Who doesn’t love awards? They make us feel like we’re accomplishing great things and they validate our hard work. The last 18 months have been tough on the IT service industry so there is no better time to dust ourselves off, start thinking about all of the great things we have achieved in the face of adversity and give ourselves a massive pat on the back.
Industry awards can also be a great service desk marketing opportunity, demonstrating the value and prestige your team delivers both inside and outside of your organsation. But are you missing opportunities to showcase your team because you’re not applying for awards?
Most industries have groups and associations that offer competitions, awards, and accolades for outstanding members of the industry, but in order to be eligible to win one such award, you have to apply! And we all know that requires focus, can take time away from BAU, and sometimes more than just a little bit of effort. Whether they are local, national, industry specific or belonging to a broader category, if award applications don’t currently fall into your service desk’s marketing strategy, maybe it’s time to rethink your opportunities.
Often, the concept of marketing is overlooked by businesses and the IT function but marketing has to be an integral component of every internal department. If you’re not already investing time in marketing, there’s no time like the present. We’ve developed some tips for applying to industry awards to help boost your overall IT and service desk marketing and PR strategy.
Understand the eligibility requirements
Some industry awards require membership to a particular organisation or association. Others simply require an application that may require submitting a case study or portfolio of work. Additionally some require entry fees and some do not. Others have limits on the size or your business, number of employees, or business start date. When you find an award or competition appropriate and beneficial for your business, first make sure you are eligible for entry before you start doing any heavy lifting.
The SDI Awards require an application in the form of short answers to a series of questions which can be supplement by supporting evidence or examples of your great work. No entry fees are required for SDI Members although non SDI members are encouraged to enter for just £95 +VAT (or more cost effectively, just become a member from only £149 + VAT!).
Choose an award with an attainable deadline
Picking something with a deadline a week away sometimes isn’t impossible given the entry requirements, but if you want to deliver a quality submission plan out your competition entries in advance. Find opportunities that provide you with enough time to put together a worthy submission. Maybe you can find the time to apply for only one per year, or maybe you can find the time to apply for one per quarter. And the worst that can happen is that you may be out an entry fee, but you’ve gotten your name in front of a judging panel that often is a body of industry influencers.
The deadline for the SDI Awards is 22 October 2021 so there is still plenty of time to start choosing your categories and crafting your entries.
Enlist help if you need it
Make sure everyone is on the same page. Service desk teams tend to be slim and resources stretched, but if everyone can do their part to help make it happen it makes the process more inclusive, fun, and rewarding for all. Whether that be securing customer testimonials or having the support of your team members to help you get the project done.
Exercise your bragging rights
If you do get down to the judging stages, the final stages or evenwin an industry award, congratulations, that’s a big deal! You should be sharing your good news with your senior leadership teams and the whole company if you are an internal service desk – or with existing clients and prospective clients if you are a Managed Service Provider. Any kind of placing or honourable mention is worth sharing. Send out the news in your company email blast. Write a press release announcing the good news. Share it on your self-service portal ad across all of your social channels. Don’t forget to take the opportunity to include the social media accounts of awarding bodies and/or other winners.
Overall, if you take some time to do a little research and a little work on the application side, and are willing to cough up a few pounds for the entry fee, the return on what is sometimes a minimal investment can be huge for gaining momentum for your service desk. Winning awards and competitions can help you establish credibility and put you on the path to influencer status.