Hybrid Sponsorship Packages
If you ask sponsorship seekers, clients within the Sponsorship Program, and others you come across who are involved in sponsorship, you’re likely to hear two different answers when it comes to how a sponsorship package should be presented.
One school of thought is that your package should always be 100 percent customized, with no ifs, ands, or buts.
To these people, if you present a prospect with a cookie-cutter sponsorship package, you’re killing the deal before it ever really gets started.
The other school of thought is that there’s no need to go out of your way to customize a sponsorship package for every sponsor. No sponsor gets that preferential treatment.
Instead, they can select from the gold, silver, and bronze tiers and get what they need that way.
The logic here is that this is the way that (some) sponsorship seekers have been doing it for long enough, so it should continue to work.
So which school of thought do I belong to?
Neither, at least not 100 percent.
Rather, I ascribe to a hybrid approach that I’ll explain in today’s article. Check it out!
What Is a Hybrid Sponsorship Package?
A hybrid sponsorship package is like a platter of fries and onion rings, or a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
It’s the compromise between two separate things, and it just so happens those two things go together quite well.
The hybrid sponsorship package approach means that you utilize pre existing assets, opportunities, or activations but that you’re ready to customize all the above should the occasion call for it.
If I had to call a hybrid sponsorship package anything, it would be a customized light approach to sponsorship.
The reason I like the hybrid sponsorship package so much is twofold. For starters, you can use some existing aspects of past sponsorship packages, which is convenient.
You’re also not totally eschewing the custom aspects of your package though, and trust me, your prospects will certainly appreciate that.
The Benefits of Hybrid Sponsorship Packages
If you’ve always presented your sponsorship packages one way, you might be reluctant to switch to a hybrid model.
I know it can be especially daunting if your sponsorship programs have worked for you in the past, but remember, the hybrid approach truly is the best of both worlds.
Here are some benefits that I hope will prove my point.
You’re Not Starting Completely Over from Scratch
I’ve never sugar coated it and pretended that putting together a sponsorship program didn’t involve a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (the former at least which is figurative; I’m not so sure about the latter two).
You will spend a lot of time you don’t always necessarily have doing audience research, narrowing down your prospects, planning discovery questions, crunching numbers to value your assets, and the like.
If your sponsorship program is a success, even though you achieved your goals, it still feels like a real shame to leave behind all that hard work you did.
Now, if you’re in a position where your sponsorship program failed, then you’re even more reluctant to dump all your assets, activations, valuations, etc.
After all, in your eyes, you didn’t even really get to use them, and you know they could come in handy for someone.
With a hybrid sponsorship package, you can retain that old work whether you’ve successfully used it before or not.
You don’t have to feel like all the hard work you put in was for naught. You can recycle it or polish it up, edit it, and present it again.
For those sponsorship seekers who have resisted custom or hybrid sponsorship packages for the very reason that you don’t want to lose all your progress, so to speak, you won’t have to.
It’ll be like opening up a good book in the middle, unpausing a movie halfway through, or loading up a video game save file. Everything is still there for you to return to.
The Hybrid Model Forces You Beyond Outdated Tiers
Listen, while I understand that this is going to offend those on the side of the debate who think that a custom sponsorship package is never the answer, it still has to be said.
The old gold, silver, and bronze sponsorship tiers are so dead that they make dead horses look lively.
Changing the name of your sponsorship tiers doesn’t reinvigorate them like some sponsorship seekers hope it will.
The reason I get resistance from some sponsorship seekers when it comes to ditching the gold, silver, and bronze packages is that they’ll tell me they’ve had success using this model in the past.
I’m not saying it never works. It does, especially among old-school sponsor companies.
However, these days, most sponsors do not respond favorably to gold, silver, and bronze sponsorship tiers.
They recognize it for what it is, which is being strong armed into buying what they don’t want to get the asset or activation they do want.
I’ve used the example that it’s like going to the fast-food drive-through to order fries, but you can’t just buy fries. You have to also order a double cheeseburger, a drink, and a dessert.
If that kind of example outrages you, then imagine how your sponsors feel when you present them with a gold, silver, and bronze sponsorship package!
It’s the same thing, but it’s a far more egregious offense. After all, a combo meal at a fast-food joint costs maybe $7. A sponsor could shell out tens of thousands of dollars if not millions of dollars on some deals.
They want to feel like they’re the ones making the choice.
Bringing this back to hybrid sponsorship packages, when you embrace the hybrid approach, it naturally means lessening your reliance on the gold, silver, and bronze sponsorship tiers.
You don’t necessarily have to customize everything, as I said, but you’ll customize more than you have in the past.
This will make your sponsorship packages more agreeable to your prospects!
A Custom Approach Means Listening and Responding to the Prospect’s Needs
Speaking of customizing your sponsorship package, there is a lot of good there.
When you customize your assets and your activations, it means that you’re tailoring your solutions precisely to the target sponsor’s needs.
That can only come from having sat down with them (or having had a phone call or video meeting) for a discovery session.
The discovery session is your chance to ask the prospect specific questions about their target audience, recent sales, future projections, goals, outcomes, and shortcomings.
The point of the discovery session is so you can indeed turn around and then fine-tune solutions that suit a sponsor’s problems down to the letter.
That’s the difference between a customized and non-customized sponsorship package.
Imagine if a friend told you they were having car trouble. If you took a non-customized approach, you’d bring every tool and part you can think of hoping that something you have will work.
If it doesn’t, then you’re in trouble.
The custom approach means asking your friend more about what’s going on with their car. Then you can deduce that it’s the suspension or a loose belt. You present solutions that work exactly for the specific problem.
The latter approach, now that you see it outside of the lens of sponsorship, is usually a lot more successful.
Even if you’re reluctant to begin customizing too much of your sponsorship packages moving forward, by listening more to what your prospects want and then responding accordingly, you have a much better chance of closing the deal.
You Save a Lot of Time Overall
If you’re still not totally convinced, I saved what is arguably the biggest benefit of a hybrid sponsorship program for last.
You save time, and who doesn’t love that?
When you’re only customizing some parts of your sponsorship program, that’s a far less intensive effort that’s required on your part.
Being able to reuse certain assets or activations but maybe retooling them is a lot faster than coming up with fresh assets and activations.
If your next sponsorship program happens to be a dud, then at least you don’t feel like you poured your heart and soul into it for weeks only to find out that the prospect isn’t interested.
Even if the prospect does want to work with you, you’ve found a more time-effective way of crafting a sponsorship package, and who doesn’t love that?
How to Create a Hybrid Sponsorship Model
Okay, you’re convinced. You’d like to give hybrid sponsorship a try, especially considering that what you’re currently doing simply isn’t working. How do you create your own hybrid sponsorship model?
First, many parts of your sponsorship package will stay unchanged as you move from one prospect to another.
For example, the property description, as well as the description of your company or organization, are pretty much set in stone.
Even your assets and activations don’t largely have to change. Instead, you’ll pulling from a common pool that generally solves most sponsor problems.
You can even put in your sponsorship package verbiage something like, “all our partners get the following benefits” and then list them.
What you’re telling your sponsors is that everyone is starting on the same level. If a sponsor wants more, then great! You can offer them a customized package.
Following the hybrid sponsorship model gives you the freedom to offer your prospects customized packages without having to start from scratch every time you have a conversation with a new potential sponsor.
If you’re still struggling with the basics of building your sponsorship program, I highly recommend you sign up for my free training called How to Grow Your Sponsorship Program.
Once you’ve got those basics down, you can begin developing a hybrid 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.