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Finding the Time for Sponsorship Sales

We all only have 24 hours in a day, but for many of us, it feels more like 16 hours or even 10 or 12 hours, right? 

You try to be as productive as you can, but between juggling your full-time job, personal obligations like kids and family, life responsibilities like cooking and cleaning the house, and maybe a bit of your time occasionally, you’re really struggling to find the time for sponsorship sales.

Well, that’s not entirely true. You have a smidge of time for sponsorship sales, but you sense that it’s not enough time to properly do it. Thus, so far, your track record with sponsorship has been very poor. 

This is a common complaint that I get from sponsorship seekers all the time. I understand that you’re far more than a sponsorship seeker at the end of the day. You’re a business owner or employee, a parent, a spouse, a partner, a family member, and a community member. You have a lot on your plate.

That’s why I want to help you. In today’s post, I’ll talk about when you should pursue sponsorship (verses when you shouldn’t) and provide some pointers for finding the time to properly do sponsorship sales. Check it out!

I’m Too Busy for Sponsorship Sales – What Can I Cut to Make Sponsorship Happen?

Whether it’s the aforementioned jam-packed schedule, a lack of staff in your office, or perhaps not getting the proper support from your boss, I can understand how frustrating it is to feel like you’re on your own when pursuing sponsorship.

As much as you wish you could make more hours of the day appear, that’s simply not realistic. So you have the idea that rather than commit to every part of the sponsorship process, you’ll just cut out a thing or two. 

I’m sure you’re eagerly awaiting my approval to tell you to do this, that it will totally work, but it won’t.

If you need a refresher, here are all the parts of a successful sponsorship program:

  • Collecting audience data
  • Prospecting based on audience data
  • Contacting prospects 
  • The discovery session
  • Follow-up meetings
  • Creating and valuing assets 
  • Activations 
  • Sending the sponsorship proposal and package (only when the prospect wants to see it!)
  • Negotiating 
  • Hosting your event, program, or opportunity 
  • Goal fulfillment during your event, program, or opportunity
  • Producing a fulfillment report 
  • Planning to work with the sponsor again (optional but still highly recommended)

Trying to put together a sponsorship program without some of those steps is like trying to assemble a puzzle with several pieces missing.

In the end, you’ll have something that seems workable but is incomplete. The glaring holes will be a huge distraction.

In the case of a puzzle, you’re just deeply unsatisfied with how the incomplete puzzle looks. In the case of sponsorship, skipping steps will cause you to fumble the sale and miss out. 

Rather than ask the question of what you can skip to make a sponsorship deal come together, you need to ask yourself an entirely different question.

That is, what can you take out of your schedule to make sponsorship work?

If the answer is nothing, then as much as you wish you could have a sponsorship deal right now, I just don’t think it’s feasible.

Sponsorship is not a part-time job. You can’t put in some of the effort and expect to reap the entire reward. That’s now how anything in life works. 

So you’re at a point where you have two options. You can be honest with yourself and admit that sponsorship is just too much for you right now or you can assign the responsibility of sponsorship to another individual or small team within your company who can do it.


A Story Showcasing the Importance of Making Time in Sponsorship

When I tell you all the time that I have sponsorship seekers just like you who face the same problems, I mean it. 

So let me tell you a story that exemplifies how important it is to either make time for sponsorship or redirect the responsibility to someone who can.

Several years ago, I had a client who I’ll call Joan. I was showing Joan and her company how to do best-practice sponsorship, which is simply by-the-books sponsorship that doesn’t omit any of the steps above.

Despite that she didn’t learn best-practice sponsorship alone, Joan told me that her intention was to do the sponsorship herself. She was the CEO of her company after all and thought she was best suited for the job.

I disagreed. If anything, with how much responsibility a CEO has, I think she was the worst suited for the job.

When I expressed my concerns, Joan told me what every sponsorship seeker in her position does. She said she’d just work harder and put in more hours in the beginning. 

Then, once those sweet, sweet sponsorship dollars began rolling in, she’d hire staff to assist her with future sponsorship endeavors.

It all sounds great in theory, right? Then you try to put it into practice.

In reality, Joan had no time for daily prospecting calls. She didn’t have even 10 minutes for a discovery session each week. She couldn’t follow up with prospects because her schedule didn’t allow it.

So years passed and Joan made approximately zero sponsorship dollars. I don’t know if she ever worked harder and just couldn’t sustain it or if she thought it’d be possible to put in time for sponsorship but it just never was. 

Either way, reality caught up with her. Since Joan’s company never raked in that sponsorship money, she didn’t hire additional staff and she stayed in the exact same spot she started, which was square one. 

Here’s the thing about half-hearted sponsorship approaches. A sponsor doesn’t know you’re the CEO. They don’t know how many other responsibilities you have in your life, either personal or professional.

And even still, they don’t really care. That’s not meant to sound callous but think of it from their perspective. 

They expect things to be done a certain way, no excuses. If you can’t do sponsorship properly, it doesn’t matter why. 

The sponsor will work with someone who can do it right, leaving you in the dust. 

How to Make Time for Sponsorship Sales

I hope I’ve made it clear enough that without enough time, your sponsorship aspirations are not going to come true. 

There are no guarantees in sponsorship, but the closest you’ll get to a guarantee is by putting in as much effort as you can muster. 

So how do I recommend you do that? Here are my top tips.

Don’t Make Sponsorship a Solo Gig

I know a lot of CEOs and people in high places like to think that they can shoulder any burden themselves. Sometimes, part of being a good CEO or manager is admitting that you need your team to take on some of the responsibility.

And that’s okay! It doesn’t make you less effective at your job.

If anything, doling out some of the responsibility to others will make you more effective at your job because you’ll have the energy, attention, focus, and bandwidth to focus on your job. 

Even if you only work with one other person on your sponsorship project and you ask to review what they’ve done every single day, you’re not shouldering the responsibilities of sponsorship all by yourself. You have someone else who can help with prospect research or do a couple of follow-ups on your behalf.

Things are getting done, and correctly at that!

Set Small Goals Every Day

If the thought of sending out 50 prospect emails per day sounds like too much for you, then make it more manageable.

Instead of taking one day a week to personalize 50 emails, take five workdays and do 10 emails each day.

This takes a lot less time than working on 50 emails and ensures you don’t get too overwhelmed. 

Another benefit of doing a little each day is that you’re at least getting something done. 

For instance, let’s say your goal was to send out 50 prospect emails on Wednesday.

Well, Wednesday comes around and you’re totally slammed. You decide to push the task back to Thursday, but you have way too much going on that day as well.

Now it’s Friday and you’re once again busier than you thought.

If you’re like a lot of people and you don’t work on the weekends, then that means the entire week passed and you didn’t contact a single prospect. 

Now let’s say you’re doing 10 emails a day. Even if you do have a day or two where you’re too busy to send out even 10 emails, if you sent even 30 emails that week, you still did something. You’re a little short of your goal, but the momentum is moving forward.

Keep it going and that’s how your sponsorship program comes to life. 

Expect It To Take Longer to Reach Your Outcome

If you’re only putting in a collective 12 hours into your sponsorship program a week, then you can’t expect the same kind of speedy outcomes as someone who puts in 36 hours into their sponsorship program a week.

That’s not to say you won’t get there, but it will take you longer to achieve your goals. Keep a realistic timeframe for getting results and be sure to plan all the earlier if you have a time-sensitive event on the calendar.

Conclusion

If you can’t find the time for sponsorship sales, it’s not like a lost pair of earrings. The time won’t magically appear no matter how much you search for it. 

Instead, you have to make the time. That usually means relying on other staff within your company rather than taking care of everything alone. Carrying the responsibility of sponsorship on your lonesome is a surefire way to not get anything done because you’re so overwhelmed.

Should you truly be too busy for sponsorship, then so be it. Recognize that for what it is and maybe see if you can come back to your sponsorship goals another time.

Cutting corners or omitting steps altogether will not produce the outcomes you seek. If anything, they’ll push you further from those outcomes! 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Baylis is the President and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective and a self-confessed sponsorship geek.

After several years as a sponsor (that’s right, the one investing the money!) Chris decided to cross over to the sponsorship sales side where he has personally closed tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship deals. Chris has been on the front lines of multi-million dollar sponsorship agreements and has built and coached teams to do the same.

Chris now spends his time working with clients to value their assets and build strategies that drive sales. An accomplished speaker and international consultant, Chris has helped his clients raise millions in sponsorship dollars.

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