The Microsoft Partner Network Sales Specialist program has progressed significantly since launching in May 2010. The program was started for Sales Specialists, offering resources, training, and accreditation for sellers within our partner organizations to grow their sales skills and align with Microsoft’s technology value propositions. This program launched for just a handful of the MPN competencies, but as of today, Sales Specialist is available for 18 distinct accreditations.  We just concluded Year Three of the program and so far more than 145,000 people worldwide have earned a Microsoft Sales Specialist accreditation.

Last July at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, we announced a new accreditation – we launched a Presales Technical Specialist program within a subset of MPN competencies (5 areas) to reach partner individuals who bridge the gap between the sales and technical conversations with customers and tend to lead proof of concepts.  We’ve already accredited more than 8,000 people worldwide as Presales Technical Specialists and plan to expand aggressively in the coming months.
What’s New and a Roadmap
For our partners specializing in Devices and Deployment, you’ll be pleased to know that the Devices and Deployment Sales Assessment is now available – see it here. This is a great area in which to get accredited – delivering services and solutions for the Windows 8 operating system and Microsoft Office productivity solutions represents a tremendous business opportunity for you. Additionally, stay tuned for the availability of a Devices and Deployment Presales Technical Assessment, currently scheduled to be live within the coming months.
Telegraphing what else is coming, here is what we will deliver in the next 12 months:
Sales Specialist
  • Application Development (new!)
  • Collaboration and Content (new!)
  • Communications – Lync (refresh)
  • Devices & Deployment (refresh)
  • Messaging (refresh)
  • Midmarket (refresh)
Presales Technical Specialist
  • Collaboration and Content (new!)
  • Communications – Lync (refresh)
  • Devices & Deployment (new!)
  • Messaging (new!) 
Global Recognition for Our Partners
One way we recognize partner individuals who deeply invest in and demonstrate the requisite skills highlighted in these programs is through WPC Partner of the Year Awards. This year, the WPC Awards featured categories for both Sales and Presales Technical Specialist individual excellence.  
Please join me in congratulating our winners who were be announced at this year’s WPC in Houston!  These individuals have proven to be a tremendous asset to their partner organization and Microsoft:
Read more about the winners and finalists here.  
Additionally, six lucky people received a Windows 8 tablet for participation in the Win with Us contest, held this spring. These partner individuals entered the contest by getting accredited as either a Sales Specialist or Presales Technical Specialist.   Congratulations again to:
A New Online Experience
As we look ahead, I want to call your attention to changes to the online experience for the Sales and Presales Specialist programs – now fully integrated into the MPN website. These programs are integral to your success and ours as well as help your organization meet MPN competency requirements. The new Sales Specialist and Presales Technical Specialist pages include details of each program as well as direct links to training and assessment learning paths to help you get accredited.  You will also find a link to Logo Builder – where you can build a customized badge to show off your accreditation to your customers and peers.
If you or your sales team members are not already a Sales Specialist or Presales Technical Specialist, I strongly encourage you to consider adding these accreditations to your practice business plans. These programs add real value to both the individuals themselves as well as they help your partner organization from a sales productivity and effectiveness perspective.
Thank you to those who have participated thus far and happy selling!