Five Reasons Your Sponsorship Proposal isn’t Working!
Sponsorship marketing is hard work! Nothing is more frustrating than spending countless hours crafting a sponsorship proposal, sending it out to your prospects and hearing…nothing in return. I see a lot of sponsorship proposals, good ones and bad ones (and some REALLY bad ones) but all of them suffer from one of these five issues, which are costing you money.
Let’s dive in and see if we can make your sponsorship packages stronger and more successful.
Gold, Silver, Bronze Sponsorship Packages
This one is really easy to solve. Stop using Gold, Silver, Bronze and its derivatives immediately. These levels add nothing to your sponsorship proposals at all and in fact outright damage them. How do I know? Because brands that I’ve worked with tell me so!
This type of standardized sponsorship proposal screams lack of creativity! It also tells the sponsor that you require them to purchase all of the assets listed within a level, even if it offers no value to them. Would you as a consumer buy a car if you also had to take 20 other products that you don’t want (and were being charged for)? Of course not!
Think menu, not levels, and let your sponsor choose the assets they want.
You Lead With the Sponsorship Proposal
If you lead with the sponsorship package, you are turning your sponsorship sales approach into a direct mail campaign. Sponsorship marketing and direct mail are very different animals. Direct mail get a 2% conversion rate…on a good day! If you start direct e-mailing your sponsorship packages, you’re going to have to send an awful lot of them to make budget. But even if you could send out two million proposals, you are never going to sell your title sponsorship using this method.
Identify your prospects, connect with them, meet with them and find out what they’re interested in and then, and only then, send them a custom sponsorship package.
Your Valuation is Wrong
It doesn’t matter how shiny the package is, if your valuation ignores market realities, you won’t make the sale. Standard valuation techniques include: guessing, doing what you did last year, doing what competitors do and starting with how much you need to make budget and arbitrarily applying that to your sponsorship proposal.
Instead, determine what your sponsors would have to pay for the same level of exposure in the free market. Look to local newspapers, online advertising and other sources that advertise to a similar demographic. Sponsorship and advertising are not the same thing but they have enough in common to use this as your starting point. Develop a system that works for you or hire sponsorship consultants with expertise in this area to do your valuation for you but don’t guess. At best, you lose the sale and at worst you could be leaving significant money on the table. In my experience, people are far more likely to undervalue their properties than overvalue so…do your valuation!
You Don’t Know Who Your Prospects Really Are or What They Want
I have never met a property who couldn’t tell me their list of prospects, but it’s a rare property who knows WHY their prospects are a good fit for them. Most organizations start with their prospects and then try to figure out what to sell them. I suggest a different approach.
First identify your assets. All of your assets! Build the biggest inventory you can and then double it. As you develop your assets also group your audience into pools with common interests, buying power and anything else that unites them. Once you know what you have to sell and who cares about your brand, your prospect will present itself. Rather than trying to find something to sell to Nike (because they have a lot of money) try to identify the company whose customer is your audience. The more defined your audience and your assets, the better.
Your Sponsorship Package Isn’t Working Because…
It isn’t supposed to!
Your sponsorship proposal is not the sales tool, you are! I have sold millions in sponsorship without ever creating a sponsorship package. That isn’t to say they don’t have their place but it is proof that sponsorship packages are not required. They serve as a great way to capture discussion point with your prospects but not as a stand alone sales tool.
The number one reason sponsorship packages fail is because people expect the wrong things from them. Your sponsorship proposal supports you in the sales process, not the other way around.
Not convinced? Give it a try! Use the approach described here for 25% of your prospects and your current method for the rest. At the end of your campaign, see which converted a higher percentage of prospects to sales and use that approach!
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.