Nominate for Microsoft’s annual Partner of the Year Awards today. These prestigious awards offer partners a variety of opportunities to showcase solutions built on Microsoft technologies that provide benefits to all customers. The 2013 Partner of the Year Awards have been streamlined to celebrate successes related to partner competencies, cloud technology, start-ups in developing and mature markets, sales excellence, while also highlighting the great work done in the public sector and citizenship arenas. And as always, the Country Partner of the Year Awards recognizes partner successes in over 100 countries around the world.
The award nomination tool
is open now until April 5, 2013 at 11:59 P.M. pacific time. We recommend that you review the complete award guidelines
and have your entry 100% ready to go before you begin the upload process.
Sometimes, a winning entry is chosen based on the quality of the project as well as the quality of the nomination. Your nomination is all our judges have to learn about your success. Here are tips to help you create an award entry
that shows off your solution, the results you’ve achieved and tells a story about your organization.
Also, ALWAYS consider nominating in more than one category. Sure, writing more than one entry does take more time, but it also gives you a better chance of being a winner or finalist. Don’t go overboard though. Spend your time submitting your best one or two stories, rather than trying multiple categories with less compelling entries.
We hope to see you at WPC in Houston being recognized by your peers as an award winner. Good luck!
WRITE YOUR ENTRY
1. Answer every question. Each submission is carefully reviewed by several judges, and each question is scored independently. That’s why it is crucial not to neglect any answer. Be sure to answer the question asked, and avoid one-word answers.
2. Put your best points up front. Start with a compelling opening statement that is relevant to the category. Really draw the reader in with the “who, what, why,” and most importantly “why care” of your story. You want to make sure the judge wants to read further. If you save the best for last, he or she might never get there.
3. Create a compelling story with a beginning, middle, and end. Define the challenge vividly using specific details. Make your story human. Your technology solution is ultimately for people.
4. Showcase your solution. Position your solution value in terms of business innovation, technology innovation, and customer ROI. Remember, your solution must actually have been deployed.
A few other pointers:
Highlight your solution’s creativity.
Show the depth of the Microsoft stack used.
Describe how it helped you win against the competition from a technical AND a business perspective.
Include information about how your solution went above and beyond answering your customers’ needs.
Where possible, show how your solution was tailored to target an untapped market.
Include how your solution is different and better than the competition.
If your solution can be replicated, say so, and mention any other customer deployments.
Highlight any Microsoft Partner Network resources that helped, including other partners.
5. Prove your success. Here’s where all those numbers come in. Include your metrics. Have a measured return on investment. Show exactly what you achieved, with the stats to back it up.
6. Include customer evidence. The best way of ensuring your entry gets noticed is to include direct evidence of your customers’ satisfaction and success with your solution. Include customer testimonials in your answers. And include links to supporting materials such as case studies, white papers, other awards, videos, or anything else that helps document you and your customers’ success. Don’t forget to ask your customers’ approval to use any of their content, although entries will not be disclosed without your consent.
7. End where you began. Remember that compelling opening statement? You want that same message to resonate throughout. So be sure to tie your ending back to the beginning.
EDITING AND FINAL REVIEW
1. Don’t upload until it’s final! This bears repeating. Wait until your entry is completely final before uploading. You don’t want to have to make edits in the online tool.
2. Get professional help.
Enlist the help of a writing professional with technical and marketing experience.
If you don’t have access to one, get a marketing writer and work with them to make sure the technical details are correct. A communications professional can really help you polish your entry, ensuring that it tells your story well and is a good read.
3. Remove any acronyms or jargon. The judge has no background information on your company or your solution, so explain everything clearly in your entry. Even if you think you’re using a common acronym, spell it out at the first reference.
4. Edit ruthlessly. Take out anything that doesn’t support your story. That main message you opened with will set the tone. And don’t be repetitive. You don’t need to say the same thing again and again using different words for different answers.
5. Sleep on it. Take a deep breath, and put aside your entry for a day or two. Reread with fresh eyes. Try to think like a judge who will be looking at LOTS of submissions. Make sure yours stands out and is memorable.
6. Spellcheck and proofread. You need a completely fresh pair of eyes here. Hire someone if you need to. It’s easy to overlook problems in text with which you are overly familiar. Pay close attention to spelling and punctuation. If you misspell a product name, it reflects badly on your submission.
7. Now, you’re ready to upload. Great job and good luck!
FIVE MISTAKES TO AVOID
These are guaranteed to turn off the judges, so please do not:
1. Try to get sympathy. Everybody works late nights sometimes or misses the company softball game.
2. Submit a solution that didn’t please your customer. If they won’t give you a testimonial, look elsewhere for your entry.
3. Enter a solution based on out-of-date technology. New technology wins awards.
4. Ignore the word count. Your answers will be cut off if they are too long when you upload. There is a 5,000 character limit for each question.
5. Fudge on the facts. Finalists and winners are subject to validation. We will check.
Submit your success stories. Get recognized. You deserve it!
For more information about WPC Awards, categories, and more, please visit the Awards page.