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Eleven Hundred Agency

And the award goes to…

How to succeed this B2B awards season

By Jacqueline Booker

Awards season is well and truly upon us. In the wake of the Oscars, the media is awash with stories of who won and who wore it best. Within the B2B sector, awards carry parallel levels of prestige – with some notable variants. There is the still the same golden opportunity to highlight and showcase achievements within the industry press, across social media and in outbound communication with prospects and customers. However, there are undoubtedly less column inches in the tabloids and significantly less focus on entrants’ attire than our celebrity award counterparts (arguably a welcome difference for the corporate t-shirt wearers amongst us).
In the entire time I’ve been working in the B2B PR sector (shockingly, almost 20 years), the power that an award yields has never diminished. Being shortlisted for and/or winning an industry accolade is still one of the most effective ways to signal to your clients and prospects that your service or solution is best-in-class. Those who go on to win an award have been judged against their industry peers and carefully selected from hundreds of other applicants. That is quite the achievement and clearly is something worth shouting about.

So how do you become one of the select few and go home with the top prize?

As you’d imagine, without the requisite know-how, it’s not straightforward to win an award. There are, however, some golden rules when it comes to crafting an award-worthy entry. So to help navigate this somewhat tricky process, we thought we would share our top tips on how to successfully enter awards this tech award season:

1. Think beyond the product: 

Entering your solution or service for an award is a sound strategy to gain recognition amongst your target audience but this isn’t the only path to award success. Nominating a customer for its work with you is a great way to showcase your expertise and highlight the results that your organisation can achieve. Similarly, an award nomination that celebrates the achievements of your team and your colleagues holds significant value and can boost long-term employee engagement.

2. Be considered and don’t try and enter everything: 

You don’t want to be seen as a jack of all trades and a master of none. In deciding which category/categories to enter, consider the following questions - what award will make the most difference to your organisation? What solution/service has made the most impact to your customers? You’re better off to enter one award well than several poorly.

3. Check the rules: 

Make sure you check the small print to ensure that your nomination falls within the required parameters. Some awards have limits on how new a solution or service is or how old a customer relationship is. All award entries will have a specified word limit – make sure you stick to this to stay on the right side of the judges.

4. Make sure you fully understand the cost and time involved: 

Nominating yourself for an award is not a quick undertaking and can be a costly affair. Before you embark on the journey, make sure you understand the time commitment involved and how much it will all cost. Some awards require you to draft a written submission, to prepare and attend an in-person presentation (if shortlisted) and attend an awards ceremony. Make sure you have the time available to complete all these tasks and are available on the required dates. As to costs, awards ceremonies are rarely, if ever, free to attend so you need to factor in the cost of a ticket or a table to an awards ceremony if you are lucky enough to be named a finalist.

5. Look at past examples to help craft your entry: 

Award organisers usually share previous winning entries to help future nominees draft their own. Also look out for any webinars held by the organisers on how to craft a suitable award entry. This will help you to best shape your entry for success.

6. Be succinct but remember the power of storytelling: 

Signpost the judges to the most important points in your entry and use the supporting materials to include any additional detail. Think carefully about what makes your service and solution unique and make sure that you highlight each of these points clearly. Don’t get bogged down in technical jargon or acronyms. Your judges might not be experts in your particular field, so don’t write your entry as if they are. Focus on telling a clear and compelling story that outlines clearly why your product/solution/customer/team is award worthy.

7. Don’t underestimate the power of results: 

In our experience, award entries that demonstrate clear business benefits – are the ones that are the most successful. By including figures on, for example, improved customer satisfaction ratings or time saved, you can effectively showcase the value that a solution or service has brought. Evidence of such results is critical to success in awards season.

8. Don’t be despondent if you don’t succeed first time round: 

You have to be in it to win it, but you’re not going to take home every prize. If you’re not successful first-time round, dust yourself off, apply the learnings from your last entry and try again. Gather more data on the success of your service or solution, encourage customers to provide quotes on how they have benefited from your service and solution and make sure you are constantly revising your offering to make sure it really is best in class.

9. Consider a simpler approach: 

As we’ve stated, entering awards is a valuable but not a straight-forward or quick exercise to conduct in-house. Here at Eleven Hundred Agency, awards are our bread and butter. They are part of most of our campaigns and have resulted in numerous wins and shortlists for our clients over the years. As part of our service, we help to identify the right awards for your organisation, help select the best categories to enter and, after a briefing call, draft up the award entries for you. We know how to create a solid award entry that covers all the important information but still adds in that extra sparkle to make your organisation standout to the judges, all within the confines of word limit.

So, whether you are an existing Eleven Hundred Agency client or you’ve just discovered our agency, please let us know if you’d like us to help you take your first steps into awards. We’re here and ready when you are.