Developing a SaaS Award Strategy: 4 Accolades Zendesk Won Before Going Public

We’re in the age of reviews, where negative feedback can break a brand and a positive review can bring a flood of new business. The same is true for awards. Receiving an award is as valuable as earning a positive review, so it should be part of every company’s marketing strategy, regardless of industry.

This recommendation almost becomes table stakes when exploring an initial public offering (IPO) or another potential exit. Investors will consider the types of awards your company has received. And, with venture capital and private equity firms plugging millions into SaaS, there’s never been a better time for the third party validation an award provides.

Awards to Consider Ahead of an IPO

Many companies take advantage of awards as a way of bolstering reputation throughout the company’s lifecycle and building towards a desired exit. Take, for example, Zendesk. While Zendesk continues to receive awards today, the SaaS brand implemented this marketing tactic in the years leading up to going public, receiving countless honors from German Best in Cloud and Best Relationship Management Solution to the American Business “Stevie” Award.

Here’s a look at a few awards Zendesk applied for and received before going public — many of which are still awarded today:

1. SIIA CODiE Awards – The CODiE Awards recognize excellence in business software, digital content, and education technology industries. The award has been around for an impressive 25 years, and in that time has handed out accolades to 1,033 companies. In 2011, Zendesk nabbed the award for Best Relationship Management Solution. Awards that are specific to your businesses focus are a great way to tout your SaaS solution as this third-party validation carries quite a bit of weight. A customer who’s teetering on the edge can be pushed to purchase when they see this type of accolade.

2. American Business Awards – Also known as the “Stevies,” Zendesk received a gold Stevie award in 2014 for its stellar blog. More than 40 employees across different Zendesk business units contribute to the blog daily to tell the story of customer service and deliver advice. Created in 2002 to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide, The Stevie Awards are dubbed the world’s premier business awards. Not only does this award carry weight in the B2B world, but Zendesk was also selected because of its expertise and thought-leadership on the topic of customer service. This award — which is still around today — is great for customer retention and even better if you want to land more prospects.

3. SIME Awards – The SIME Awards were created in 1996 to honor excellence in online communication, business practice and technology, recognize the individuals and organizations responsible, and inspire the Scandinavian Internet industry to world-class performance. With one of the founders of Zendesk hailing from Denmark, receiving the award helped elevate that founder’s personal brand which also raises up the Zendesk name. This type of area-specific award can be a good way to get on the radar of potential investors in your region.

4. Cloud Computing Awards – Zendesk was named a winner of the 2014-2015 Cloud Awards Program in the category Most Innovative Use of “Big Data” in the Cloud. With awards for excellence and innovation in cloud computing, the Cloud Computing Awards program accepts entries from across the entire globe and is the first and largest recognition platform of its kind. This award carries merit in the cloud industry, which will directly elevate your company. But, the category Zendesk won also carries weight as it demonstrates the company’s drive, innovation and impact on the customer service space. Customers, prospects, investors and even partners will do business with a company that continues to push the needle. It also proves Zendesk’s foothold on the industry.

Some of the awards listed are industry-specific while others are more general business accolades. A mix of culture, product-focused and business awards will catch the eye of a variety of business stakeholders, including investors and customers. Use this list to wrap your head around the types of awards you can aim to win and get your SaaS company started on its awards journey. Or, better yet, partner with a team of professionals whose expertise includes awards so you can spend your time on other brand initiatives. To learn how an award strategy might benefit your company, contact Lindsey Groepper.


About The Author


Established in 2005, BLASTmedia is the only PR agency in the US dedicated to B2B SaaS, representing companies from growth-stage to publicly traded. BLASTmedia understands the unique challenges associated with scaling a SaaS business and uses media coverage and thought leadership campaigns to impact four primary pillars: investors, employees, partners, and customers.

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