A Salesforce Solution Architect is a strategic advisor who is able to translate a long term vision into definitive requirements across different Salesforce clouds. To become a B2B Solution Architect, you’ll need to be able to do this in the context of customers who sell business to business (B2B).
The exam covers a range of clouds including: B2B Commerce, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Pardot, Revenue Cloud, Field Service, Einstein Automate, Experience Cloud, CRM Analytics (formerly Tableau CRM), and MuleSoft. The value a Solution Architect can bring is realized by them owning the solution from initial vision to implementation, and from their own experiences of what products solve which problems, and how these can come together.
Who’s the Ideal Candidate?
There isn’t a hard and fast rule here, but the suggestion is that a candidate should have 4-5 years’ experience in a Solution Architect role. As such, they should have experience of managing relationships with stakeholders at different levels, including executives.
The prerequisites to unlock this exam are the same as those needed to achieve “Application Architect”:
- Platform App Builder
- Platform Developer I
- Data Architect
- Sharing and Visibility Architect
Although not mandatory, I found it advantageous to have certifications in CPQ, Sales, Service, Field Service, Experience Cloud, Pardot, and Marketing Cloud too.
If you aren’t experienced in these products, be sure to review the related Trailhead modules to get yourself familiar, as Salesforce could ask questions about any of them in the exam!
Discovery and Customer Success: 25%
Within this section of the exam, Salesforce will test your knowledge of customer-centric discovery techniques, discovery artefacts (e.g. Reference Architecture diagram), and what kind of quantitative and qualitative objectives can measure a project’s success.
A Solution Architect is expected to understand how to bridge products together, such as Marketing Cloud and Salesforce, and when (and if) a tool such as MuleSoft should be used.
You should be able to break a project down into different phases so that a customer can start to see return on investment (ROI) at the earliest opportunity, and the team can deliver new features or clouds in an initiative approach.
You’ll need to be familiar with agile project delivery methods, the various ceremonies, and other terms such as User Stories and Personas.
For more information, refer to this trail on Trailhead.
Here’s why: Get Familiar with Architecture Diagrams
Data Governance and Integration: 26%
As an Application Architect, you need to be sure you know how to control sharing of records within Salesforce and are familiar with Profiles, Permission Sets, and Record Types.
You will need to be familiar with Data Skew and how to ensure your to-be architecture doesn’t lead to this.
As a Data Architect your understanding of master data management (MDM) will help design a system alongside a customer, and define what information is mastered by what system.
Here’s why: Key Master Data Management Functionalities
With most B2B Solutions you will be working across different clouds and other platforms.
A Solution Architect should be able to design to-be architecture which shows the data points between different systems as part of the customer journey, and present this to both a technical and non-technical audience for approval.
Make sure you read up on the integration options between B2B Commerce and CPQ, and know the role a middleware such as MuleSoft can play to bridge systems together. Read up on other options such as Salesforce Connect and Heroku Connect too!
When assessing different options, you’ll need to compare risks and benefits for each integration method to ensure you can identify the most mutually beneficial solution.
Here’s why: Connector
Be sure to recap what type of activities take place during each part of the project lifecycle, e.g. when should user stories be signed off?
It’s likely that you’re already developing these ‘soft’ skills via the customers you work and align with to ensure success.
A Solution Architect should lead each stage of an implementation and could include architecting a solution involving multiple orgs, clouds, and other systems such as a data warehouse. Try to get as much hands-on experience of this as you can!
Here’s why: 10 tips for effective change management in Agile
Operationalize the Solution: 8%
The success of any new system is driven by User Adoption and Return on Investment (ROI).
As a B2B Solution Architect you’ll need to be familiar with metrics used to measure adoption of the new system, and the packaged reports and dashboards available on the AppExchange.
At this stage of a customer facing project, you’ll be expected to iterate or enhance the solution. If the project is ending, you will need to ensure the customer is being set up for success so they can manage and maintain the solution going forwards.
Here’s why: Measure Salesforce Usage
As this exam focuses a lot on the practical experiences of how to deliver a B2B project/implementation, the best way to study for this is through hands-on experience.
Having said that, your hands-on experience may not cover everything in the exam guide, so be sure to work through the trail mixes and get practical experience in demo orgs of clouds or features you are not as familiar with.
Personally, when I study, I put together a document with bullet points per exam topic that I then recite until I have retained as much as I can. Other techniques include flashcards, working with a study buddy, or reaching out on the Trailblazer Community for assistance on areas you struggle with.
As someone who has gone through a number of different Salesforce exams already, you should be familiar with what works for you, so choose whatever is best.
Be sure to stick to official resources on Trailhead, Salesforce Architects and the Partner Learning Camp (even if you are not a Partner!).
As much as possible you will want to approach the exam in a calm manner. Perhaps meditation could help you to de-stress before your slot?
When you are in the exam, be sure to read the questions fully as they are designed to trip you up; look for words like should or shouldn’t and use your Salesforce expertise to eliminate irrelevant options.
Try not to panic if you get stuck on a particular question; simply mark it for review and come back to it later. At the end of the exam, if you have time once you’ve reviewed all of your flagged questions, it’s a good idea to review all your answers/questions again to be confident before pressing submit.
Before taking this exam make sure you have adequate knowledge and a solid understanding of all the topics covered in the syllabus.
You will have first-hand experience working with a broad range of Salesforce Clouds, connecting them together, and managing customer relationships from project start to end.
Some of you may find it helpful to book in the exam so you have a date to work towards, whereas others find this creates too much pressure. Lean into what works for you to ensure your best chances of passing the exam.