Gain Industry Recognition By Certifying Users and Professionals
May 27, 2022
⌚ 6 min read
→ Your growth practice
Validate your users’ product skills and industry knowledge by offering them the possibility of getting certified. Engage people in your learning programs, encouraging them to pass the exam and get the certification.
→ Quick explanation
Providing knowledge and product certificates is part of a bigger growth practice related to building customer learning programs. For example, more than 165,000 professionals have grown their careers by getting certified with HubSpot Academy.
However, some SaaS companies will limit themselves to offering product or industry-related learning programs without providing certification to those who completed the training and passed the exam.
That’s a missed opportunity, as these certifications may become, in time, a symbol of excellence and professionalism. Think about Salesforce. The company’s certifications are recognized globally. Employers worldwide hire based on Salesforce credentials.
By building learning programs and providing certifications to those who completed your course and passed the exam, you’re validating their newly-acquired knowledge or skills and positioning your brand as an industry standard.
📓 Customer education: A growth practice focused on helping users, community members, or other company stakeholders to achieve success by teaching them how to:
Use your platform, making the most out of it
Apply new methodologies (inbound marketing, conversational marketing)
Navigate the industry shifts
Improve results through acquiring new skills/knowledge
📓 Certification: Indicates someone’s expertise, mastery, or proficiency measured against a standard, aka an exam. In other words, your company stakeholders have to pass an exam to get a certificate, showing their knowledge and skills.
📓 Badges: Symbols representing the knowledge or skills someone acquired in a specific topic area. Companies, such as Salesforce or Drift, may offer virtual badges to complete a program or module.
→ Types of certifications
Product proficiency: It validates someone’s expertise regarding software use. These certificates can be classified according to competency levels, such as Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.
Methodology: Some SaaS companies offer methodology-based certifications. For example, HubSpot provides “Inbound Marketing” or “Inbound Sales” certifications that validate someone’s knowledge of these two methodologies.
Industry: Certifications validating someone’s new-acquired industry knowledge (how-to, tips, trends, and more).
Expertise: Some companies, such as Notion, provide certifications to users who want to consult others on making the best out of the platform.
→ Your growth opportunities
By building a full-fledged certification based on a valuable learning program, you’ll access growth opportunities such as:
Increase brand awareness as people tend to share their newly-received certifications on social media.
Attract high-quality leads, as more professionals may want to access your learning program and get certified.
Grow your revenue by monetizing your certification. You can offer your learning program for free, but you may ask for a fee if people want their knowledge/skills validated.
Encouraging more users to become product experts and monetize their knowledge. After all, a company consultant or product expert certification will validate people’s knowledge and skills, helping them better their services and gain their clients’ trust.
Gain industry recognition by transforming your certification into a standard.
Provide more value to companies. Just think about it: you can use certifications to onboard company teams and help company leaders to track their employees’ training process.
The company offers three certifications: Notion Essentials Badge for Beginners, Notion Certified Consultant for work with clients, and Notion Certified Admin.
The Notion Certified Admin is not launched yet.
As the company highlights, “Notion Certified is a program for Notion power users to validate their skills for clients and peers.”
To get certified, people have to submit an application, providing their profile information and examples of their Notion experience.
Next, they have to take the exam. As Notion highlights, “Through a hypothetical client project, you’ll create complex solutions to common problems using advanced Notion tactics, best practices, and proven methodologies.”
>> Commsor, a platform for community-led companies
Community Foundations for professionals looking to pivot into community management. To get certified, people have to attend a course that includes 8 weeks of foundational training and 4 weeks of career services.
Community Essentials for community professionals looking to go from “do-er” to “strategist.” The certification course includes 8 weeks of essential training and 4 weeks of peer and instructor coaching.
Community Team Leadership for experienced community professionals who lead teams. The certification course includes 12 weeks of leadership training and practice scenarios with a mastery community instructor.
There are due dates for people to apply for the certifications.
Slack Certified Admin for admins at organizations of all sizes. The Certification Prep Course + exam costs $300. People can also purchase the Prep course separately for $150 and access the exam for $150.
Slack Certified Developers. The Certification Prep Course + exam costs $300. People can also purchase the Prep course separately for $150 and access the exam for $150.
According to Webflow, “To pass the exam, you’ll need to score an 88% or higher, correctly answering at least 22 out of the 25 questions for each exam.”
Also, as Webflow indicates, “Upon passing a Webflow Certification exam, the certifications are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. After 12 months, you’ll be required to take and pass the updated version of that exam to retain the certification status.”
The company indicates,” The certification offers a foundation in the Net Promoter® framework and Account Experience™ program operation. With 6 jam-packed courses, learners will walk through everything from customer loyalty economics, survey methodology, driver analysis, target-setting, and more.”
To get the certification, people have to pay $499.
Who will benefit best from the certification? (For example, you can choose between users and power users).
Who’ll create the course curriculum?
How will I assess and validate people’s knowledge/skills? What are my criteria?
How will I structure the exam?
Will I monetize the certification?
Having at least one customer learning program is the obvious requirement for creating an exam and providing certification.
► Quick note: Notion is one of the few companies that isn’t providing a customer learning program, and it simply encourages people to pass the test and get certified based on their product proficiency and experience.
📒 Decide what type of certification you should provide. If your platform is quite straightforward, a product certification may be unnecessary. In this case, you’ll want to create a methodology, industry, or expertise type of certification. It all depends on your product type. The answer to this question should derive from the type of learning program you’ll build.
📒 Define your target group. That’s especially relevant if you’re targeting people from different industries or with different job titles.
📒 (duh!) Build a learning program except if you’re as cool as Notion. 😎
📒 Identify the assessment criteria. This step will help you create the exam and know how many correct answers someone needs to provide to get certified. It’s worth noting that in some cases, instead of questions, you may want to build a real-time exercise and ask people to work on specific projects.
📒 Test your Certification. You can incentivize some of your users or company stakeholders to take the test and assess its complexity.
📒 Once you’ve fine-tuned everything, launch the Certification.
📒 Provide shareable certificates and badges people can publish on social media or add to their personal/professional websites.