Are you ready to get serious about winning a Security Sales Sales and Marketing Award (SAMMY)?

Anything worth doing is worth doing right. That axiom certainly extends to Security Sales’ 7th Annual Sales and Marketing Awards (SAMMYs) program (see complete rules and entry form on page 46 in Security Sales magazine). If you’re going to enter the 2001 contest, which you absolutely should, it makes sense to do everything you can to boost your chances of winning. Ironically, that means you must effectively sell and market your entries in order to heighten your chances of being recognized for your sales and marketing efforts.

1. Be Sure You Meet the Qualifications

The SAMMYs are only open to United States-based installing alarm dealers, not manufacturers or distributors, at no charge. If you have any questions regarding eligibility, call and ask before wasting your time and money.

2. Take Note of the Entry Deadline

When it comes to the SAMMYs, procrastinating could well lead to missing the entry deadline, which, for 2001, is 5 p.m. (PT) on Tuesday, July 10. Mark your calendar for that day, and plan well ahead so that you’re not racing against the clock. If you assign someone in your company to take care of it, periodically check their progress. Remember that there is no penalty for turning an entry in early.

3. Carefully Look Over All the Categories

Dealers should comb over all of the SAMMY program listings, taking special note of brand-new categories, before determining which ones to participate in.

Changes for the 2001 SAMMYs include the addition of two new categories: Best Door Hanger and Best On-site Sales Materials. Meanwhile, Best Radio Advertisement has been dropped due to lack of interest.

4. Pay Attention to the Judging Criteria
Once you determine which categories are most appropriate, take a long, hard look at the judging criteria, which varies depending on what type of marketing medium is being evaluated (e.g., television ad vs. business card).

Common judging guidelines include appearance, cost-effectiveness, clarity of message and creativity. Review the applicable standards as you put together your entry to ensure it addresses those factors.

5. Meet the Category’s Submission Rules

Depending upon the category, entrants may be required to submit anything from the actual item (Best Newsletter) to color photos of the item (Best Vehicle Design & Decals/Yards Signs). The point is that you need to check the fine print and make sure you send in what the category calls for.

For example, do not submit a photocopy of your Yellow-Page ad when the rules clearly state that an actual tear sheet is necessary.

6. Be Conscious of Formats, Packaging

Besides submitting the proper materials, you should go a step further and make sure that it is easy to access and evaluate your submission. For example, do not place brochures on clumsy poster boards or turn in a television commercial on videotape that has not been cued up.

By the same token, do not submit several entries in the same binder; each entry requires its own packaging. It’s perfectly acceptable to send in several entries contained in the same shipping package, but the items inside must be clearly differentiated.

7. Why Not Go for ‘The Big One?’

If you’re submitting entries in more than a couple of categories, then why not also enter the grand prize of Best Overall Marketing Program? It makes sense, and your chances are increased by virtue of the fact that it’s the only category in which three trophies are handed out (for small-, medium- and large-sized dealers).

When entering this category, however, make sure your company falls within the revenue guidelines (e.g., medium-sized dealer is $2 million to $20 million). In addition, you must submit all of your marketing materials together in a bundle, separate from the items sent in for consideration in the individual category awards.

8-10. Form Can Be Everything

The Official SAMMYs Entry Form is an area where a lot of things could potentially go awry. Three rules of thumb will minimize that possibility.

First, fill out the form completely, paying special attention to the reasons why your entry should win that particular award.

Second, neatness counts! Seriously consider typing your entry, rather than handwriting, as a problem with legibility could hinder your submission. Also, avoid faxing your entry in. Sometimes faxes never make it to their destination. In addition, the quality of the fax machines, toner level and colors on the form itself can affect the readability of the transmitted document.

Third, securely attach separate entry forms for each entered category. It’s good practice to fill out all of the common areas (name, phone number, etc.), photocopy the form and then write in category-specific information.

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