Archive for February, 2010

The ROI of Winning Awards

Monday, February 1st, 2010

A Short Story

It’s true. Winning is fun. Winning a lot is more fun. And winning big time is just a bit more fun even than that. When I got the e-mail that my submission had taken my Fortune 200 client from #32 to #1 in a prestigious global ranking, I shrieked. Jumped up and down. Ran around in circles. I’m guessing some of my clients did the same.

OK, so…what? What did it really mean to my client in terms of impact on their business? Can they trace any sales back to that one data point? Nope. Nor can they tie specific revenue to any of the other 15 awards I helped them win in the past ~15 months. So if an award falls in a forest and there’s no one there to measure it…

The value of these 15 awards really hit home when I was asked to revamp the division’s global sales presentation, and I got to the awards slide. I wrote an instruction to the graphic designer to make room for several more award logos, and changed the title to, “Trust the World’s #1 Learning Organization.”

That’s huge. A slide full-o-logos and a #1 headline is a powerful dose of objective affirmation. Does it guarantee a sale? Nope, but it’s a pretty good bet that it will move the needle on consideration. It’s hard to not take notice – and that’s true for prospective hires, partners and vendors, employees/morale and, lest we forget, the C-suite.

This company obviously understands that well. Not all do.

I was recently contacted by a tech company wanting help winning recognition for two important clients, by nominating the senior IT person at each for an up-and-coming CTO award. Mind you, the deadline was in two weeks. The woman said they usually paid $500 or $1,000 for a submission (I don’t know who agreed to that fee but they don’t think much of their own work).

I asked what the company’s win rate was for that award. Um, zero. Hmmm. Then I asked how much each of those clients spends annually. She didn’t know (hmmm), but agreed it was likely $1M+. In short, they were only willing to invest .05%-.1% of a client’s annual spend to strengthen that client relationship. And instead of delivering prize and pride, they made their clients and themselves, well, I won’t say it because it wouldn’t sound nice, but it’s the opposite of winners.

Do these vignettes get us any closer to understanding industry award ROI?  You tell me. Your comments are most welcome.

Learning Program and Team Awards 2009-2014


ASTD Excellence in Practice

Technical Training Award
Training Management Citation (for new programs)
Learning Technology Citation
Workplace Learning & Collaboration–Leadership Development (x2) Award, Citation
Workplace Learning & Collaboration–Onboarding Citation
Sales Enablement Citation

Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning

Best Custom Content Gold
Best in Learning Strategy and Governance Gold
Best Leadership Development Program Gold
Best Innovation in Learning Technology Silver
Best Leadership Sales Training Silver
Best Integration of Learning and Talent Management Bronze
Best Use of Games for Learning Bronze

Brandon Hall Technology Excellence

Best Advance in Social Learning Technology Gold

CLO Magazine Learning in Practice

Technology Innovation Gold, Division 1
Innovation Gold, Division 1
Business Impact Gold, Division 2
Business Impact Bronze, Division 2


Learning Organization Ranking Awards


American Society for Training & Development

ASTD BEST #1 (up from #32 in one year)
#2 (up from #37 in two years)

ELearning! Media Group

Learning! 100 #1 (first year on list)

Chief Learning Officer Magazine

LearningElite #1, #4

Training Magazine

 Training Top 125 #1, #2 (up from #41 in one year)