It is all too easy for the team here at CRN to repeatedly stress why more companies should enter our awards - I mean, we have a vested interest, right?
But joking aside, the CRN Sales and Marketing Awards (SMAs) have been going for nearly a decade, and are specifically designed to encourage channel firms to share their achievements with the rest of the industry, and to shout about their successes.
Those that don't enter really are missing an opportunity.
It is disappointing how many names are often missing from the list of entries each year - is this because sales and marketing just don't matter to everyone? Resellers and MSPs in particular are guilty of this - last year we were shocked at the lack of entries for ‘Best Company to Work For' in the £50m+ reseller category for example, are you not proud of your company and do you not want to attract new talent?
In Part One of this series, our esteemed judging panel explains why it is important to enter these awards. Part Two will reflect the thoughts of past SMA winners and the impact winning an award has had on them. It is stronger than you may think and is overwhelmingly positive.
But for now, over to the judges. Geoff Undrell, managing director of Asgard Marketing, said the awards provide endorsement that a company is demonstrating leadership in sales and marketing.
"There is also huge value for all channel stakeholders to be able to identify their most progressive peers," he said. "Vendors and distributors see who's trailblazing from the reseller community, and vice versa, resellers get to see who are the most innovative vendors and distributors - organisations they should perhaps be working closer with. Similarly, I think your attitude to marketing especially is a good reflection of your culture - which in turn is critical to attracting and retaining good staff - something all channel stakeholders struggle with. "
Gina Hough, managing director of the marketing Communications Company said firms need to make an effort with their entries to reap the benefits.
"Channel firms should enter these awards to be seen by both their peers, and new and existing customers, as current and relevant, and above all, to prove that they are on top of their marketing strategies," she said.
Richard Eglon, marketing director at Agilitas, explained that the awards are a great way of publicly demonstrating the good work and success that channel firms and their teams are achieving.
"Both the internal and external positive PR associated with award shortlists and wins cannot be underestimated," he said. "Everything from recruitment, staff retention, through to new business wins can all be influenced through the profile firms receive when associated with awards. Why wouldn't channel firms want to shout about their success?"
Sara Driscoll, freelance editor/content marketer and former CRN editor, stressed that differentiating yourself from the crowd is vital.
"In this day and age differentiating yourself either for customer wins or recruitment is tough," she said. "Winning awards is a sure-fire way of proving to the world that you are the best, that your teams work together and that you are worth closer examination. Can any channel firm afford to not enter?"
Mark Waite, managing director of Cohesive, said the awards should matter because the industry is driven by innovation and most of all is people centric.
"The channel is packed full of innovation, energy and passion," he said. "It's entrepreneurial, creative and resourceful. And it's powered by great people. That's why the channel matters and that's why the CRN SMAs matter."
Finally it is important to remember that these awards are about the people and teams behind a company at the end of the day.
Luke Budka, head of digital PR and SEO at Topline Communications, stressed the human side to the awards.
"I think demonstrating excellence in sales and marketing recognises the often unsung heroes within an organisation," he said. "It shows appreciation for the people who ultimately keep the lights on and secure everyone's jobs on a monthly basis. They also position you as an employer that takes the time to recognise and celebrate excellence, which aids recruitment efforts in a competitive market."
Stay tuned to Channelweb over the coming week for part two of this article, where past winners explain the benefits they have experienced since grabbing a coveted SMA trophy.
Below is the full list of categories to enter in this year's Channel Awards
Some handy hints and tips to help you create that winning entry
Have a read through the criteria for this year's General categories and also find out how the editor's choice categories will work
Have a read through the Ts&Cs which should tell you all you need to know about entering the 2021 Channel Awards
Our first judging day was held earlier this week and we are now able to reveal who has made the shortlist for this year's Sales and Marketing Awards
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