The CRN Channel Awards, due to take place on 13 November, are now in their 21st year, but every year the CRN editorial team is asked what makes a winning entry.
To answer that is pretty much impossible, but if you follow the top 10 tips below, it will at least stand you in good stead.
Another tip is to stick to the word count. Judges are cracking down on serial offenders this year, and will not read (and may disqualify) entries that are way over the word limit, which is 1,000 words.
Also all partner programmes and initiatives entered must have occurred/been in place between July 2013 and July 2014 to qualify. And remember, this is a UK-based awards, not European or global.
1. Decide which categories you are going to enter and read the criteria fully before starting your entry. The criteria tell you everything you need to know about the award and the types of company it is covering. It also tells you what information to include. Remember we cover the UK market.
2. Keep it concise when writing your entry - don't ramble and include loads of marketing/corporate speak - it does not sit well with the judges. Imagine you are reading it aloud to a room full of people. Get to the point as quickly as you can. Also imagine you are having to read and judge 350+ entries - what would make yours stand out from the crowd? PDF entries are welcomed by the judges.
3. Make sure your company actually fits the description of the award category - if the entry is for SMB reseller of the Year, for example, make sure your company does actually serve the SMB market and the percentage of SMB business you do matches the requirements. If you have only one or two SMB customers, maybe you are better suited to the Mid-Market or Enterprise category.
4. Don't just include the same entry if you are entering multiple award categories, make sure it is tailored to that category. The judges are not stupid and will notice duplication of entries and it could cost you a place on the shortlist. If you don't have time to put in a proper entry for each category, it is often better not to.
5. Always include facts and figures - if you are making a claim about being the best at something, you must back up that claim with something tangible. Anyone can claim they are the best - the difficult part is providing proof of it.
6. Resellers: explain what value you are providing to your end-user customers - why are they using your firm, what do you offer that no one else can? What value do you offer your partners? Why do they continue to work with you? Explaining both ends of the spectrum will make the entry more rounded.
7. Distributors: explain what value you provide to your resellers - why are they using your services, what do you offer that makes you stand out? Also what value do you bring to your vendor partners? Why do they continue to work with you?
8. Vendors: explain what support you are offering your UK resellers and distributors. Why do they continue to work with you? How are you demonstrating that the channel is your preferred route to market? What value do you provide to your channel partners? Please make your entry relevant to the UK.
9. Testimonials: include testimonials. For resellers these should be from your customers, distributors from your resellers or vendors, and vendors from your distributors or resellers (not end users). Again, make sure they are interesting to read and are not full of corporate/marketing speak and keep them short and to the point.
10. Attachments: the judges are not huge fans of multiple attachments as they have 350+ entries to read and do not have time to open mounds of attachments. If you can avoid including them, so much the better, but if you must include them, please keep them short.
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