International awards, ratings and analytic reports are a great way to introduce your company or a product, create a publicity opportunity for a massive PR campaign or just expand the list of your company’s achievements.
There are ratings and awards that many companies aren’t even aware of. And winning or, at least, being nominated in such awards seems to be distant and barely real for startups and small/mid-sized tech-companies.
But in reality, everything is much simpler than it seems. Clearly, some awards or ratings require a certain level of turnover or number of clients. Still, there are many ratings and awards tailored to startups.
In this article, I will talk about the most interesting awards and ratings, where tech companies and startups have good chances to win or, at least, being nominated.
HOW TO FIND AWARDS THAT CAN BE WON?
The easiest and the most effective way is to analyze your international competitors’ performance and monitor the achievements of the companies with related products and services.
Do not focus on big companies that are larger than yours at 50-100 times or more. Search for companies that are slightly bigger than yours.
But not only awards are helpful for you. Check out websites of your competitors, read their interviews, annual reports, and mentions in social networks. Their news, announcements, and lists of achievements are the best sources for finding relevant events (conferences, exhibitions, etc.), content platforms, and analytic reports.
The second way is to hire someone who has already been engaged with similar projects: an agency, employee, or independent consultant. You can use the GLG network or similar companies to find an experienced consultant.
That’s the key point of this article. Here’s a list of 2020 awards & ratings I’ve collected for you. If you think I’ve missed a worthy event, feel free to contact me on Facebook or Linkedin and I’d be happy to extend this list.
The list does not include awards that are part of conferences or exhibitions. The reason is simple: there are too many exhibitions and awards, divided by different niches. The exceptions are awards/competitions for finalists, and the fact of just attending such an event is actually a victory for the company. For example, Finovate.
- Webby Awards. Awards for various projects & products somehow related to the Internet. A great choice for online services. However, due to its popularity, it’s pretty hard to win.
- Stevie Awards. There are many nominations (Tech companies with high-quality business cases of their clients often win general nominations, such as International Business Award). The awards are divided by regions. You should apply from the region of your clients’ projects. Even small companies have good chances to win.
- Red Herring 100. There are many nominations for startups. Small and little-known companies often get this award.
- Software 500. One of the oldest ratings for 500 largest software companies worldwide. Many small and relatively small companies believe they are not worthy of being a part of this rating, and that gives a pretty low entry threshold – less than $1 million in software sales revenue.
- Big Data Excellence Awards. Dozens of different nominations related to big data and analytics.
- ICMI Global Contact Center Awards Program. A vast list of nominations suitable for companies with call-centers.
- World Business Awards, European Business Awards. That’s a good choice for medium and large companies or business cases with large customers.
- CXPA - Customer Experience Innovation Award
- SQM CX Awards(Contact Center of the Year, Best Practices, etc.)
- DataCloud Global Awards. More than 20 different nominations for cloud solutions and data centers.
- IoTGA - Internet of Things Global Awards
- Excellence in Customer Service Award
- Stratus Awards for Cloud Computing
- TiE50 - TiE Silicon Valley. Startup Rewards Program. The company must be younger than 7 years.
- ISG Index. Only tech companies and SaaS or IaaS companies can apply.
- VR Awards. More than 10 nominations for companies engaged with virtual reality.
- Auggie Awards. Another award for AR/VR projects.
- SaaS Awards. For Software as a service (SaaS) products
- Infoworld Technology of the Year
- Digiday Award. For Marketing & Media Technologies.
- Infoworld Bossies. The Best of Open Source Software awards.
- Brandon Hall Excellence in Technology Awards–More than 50 nominations for training, HR, WFM, and other solutions.
- Channel Middle East Awards. Available for projects from the Middle East area.
- CND Top 100 Solution Providers. Available for Canadian companies. However, if you have at least a subsidiary registered in Canada, you can apply.
For outsourcing companies:
- GSA Awards - Global Sourcing Association Awards
- Global Outsourcing 100
- European Outsourcing Association Awards
Fintech and other companies related to financial technologies (some awards have a broad list of nominations from innovations in payments to cybersecurity and big data):
- Fintech 50. There are several Fintech50 ratings (including Forbes Fintech 50) with high entry barriers, especially for small companies. But if a company announces that it’s been listed in Fintech50, no one actually cares much, in which list exactly.
- Finovate. One of the most interesting competitions/ events. Startups win very often. Unlike other awards, this one is a great PR tool, as videos from the event often get many views. Finovate takes place several times a year in different locations. Getting into a shortlist is a must; participation is paid.
- Asian Banker Award. More than 40 different categories, company/representative office presence in Asia is not necessary.
- NFC Innovation Awards. For any technology related to contactless payment or NFC.
- IDC FinTech Rankings: Top 100
- World Finance Magazine Awards
- Banking Technology Awards
- FSTech Awards
- RegTech Awards
- Celent Model Banks Awards
- Banking CIO Outlook, APAC Banking CIO Outlook. A magazine with various ratings. Easy to be listed.
- Cyber Defense Magazine Award
- Cybersecurity Excellence Awards
- Fortress Cybersecurity Awards
- CSO50 Awards
- InfoSecurity Global Excellence Awards
Awards for partners of the largest vendors:
- Microsoft Worldwide Partner Awards
- IBM Beacon Awards
- VMware Global Partner Innovation Awards
- Oracle Excellence Awards
how to win an award?
Winners of the most awards are chosen by subjective criteria. Therefore, in order to win, you do not need to be better/larger than competitors. It’s just your application for the award that should be better than others’.
Many juries agree that the content and the number of applications vary from year to year. I have an example from my own experience. We’ve had a really great and high-quality case. But it didn’t make it to the shortlist of the award we've applied to. However, next year, we’ve won that exact award with an average case just because other companies did not apply with better business cases.
A few tips:
- Store all information you prepare for awards and learn how to reuse it. First of all, you will need a high-quality description of your company and products written in English. You will also need financial figures, an overview, and a list of key customers.
- Your application should be written in perfect English. Ask a native speaker to check the application. If you don’t have any in your staff, find a proofreader (editor) on Fiverr, Upwork or other resources. It will cost you ~ $50-100.
- Prepare for the event in advance. Organize information related to your clients and cases, so that you’ll be able to find it while filling out the application.
- Don’t think over for the organizer. If you are asked to write down the number of clients, then do it. Don’t itemize how many of them implemented your product successfully, or were onboarding, or simply bought something. If the organizer asks the number of users of your online service, feel free to include everyone who signed up for a free trial. After all, no one asked how many of them had actually paid for the service. Those are the basic examples showing that each question should be interpreted in the most convenient way.
- Business cases are the most important thing in many awards. Learn to demonstrate how your products or services impacted business results. Selling servers? Describe how your client revolutionizes the industry and you provide his infrastructure. Outsourcing programmers for iOS? Describe how mobile apps you’ve been working on with clients improve clients’ business processes, reduce costs, and innovate the field.
- If you are a small company, submit an application on behalf of your clients. In some cases, you can get an award for a project. Thus, you can create a great description of a business case on behalf of your client and win the award together. It doesn’t matter that you share the award with someone else. The only thing that matters is how you are going to use the fact of getting the award later in your own PR-campaign.
- If you have several legal entities in different countries, submit an application from the UK or USA. Companies from these countries get more awards. Besides, some awards from this list require the exact location of your company or the presence of subsidiaries. But a quick look at the winners' list shows that the majority of contestants operate worldwide.
alright, you've won the award. what's next?
The reward itself will not give you any new leads or clients. It is up to you what outcome you will get from the award or participation in the rating. You can modestly specify the award in the About section on your site. Or make a big deal out of it: send a press release to the leading media, share the news on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube ads and retargeting of your client base), talk about the award at conferences, and discuss it in interviews or articles.
This way you will maximize the outcome and turn the victory into a really big deal. Anyway, what to do with the award is solely up to you. Obviously, the host of the event would not promote you. The best you could get from the organizer is a mention and an inbound link to your website.