Salesforce Business Analyst Certification Guide & Tips
The Salesforce Business Analyst Certification is tailored for individuals who already have hands-on experience and are comfortable following Salesforce best practices – all while using their skills to facilitate project discovery, do process mapping, and write clear and complete user stories.
This guide will focus on key topics as well as the best strategy for studying and taking the exam itself. Make sure you also check out the Trailhead exam guide as you should be prepared for feature-based technical questions as well as scenario-based ones.
Who’s the Ideal Candidate?
This exam is specifically designed for Salesforce Administrators or Business Analysts who are comfortable with Salesforce’s capabilities in order to understand business needs and challenges, particularly to collaborate with stakeholders and others on the project team towards a successful delivery.
The Business Analyst credential is one of the fairly new certifications and was launched in July 2022. Whilst it might seem like a walk in the park to begin with, Salesforce does recommend having at least a couple of years of hands-on experience prior to scheduling this exam, plus the Salesforce Administrator certification is a prerequisite.
If you’re hoping to transition into a Business Analyst position in the Salesforce ecosystem, become more comfortable with the process of requirements gathering and stakeholder management, or simply proving that you already have this knowledge, this is certainly the certification to take you one step closer to your goal.
Salesforce exams are made up of different topics, each with different weightings. When taking the Business Analyst certification, your knowledge in the following six categories will be tested.
1. Collaboration with Stakeholders (24%)
This section is focused on your ability to understand and gather requirements as well as properly identifying stakeholders and having them reach an agreement around next steps. This section has the highest weighting of the six topics and will include both simple as well as complex scenario-based questions.
The key to conquering these questions is an extended understanding of the role of a Business Analyst as a liaison between the business and the technical teams. It is also important to demonstrate being comfortable with how Salesforce features are to be used in the context of the business process at hand.
Additionally, this is the section where your prioritization and negotiation skills will come handy as well, considering scenarios where stakeholders would have to sign-off a particular solution.
Here’s why: Speak the Process Mapping Language Unit | Trailhead
2. Customer Discovery (17%) and Requirements (17%)
These two sections total 34% of the exam, and in my opinion, there is quite a bit of connection between the two. The Customer Discovery section will test your knowledge of the responsibilities of a Business Analyst and how you can successfully map out the current state of a customer’s system, along with potential areas for improvement.
On the other hand, the questions in the Requirements section will focus on how you combine the ideas that came out of the conversations with stakeholders about room for improvement and change which will form the future state, properly document them in a version-controlled solution, and prioritize them.
Here’s why: Run a Scan and Review the Findings Unit | Trailhead
3. Business Process Mapping (16%)
While it may sound simple, successfully mapping complex business processes can prove quite challenging, especially when there are a lot of systems and stakeholders involved. This section of the exam is made up of questions related to best practices around process documentation, obtaining the requirements, defining scope and resources for the future state, and how you should divide the processes at hand into small, manageable bits.
Here’s why: How to Build Salesforce Diagrams
4. User Stories (18%) and User Acceptance (8%)
Yet again two sections which highly depend on each other, summing up to 26% of the total questions. Properly documented User Stories as well as how User Acceptance is conducted during a project can make a huge difference for its success.
Questions in the User Stories section will be related to how and where User Stories be created and stored, what the acceptance criteria is and how it differs from the definition of done, and what components a good User Story is made of.
The User Acceptance section will focus on how a Business Analyst should prepare the Test Plan and guide UAT, and potentially mitigate risks through go/no-go decisions if requirements are not met by the solution at hand.
Here’s why: Learn About User Acceptance Testing Unit | Trailhead
Like quite a few other Trailblazers out there, I decided to schedule the Business Analyst exam as soon as it was launched, to confirm that my knowledge of processes, best practices and the role of a Business Analyst within a project are in accordance with what Salesforce recommends. The study time will vary depending on previous experience as well as projects you have been involved in.
As always, Salesforce ensured that along with the shiny new certification comes the dedicated Trailmix which includes the information you need to have in order to ace the exam, and a module focused on preparing you for each section of the exam.
Trailhead remains a great way to gain scenario-based experience as most modules will follow a scenario that gives you exposure to the consulting skills you’ll need, such as correctly interpreting the requirements at hand. If you want to take this a step further, try completing the Superbadges available on Trailhead, as these go through more complex use cases that result in a robust solution touching multiple topics. The Admin Super Set is what I’d recommend completing while studying for this certification if you haven’t already, and more specifically the Business Administration Specialist one as it has quite an interesting scenario to work with.
Here’s another way to keep things interesting while studying the key concepts and features: try inventing a business with its own requirements and challenges. Spin up a new Salesforce Developer edition Org and pretend you are a B2B Company with a complex sales process, large data volumes, and different sharing requirements. This way, you can test out everything you need to know and learn to implement from the inside out.
To be ready for exam day, there are a bunch of tips we gathered over the years to give you the best chance of passing with flying colors.
First, if there are any concepts you are struggling to get to grips with, print off a cheat sheet and try to memorize it before you take the exam – this will keep everything fresh in your memory. You could also write down the key points depending on your learning style.
Pay Close Attention to Each Question
When taking the exam, pay particular attention to the question, and read it through a few times. For scenario-based questions, the answer options will give you huge clues as to what the correct answer actually is. If you are taking the exam in a test center, make use of the pen and paper provided to draw out a data schema, role hierarchy, or any other diagram that will help you visualize the answer. Please note, this is not allowed during online proctored exams.
Use the Process of Elimination
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 different features or just plain incorrect. They also like to throw in curveballs – features that appear to be correct but aren’t best practice. You can often work these out by focusing on standard Salesforce features that accomplish a task. For example, you could build a custom approval process with a flow, but why do this when there is a standard feature that could be used instead?
Mark for Review
You also have a great tool at your disposal (the “Mark for review” checkbox) which appears below each question. This is great if you can’t 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 the questions marked for review (as well as all other answers), which will give you a pretty good idea of how likely you are to have passed the test. I would always recommend reviewing every question if time permits. I do this during every exam and often spot mistakes I’ve made or find the answer to another question not yet completed.
Even if you don’t pass the exam on your first attempt, be sure to write down the topics you found most challenging – this will allow you to study further and test again. It is recommended that you schedule the retake as soon as possible to avoid disrupting the flow and prevent you from forgetting the features you don’t work with day in, day out. As with all other Salesforce exams, the Business Analyst retake fee is half price and you can have up to three attempts per release – as this is subject to change, make sure you check out the retake policy.
Useful Tips and Resources
- Bookmark the official Trailhead Exam Guide and use this as your master revision list.
- Ensure you not only read about the features and concepts, but thoroughly test them out in a Developer Org or a Trailhead Playground. This will ensure you cover all functionalities, preparing you for some very detailed questions.
- Once you feel confident with some of the modules, book your exam to give you a date to aim towards. This will give you the motivation to invest time, revise all topics, and pass the exam.
- Download our Top 10 Salesforce Certification Tips eBook.
All in all, the Business Analyst certification is a nice one to have, especially as it is heavily focused on the way one interacts with various stakeholders and collaborates successfully with all the team members, be them business or technical, during a project’s life cycle.