Marketing is a competitive field of work, and whether you are looking to expand your skillset for a career transition, or are beginning to use Salesforce and Pardot tools in your job, a Pardot certification is a great way to bolster your resume. But more importantly, it’s a great way to keep up with the ever-advancing technology being created, used, and improved every day.
With so many companies doing marketing automation, it’s incredible how many are not utilizing their tools properly. Yes, getting the Pardot certification validates that someone has a comprehensive working knowledge of the Pardot tool, but it also teaches them the digital marketing best practices behind the tool. After getting certified, they will not only have the knowledge to navigate and use the tool, but they will also be in a good position to create highly optimized campaigns. The Pardot certification is not just for a person’s resume, it can also be immensely valuable for their company.
Although most blogs out there recommend having working experience within the tool, I’d like to say that this is not mandatory, and getting certified without work experience is still a worthwhile and meaningful endeavor. By successfully completing the certification process, a person will leave with a solid baseline understanding of the tool, and be in a strong position to help the company build and optimize campaigns and marketing initiatives.
As someone who’s very recently gone through the process of passing the Pardot certification without in-tool experience, I’d like to break down my experience and provide advice for those looking to take the test with little to no Salesforce or Pardot experience.
1. Understand the basics behind the Pardot test.
The Pardot test is a 60 question multiple-choice / multiple-select test. A person has 90 minutes to complete the test, which is taken in a proctored environment. Normally, the test is done in a testing center, but due to COVID 19, I took it as an online proctored exam.
The questions on the exam aren’t the easiest, and I’d agree with other Salesforce/Pardot bloggers that this is one of the harder exams out there. That is why it is especially important to understand the tool and how all the components work together. Without using Pardot, it’s hard to fully understand the use cases for the tool, such as choosing what automation process to use, how to navigate the tool, and how Salesforce and Pardot interact with each other. But, as long as the person taking the test familiarizes themself with the material, they should be fully prepared to take the test.
2. Take the trailhead course.
The trailhead course offers nearly 20 hours of training material. For someone who isn’t familiar with the platform, the trailhead course is a must.
Depending on the preferred study style, I would advise someone to devote a minimum of 2-3 months of study time for this course and commit to at least 2-4 hours of studying a week. Also, schedule the test in advance. Not only do test times fill up, but having a date selected gives the test taker a goal to work to and ensures that they stay on track with their studying.
3. Review an exam guide.
There are exam guides all over the web, but my personal favorite is from Idealist Consulting. This exam guide not only breaks down what a person needs to know by category, but it also highlights the weight of each of the exam sections.
After completing the Salesforce Trailhead Modules, I used this exam guide to review everything together and freshen up on areas that I had studied earlier on.
Other notable tools:
- Jenna Molby’s practice test – This is a 50 question online test that gives an idea of what to expect but does not feature the exact questions that are on the real test.
- Pardot specialist quizlet – This Quizlet takes a lot of the key topics from the exam guide and puts it in an easy to digest and gamified notecard format (a.k.a my favorite way to study).
- Ben Edward’s study doc – This is a filled-in version of the exam guide, and it is a great tool to cross-reference as someone starts working through their own exam guide.
4. Understand your areas of weakness and review.
We all have our different strengths and weaknesses, and those should be considered when studying for an exam like this one. In my last few days of studying, I quizzed myself from the exam guide. The areas that I wasn’t able to answer with confidence, I highlighted, and then spent a bit more time reviewing.
For me, my strong areas were email marketing and engagement studio because I was familiar with those components from my experience with other marketing automation platforms. The areas where I found myself struggling a bit more were administration and lead management. By putting a little extra effort into studying those topics I was more confident going into the test.
5. Reach out to the Salesforce network.
There are so many people within the Salesforce Ohana, and most are friendly and eager to help! Do not be afraid to ask around and get advice from people online. If you’re a bit nervous you are welcome to start with me!
Taking the Pardot certification exam may seem daunting, but as long as you are willing to put in the effort to prepare it will be more than worth your while. Congrats on taking the next step in your career and best of luck in your journey!
The Iron Horse insight.
One of the big reasons these certifications exist and continue to stick around is because they give us the framework for success, teaching us how to make the most of our marketing technology and giving us the authority to begin optimization initiatives. Pardot is powerful and comprehensive, and those who have gone through the certification process, regardless of their experience level, are better prepared to leverage the tool for their marketing automation. But the certification is only as valuable as you choose to make it.