to help improve chances of passing.
Keep a “hot list”
As you work through the study material, keep a list of topics you feel are key, unusually convoluted, or require memorization, such as security, click paths through Setup, Builder, and Workspaces, or application, capabilities, and limits of themes and licenses. Memorize these on exam day so they are fresh in your mind.
Study the question
When reading exam questions, make sure you understand the question. Read it several times. When deciding on answers, use a process of elimination to exclude incorrect ones. Salesforce will include answers with non-existent features or answers that are simply incorrect. They throw curveballs, such as features that are correct but not best practice. Eliminate exogenous answers by focusing on standard Salesforce features that accomplish a task. For example, it is prudent to build an approval using standard Salesforce approvals, rather than develop a custom approval through Flow.
Scrutinize multiple choice answers
Most questions require two or three correct answers out of four or five choices. These questions warrant careful examination. There is no partial credit. The question is correct only if all correct answers are selected. People often pass this exam with a thin margin of success, equal to one or two questions.
Manage exam time
Manage test time to comfortably work through the exam twice. Quickly answer questions you feel confident about. Leave uncertain questions for the second pass. You will learn things by seeing all exam questions. Use “Mark for Review” for problematic questions and the second pass. There are 65 questions. Five are unscored experimental questions. You will not know which ones they are. Passing score is 62%. Exam time is 105 minutes. Use all of it. When you finish, go back and review again. Do not exit the exam early.
Trust your judgement
During your review pass through the exam, be cautious about changing answers. Make changes if you have a good reason. If you studied, you probably know more than you think. Your first choice is likely your best choice. If you feel uncertain about many answers or find yourself making frequent changes you did not study enough.
Book sooner not later
When you start to feel confident with the study material, and you are scoring well on practice exams, book the exam a week in advance. If you have been diligent about studying you are probably better prepared than you feel. A scheduled exam date helps you focus.
Follow the directions
Kryterion will email a confirmation after registering for the exam. Read it carefully. Rules are strict. Follow the instructions. Please remember you accepted a confidentiality agreement with Salesforce when registering for your Admin exam.
Exam strategy posts I found insightful:
Take The Exam Online
During the pandemic, Salesforce and Kryterion make it easy to take a proctored exam at home. I have done this twice and despite logistical hiccups I much prefer it over going to a test center.
After registering for a home proctored exam you will receive exam instructions and directions to install a Kryterion application named Sentinel. You must then run through a sequence of steps to verify connection speed, working camera, proper operation of Sentinel, and audio. Do all this work before exam day. Test everything twice.
On exam day, get connected, set up, tested, verified, and ready at least an hour before exam time. I have taken two of these home proctored exams. Things break. There were connection and setup issues, both times. It got so complicated I felt sure it was part of the certification test. I had to file a ticket online with Kryterion, and then wait. It was agonizing. In the end things worked out well, but it is unnerving and distracting to deal with technical problems just before an exam is supposed to start. Fortunately, people at Kryterion’s helpdesk are kind, helpful, and forgiving if things do not start punctually.
Remember you are watched. Clear your desk. If you move about in your chair or adjust a lamp Kryterion proctors contact you with on-screen messages. It is startling. I wore a propeller hat and Groucho Marx glasses. They gently indicated a tad bit of mild displeasure with that. Pen, paper, or writing material of any kind is prohibited.
This article is long! It cites many learning resources but these are necessary as the exam is also long and hard. I followed what has become a standard strategy to get ready, and it seems to work:
- Start with the official exam guide, Trailhead, and a good book to get an overview of the test and key topics.
- Study all exam topics. Use a healthy mix of different learning resources: Trailhead, developer org, official documentation, text book, instructional video, articles, and practice exams.
- Finally, use practice exams to gauge when and whether you are ready.
There are many study resources available to aspiring Experience Cloud consultants. This article is written to help you find the good ones. I hope it helps. If you have comments or questions please let me know.