A little work on the front end will go a long way in the sponsorship sales process.
Whether you’re pitching a seven-figure naming rights deal or a five-figure sponsorship, sponsorship sellers need to follow some basic rules to get a prospect’s attention.
Below, sponsorship executives with American Family Insurance, Nestlé Waters and The Principal Financial Group discuss where properties fall short, and, more importantly, where there is room for improvement.
Tom Pietras, sponsorship strategist, American Family Insurance
Not asking about goals and objectives upfront. “I will voice them if not asked, but I customarily wait to give the property the chance to ask the question first. Doing so lets me know if they want to view success through the brand’s lens.”
Not doing homework upfront. “Take the time to know how we differ from our competitors, where we sell, how we sell and what else we sponsor. Don’t waste my time trying to sell me a sponsorship that occurs in a state where we don’t operate.”
Not checking spelling. “Project your attention to quality at every touchpoint. Don’t even think of asking me for typo forgiveness in your signature. If you don’t take the time to check the quality of your message when you’re trying to sell me, how can I be sure you’ll have a quality focus when customer-facing messages need to be created.”
Not providing post-event metrics. “These need to be addressed and agreed upon upfront and made part of the contract. If they cannot be provided, it puts renewals at risk given the need to support investment levels against other possible channels.”
Chris Riedel King, assistant director, global sponsorships & partnerships, The Principal Financial Group
Bombarding a sponsor with information. “Get us interested enough to ‘swipe right’ to learn more, but don’t overload us.”
Coming to the table with a sense of entitlement. “Just because a property is in the same market or does business with us doesn’t mean we have an obligation to sponsor them. No sponsor has an endless pot of money. Depending on a quid pro quo relationship is not an effective way to run a sponsorship program.”
Sending the same information to multiple people. “Do your homework and try to target the right person. And then ask that person to forward it if needed.”
Not taking no for an answer. “If a sponsor is kind enough to respond to your request and tells you it’s not a good fit, don’t continue to push the issue. It’s okay to keep in touch in case things change, but being combative won’t earn you a soft spot in a sponsor’s heart.”
Kevin Cleary, senior manager, community relations & investment, Nestlé Waters North America
Not explaining how a partnership will benefit both parties. “It should not just be pay X and get Y. Many opportunities are lost when you go down that path.”
Not giving prospects enough time to review an opportunity. “It’s important to give contacts time to review and respond to an email or presentation. If it’s of interest, we’ll follow up. Badgering over email or phone calls will not assist in selling a partnership.”
Not providing case studies. “Case studies can help a brand see how someone else has worked with you. Companies need to look at how other companies have partnered with the property and conducted activations.”