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Apr 3, 2023

5 Must-Have Tools to Manage an Awards Competition for 2023

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Managing awards competitions — a glamorous and exciting job or a nerve-racking experience? That depends entirely on your choices as an awards manager. In this day and age, these choices boil down to picking an awards management tool to help you work smart instead of hard. Here at Evalato, we’re huge fans of working smart. Actually, we don’t know any other way and would like to help out those still burning the candle at both ends. 

Choosing the right tools to ease your job, however, is no small feat, given the hundreds of solutions out there. That’s why we decided to make a list of must-haves that will have you cut costs and time, speed up communication, automate dull tasks, and boost the number of entries. 

We won’t tell you which products to pick. We’ll just point out the type of tools you need and give you guidelines to use as a starting point for your research.

Some general factors to consider when selecting your tools:

  • What is the price-to-quality ratio? What would your costs be without the service?
  • How easy is the platform to use?
  • Is the service secure? Is your information stored safely?
  • Does it integrate with other tools you use? Will it speed up your work or create even more processes?

1. Awards management software — the absolute must-have

Let’s start right off the bat — an awards management solution like Evalato is the ultimate winner when it comes to saving time, effort, and resources, not to mention your sanity as an awards manager. Now, if you want to do it the old-fashioned way — with pen and paper, make countless spreadsheets for everything, or exchange endless emails, you don’t need an awards management solution. However, if you want to be part of the future, the service fee is nothing compared to the amount of work it will do for you. 

Unlike some of the tools we’ll talk about below, awards management solutions are usually paid platforms and rarely have free versions. There’s a simple reason for that — they encompass the whole complex awards management cycle to make your work a breeze.

The key questions to ask yourself when choosing your awards management solution:

  • Does the solution cover all stages of your awards: registration of applicants, collection of entries, and evaluation stage? 
  • Is the price good for what the service offers? Does the provider offer transparent pricing plans?
  • Is it intuitive and easy to use by all parties involved: your team, applicants, and judges?
  • Does it have the localization options you need for your competition? (If your awards competition is not in English or the currency is not USD, for example.)
  • Does it offer enough branding options? (You need to be able to tweak almost anything to your brand’s look and feel.)
  • Does it offer different payment methods for your applicants? (Online payment method is a must but a bank transfer and a custom payment method are a big plus.)
  • Is your and your applicants’ data safe with this service?
  • Is the tool flexible enough when it comes to the evaluation suite? (After all, we’re talking about awards management here so such a platform should provide you with multiple judging scenarios to fit your awards needs.)
  • Does the software integrate with other services and apps you use? (E.g., with the ones we’ve listed above.)

: Evalato. We don’t say it’s the only one on the market but it’s definitely the top one, especially when it comes to awards programs. It answers ‘yes’ to all those questions. While similar solutions usually have awards as a secondary use case, Evalato puts awards front and center — and that focus is reflected in the features, developed with awards in mind, rather than adapted to also cater to awards.

2. Project and Task Management

While the above makes it seem that you don’t need anything else besides Evalato to manage awards (and that’s largely true), let’s see what other tools you can benefit from. Chances are, you already use some of them in other areas of your business, starting with good old project management. Long gone are the days when you had to write your tasks on a paper notepad. There are hundreds of tools out there that could help you organize your tasks better, stick to your deadlines, and save tons of time (and trees!). 

Even if you are a small team and don’t need the most complex and expensive solution, you can make use of a simple to-do list app. Plus, there are free versions of almost all apps out there. 

Examples: Asana, ClickUp, Airtable, Notion, Monday, and so on.
Evalato automation tip: You can create a task or an item in any of these software solutions out of every registration in Evalato.

3. Communication & Collaboration

Team communication and collaboration apps are great time-savers, especially in the case of a distributed team. First, your team needs a chat app for quick questions and discussions not suited for emails or internal meetings. Second, a cloud-based alternative for documents, sheets, etc. will save your team from an endless exchange of files and attachments, allowing for real-time collaboration. 

Examples: Slack is one of the most popular team communication apps on the market. Other communication and collaboration tools include Google Workspace and Microsoft 365
Evalato automation tip: You can integrate Evalato with Slack to send a notification for every new registration in a dedicated Slack channel.

4. Marketing, Sales & CRM

If you organize an awards competition, you almost certainly use either CRM or email software to help you communicate with your participants more effectively, deploy marketing campaigns, engage entrants or leads, and more. While both CRM software and email software may have some overlapping features, in general, they serve different purposes. CRM software is designed for managing customer relationships, while email software is designed primarily for sending and receiving emails. Depending on your organization and awards programs, however, you might choose either just one of those tools or even use both in synergy. 

The good news is that there are many options for you to choose from. The not-so-good  — you need to spend some time researching the solution that best suits your needs.

Some factors you should consider when picking your CRM or email marketing solution:

  • Does the service keep customer data safe? Will data be shared with third parties or for the company’s purposes?
  • What types of analytics will measure the effectiveness of your campaigns? 
  • Will your emails appear properly no matter what device or platform people view them on? 
  • Does it integrate with other tools and apps you use? (Such as your awards management software, Google Analytics, etc.)
  • What are the costs? Will you get a good ROI?
Examples: The most popular platforms are HubSpot, Intercom, and Salesforce.
Evalato automation tip: Evalato integrates with both Hubspot and Intercom allowing you to track data and provide chat support to applicants within Evalato. In addition, Evalato features its own email automation which takes care of most of the communication with judges and entrants.

5. Automation

We can wax lyrical about automation and how much time you can save by delegating manual repetitive tasks to software solutions. You can streamline workflows, increase productivity, reduce errors, and free up human resources for more complex tasks, benefitting from reduced costs, improved accuracy, and faster response times. Some examples of tasks that can be automated using software include data entry, report generation, file management, and customer support.

Some of the factors you should consider when selecting automation software include: 

  • Functionality — look for software that can perform the exact tasks you need it to automate
  • Reliability — make sure that the solution is robust and can handle the volume of work and data you need it to without crashing or experiencing performance issues
  • Scalability — go for a tool that can scale up or down as your needs change.
Example: Zapier leads the pack when it comes to automation. 
Evalato automation tip: Evalato is integrated with Zapier allowing you to connect Evalato to 5000+ apps. This will enable you to effectively automate processes to reduce manual work.  

Bonus: Analytics

Analytics tools help users analyze and interpret large data sets to uncover patterns, trends, and insights. In the case of awards competitions, these tools are invaluable for tracking the program’s performance and providing valuable data-driven insights which can be applied to planning the next edition.

Example: Google Analytics
Evalato automation tip: Evalato works with Google Analytics goals and ecommerce tracking allowing you to monitor the success of your marketing campaigns.

The case for choosing Evalato as one of your tools 

While some of the above tools have their unique uses and can aid awards management, Evalato is the one solution that handles the whole process, from start to finish. If you need a few more reasons why it’s the ultimate awards and contest management tool, we have them:     

1. Makes everything easier for all parties involved

With Evalato, all processes become a walk in the park for all parties — judges, entrants, and you as the organizer. It gives you and your team the level of freedom and control to organize an award competition in a truly efficient manner. 

It also makes everything quick and easy for everyone involved. Your entrants get a personal profile to create, edit and submit their application with just a click. And your judges can fill in their scores directly, from anywhere, at any time, and on any device.

2. Removes the cumbersome administrative procedures

Awards management software pacifies customers’ woes regarding inconvenient manual processes, especially the heavy paperwork. Forget the waiting time and complex form-filling procedures. With Evalato as your awards management solution, everything is just a click away.

3. Creates a better organizational structure

Organizing the entire awards management process can get quite tiresome. In the case of a high volume of applicant entries, it‘s easy for submissions to get mixed up. Evalato sidesteps that risk and improves the overall process flow.

4. Customizes the evaluation process

Any awards management solution enables you to customize and create a tailor-made approach to suit your awards needs. Evalato equips you with the option for multiple evaluation rounds to accommodate various voting scenarios, various voting types to choose from, and much more. 

5. Improves the quality and quantity of applications

Having efficient awards management software is like owning a magic wand. It’s that beneficial. Evalato allows you to receive a wide range of qualitative submissions thanks to its 2-step application process. Applicants first register for your awards and then have the time and freedom to craft amazing entries within the set submission deadline.

6. Accurate scoring, no human error

The awards software eliminates the human error element, leaving no room for doubt when compared to manual calculations. This also ensures user reliability and accuracy of your judging system. In the case of Evalato, you also get score normalization — a mathematical formula to ensure that every entry is scored based on the same set of standards. In short, it helps reduce variation in judging by standardizing each judge's scores.

7. Integrations that matter 

No software is all-powerful (not even Evalato) which is where integrations come in. In the case of Evalato, you can take advantage of our native HubSpot and Intercom integrations, Google Analytics, and Facebook integrations, as well as connect 5000+ apps via Zapier, not to mention keep track of new registrations via Slack. 

At the end of the day

Our best advice when choosing your solutions — don’t trust only the Google search results and the ads that pop up on your phone. Compare features and plans, read reviews, and most of all — test it yourself! 

Unlike many software solutions, Evalato offers unlimited free testing with no credit card as a requirement. So, you’re more than welcome to jump right in and try it out. You can also book a demo with one of our customer success experts that can walk you through Evalato and what it can do for you.

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