It’s a topic that is fresh on my mind since we just completed our 15th Annual Reseller Choice Awards; 50 Best Managed IT Companies Awards and Women In Tech Awards on Feb 3rd.

Getting recognition from awards is something that most people like. It’s common sense, but there is actual research already done on this topic (just Google it) that shows how an award recognition may be more powerful than monetary incentives and how it builds stronger morale within the workplace. It feels very good when see your name on the list. It was shown to also help in employee retention and improve performance. Harvard Business Review did a story on company award recognitions that shows its benefits just from within the organization. 

The study shows that awards should have meaningful benefits to its recipients. It can be as simple as being recognized for doing a great job. Never underestimate the power of being proud to know that your hard work got recognized. One of our award winners told me once that he showed it to his father and saw a moment of pride come from him. He said his experience was priceless. In many ways, winning an award can be much more powerful than getting money.

Awards have to be earned through a clear process that cannot be contaminated or influenced by third-party forces (especially money or friendships). If it’s just a pay gig or favouritism, then it becomes a fake and only acts as a self-serving marketing prop.

The downside of awards are those who do not win. They want to know why they did not win or how their competitor won. It can get complicated when there is too much subjectiveness in judging the outcome. It would be terribly unfair to those who did not win if dark influences determined the winners.

Every award must have integrity to truly matter to the winners as well as the losers. It’s the only way the award can have true meaning.

To me, when you win an award, it should be because you deserve it and if you lose, it’s a teaching moment to learn how to do better next time. A winner is a looser that never gives up!

Here is a breakdown on how we do our awards so you can make your own assessment of its value to recipients.

Reseller Choice Awards.

We survey the channel over 3 months to get them to vote for their favourite vendors and distributors in 68 categories. Over 600 vendors were nominated. The companies with the most votes won.

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The only thing that vendors could do is get out their votes (similar to any democratic political race) and be a sponsor to get some branding, but that does not guarantee a win. 

The outcome is a true representation of what their channel partners are thinking. After 15 years, we have seen the voting trends for each nominee based on national and regional levels. The big data picture it paints is quite interesting as we can see their performances as compared with their competitors, right down to an area code.  

When a vendor or distributor wins one of these awards, it is a clear indication that their channel partners think they are the best. It is a worthy recognition of their channel team and their effort. It says they are #1 in the channel. If you ranked near the top of this list, it means you are doing very well in the channel but probably just need to do better to get more votes next time. If your ranking dropped or you are not on the top half of the list, then it means you may need to rethink your playbook. 

We have traced a decline in nominee votes due to a channel manager who was about to jump ship and just let things slide. We have tracked poor performance due to a channel rep that does a poor job following up with partners. We have tracked poor rankings due to the competition having a stronger rep in a specific territory or having a much better channel program. 

Many factors can affect the outcomes and voting in the eyes of your partners!

The voting data can generate powerful business intelligence to help companies make better decisions without infringing on the privacy of channel partners. All information about voters is always 100% confidential and never shared with anyone. 

For vendors who win, it can help the channel team get the recognition that they deserve and the attention of management for more investment to support their efforts.  We have seen it help the careers of individual channel team members. It can help channel reps to convince new partners to sign up. It can help current partners validate that they made the right decision in choosing the vendor. It can help all channel marketing and PR campaigns to gain more attention. It can help recruit new employees!

So much value from a little piece of crystal!

You can explore the program at Choice Awards and keep on the lookout for the date of the in-person awards dinner gala to be held in Toronto (come experience everything for yourself -see ChannelNEXT for details when posted). 

The 50 Best Managed IT Companies Award.

This is the flip side of the Reseller Choice Awards as it focuses on the channel partners. 

Each candidate must complete 200 questions in the assessment and score within the top 50 to earn one of these awards. It’s not easy and the competition gets tougher every year. 

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Beyond the award, the process of completing the application and asking yourself the right 200 questions will help all candidates to learn about their company’s best practices. Just knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help improve your game. In reality, constantly improving your best practices is probably the most effective way to future-proof your business.

Winning a 50 Best Award sends a very powerful message across all employees, clients, suppliers, investors, family and friends. 

  1. Employees are proud to know that they work in a company that believes in best practices. It is also a solid recognition of their hard work! Hiring new employees may also be easier with this award recognition. 
  2. Clients tend to favour suppliers that operate on best practices and may even pay a premium. Leveraging this award in your marketing campaigns adds credibility value as just the title of the award makes it easy for the prospect to understand its message “50 Best Managed IT Companies”. 
  3. Suppliers definitely want to do business with partners who are independently assessed for best practices because they can become stronger customers and more worthy of investing. Getting more favourable credit terms, support, conditions and pricing are all very possible.
  4. Investors and financial institutions will consider the achievement as a sign of proper management and may weigh more favourable on lending decisions towards you.
  5. Family and friends sometimes do not really know what you do but if they see that you have won a TOP 50 companies award, it’s easier for them to recognize that whatever you are doing, you are one of the very best! It raises their level of understanding, support and pride.
  6. On top of all this, the channel partner gets a simple effective way to benchmark their progress year over year with the platform. And, it’s FREE. 

Best practices never remain best forever and can be different depending on where you do business. For example, rural or urban environments require very different tactics so we also take this into consideration.

We have MSPs that are multi-year winners as well as first time winners. We are starting to see new types of managed service providers entering the market. A recent winner only does consultation including the mental health of employees and offers this timely service to and through traditional MSPs. We have MSPs that have just started up a few years ago but were able to build from ground up on best practices so they are growing by leaps and bounds. Many traditional VARs have since abandoned their old business model and recreated a brand new MSP with the latest best practices.

You can check out the website at Best Managed IT Companies but note that the actual assessment platform is currently under reconstruction as we rebuild a better solution with more features for 2022.

The Women In Tech Awards is a little different. 

First, anyone can nominate a candidate for the award. We constantly promote as we do women in tech interviews throughout the year. Then, we send an application for the candidates to complete. Upon its completion, the name of the person and current company name references are redacted. An all-female anonymous team reviews the applications and selects a maximum of 10. Then the final 10 is recirculated for the final selection of 3 to win the award. See full story and video on this year’s winners.

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The merits are based on the journey of the candidate and their support efforts to support more women as well as diversity in the workplace (you may request a copy of the application). The outcome is to have 100% of the candidates who win this award possess the potential to help even more women to enter and advance in the tech industry. 

We know there are so many women that are doing amazing things in the industry. We decided to only highlight three leaders, but we know who are the top 100 +. More importantly, we use our news media platform to tell the story of all women in the tech industry to encourage more women to enter and accelerate success in IT. 

We also offer a 20-question assessment that anyone can take to gauge the level of female-friendliness in the workplace. We know that the problem extends beyond the female issue to a broader view of diversity and equality. We always do our best to make the connections and amplify the message until there is no longer any need. 

That is why and how we do our awards! 

We love it because we get to recognize the best of the best and we know that it delivers real benefits and value to its recipients.

Winning any award is nice. Winning an award that you truly earn, still matters a lot!