Nothing you’ve accomplished for a customer is worthwhile, until your customers know you’ve done it!
Congratulations! You’ve just won an award or been named to a list. It may have come from a vendor, a manufacturer, software developer, one of the many associations serving the technology space, an educational institution, or other organization. It might be a Best-of-the-Year, Top x00, Men/Women/Leaders-of-the-Channel, Ones to Watch, or any of the other dozens of awards announced daily on social media. Well done! Richly deserved.
Now what are you going to do with that?
If You Do Something Great…
One of the first things we learn in Sales 101 is that you must always make sure your customers knows when you’ve done something good for them, because otherwise they won’t know about it and there will be no sales value to that action. You will not have earned their appreciation.
The same can be said of awards and other recognition. It’s great to see your name up there in lights or on the list, but does it end there? Only if you let it.
While most Business Technologists will tell you that fewer and fewer customers are recognizing the value of vendor certifications, they still find award winning to be notable, respectable, even valuable. So the very next thing you do after you’ve hung the award plaque on the wall is to promote and market your new achievement.
Promote That Award
If it hasn’t already been supplied to you, one of the first steps you want to take is to reach out to the presenter of your award to find out if they have a press kit for it. These usually contain sample press releases, other announcements, and most important, approved quotes from officers high in the presenter’s organization. These are useful when constructing announcements to balance between you and those who recognized you.
The boilerplates are just that, models you can base your press release or other announcement on.
Whether or not you can obtain sample materials to work from, the next step is to create your announcement. As you build the first one, keep in mind that you will want to re-purpose it for everything else, including posting on your website or others’ websites, press releases, future applications, and more.
Marketing 101 says to start with a provocative statement demonstrating that you know and understand your reader, followed by a statement of the value for them that has just been created by this award. Then give evidence of why you believe the award was given to you, demonstrating appreciation and recognizing the honor.
· Be sure to include complimentary information about the presenting organization, why you value your inclusion in their community, and close strong with a statement about how this award recognizes the incredible value you bring to them via your partnership.
· Press Release
You’ll either need to make a decision about who your press release will be targeted at, or you’ll have to write two different ones.
A long time ago we discovered that people like receiving mailings that are stamped “Press Release: Open Immediately.” They feel complimented, recognized, respected. Go with it. Big banner somewhere announcing that what the intended reader is receiving is a press release.
If you’re writing for potential investors and planning to put it “on the wire,” using one of the press distribution services, your writing will be more about the prestige of the award, the value of partnering with the presenting organization, an indication of the likely impact the award will have on your organization’s success, and recognition back to the presenter.
If you were recognized for a specific achievement, you may want to leverage the award to promote an online or live event explaining the winning service you provided.
In any case, your identification slide for any and every presentation should include mention of the award.
Your best salespeople will appreciate you heralding the new award on the home page of your website. The best will contact each of their customers and prospects and will, with great pride, have them check out the home page to see the new award.
For the salespeople who are less insightful, you may want to mount a campaign to encourage them to reach out to their customers. Everyone should be uniformly trained to talk about the award and why its of so much value to customers.
· Your Boilerplates
Your marcom support should insert the name of the award, including the year, into every boilerplate they have or create subsequently. Reports, proposals, simple letterhead if you still use it, business cards if you still have them, and any other collateral items you distribute regularly to customers.
Leveraging the Other Way
The fact that an organization has recognized you means… well… that they recognize you! They know who you are and hopefully have some appreciation of the value you bring to their company. If you reach out and play it right, you can leverage that knowledge of your value to get yourself a better seat at their table.
This may afford you the opportunity to have input into their upcoming policy changes, shape the incentive programs they introduce, alter their product map, or even change their corporate direction. You can become a valued consultant to them, which can only benefit you and your customers. You have to put the relationship-building work in, but it works, and it’s worth it. I know. I’ve done it many times. Your ability to service your customers becomes dramatically deeper and stronger when you have access to resources few receive. Those are the few who have leveraged their accomplishments to build their business.
Questions? Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org!