Sponsorship can seem complex and even random at times- sometimes technique A works, other times, technique B does the trick and sometimes, seemingly for months on end, nothing seems to work at all!
There is, however, a way to change the odds, and it is surprisingly formulaic. If you want to know how to get sponsorship or how to keep the sponsors you currently have, try the following nine steps:
Never go in Sponsorship Proposal First
Sacrilege, I know! “Send me a sponsorship proposal
” is code for “no thanks” and when you go in proposal first you go right to the no. You certainly shorten the sales cycle but you don’t get the answer you want. Making your prospects read a sponsorship package full of assumptions and hope they find something that appeals to them does not lead to a strong close rate. Instead, have a conversation
with your prospects about their sponsorship goals and find out what makes them tick. Ask them what they want to see in a sponsorship package! Want to know how to get sponsorship? Ask your sponsors!
Questions, Questions and More Questions!
The only time to speak in a sponsorship meeting is when your sentence ends in a question mark. Alright, I’m exaggerating a bit…but you get the idea. If you need to gain agreement with a prospect, end the sentence with “am I on the right track?” Think of every meeting as an opportunity to learn and to gather information to customize your coming proposal. Need some questions to ask? Try these!
Understand, Measure and Implement the Sales Process
The donor pyramid does not apply in the world of sponsorship but the sales process sure does! Determine how you will measure progress, create benchmarks and use this process to guide you every single day. The key is movement, every day you want to move prospects up one rung of the sales ladder.
Build a Pipeline
Sponsorship sales is a numbers game. If you are trying to close 25 new sponsors then you may need a pipeline of a few hundred sponsorship prospects
! There are so many factors feeding into how big your pipeline needs to be but I can say with total confidence, your pipeline is probably too small!
More Than Just Event Sponsorship
Most people think of sponsorship as event-based and stop there. Sure, event sponsorship is a huge part of this space, but it is just the beginning. Some of the largest and best campaigns I have ever worked on were for program specific sponsorship or point of purchase campaigns. Add to that the world of employee giving, corporate social responsibility and corporate third party events and the amount of revenue you bring in from a gala or two seems tiny in comparison! Don’t just put together a sponsorship proposal template with predefined sponsorship levels
and send them to everyone in your database! Instead, have conversations with prospects to find out what they are looking for.
Know Your Audience
Know everything you can about your audience
including age, income, interests, spending habits, hobbies and anything else that you can possibly know. “Audience” means far more than just who attends your events though. Don’t forget about people who read your blog, visit your website, social media, volunteers, program users, board members etc. When talking sponsorship, this stuff is gold!
Build That Inventory!
You can’t have a store without product; you can’t sell sponsorship without an inventory
. What are the things that you can sell to a prospect? Think broadly! Naming rights, speaking opportunities, branding, expertise that you can lend/borrow, a captive audience of influencers…everything and anything.Once you know your assets, resist putting them all into a sponsorship package and sending to your prospects! Instead, use your inventory to guide your conversations with prospects.
Know Your Value
Apply a valuation tool
and philosophy to your entire sponsorship inventory and know the value of everything you offer. Avoid the temptation to set sponsorship prices based on what others are doing, what it costs you to provide or what you need to make budget. Price your assets based on market value and be ready for the day to come when a prospect asks you “how did you come up with this price?” Quick tip: You can charge companies for the benefit of giving you an in-kind gift or providing volunteers for your programs! Remember this the next time you look for a “wine sponsor” to provide free wine without a sponsorship cost to do so!
Create a Sponsorship Activation Strategy
The moment you sell a sponsorship package, move your prospect into an activation and fulfillment
phase before you do anything else. What good is selling someone the right to use your logo and address the crowd at an event if they never get to do it? Remember, it’s your job to make sure that your sponsors take full advantage of their sponsorship package.If you implement the above tips and techniques into your sponsorship strategy, not only will you raise more money and have better sponsorship package ideas but you will have fun doing (and so will your corporate partners).
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.
Connect with Chris via: The Sponsorship Collective | Twitter | LinkedIn