As another successful CRN Sales & Marketing Awards (SMAs) ceremony came to a close it dawned on me how important these events are for everyone connected to the channel.
I've been a member of the CRN SMA judging panel since its inaugural year back in 2012 and I have witnessed how the awards continue to evolve and adapt in line with changes in the market.
Over the years there has been an increasing number of new entrants to the market who continue to find innovate, creative and articulate ways in which to attract the attention of us judges.
This has often resulted in the recognition of award success. What this has also done is raise the bar in terms of quality of submissions and it seems to of been the catalyst for the more established firms within the channel to push the envelope in order to compete.
This was evident in terms of Westcoast's three award successes this year where they had demonstrated how persistence, commitment and investment of people's time can really shine through.
I also spoke with the team at Sigma Software Distribution following their first success at the SMAs in winning Best Marketing Campaign, and they were buzzing from the euphoria of the night. But just as important was the fact they had invited along the vendor whose product they had delivered success on through the campaign that won the award.
No doubt this will assist in getting the green light to run more campaigns and generate more business across their target markets.
Even though the quality of award submission has improved over the years it seems that in some categories we are receiving less submissions from both existing and new businesses.
I understand why this might be, with reasons ranging from ‘We didn’t win last year’ to ‘I’m not sure how to put together a credible entry’.
Award submissions also require a team of people to facilitate its production with a person co-ordinating and driving it forward which is not always easy to resource as everyone has their day job to do!
What I would say is that you have to start somewhere and receiving award shortlists and victories provide a real sense of pride within a business where you have gone head-to-head with your industry peers and succeeded.
They also work well for recruitment purposes that people are coming to work for a company that is best in its field and are progressing as a business. Though probably more importantly it can result in new business where your partners gain more confidence in what you do to fund further campaigns or invest in new technology areas.
Whether you are embarking on your first award submission or are a stalwart of the industry my five tips towards producing a judge friendly submission are as follows:
1. Make the submission more about what you have done for your customers and not about how good you are as a business.
2. Ensure that you proof read through the submission over and over again before submitting it.
3. Thoroughly cross check that your award entry complies to all the necessary criteria in your category.
4. Never presume that the judges know what you are talking about, be clear and concise in your descriptions.
5. Spend as much time on the presentation and delivery of the presentation as the content itself.
To give yourself a chance of succeeding at next year’s awards start planning out your submission now by collecting key testimonials from clients, liaising with your technical, sales or marketing teams on recent or future potential project wins so to give yourself time and the best chance for that A-grade submission come next year.
Also, speak to other people and businesses you know who have been successful at previous awards to see what it did for them and how did they achieve their success. Attending the award events is also a great place to network with your industry peers by catching up and putting a date in the diary for that next catch up meeting that eventually leads to some new business.
Finally, all I would recommend the channel do is to sharpen those pencils and start planning for next year’s awards because they can only be successful if people participate.
CRN invests a considerable amount of time to ensure these industry-leading awards are a great platform to showcase the channel’s talent, but without entries, the need for awards will reduce and people won’t realise what they had until it has gone!
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