Microsoft Partner Network will retire "Gold, Certified, and Registered Partner levels," and will replace these with competencies, which'll more accurately reflect Partner skills, and enable Customers to more accurately find, and work with, the right Partner for them. Competencies exist in 2 flavours for a particular area. Using virtualisation as an example, there'll be "virtualisation competency," and "advanced virtualisation competency," each with different requirements and different benefits (although advanced will be in addition to regular competency). [More Info: Partner Network before continuing!].
Microsoft Sales Specialist is designed to enhance your professional value with current and potential employers. You'll gain knowledge that offer sound advice to your customer and in turn help them grow their business. "You can access Virtualisation Sales Specialist training, and exams by heading over to Microsoft Sales Specialist site, but you'll need a Windows Live ID associated to a Partner to take advantage of this – if you've ever accessed Microsoft Partner Portal, and signed in successfully, use this Live ID! When you log in, you'll see that as of today, there are 2 tracks."
More Info: Microsoft Sales Specialist