CPQ Specialist Certification Guide & Tips

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Table of Contents

Certification Introduction

For specialists working the full project lifecycle of CPQ implementations. Prove you can design, build and implement CPQ functionality.

The Salesforce CPQ Specialist Certification came about a few years ago after Salesforce acquired Steelbrick CPQ.

The certification leads the way for ensuring that those implementing CPQ and the Quote to Cash process are fully prepared for what may lie ahead.

The CPQ Package expands Salesforce’s native quoting functionality and enables users to get through the ordering and contracting process. To learn more about the difference between CPQ and the standard objects, check out this article.

Who's the Ideal Candidate?

The ideal candidate for taking the CPQ Specialist exam is someone who has been actively working with the CPQ package and has hands-on experience.

The goal of taking this exam is to demonstrate to others that you have the knowledge and skills required to appropriately implement and roll out the CPQ package. Having this certification is a key element in pursuing additional CPQ projects and is geared towards customers and partners alike who want or already have CPQ in place.

In addition, I advise you have the Administrator Certification or equivalent experience (even though strictly speaking, it’s not a named prerequisite by Salesforce)

Key Topics

The CPQ Specialist exam is made up of eight parts, however, some of them do have overlaps in terms of the knowledge (depending on how you interpret Salesforce’s description of each section!)

1. Products, Product Selection, and Bundle Configurations 35%

These three sections make up 35% of the exam. I’ve grouped them together because a lot of the material can overlap.

An in-depth understanding on how to set up a product is extremely important for this exam, including the fields on the Product record, and how the functionalities of a bundle work. You should be able to take a business scenario and know which fields need to be populated, as well as when to use Product Options and Product Features.

You should also have an understanding of Configuration Attributes. Included here is also the application of Product Rules and the details involved in setting them up.

2. CPQ Platform 23%

Making up the largest portion of the exam (a whopping 23%) you will find a lot of information is stacked under this category.

From a user’s perspective, you will need to be able to understand how to troubleshoot, do some basic admin setup for permissions, as well as have comprehensive know-how of the CPQ package settings.

Under this section, you may also get questions about multi-currency and localizations. This section pretty much sums up what CPQ is all about and being able to get through these questions means that you have a solid understanding of how to implement CPQ.

3. Pricing 16%

The 3rd largest set of questions on the exam. You must be able to discern when to use a discount schedule, what the different types of block pricing are, and how to handle all things related to subscription pricing.

In addition, comprehending the pricing waterfall and how different pricing situations will result will be tested. You must also possess the knowledge of how to construct price rules and when to implement them.

4. Orders, Contracts, Amendments, and Renewals 15%

While this section only accounts for 15% of the exam, the related questions can prove to be very tricky.

Salesforce CPQ has many different rules in place for these objects and it is important to understand how they work and how the standard aspects of the objects can come into play.

This section is very scenario-heavy, and you must be knowledgeable enough to determine what requirements are necessary in order to meet the use case presented. Understanding the fields and buttons and the flow for this section will help ensure you can make it through.

Question Format

The question format of the exam is similar to other Salesforce certifications.

You can expect to see multiple choice with single answers as well as multi-select answers. There will be many scenario-based questions. There will also be some backend questions revolving around fields and settings from the package. You could also expect to have a math question based on the provided scenario.

Example question:

Which of these actions cannot be done in a Product Rule?

a) Hide

b) Enable

c) Remove

d) Delete

Answer: D

Find more examples in the CPQ Specialist practice exam available for purchase.

Study Strategy

The Salesforce CPQ Specialist exam should only be tackled with hands-on experience with at least one implementation. Having this experience will provide you with the basic knowledge necessary to begin studying for the exam

When you are ready to get started, you should first get familiar with the official Salesforce Trailhead exam guide. This gives you a great outline of all the different concepts you need to be familiar with before you should take the exam. This can be used as your revision plan, print it out and stick it on your office wall, ticking each off section once you have fully understood each concept.

Revising for a Salesforce exam has never been easier with the introduction of Trailhead, Salesforce’s online learning platform. For most modules on the exam, you will find a Trailhead Badge that this corresponds to, allowing you to learn about the feature, and test yourself by following the challenges and getting feedback in real-time!

As well as learning about the concepts on paper, you should ensure that you test these features in a CPQ dev org, learn their limitations, try and break them, and have fun with it!

(Note: keep in mind that you cannot use a regular Dev org for playing around with CPQ.)

Lastly, you should familiarise yourself with the exam structure. Salesforce exams are multiple-choice, but follow a pattern giving you a choice of the right answer, incorrect answers, and an answer that could be correct, but is not best practice (to really test your skills!). The best way to familiarise yourself with these exams is by taking a mock exam that has been written to reflect the real exam.

Exam Strategy

When exam day finally hits, there are a bunch of tips we gathered over the years to give you the best chance of passing with flying colours.

Firstly, if there are any concepts that you are struggling to get to grips with, then print off a cheat sheet and try and memorize any of these before you take the exam so they are fresh in your memory. 

When taking the exam, pay particular attention to the question, and read it through a few times. For the scenario-based questions there will be huge clues in the answer to what the correct answer actually is. If you need to, use the pen and paper provided to draw out a data schema or any other diagram that will help you visualize the answer.

When deciding on the answer, be sure to use the process of elimination to get rid of the answers that are definitely incorrect. Salesforce likes to throw in answers that are made up of features or just plain incorrect. They also like to throw in curveballs, of features that appear to be correct but aren’t best practice. You can often worm out these by focussing on standard Salesforce features that accomplish a task. For example, you could build a custom approval process with process builder, but why do this when there is a standard feature that is best practice?

You also have a great tool at your disposal, the “Mark for review” feature. On each question, you will have a checkbox that you can mark. This is great if you cannot think of an answer right at that moment, or if you are doubtful about your answer. At the end of the exam, you will have a chance to review these questions. Depending on the amount selected, this will give you a pretty good idea of how likely you are to have passed the test. Regardless of the questions marked for review, I would always recommend going through every question if time permits. I do this on every exam, and often spot mistakes I made in the answers and change a few.



Final Thoughts

The CPQ Specialist certification is a great way to demonstrate and present your skills and knowledge set of the CPQ package.

While not for everyone, this exam can enable those with CPQ experience to gain extra visibility in the Salesforce community and possibly open more future implementations of CPQ.

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