Get Ready for Performance-Based Certification: 5 Team Training Tips

What a waste of time…  

If you’ve ever uttered the phrase after attending an employee training program, you’re not alone. Despite U.S. companies continually spending more money on training, 75 percent of respondents surveyed by McKinsey & Co. indicated such efforts did not improve employee performance.

The primary culprit? Marathon learning sessions that overload team members with information that is never revisited.

“Decades of research on knowledge retention has proven that fire-hose training events deliver astonishingly bad results,” says Forbes contributor Stephen J. Meyer. “The human brain simply wasn’t designed to learn this way.”

Obviously, software and platform certification managers aren’t designing typical employee training programs. However, they are responsible for educating team members on how these certifications fit into “the bigger picture.”

If you’re in the process of transitioning to performance-based certification (PBC), it’s imperative that you approach team member training with the same level of care as the exam development process. Your program’s ultimate success will directly correlate with how much key stakeholders understand its value.

Organizational leadership, team members and channel partners alike should feel comfortable articulating why PBC enhances the capabilities of platform users, how it works from a technological standpoint and how the exam benefits everyone involved.

5 Stakeholders to Get Ready for Performance-Based Certification

Unfortunately, holding a “quick meeting” simply won’t provide enough reinforcement to get everyone on board.

As reported by Learning Solutions, most individuals forget 50 percent of the information they hear presented within an hour. After a week, they will remember less than 10 percent!

While working with industry leaders in recent years — Google, SUSE and Chef — we’ve found bite-sized PBC training to be more effective than one-off workshops. Based on our experience, we recommend developing and scheduling PBC reinforcement programs for the following stakeholders:

Industry leaders know the value of a strong certification program. Make a program even stronger by including real-world testing in a live technical environment.

1. Upper-Management

Obtaining the “green light” to switch from MCQ to PBC from upper-management is no small feat.

Understandably, most executives are hesitant to spend thousands of dollars on something they know little to nothing about. Which is why it’s extremely important to keep the boss updated on the new program’s progress.

Hold a monthly meeting to discuss the following metrics:

  • Test-Taker Satisfaction Scores
  • Number of Exams Taken By Region
  • Number of Exams Taken / Personnel
  • Adoption Rate by Partners
  • Average Exam Score

The more proof of growth you can demonstrate, the more likely your boss will embrace additional expansion of PBC.

2. Sales Representatives

As previously mentioned, software sales reps are increasingly being asked about certification programs by savvy IT buyers. However, there are still plenty of platform shoppers who don’t understand how performance-based assessment can help them reach their goals.

For this reason, sales teams must understand the merits of PBC more than anyone else within your organization. Consider creating monthly or quarterly training sessions that review the following:

  • How to explain PBC in concise, plain language.
  • Benefits of PBC compared to MCQ exams.
  • Recent case studies and usage scenarios.
  • Desired outcomes that may be achieved as a result of knowing how to utilize your software platform’s full capabilities.

While we recommend making certification and training a mandatory component of every sales contract (doing so virtually guarantees that clients won’t return with major complaints), we know that isn’t always possible.

Nonetheless, sales reps should feel confident answering questions like: Why should we pay extra for this line item? Couldn’t we do without certification?

Also, consider creating a sales incentive, or spiff, program to motivate team members to close more deals. Luxury cars, paid vacations and cash prizes are often used with success.

3. Marketing Directors

Another important person not to overlook is your company’s marketing director. Work closely with your marketing department to create educational collateral that speaks to the benefits of PBC. Ideally, you should begin collaborating 6 months before the program’s formal launch. That will give marketers enough time to create drip campaigns that sequentially introduce prospects to the value of the upcoming program. Assuming they are acquiring enough traffic, and the software product is indeed wanted, your marketers will gather a list of qualified leads to handover to sales pre-launch.

4. Platform Training Teams

Traditionally, organizational training teams are kept separate from certification teams to maintain exam integrity. It’s important to recognize that PBC actually requires substantial collaboration between the two departments for success.

Since PBC exams require users to act within real workplace scenarios, it’s essential that your training curriculum and certification programs are tightly aligned. Most of our clients utilize learning management systems (LMS) that allow their users and channel partners to interact with training materials in remote locations. As you transition to PBC, your LMS should also adapt to better prepare test-takers for the experience. This will invariably lead to higher exam satisfaction scores and fewer complaints as you transition to performance-based certification.

5. Channel Partners

Finally, we recommend creating a PBC enablement and incentive program for all representatives, vendors, resellers and consultants. Your channel-partners can only help your company increase its brand recognition, global reach and sales revenue if they truly understand how to use your software platform. Incentivize channel-partners to achieve certification themselves by emphasizing how much more business they will attract as a result.

Further, commit to collaborating with them to continually enhance the value of your PBC program. Similar to sales reps, channel partners can provide priceless feedback regarding customer wants, needs and concerns.

Automate Performance-Based Certification and Keep On Training

The bottom-line: Software users, customers and channel-partners who study for PBC are more likely to achieve platform proficiency than those studying for MCQ alone.

Unlike traditional testing, performance-based exams definitively answer the question: Does this person really know how to utilize this software in real-world scenarios? Educating key stakeholders on why PBC is the strongest barometer of technical skill assessment is vital to the growth of new certification programs.

TrueAbility is on a mission to make performance-based assessment convenient, scalable and accessible for today’s emerging tech leaders. Our turnkey, PBC service automates exam registration, delivery, proctoring and grading so certification managers can focus on providing key stakeholders with the tools they need to effectively promote exam certification and training.

Build vs. Buy

Learn how outsourcing to a PBA platform provider like TrueAbility can help you deliver your performance-based certification program faster, more affordably, and at scale.

Did you like this article?

Subscribe to receive strategies, tips, and tools to help make your performance-based certification program a success.


Learn more about TrueAbility—an industry leader in providing assessment testing and has experience offering testing, certification, and training to companies, such as Google, SUSE, VMWare etc.

About True Ability

TrueAbility is a trusted global performance-based technical assessment provider offering a community ecosystem allowing technical professionals and employers to collaborate and measure skill sets through AbilityScreen®. AbilityScreen is the only fully-managed performance-based technical assessment platform operating in a live, cloud environment that automates recruiting and hiring processes to definitively assess and qualify a technical professional’s technology experience.

TrueAbility has executed over 20,000 technical assessments logging more than 18,000 hours of live server practical skill evaluations. Employers have collectively hired hundreds of qualified technical professionals for specific job positions across an array of industries. Founded in 2012, TrueAbility is privately held and headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, please visit

# # #

AbilityScreen is a registered trademark of TrueAbility in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks, trade names or service marks used or mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.