Many may view the process of entering an awards event as a complete hassle, but the benefits really can be worth that extra effort.
Not only does winning an award give a much-needed boost to your employees who work hard all year, it validates a company's efforts in front of its peers, and more importantly, it raises a company's profile in the eyes of your customers.
The CRN Sales and Marketing Awards have been designed to reward excellence in all things connected to the sales and marketing functions of a business. Functions that many would view as the heartbeat and lifeblood of a company. Yet so many firms, particularly resellers, are still not entering and sharing their successes, and are missing a trick when it comes to winning new business or appealing to the next generation of talent.
But don't let us try to convince you of this fact. Last week you heard from our judging panel why entering these awards makes a difference. Now hear directly from the horse's mouth, our past winners, as they share how clinching an award has helped them both personally and at a wider business level.
Jack Addicott, sales manager at CircleIT, won Manager of the Year in 2019 and said the win not only boosted morale in the office, but has also helped his company build its graduate programme and get noticed by potential new recruits.
"The win has definitely helped with talent attraction - we are investing in young talent, particularly graduates and it helps people coming into a team to know that they will be well supported under a good structure," he said. "It gives us that extra bit of external credibility around the organisation.
Addicott said since starting its graduate scheme it has grown from one graduate to seven, with four of them getting promotions to account managers. And he also gained a promotion to the position of sales manager.
"I think awards like this are important to enter - it gives you the chance as a company to benchmark yourself against other companies, and any PR that gets your company name out there and more visibility is good," Addicott explained. "Customers are now looking more at what we are doing in terms of investing in our talent and CSR initiatives, and awards like these really help with that."
Simon Rutt is marketing and alliances manager at VAR MTI, which has won several SMA awards over the years including Best Marketing Campaign and Best New Business Win. He said winning awards is a 100 per cent boost to both staff morale, but also when it comes to securing new business.
"There are five groups of people that you want to influence as a business," he explained. "Firstly customers who see the benefits of working with an award-winning company; secondly prospects, it helps with winning new business; thirdly employees - who feel they are working for a company that is above the rest; fourthly partners - it is great for us from a vendor point of view because they feel they should put more focus on us, and finally investors in the business - most channel companies are PE backed businesses - and they will continue funding companies that are seen to do well.
"Winning a sales and marketing award, or any award, shows all those people that you are a safe pair of hands and are a good partner to work with. Entering the SMAs is well worth the effort and we use our badges in our sales and marketing processes all the time," he added.
Shane Taylor, CEO of MSP Mobliciti, which picked up the Best Sales Team gong last year, said winning had helped them from a recruitment point of view.
"People are wanting to work for us because we have won awards. It is great recognition for people in the company and our customers are noticing and remarking that we are ‘doing well'. We have pictures around the office of the various awards being collected, and we always try and take different members of the team along so they experience the black tie event and a nice meal, winning is always an extra bonus," he said.
Taylor explained that winning is also beneficial from an outward perspective as it provides a talking point for the business.
"As the CEO I can stand up and say we are doing great - but this adds that external recognition and carries a lot of weight. We always go for awards we feel we have a chance of winning, and it is absolutely worth the effort. It always helps that the CRN awards are a lot of fun as well!"
From a vendor point of view, Lucy Lincoln, senior channel marketing manager at BullGuard, said an award adds kudos with partners. The firm picked up the Best Partner Programme trophy last year.
"The CRN Sales and Marketing Awards is a fantastic, extremely well-organised industry event, with an excellent atmosphere and a celebration of all that is best in our marketplace," she said. "Having our ‘Advantage Programme' recognised by the industry and awarded for ‘Best Partner Programme' by CRN in 2019, was testament to the strength of our security products, the high value we place on partner relationships and the benefits that accrue to partners from our renowned revenue share programme. The BullGuard team are very much looking forward to entering and attending the awards together with our channel partners in July this year."
Sealing an SMA win has also been a boon for distribution, explains Sarah Dimery, marketing manager at IntY, which picked up Best Sales and Marketing Support Team last year.
"The team were thrilled to be recognised for all their efforts and to be voted top in this category," she said.
Westcoast managing director Alex Tatham said winning the Best Place to Work [Distribution] award last year provided a massive team boost.
"For some years now, I and the Westcoast Board have wanted to win a ‘Best Place to Work' award," he said. "We have entered and have always found that we have had more work to do. However, to win CRN's inaugural Best Place to Work award last year was testament to the work and the effort we have put into our people and our company over the past few years.
Tatham added: "There cannot be a better brand for a distributor to be associated with than CRN, and our team can proudly display this much deserved accolade on their desks as well as showing all our existing and future staff this independent view of our business. Entering awards is not easy but it is useful to challenge yourself and it ultimately drives you forward. My Board and I could not have been more delighted."
So there you have it. Proof that making that extra effort and entering the awards actually does pay dividends both internally and externally.
The deadline for the 2020 SMAs is Wednesday 8 April. All the information you need on categories and entering the awards can be found here.
The deadline has moved to Wednesday 8 April and the event itself will take place on Thursday 17 September
Because we are asked the same questions each year, we thought it would be good to hear from the judges on what they are looking for in an entry and what will score extra points. They also share what makes them turn off and mark down as well
In the first of a two-part article, hear from the CRN Sales and Marketing Awards' judging panel on why all companies that are serious about building their brand and attracting customers should be entering these awards
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