Performance-Based Certification: How to Get Everyone on Board

You’ve analyzed the data.  

You’ve done your homework.

And you’re ready to transition from multiple-choice question exams to performance-based certification (PBC).

There is just one problem — you still have to convince “the boss” that adopting the new program format is the right move for everyone.

Channel partners, end-users and sales reps will all experience the change in different ways.

Understandably, the six-letter word strikes fear in the minds of ambitious CEOs everywhere who don’t want to “rock the boat.” Once a company reaches a certain level of revenue growth, organizational leaders often experience a subtle shift in perspective.  

No longer in startup mode, SMB executives may hesitate to change something that appears to already be working.

Thus, what was once a “quick decision” over a cup of microwaved noodles, may now involve hours of deliberation between key stakeholders. While your primary focus may be building and running a robust certification program, leadership’s no. 1 priority is achieving financial growth.

Translation: It’s safe to say your boss may not immediately understand the value of performance-based certification (PBC).

However, most organizational decision-makers can be converted to PBC when the advantages are clearly articulated, the risks are adequately mitigated and a cost-efficient plan is presented.  

Here are seven points worth emphasizing to upper-management when making the case for switching from MCQ to PBC:

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.

7 Arguments for Switching to Performance-Based Certification (PBC)

1. PBC helps sales reps close more deals.  

Savvy IT buyers assess software purchases according to a variety of criteria, including peer recommendations, third-party validation and industry conference presence.

However, an increasing number of IT buyers are now also asking sales reps about the strength of their certification programs. A thorough performance based certification program provides peace of mind that their own users and any consultants that they hire can hit the ground running with your solution and get the job done right.  

2. PBC fosters better channel-partner relationships.

Channel-partnerships can be an outstanding vehicle for quickly globalizing a growing SaaS product. However, if not properly managed, such partnerships may do more harm than good.

Brand ambassadors who aren’t equipped with adequate product knowledge, skills and training fail to demonstrate comprehensive software capabilities. Unfortunately, this can result in dissatisfied customers who, ultimately, switch providers because they don’t feel confident using your software. Channel-partners who have proven their knowledge by doing, via performance-based certification, can be trusted to accurately introduce products to new markets.

3. It enhances industry credibility.  

In recent years, tech leaders like Google, SUSE, and Chef have switched their software certification programs from multiple-choice question exams in favor of performance-based assessment.  

We predict the majority of software and platform providers will be utilizing PBA by 2022. The trailblazers who transition earlier, rather than later, have an opportunity to receive peer recognition that may result in mutually-beneficial partnerships.

4. You can create a proof-of-concept (POC).

Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to convert a fleet of existing exams to performance-based certifications, you can begin by developing one low-risk POC. The most affordable way to accomplish this is by partnering with someone who has already created the basic infrastructure you need.

TrueAbility has built the world’s best platform for performance-based certification that can be customized to meet the needs of individual software providers.

For reasonable fees, we transform existing MCQ exams into three different types of PBCs:  Low Stakes Performance-Based Qualification Exams with minimal proctoring, High Stakes Performance-Based Certification Exams with robust proctoring and Hybrid Exams that continue to utilize some MCQ. The latter is the most low-risk option for executives who are uncertain about making the switch.

5. You can track your success with KPIs

Just like marketing departments measure success with Key Performance Indicators, certification managers can also track metrics to evaluate program progress. We recommend developing a metric-tracking system that includes the following elements:

  • Test-Taker Satisfaction Scores: Track satisfaction amongst customers, users, and partners by employing exit questionnaires that incorporate Net Promoter Score (NPS). Not only does this short format ensure a higher capture rate, but it also includes an open-ended component for capturing feedback that can be used to continually improve user experience.
  • Number of Exams Taken By Region: Track the number of PBC exams taken on a weekly or monthly basis to assess regional growth compared to pre-existing MCQ exams.
  • Number of Exams Taken / Personnel: Divide the number of exams completed by the number of administering personnel to determine a per-employee efficiency rating. This metric can help inform whether or not the certification program can effectively scale as your certification program grows.
  • Adoption Rate by Partners and average exam score: Ensuring that you have an effective, quality channel partner ecosystem is crucial to your company’s ongoing success. Tracking these types of metrics will help you demonstrate the impact that your program is having on improving the overall effectiveness of your channels.

6. Exam maintenance can be automated.

By partnering with a PBC platform provider like TrueAbility, your organization can automate exam registration, proctoring, delivery and grading for greater convenience and scale. We provide software providers with turnkey PBC systems that allow certification managers to focus on expanding certification programs into new regions, enhancing brand recognition and increasing revenue.

TrueAbility can also act upon ongoing test-taker feedback to continually improve the exam’s accuracy, performance and overall user-experience. For example, someone might report an alternative solution to a question exam designers hadn’t originally considered. Our team would quickly augment the necessary solution on your behalf.

7. Ongoing education can enhance success

Sales teams, channel sales teams and training teams can enhance their success by promoting the adoption of your PBC early in their conversations with key stakeholders. We recommend including a training and certification component to every contract signed; this will ensure users are equipped, engaged and ready to utilize your software to its fullest potential.

Choosing Performance-Based Certification

As you can see, transitioning to performance-based certification doesn’t have to be overly time-consuming, complicated or expensive.

By partnering with a PBC provider like TrueAbility, SMBs can now enjoy the many benefits of remotely testing technical skills in real environments. Improved channel-partner relationships, increased enterprise sales and more satisfied end-users are just some of the common results of successfully run PBC programs.

Are you ready to take the first step? Call us at 877-461-8702 to learn more or click the link below to schedule a demo.

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.

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 TrueAbililty 

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

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