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How to become a Sitecore MVP: Nick Towers of Sagittarius reveals all

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Nick Towers is managing director of Sagittarius.

In April of this year, Nick Towers, managing director of Sagittarius, was named a Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in the subject of digital strategy by Sitecore®, a global leader in experience management software.

The Sitecore MVP award recognises the most active Sitecore experts from around the world who have a track record of delivering results for brands that use the Sitecore platform, and who participate in online and offline communities to share their knowledge with other Sitecore partners and customers.

Now it its eleventh year, the Digital Strategy MVP award recognises those that specialise in personalisation, conversion rate optimisation and digital strategy.

The Drum Network recently spoke to Towers to find out more about his MVP award and its impacts on his agency so far.

Congratulations on achieving Sitecore MVP award for digital strategy. Why did you decide to apply to the MVP program?

Sagittarius is the UK’s leading Sitecore implementation partner, delivering digital solutions on the Sitecore's Customer Experience Platform. As winners of three Sitecore Experience awards in 2014 and 2016 we set outself a target to build up a team of Digital Strategy MVPs.

The MVP program is very well known in the Sitecore universe and we would often be asked, “How many MVPs do you have?”

Knowing that only very few are given MVP status I’m proud to be recognised as one of only 4 people in the UK to gain an MVP award for digital strategy and one of only 39 Digital Strategy MVPs globally, so it’s a big deal for us.

Digital strategy is our core offering; we specialise in optimisation, personalisation, profiling and segmentation, all of these are marketing skills that maybe tech delivery agencies don’t quite possess, and we can offer it and so its great to be recognised for this by Sitecore themselves. Our plan now is that this is the first of many Sitecore MVP awards across the various categories with around 20% of our staff working towards their applications for the next round of awards.

What’s involved in the process of applying?

It’s a written application process where you have to provide evidence of the projects you’ve been working on over the past twelve months and demonstrate how you’ve been providing expert guidance in supporting brands to define and execute their digital strategy and channel optimisation strategies.

It’s important to demonstrate that you’re helping clients to explore the full range of capabilities of the platform, which span web content management, omnichannel digital delivery, customer insight and engagement, and strategic digital marketing tools. From experience, I know that it also helps to provide evidence of anything you’ve done beyond your direct client work to promote the platform, for example writing and publishing blogs, whitepapers and thought-leadership pieces.

What have been the key benefits of gaining Sitecore MVP status to date?

We’ve already started to receive new business enquiries based on the award but simply preparing to apply for MVP status has been a great discipline in many ways. It made me concentrate on the tangible outputs and getting the best from the platform for each project and, also, helped me to get into the habit of actively promoting the great results we’re achieving for clients. Publishing original research, blogs and thought leadership pieces are all great routines to get into, so simply getting ready to go through the MVP process has been extremely beneficial for me and the agency.

What advice can you offer anyone considering applying for a Sitecore MVP award?

My advice would be to focus on two key things. Firstly, make sure you have ‘the goods’ to apply with, i.e. are the projects you’ve been working on and the results you’ve achieved genuinely worthy of wider recognition? If not, don’t waste your time. Also, keep capturing the key moments and benchmarks of the project on paper so you have a written record of progress to refine at the time of your MVP application.

Secondly,be prepared to invest the time and energy required to do all the other things, beyond working with clients, that you’ll need to do to gain MVP status. Get comfortable with the idea of attending networking events, speaking on stage at seminars and conferences, commissioning original research, writing thought-leadership pieces and engaging with online and traditional media. It might not come naturally to some but the effort is well worth it and the benefits of doing so extend far beyond the MVP program.