Customer relationship management (CRM) certifications help advance technical skills and user knowledge of the features through accredited training courses. CRM education allows businesses to maximize product value by better organizing data, generating more sales, optimizing marketing campaigns, and providing quality customer support. Individual users can also use certifications to boost their resumes for professional advancement. We evaluated dozens of programs to arrive at the six best CRM certifications to help get the most out of your CRM.
The top certifications, along with their most applicable use cases, include:
- Best for new marketers using HubSpot: HubSpot Marketing Software Certification
- Best choice for administrators who want to customize their Zoho platform: Zoho CRM Certified Administrator
- Best for admins seeking a quick CRM certification for free: Freshdesk Product Expert for Admins
- Best for small Zendesk for service team members: Zendesk Omnichannel Agent Specialist
- Best CRM certificate for those looking for a resume boost: Certified Salesforce Administrator
- Best for beginners seeking broad CRM knowledge: Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Certification
Best CRM Certifications Compared
HubSpot Marketing Software
Free (requires paid subscription)
Automation and email and content marketing in HubSpot
Zoho CRM Certified Administrator
Must contact for pricing
4 days and 6 hours
Zoho CRM integrations, system, settings, customization, and automation
Intermediate to expert
Freshdesk Product Expert for Admins
60-minute test plus optional courses
Setting up and operating Freshdesk and scaling platform to operational needs
Intermediate to expert
Zendesk Omnichannel Agent Specialist
225 minutes of courses plus 45-minute exam
Zendesk interface navigation and omnichannel ticket management
Salesforce Administrator Certification
70+ hours of courses and exam prep
Salesforce CRM configuration, customization, and user management
Dynamics 365 Fundamentals (CRM)
Free for courses and $99 for exam
6+ hours of lessons
Microsoft Dynamics 365 sales, marketing, and service app features and automation capabilities
Did you know enrolling in specific CRM training courses for a certification could heavily influence which product your business chooses? If you or one of your users learned to operate a particular product, you may feel more inclined to invest in that same provider later. To understand all the factors that go into selecting a CRM system, check out our guide on how to choose a CRM system.
HubSpot Marketing Software Certification: Best for Entry-level Marketers Using HubSpot
HubSpot Academy is an excellent online resource of courses for both HubSpot and non-HubSpot users. It includes various sales, marketing, and service management curriculum, many of which offer a 13- to 25-month certification upon completion. Some of the popular certifiable courses include inbound marketing, content marketing, social media, inbound sales, sales enablement, and developing a sales plan—just to name a few.
HubSpot Academy also provides CRM software training relevant to using HubSpot’s CRM and marketing automation software—bringing us to the HubSpot Marketing Software certification. As HubSpot is highly acclaimed for its marketing capabilities, marketing professionals should take advantage of this course and certification option. It’s specifically designed to help beginners operate the Marketing Hub platform’s contact management, content marketing, lead generation, email marketing, and automation features.
Despite the HubSpot CRM certification cost being $0, one downside is that there isn’t any way to obtain the certifications without going directly through HubSpot Academy. As some businesses and users prefer using a third-party course provider, we recommend pursuing Salesforce Trailhead or Microsoft Learn certifications that allow direct and third-party engagements to undergo the lessons and teaching modules.
Certifiable or not, providing frequent product training to employees is one of the best ways to boost CRM adoption at an organization. Check out our guide on the six ways to increase CRM adoption to learn best practices that help get user acceptance and consistent product usage.
Zoho CRM Certified Administrator: Best for Customizing Zoho CRM
In addition to providing a CRM system and other native software tools for businesses, Zoho administers online training and certifications through its Zoho Spark service. Within Spark, users can enroll in online or in-person courses and become certified as a Zoho CRM administrator, developer, sales rep, or sales manager.
We consider Zoho one of the top CRMs in terms of customizing a system to meet all sales operations, creating workflow automations, and offering an endless supply of integration options. That said, for an organization to take advantage of these essential features, they need a CRM administrator who understands all the technical components. For example, how to customize the system, connect with external applications, manage users, create automations, and operate the modules.
The Zoho Certified Administrator accreditation and its courses enable businesses to do just that. After completion, participants will have gone through every module and individual tool Zoho CRM has available, as well as all the ways Zoho CRM can supplement organizational growth. It also covers the different system and platform customization options they can use to manage the features, data, and individual users.
One issue with the Zoho CRM Administrator certification is that it takes a long time to obtain—lasting over four days to complete the courses and examination. This is due to the detail each lesson goes into regarding each CRM module, customization options, and system settings component. The Freshdesk Product Expert Certification for Admins is an excellent alternative for a fast-track certification, requiring just a 60-minute exam.
Freshdesk Product Expert Certification: Best Fast-track Administrator Certification
Freshworks Academy is a relatively new education service that’s slowly adding on new certification options as a way for users to solidify their knowledge of the Freshworks products. While there are only three current certifiable courses in Freshworks Academy, users can still get access to dozens of free courses that last up to 60 minutes max. These cover topics like customer success management, customer service, field service management, and much more.
The Freshdesk Product Expert Certification for Admins is great because of how quickly administrators or Freshdesk agents can get certified. The courses are optional, and the certification requires participants to pass a 60-minute test once they feel ready. Plus, the certification exam is free to take.
One issue with the Freshworks Product Expert certification is that it’s unclear how long it stays active. If you are an administrator with no preferred CRM affiliation but want to obtain a certification with a long and clear validity period, we recommend the Zoho CRM Certified Administrator. Though it takes a little over four days to acquire, it goes in-depth into managing Zoho CRM, lasts up to two years, and is excellent to have on your resume.
Zendesk Omnichannel Specialist for Agents: Best for Service Reps Using Zendesk
Zendesk is a popular software provider that offers both a CRM system for sales and a robust customer support solution for managing tickets and communicating with customers. To help give users the most value, Zendesk supplements its software capabilities with the Zendesk Training service that provides CRM certification courses online. There are CRM training materials for Zendesk admins, developers, and agents to set up a CRM system and operate its sales and support features.
Because Zendesk is well known for its contact management, multi-channel communication, and customer ticket management modules, we recommend its Omnichannel Specialist Certification for Agents training. Upon completion, users become experts in how to operate and navigate the Zendesk customer service platform. It also details how to best handle inquiries and manage tickets from all channels, including email, live chat, and telephone.
One issue with Zendesk Training certifications is that it’s relatively expensive to take the courses and exam—starting at $199, with other certifications going up to $899. For low-cost certification options in sales, marketing, and even some customer service, we recommend HubSpot Academy, in which many courses are free regardless of whether you’re a HubSpot user or not.
Certified Salesforce Administrator: Best Resume Booster
Salesforce is one of the most popular CRM and business software providers globally. Many businesses, large and small, adopt Salesforce technology, which is why the provider offers tons of certifications and courses for Salesforce administrators, architects, developers, marketers, consultants, and designers. That said, it’s the Certified Salesforce Administrator accreditation that stands out for CRM users.
For starters, this certification is valuable whether or not you actually manage a Salesforce CRM platform. Many recruiters within software deployment, sales enablement, or automation design industries see this certification as a standout job qualification. Additionally, if you were deploying and managing a Salesforce CRM for a small business or large sales team, being a certified administrator gives you expert knowledge on customizing the platform, using the features, and managing users.
While useful to have on a resume, the Salesforce Administrator certification is both expensive and takes a while to obtain. The best CRM admin accreditation for price, speed, and convenience is the Freshworks Product Expert Certification —requiring just an hour-long test users can take when they feel ready at no cost.
Dynamics 365 CRM Fundamentals: Best for Certification for Broad Product Knowledge
Many organizations invest in popular Microsoft tools like Outlook, OneDrive, and Teams, and the lesser known ones including Microsoft Project and PowerBI. There’s also the Dynamics 365 CRM solution, which encompasses the integrated business software organizations can use to complete workflows and manage their entire business. Some of the modular options include systems for sales, supply chain management, marketing, service, and finance.
These end-to-end, advanced software capabilities include product training and certifications offered by Microsoft Learn. While there are hundreds of certification options, depending on one’s job title, skill level, and specific software, the Dynamics 365 Fundamentals (CRM) certification stood out the most. It’s designed for beginners, and the courses explore and certify one’s knowledge of a wide range of Microsoft product capabilities within sales, marketing, and service applications.
Those who enroll in the Dynamics 365 courses may not like that they need to spend $99 to take the exam for the certification. Though there is no way around this for the Microsoft-specific certification, employees new to the workforce should consider HubSpot Academy as an alternative. It offers free certifications great for entry-level employees in various business and CRM functions, including sales, marketing, and customer service management.
How We Evaluated the Top CRM Training Programs
To evaluate the best CRM certifications and training courses, we considered two specific value-based attributes of each certification. The first was the overall prestige of getting certified—in other words, whether it could help someone get a promotion, pay raise, or a new job position by having it on a resume. We also looked at each certification in terms of the most valuable features in the provider’s CRM system.
For example, HubSpot is well-known for its marketing and automation features. Therefore, having Marketing Software certification by HubSpot helps users better operate its drip campaign, email, and content management features. Ultimately, the business using HubSpot can get more value from the system overall. Finally, we considered some roadblocks to obtaining and keeping certifications, such as training program price, course duration, and validity period.
CRM Certification Statistics
Not sure if CRM certifications can offer you or your business tangible benefits? These CRM certification statistics might change your mind:
- Sponsoring CRM and other technology-certified training programs for your employees offers direct value to the organization. Eighty-one percent of businesses report increased work quality and value contribution from hiring certified employees.
- It is estimated that CRM certification and recertification interest increased by 200% from 2021 to 2022, mainly resulting from professionals looking to expand their skill sets and look favorably on a job application.
- The average return on investment (ROI) of a credentialed employee is roughly $10,000 of added value to a business.
- For individuals who recently received a technology certification, 28% immediately received a pay increase, 55% were rewarded within three months, and 77% saw a boost in compensation within six months.
- Earning a CRM, IT, or other technology certification helps job seekers with non-tangible returns. For example, 21% received a promotion, and another 23% found new jobs in the same industry thanks to obtaining certifications.
Source: Pearson VUE
A CRM certification helps individuals boost their employment qualifications for better job positions while allowing businesses to get more out of their CRM features through technical skill development. Each of the top CRM certifications on this list can be used to specialize in a particular CRM or one of its features or help a job candidate stand out in the employee recruitment process.