Awards, Accreditations and Prizes

Are they worth it?

Imparta has enjoyed a recent flurry of success, winning multiple industry awards and notable accreditations. This included a Gold for Sales Training Practice of the Year at the 2016 Stevie® Awards, inclusion in TrainingIndustry.com’s Top 20 Sales Training Companies list for the sixth consecutive year and scoring very highly in our Learning and Performance Institute accreditation.

As another awards season gets underway, we ask ourselves the question: What value do awards create for us and our clients?

Companies enter industry awards to demonstrate their relative skills and performance against their competition. While winning brightens your homepage and provides a boost for employees, particularly those who worked on the project, the real purpose for most companies is to impress current clients and attract new ones. Clients often ask about awards as part of an RFP process: They want to know that a third party has looked at the company and its products and services, and rated them highly. It reduces risk, and helps them feel reassured that they have selected the better suppliers.

This reassurance process is demonstrated within Imparta’s Buying Cycle, which represents the phases customers go through when they are procuring a new product or service. During the Assessment of Alternatives phase, a company or product that has received recognised awards may become a more attractive option than competition with a weaker award portfolio. Later in the Buying Cycle, at the Alleviation of Risk phase, choosing a company with impressive awards may seem more risk averse. Recent research shows that 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier, using readily available information to aid this decision. Respectable awards, proudly displayed on your company website, may contribute to this decision process.

In many industries, for example advertising, there are a multitude of awards to try for – and most companies can find a way to win something. Savvy procurement teams will pinpoint the most prestigious awards, typically only applying to fewer, better-known and harder-to-win awards, than to a number of smaller awards.

So how do you differentiate those awards and accreditations to set your sights on and those to steer clear of? Here are some tell-tale signs of the latter:

  • The application process is straightforward and takes little time or effort
  • Your clients’ views are not asked for or considered
  • The same companies are shortlisted in every category
  • All applicants get through to the final
  • The company organising the awards is more interested in your table booking at the awards ceremony than the quality of your application
  • The star presenter is a washed up reality TV star
  • You win when you really did not expect to!

At Imparta we often help our clients plan and write their awards applications, knowing that winning will give a boost to our client and their sales teams. The awards that mean the most to us are those we have jointly applied for with a client, demonstrating the collaboration and teamwork that go into major sales training projects.

Winning a few quality awards is far better than entering everything. The best awards are hard to win, with a demanding application process.

As with awards, the standards for accreditations should be high, with a decent percentage of applicants failing. Accreditations where everyone passes are of no use to anyone. The awarding body should be well-recognised by your client base, with a strong reputation for integrity, competence and rigour. They should be able to see through the bluster of a good salesperson and independently analyse the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation.