How to become an award winning B2B technology company
To many, business awards can seem strange. I once had a boss who snarled at the very mention of a business award. He made it seem like they were akin to joining a pyramid scheme or cult. “You have to pay money to enter, and therefore they aren’t based on merit”, he would proudly say.
Maybe he was right to some extent. But as I’ve got further in my B2B career, I’ve realised he was kind of missing the point. Businesses don’t enter awards to become the Damien Chazelle of SaaS, they enter to improve their credentials and boost their profile. If you’re a great company with great products, and your competitor is too, the few awards they have under their belt might just win over your customers.
And they’re not so simple to apply to. The Oscars, this ain’t. You don’t just get nominated and hope the judges like your product. There’s often a lengthy and patience-testing entry process that’s enough to make a grown CIO cry.
If you’ve never entered an award before, it can be intimidating and extremely time consuming. I’ve spent countless hours at past companies, whittling away at monstrous award applications, only to find we hadn’t been shortlisted. And if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it can also be a waste of time. If you need help writing your award application, you’ve come to the right place.
Read the rules, then read them again
Awards aren’t all created equally. Some have stringent rules, some are more relaxed. Knowing exactly what you can and can’t do is vital to success. Even if this isn’t your first rodeo, read those rules. You might be able to add in some extra details that could sway the panel in your favour.
You be the judge
There are just a handful of people who are responsible for the outcome of your award entry. Research who they are if you can, or who they have been in the past. If you can’t find that out, think of the kind of persona who might be a B2B tech award judge. They’re going to be an expert in the overall field, but they might not be knowledgeable about your niche in particular. So make sure you make it accessible enough for anyone with basic B2B tech knowledge.
Know your business stuff
Award applications usually have a number of stages. Trust me, I know! The primary stages tend to include questions about your finances, company size, investors etc. Make sure you’ve got it all to hand before you start. Running around various departments trying to find information is much more stressful when you’re on entry deadline. Get it done nice and early.
Tell your story honestly
Every business has a story. A reason that their product exists. This is especially true in B2B tech. Products in our sector have been developed to directly deal with business challenges and bottlenecks. You want the judges to know why you exist and how you help to make people’s work lives easier, more productive, and more lucrative.
Clear, simple explanations
We’ve already established that your judges might not be experts in your particular field, so be careful with acronyms and abbreviations – if you’re unsure, write them out in full and explain what they mean where necessary. Remember to write in simple English and short sentences for clarity. When you read your application aloud, it should read as though you’re trying to explain your product to someone you’ve just met.
B2B tech awards you could enter
If you’re a UK business and you fancy getting your hands on some silverware, this is a high profile event that recognises outstanding achievements in the sector. Award categories include the Tech Growth Business of the Year, recognising 10% growth or more over the last three years, Tech Innovation of the Year, awarded to those driving significant change across industries, Tech Businesswoman of the Year and more.
Enter before Friday 28 July. The awards ceremony takes place on Thursday 9 November.
Entries have closed for this year’s Global Business Tech Awards, but you might want to take a look at some of the entries and plot a course for entering next year’s awards. The awards showcase the very best in global tech, across different industries, organisation sizes and more. And even if you don’t quite reach the final stages, you’ll receive feedback from some of the world’s leading tech minds.
Entry usually closes in late February, this year it was 24 February. This year’s winners are announced on 11 May.
A new but notable addition to the tech award circuit. The Tech Capital awards features a number of specialist B2B tech categories that are up for grabs – from Digital Infrastructure CFO of the Year, to Lawyer of the Year. The judging panel also features an array of experts from across the tech industry (and you can see exactly who your judges are).
Enter before Friday 31 March. The awards ceremony takes place on Wednesday 24 May
If you’re a Microsoft Partner, and you want to win the profile-raising award to rule them all, you can’t really get much more significant than the Microsoft Partner Awards. A win here cements you as one of the top dogs in an extremely competitive corner of our big B2B tech world. You’ll be up against partners from over 100 countries, so it can be daunting, but if you really believe in your product, there’s no reason why you can’t win.
Enter before Friday 31 May. The awards take place on Wednesday 19 to Thursday 20 July.
Advice from Microsoft Partner of the Year Award winners
We spoke to previous Microsoft Partner of the Year Award winners, and previous Fifty Five and Five client, Modality Systems (now Nasstar), about their experience winning the award.
First of all, we wanted to know what the biggest benefit of winning the award was?
“Credibility to the market is one of the key things. The Microsoft Partner space is so big, there are so many Partners saying that they can do ‘it’ in every industry and niche. So just having the Gold sticker for partner competencies sometimes isn’t enough … As a winning Partner, it’s great to say that we’re in the top tier. It raises your profile in the Microsoft World.”
We also asked what their winning approach was?
“Being selective as to what case you use and using a case that can tick the Microsoft strategy boxes is important. It’s important to tangibly quantify the stats with a customer who can support it … For those partners who have broader offerings, they can enter for multiple awards categories, as well as entering the same submission for different categories.”
Finally, we asked how the team manages to stay on top of multiple entries for a single year?
“Outsourcing to an agency can prove really helpful, providing you go with the experts, as they understand the Microsoft process, have links within Microsoft and understand which buttons to press, particularly from a writing point of view.”
Microsoft Corp - Case study
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