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Microsoft opened its online Solution Selling training program this month to an additional 300,000 VARs and scaled the program’s pricing to make it accessible to even the smallest among them.

Microsoft Corp.’s Solution Selling for Partners Online is now open to Registered partners, as well as Certified and Gold Certified partners, and will cost as little as $60 per person or $500 per reseller (up to 40 salesmen) per year, allowing a broad sea of small and midsize resellers exposure to the sales skills Microsoft sees as necessary to expand their solutions into the SMB (small and midsize business) market, said Polly Slater, Microsoft’s director of worldwide partner training and readiness.

“It is the SMB market we’re interested in penetrating, and most of the partners who work in the market are small and medium size themselves,” Salter said.

“We can’t assume that they have the resources to send salespeople to training sessions, yet they need to have the same understanding of selling the solutions, not just the technology, if they are to be successful at it.”

Microsoft has taken steps in the past month to penetrate the SMB market, where they see a huge potential of growth for technology and especially solutions, Slater said.

Participants will have access to online tutorials, quizzes and chat rooms, for discussions with other participants, covering concepts such as generating leads, negotiating and closing deals and marketing the company.

All are designed to instruct users in selling specific Microsoft solutions, said Priscilla Johnson, partner training content strategy manager.

The training program will be shepherded by Sales Performance International, of Charlotte, N.C., a sales training consultant that preaches systemic changes of sales and marketing teams to sell solutions versus products and services.

More than 100 Registered-level partners have already taken advantage of the program.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker has made it a goal in the past five years, Slater said, to make sales training more accessible and available.

The programs, and others available at the Microsoft Partner Web site seek to demonstrate “how they can be more effective in providing and offering Microsoft solutions, not just how they can use our technology… selling solutions is different from selling technology,” she said.

The partner site receives 1 million hits per month and has 50,000 registered users, the company said.

The program is offered in four languages—English, French, Spanish and Chinese—and includes regional and cultural flavors.