Anytime is the best time to start writing your awards submissions

The competition is fierce, so you must be prepared

Are you a Microsoft Partner with an award-winning story to tell? If you are, you might already know that you can use the Mercer-MacKay Awards Planning Tool year-round.

Our free tool has been designed to organize your content throughout the year with your team. It lets you capture key relevant facts about every customer implementation as it happens and while the good stuff is still top of mind. The tool will significantly reduce your workload, as opposed to leaving it until Microsoft announces that awards are open, at which point you will only have a few weeks to get everything ready to submit. For most partners, it’s panic time.

Planning is a big part of writing your award submission. If you can collaborate and collect everything you need to include in your submission before you begin the writing process, you will find that creating your story will be simpler, faster and more likely to hit all of the elements that the judges are looking for.

The Mercer-MacKay Microsoft Awards Preparation Module: Why you should be using it year-round

Every year more than 3,000 partners submit entries to be recognized as a Microsoft Partner of the Year. It is a tough competition which requires you to create an amazing submission that will rise above the rest.

To win, you need to tell a story with heart that highlights the results one of your customers achieved in their business using Microsoft technology. Your story needs to stand out in the crowd and impress the team of judges. This doesn’t happen without disciplined preparation.

This Awards Preparation Module is designed to help you gather and consolidate all the information you will need so that you are ready to write your submission when awards season rolls around.

Sign up and start collecting your customer stories now so you aren’t scrambling later on.

This module will ask you to look at your company, your practice and your customer story in a new way. The preparation tool will ask you questions that will help you find the essence of your story in order to craft a compelling award entry.

We encourage you to complete every step in this module for each customer story you are considering. Once you do, you will be able to determine the strength (or weakness) of your potential entry.

Everybody can participate in the process

The Mercer-Mackay team always says that Microsoft Award Submissions are the perfect opportunity to tell the “water cooler” stories. Those are the stories about the “in the trenches” moments that normally don’t make it into a corporate case study. Such as the time a Microsoft partner swayed an entire school district to move from Google Docs onto Office 365 by challenging the selection committee to a time contest. They won the challenge, and 450,000 students moved from Google to Office.

The best stories often come from deployment teams or the sales team that won the deal. Was there a customer success evangelist involved? How about a trainer? Was the win a co-sell opportunity? Who from Microsoft participated? What Microsoft technology did you use? Did you push the boundaries and do something cool that hadn’t been done before? How did you impact your customer’s business or the lives of others ? The Microsoft sales team can often provide a unique perspective too.

The free planning tool can effectively guide you in collaborating with everyone who touched the customer, from opportunity through to deployment and your ultimate success measurement.

Deadlines kill creativity

The awards competition typically opens in late February and closes around the first or second week of April. This isn’t a sprint; it’s a long-distance endurance race. Expect to spend at least 40 hours per submission, so we recommend getting started as early as possible. As early as today.

For the best results, you will want to interview your featured customer, employees at your company, and potentially some members of the Microsoft team to uncover the complete story. You cannot write it the week before it is due and expect to win.

Be prepared to be writing once the awards competition opens, usually in February

Once you have collected all of the relevant information in our free planning tool, and once the awards have opened, you will be in great shape to start writing your submission. The famous writer (and writing coach) Anne Lamott is well known for her quote about writing a “shitty first draft.” Yes, your first draft will not be what you ultimately submit but it will get something down on paper. From there you edit, you organize, you rearrange, and you highlight. You improve your story and increase your chances of rising to the top among thousands of applications

Keep in mind, the Microsoft judges reading your submission all have day jobs just like you. They’re judging these awards in their spare time. Some are reading as many as 100 submissions in a single night. You will need to grab their attention if you want to get on their shortlist.

Once you become an insider in our free awards preparation tool, you’ll be able to create, measure and improve your content without the pressure you’ll experience if you wait until February.

Why we are the right partner to help create your awards submission

Did you know that Mercer-MacKay Digital Storytelling was founded on writing Microsoft Award Submissions? Our special process for writing award submissions is a proven method that has helped Microsoft Partners receive recognition for their outstanding work through an exceptional story. That is why we are always incredibly happy to share our best tips to help our partners win awards.

Create your free account today and use our award-writing tool year-round. When the competition opens in February, you’ll be glad you started early.