Unfortunately, in a competition, it is impossible for everyone to win.
Unless you take part in The Apprentice, of course, where two winners were crowned in the most recent series. Hmmm..
However, the fact that only one winner is crowned at most other awards/competitions, means that there is always a handful of disappointed people that didn't take home the trophy in their given category.
This is the same with the CRN Sales and Marketing Awards (SMAs) and of course, the Channel Awards; we can only award one company with a winners' trophy.
As a result, we know many people go home disappointed and decide not to enter again because they have ‘no chance' of winning.
That is untrue. Every year the slate is wiped clean and the judges score entries purely on the quality of that entry. Never give up.
So as before, to keep it light hearted and fun, here is our tongue-in-cheek Q&A, answering all those sensitive questions over why anyone should actually bother entering the SMAs this year.
We hope you do!
We've not had an overwhelmingly good year so we have nothing to shout about. Why should I bother entering?
You really feel that in the past 12 months that you have had absolutely nothing to celebrate about your business? Wow.
A lot of the newer awards this year are based around innovation, so even if you might not have seen the financial success you hoped for, it won't take away the innovation and sheer hard work behind a particular campaign or strategy.
Surely even the most Eeyore-minded companies have seen some success somewhere along the line or you would not still be in business. If things are tough for you at the moment, perhaps morale is low within your company too, so what better way to lift your team's spirits than to enter them for an award, and show that despite the tough times, their hard work is being appreciated. It will mean more than you think.
Go on, give it a go.
We don't want to share our trade secrets with the industry in an awards entry, so I'd rather not enter.
All of the entries are completely confidential and we are not suddenly going to publish all your trade secrets for all to see. Why would we ever do that? The only thing people will see is the fact that you are doing something worth shouting about and are proud of what your company and teams are achieving.
Surely only sponsors actually win?
So, we hear this every single year. The claim is so unoriginal now that it should be displayed in a museum. But to stress once more, this is categorically not the case, as many of our sponsors who have gone away empty-handed over the years will agree. The awards are judged by an independent judging panel and are scored on merit based on quality of entry. Who spends what with CRN/Incisive Media is of absolutely no consequence. Of course, many people will still choose to believe the ‘sponsor wins' claim and use it as an excuse not to enter, but speak to any of the judges and they will put you straight on how the process works. They are the ones that spend hours reading every entry and then a day discussing the winners in great detail at the judging day.
What's in it for me if I do win?
You will not only be awarded a prestigious award on the night in front of your peers and competitors, but you will have a badge that you can display to your customers to show that you have won an independent award from a respected industry brand. And you have emerged victorious following a tough two-stage judging process. How many awards winners can claim that?
What if I only get a judges commended?
OK, so no-one likes coming second. But then again, nobody likes a quitter either. Quite often the categories are very competitive, so to even be shortlisted is an achievement in itself. A judges' commended should be treated as a real honour, because the judges are not forced to pick a commended award winner. It is their choice. These badges are only given out to companies that the panel thought deserved some recognition for their achievements as well as the winner. If you choose to view that as a negative thing, well, you definitely need some more positivity in your life.
I don't want any of my sales team to be poached, so why would I nominate them for an award?
If your sales team, or in fact any of your employees, are happy in their jobs and feel valued, there is no way they will allow themselves to be poached as they will be quite happy where they are. If you are that worried about people being poached, maybe you need to have a long, hard look at the way you treat your staff and start making them feel more valued so they can't be tempted away by the evil competition.
We don't have dedicated marketing people, so this is not for us
You may not have a specific marketing team, but there must be someone in the company that is tweeting, sending out information to your customers about your offerings, maintaining and updating your website to ensure you have an adequate shop window to attract new customers - don't they deserve some recognition too? If that person is you, then enter yourself! What have you got to lose?
The same people seem to win every year.
Really? Have you spent hours studying past form then? Again this is not true, but as the old saying goes, you have to be ‘in it to win it'. If you don't make the effort and submit an entry, then you are never going to make the shortlist and it will seem like the same companies, who take the time and effort to compile an entry every year, are regularly seen in the shortlist and on the winners' podium.
I haven't got time to put a fancy entry together, so will I be penalised for submitting a word document?
Not at all - provided your entry sticks to the wordcount - you can submit it how you like - it is the quality of content that counts at the end of the day, not how shiny you can make the outside of it. However if you are going to submit a word document, or text, please do make sure it is well spaced out and easy to read. Think of the judges and their sanity! A word document doesn't have to be bland and boring - remember to inject some colour and personality into the words. If you do that, you won't go far wrong. But please do refrain from copying and pasting from a corporate site, the judges can spot it a mile off and will probably not read past the first sentence.
I really just can't be bothered. Awards are irrelevant.
Well there is not really very much we can say to that. If that is your attitude to gaining wider recognition for your company and your staff, then we hope you make it through the year!
For this year ONLY, the SMAs will be celebrated in living rooms and offices around the country rather than as a face-to-face event. We explain how it will work below
Please submit your entries for the SMAs by 5pm on Friday 17 April
In these unprecedented times, we feel the decision is right to give people a few more days to get their entries submitted
CEO Chuck Robbins says recent events require time for ‘space and healing” in video address to attendees