In this second article talking to the Sales and Marketing Awards judges, a few of our panellists discuss why it is so important to enter the awards this year, and even reveal a few hints about what they will be looking out for
Entering an awards process is not an easy option; it takes time, commitment and dedication to producing something that will stand out as a worthy winner.
As such, CRN is determined that every entry is scrutinised deeply and fairly, by a group of experienced industry veterans who have amassed many years of front-line experience in the sales and marketing arena.
Since the launch of the SMAs in 2012, the quality of entry has just kept improving, as more people realise the importance of painting their company and more importantly, the people behind that company, in the best light.
So why should channel firms spend time entering the 2021 Sales and Marketing Awards? Particularly after a very difficult year thanks to the challenges of the pandemic.
A few of our judges share why it is important to be a part of these awards, and also what they are most looking forward to seeing in the entries.
Gemma Telford, founder at She/Her, said it was definitely time to celebrate how we have all got through this toughest of years.
"This last year or so has put all of us through the mill. But it's people and teams working together that have helped companies achieve the success they've enjoyed through the tough times and good times alike," she said. "So, show off the skills of your teams and people but entering into the awards. Many people have had to do things differently in the pandemic, and I'm looking forward to seeing how creative some of the solutions will be, and what people can pull out of the bag this year."
Sara Driscoll former CRN editor and freelance marketer and writer, said this was definitely a year to focus on the positives and really shout about achievements.
"We go over the same reasons every single year - morale, achievement, recognition, differentiation - the list goes on," she explained. "What's different about this year is that we've often taken these things for granted - assumed that free fruit or a table tennis table is contributing to those things. But this year we can't do that.
"This is the year when we all need to make more of an effort - we have to step up. It's time to help our teams and our individuals shine, and being recognised through the SMA awards is a perfect way of achieving that," she said.
Luke Budka, head of digital PR and SEO at Topline Communications, was particularly interested in seeing how the channel has made use of SEO this year to raise company profiles.
"I'm going to be particularly interested in the channel's inbound efforts - with Google publicising the benefits of SEO more than ever before last year, it'll be interesting to see if channel marketing teams paid attention to the latest algorithm updates to ensure as much organic visibility as possible," he said.
Richard Eglon, marketing director at Agilitas, had a message for all those debating whether it was worth making the effort to submit an entry.
""People often ask me ‘is it all worth it to enter an award?' or ‘what does it do for me?' My response is simple, YES, it is worth it and it's not about YOU - it's about your people, your team, your partners and your customers. If you start the process off with a focus on you or your business then you're not going to be successful. The emphasis needs to be on what you have done for your customer and why, and who has helped the business to do that? Personalise your submission, demonstrate how it was a team effort, highlight your problem solving for the customer, how did you go the extra mile and how did it make you feel."
And the winning entries are those that are genuine, he added.
"Believe it or not, judges are real people who have real emotions, so tell them a story that grabs their attention, a story with real purpose focused on your people and customers. Winning entries will also give your people belief and confidence, support recruitment, a raised profile and be a great barometer of what you have achieved as a business over the past 12 months."
Gina Hough, owner of MCC International, said this year was such an important one to share successes with the wider channel.
"The past year has often felt like an endless round of doom and gloom and we are all slogging through the predictions of more tough times to come," she said. "To be able to celebrate the good stuff and shine a light on people who are still committed to the marketing function is more important than ever to me. So to everyone thinking of entering, shine that light, tell us what you do best. We really do want to know."
The deadline for entries is Friday 9 April. To submit an entry or to check the criteria, please click here.
The best of luck to you all!