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How to Transition from a Salesforce Admin into a Marketing Cloud Admin

Brandy the fox who represents Marketing Cloud stands next to Cloudy the goat who represents Salesforce Admins. Brandy is showing Cloudy how to become a Marketing Cloud Administrator.
Salesforce admins with Marketing Cloud admin skills are in high demand.

Including how to prepare for your Marketing Cloud Administrator Certification.

Hi, I’m Kaelan! I’m a passionate Salesforce Certified Marketing Cloud Instructor and for the past few years I’ve taught people from all backgrounds, from complete novices to experienced Salesforce Admins, all about Marketing Cloud, how to become a Marketing Cloud Administrator, and even how to pass the Marketing Cloud Administrator Certification Exam.

I began my career as a Salesforce Administrator, then transitioned into a Marketing Cloud Administrator, and now I’m a Marketing Cloud Consultant. I’ve worked with organizations big and small and witnessed first-hand how clients use Marketing Cloud across all types of industries.

In this post, I want to target one of my favorite audiences, current Salesforce Administrators who are curious about adding Marketing Cloud skills to their resume. Here are my top tips on how to transition from a Salesforce Admin into a Marketing Cloud Admin or gain in-demand Marketing Cloud Admin skills! Let’s go!

How to become a Marketing Cloud Administrator

Get hands-on experience with Salesforce Marketing Cloud

The top question for those who want to study SFMC is how do I get hands-on experience with Marketing Cloud? The free Developer Editions and Trailhead Playgrounds are only for Salesforce CRM, there is no Marketing Cloud Playground edition.

Fortunately, Salesforce MVP Mateusz Dąbrowski has compiled a fantastic list of resources to answer this million-dollar question: How can I learn Marketing Cloud and get hands-on experience?

Connect with Marketing Cloud pros in the Trailblazer Community

The fastest way to learn how to do something is to find someone who’s already done what you’re trying to do. By connecting with other admins in the Trailblazer Community you can request walk-throughs, demos, and explanations of how to use Marketing Cloud. The Marketing Cloud community is so knowledgeable and generous with their skills. Check out the Marketing Trailblazers group in the Trailblazer Community or the unofficial Email Geeks community on Slack. In these groups, other admins often demonstrate their new skills and share their learnings with others. Trailblazer Tim Ziter hosts a hands-on building session where you can experiment with Marketing Cloud every Thursday from 8-9 am EST on his site HandsOnSFMC.

Learn with Trailhead Academy or a Salesforce Authorized Training Provider 

If you’re looking to accelerate your learning, check out Trailhead Academy’s Marketing Cloud expert-led classes, particularly the Prepare for your Marketing Cloud Administrator Certification Exam (CRT250) to get exam-ready. As a bonus, the cert prep class includes a voucher to take the Marketing Cloud Administrator certification exam. There are both in-person courses and virtual, with virtual offering full or half-day options.

Salesforce Authorized Training Providers deliver the same learning experiences as Trailhead Academy. You can check out a full list of providers offering in-person and virtual classes from around the world on the Trailhead Academy’s Salesforce Authorized Training Providers page. Through these trainings, you will have hands-on access to Marketing Cloud technology.

Find a company with a Marketing Cloud license or non-production account

Whether it’s at your employer, a nonprofit you support, or an internship opportunity, you may be able to find a company that is currently using Marketing Cloud and is willing to give you access. You may have to get creative to find your way into the MC universe. 

There is also a little-known alternative way to access Marketing Cloud. That way is through registered ISVs and consulting partners in the Salesforce Partner Program. These organizations have access to special non-production accounts for demoing, learning, and testing. ISV partners can gain access to this org if they can prove they’re developing a Marketing Cloud AppExchange app.

Study for 45 minutes per day

To become a Marketing Cloud Administrator, you’ll need to use all the resources at hand. If you don’t have access to a fully functioning Marketing Cloud account as I did at my job, and you’re struggling to access some of the alternative routes I mentioned above, you can still learn a lot with Trailhead.

Take the Learn Admin Fundamentals in Marketing Cloud trail, where you’ll learn everything from how to set up a new Marketing Cloud account and add users, to sending emails and tracking your results.

Trailhead has great Marketing Cloud resources, especially if you decide to study for the Marketing Cloud Administrator exam. And don’t forget the classic standby, official Marketing Cloud Help docs, which are great for troubleshooting your day-to-day tasks. And don’t forget to check out the latest features and updates from the Marketing Cloud by keeping up with Marketing Cloud release notes. Experts in the community are also always sharing their learnings on personal sites and blogs, check out the resources recommended by HowToSFMC, or my site MinuteAdmin.

Prep for the Marketing Cloud Admin Exam

Get ready for the Marketing Cloud certification exam with interactive study tools.

Keep your Salesforce Admin skills sharp too

It’s not easy for employers and recruiters to find someone who knows how to administer Marketing Cloud. Finding someone with skills in Marketing Cloud and Sales Cloud is even harder. Companies are looking for people who know both systems because the systems talk to each other. You need to be that person!

“If you learn to be both a Salesforce Admin and a Marketing Cloud Admin, companies will be clamoring to hire you.”

Kaelan Moss
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Instructor and Team Lead

And even though you’re learning new Marketing Cloud skills, keep your Salesforce Admin skills sharp so you’ll always be in high demand no matter where you go. Continue to keep up with the latest innovations impacting Salesforce Admins, complete Salesforce Admin-related trails and superbadges, and follow the latest Salesforce Admin news and resources.

Accept the fact that everything will look completely different

As an experienced Salesforce Admin, we get used to the system looking a certain way and knowing it like the back of our hands. We know that the Setup menu is in a certain spot, and our tabs are in familiar places. We’re used to being the kings and queens of our castle. But as you learn how to become a Marketing Cloud Administrator, you’ll notice everything looks different and you won’t be the pro at first. But that’s the fun part. Learning something new and embracing a learner’s mindset.

You have to accept that while Marketing Cloud is a whole different platform and the user interface (UI) does look different than Sales Cloud or Service Cloud, you will soon be super comfortable. I struggled with getting used to navigating at first and would sometimes get frustrated.

But once I realized I couldn’t change anything, and that’s just how it was, I started to learn the system much faster. After all, one of the benefits of being a part of the Salesforce ecosystem is continuous learning, keeping our skills up to date, and always evolving alongside the latest in technology.

Find your Marketing Cloud community

The Trailblazer Community has Marketing Cloud experts, including experts who started as Sales Cloud Administrators, whom you can reach out to for advice and best practices. There’s no reason to embark on this journey alone. Sure, you can read blogs online by brilliant authors (ahem…) but you can also have real conversations online and in person with people who have lived the experience you’re trying to have by joining other Moment Marketers in the Marketing Trailblazers group.

Another way to get better at something is by having an accountability buddy. A lot of people rely on external commitments to be motivated to complete their goals. Have you ever noticed how telling other people you’re going to do something makes you much more likely to do it? Find others working on their Marketing Cloud skill sets and studying for their Marketing Cloud Administrator Certification and create a support system and cheering section to help you reach your goals.

You can also meet amazing Salesforce Certified instructors in the Trailblazer Community who specialize in Marketing Cloud. A crowd favorite is always the amazing Brian Richardson who is famous for making complex topics easier to understand with…raps. You have to see it to believe it, check out his great post on prepping for the Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification.

Marketing Trailblazers

Learn, get inspired, and network with fellow #MomentMarketers worldwide. Jump in and talk strategy, trends, customer expectations, skills, and more.

Before you set off on your journey, let’s recap my favorite resources.

Kaelan Moss Salesforce Marketing Cloud Instructor and Team Lead, Revolent Group

Kaelan is a 2023 Salesforce Golden Hoodie award winner and recognized Marketing Champion. He guides others through his MinuteAdmin platform and YouTube channel, providing the tools needed for personal and professional growth. Kaelan’s optimism and innovative thinking continue to inspire and facilitate progress within the Trailblazer Community.

More by Kaelan

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