The adage ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’ may be simplistic and somewhat stating the obvious, however when it comes to awards, it is the quality of the entry and supporting evidence that will capture the judges attention.
Roy Casey, Director of Success Train, who as part of their business service offer, develops submissions for tenders, PQQs and awards – shares a little of what they have learnt over a decade of creating award winning success for their clients.
Putting your business forward for an award can reap a host of benefits beyond the trophy and title.
Writing compelling entries is not about ticking boxes – the great story you are telling should take the judges on a journey and be broken down into relevant sections of factual information reflecting the entry criteria and the questions being posed.
All award categories have some form of criteria that judges are asked to use when scoring entries – to score higher and win, submissions must be mapped against the set criteria. This can be achieved by using headings, titles or making sure the criteria keywords appear in a brief and compelling summary.
We frequently see submissions reading like great sales pitches or PR articles but bearing little, if any, relationship to the category criteria – making it difficult for judges to award good marks.
Award entries should be mapped out differently – approaching them as if they are a good Pre-Qualification Questionnaire submission will probably generate better results.
Another common problem is lack of evidence. Award entrants can claim no end of fantastic outcomes and achievements, yet fail to provide any tangible supporting evidence.
Excellent images, illustrations, 3D Models, performance test results, KPIs or benchmarking reports will all support the submission alongside testimonials from customers and suppliers.
The issues surrounding a lack of tangible evidence can be summarised as follows;
Firstly, entrants miss the clues in the criteria, for example, ‘What KPIs and benchmarking have you used?’ This requires not only an explanation but also a comparison of results with those of the peer group average or against the KPI criteria set by the client/project team.
Next, claiming KPIs/benchmarking processes have been implemented but the entrant does not provide any proof – unsubstantiated claims are pointless, as evidence must be provided.
And finally, entrants fail to grab the judges’ attention with the written submission, relying solely on supporting evidence – meaning that the judges are expected to trawl through endless documents to find the relevant information – which is simply impractical and will often cause negative connotations in terms of the mindset of the judge!
Occasionally we spot a sense of frustration creeping into submissions, when entrants feel the same question is being asked repeatedly, so they write ‘see information above’ or worse still, leave the question answer blank.
It is better to repeat information in several places so it can score more than once, than to fail to give judges anything to mark.
That said, you do need to be creative and ensure information is presented to satisfy the criteria which sometimes simply means rewriting with a different slant or focus.
Our final tip is regarding word count limits and how to practically draft the entry. Online award submissions are on the increase and as there is potential for ‘user error’ or the technology to fail – my recommendation would be to draft the entry initially in a Word Document and then copy and paste into the online form.
The word count limit is not there to be ignored or abused, as this could result in disqualification and as many online awards portals will delete excess words – the judges will not see the entire response.
For any business, submitting awards entries requires investment of time and energy, but the effort can return huge profile and PR benefits, act as a catalyst for motivating employees and project teams and provide independent third party evidence for future PQQs and tenders as well as attracting new clients.
From creating networking opportunities and increasing morale, to setting your company apart from its competitors and reassuring new and existing customers – there is a lot to play for and winning awards can offer a great return on your investment.
Need help with your award submission?
Visit: www.successtrain.co.uk/success-train-business to find out how they have helped others achieve award winning success.