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Sponsorship Moves Management System 

by | February 15, 2022

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Like on the dancefloor, in sponsorship, having the right moves is everything.

Unlike dancing, in which you’re allowed to freestyle, successful sponsorship requires following a set number of steps or moves that progress your prospects through your sponsorship pipeline.

Your customers have a sales funnel that they go through, right? They should, and your company or organization should have standardized that funnel to better understand the process from lead to first-time buyer to loyal customer.

The process isn’t all that different in a sponsorship pipeline. Join me in this post as I show you how it’s done.

The 6 Steps to a Working Sponsorship Pipeline: From Cold Leads to Viable Partners

If you watch the video I linked you to above, you’ll see that I created a simple but effective plug-and-play spreadsheet that you can use when creating your own sponsorship pipeline. 

You should generate one of these spreadsheet pages for each sponsorship prospect you have. Yes, if you have 50 prospects, that means creating 50 spreadsheet pages, and there’s no other way around that. 

I prefer adding some contact information for my prospects beyond just their name. For instance, you might include their job title, email address, social media handle links, and phone number. 

I also recommend adding two sections at the top of your spreadsheet. One is the last contact date. This is important, as glancing over this column tells you very quickly whether this is a potentially responsive contact or someone who’s gone cold.

I also suggest a notes section so you can add relevant information. 

Okay, so with that out of the way, allow me to walk you through what your sponsorship moves management sheet should look like. 

The 6 Steps to a Working Sponsorship Pipeline-01

Referral Requested

Can your contact act as your foot in the door to someone at your prospective sponsorship company?

Maybe they know the administrative assistant or Bill up in sales. Whoever it is they’re chummy with, if they can refer you to someone, then you want to add that information in the first section of the pipeline. 

This first section might end up remaining empty as you go through your list of sponsorship prospects. That’s okay. If you have the opportunity for referrals, that’s definitely a good thing, but cold outreach is usually the name of the game. 

Contact Mode

Okay, so keeping that in mind, most sponsorship seekers will start the pipeline at this second stage, which is contact mode. As the name tells you, this is the part of the pipeline where you document making first contact with the sponsorship prospect. 

You should jot down how you communicated (phone, email, instant/direct message, carrier pigeon…kidding on that last one) as well as the date you made contact. 

Add a notes section as well where you include more details on prospect communication if necessary. For instance, if you used social media DM as your mode of contact, then in the notes section, you can elaborate that you sent a message on LinkedIn. 

That’s all you have to do for this first section.

This is a great time to remind you that filling out contact forms on the sponsor company’s website is about the worst way to communicate. That’s right, even if the company has a sponsorship form, it’s still a bad idea to go that route.

Why is that? Well, for one, you and hundreds to thousands of other sponsorship seekers are all doing it. Plus, you don’t know where your message gets directed to. It could be to an email address that someone in the company checks once a month or never.

Your message might never get to the right party. 

Okay, with that little aside out of the way, the contact mode section of the sponsorship pipeline is nearly complete. 

I should note that if you have to make secondary contact or even try communicating for a third time without a response, you should include those instances as well. You especially want a record of communication dates. 

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Response Received

Now here’s the make-or-break part of your sponsorship pipeline. After you make that initial contact, one of two outcomes is going to occur. 

Either you’ll hear back from your prospect, or you won’t. It’s that simple. 

There is no magic formula I can give you to increase the rate of replies you receive from sponsorship prospects. I always recommend finding a contact within the sponsor company if you can, as I talked about before. 

A prospect may be more willing to engage with you if they know that you’re a business partner or associate of their friend’s friend or old colleague. 

When cold-emailing or calling, your chances of getting a reply are lower but not zero.

I recommend waiting at least a couple of days to a week after your initial contact for a reply. If you don’t hear anything, then you can try contacting the prospect a second time. 

If another week goes by without a peep, you may wish to reach out one more time, but at this point, I don’t know if I’d bother. You probably won’t get a reply if you haven’t already. 

That prospect never moves past the second part of your sponsorship pipeline, which is contact mode. This will be the case for many prospects. 

So what happens when you do hear back? You note the reply in the next section of your sponsorship pipeline, response received. Note the date of the response and the method the contact used to respond to you.

You don’t need a paragraph-long reply for it to count. If the prospect says, “got your email,” that’s still a response, and you should log it as such.  

The only exception is when the prospect tells you, “please don’t contact me again.” In that case, the prospect goes straight to the declined section of the pipeline. 

After you go through enough prospects, such as several hundred, you can begin looking at the rate of responses versus no responses that your company or organization receives. You can then calculate your response rate as a percentage. 

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Meeting Booked

From this point on, I’ll focus on the prospects who did respond, because the ones who didn’t are already long since in the dust. 

When you get a response from a sponsorship prospect, you want to move the prospect down the pipeline to the next stage, which is booking a meeting. 

You’ll contact your sponsor using the communication method they responded to you with. You’re not trying to enjoy some light back-and-forth banter here. You certainly don’t want to send the prospect your sponsorship proposal either (not yet).

All you want to do is guide the prospect towards scheduling a meeting. 

You might hear from a prospect once, and then as soon as you mention a meeting, they vanish off the grid. It happens. In that case, your prospect’s pipeline progress stops here. 

Others will agree to a meeting. This is what you want. 

Again, the goal is to collect many contacts and eventually calculate a rate of how many of them book a meeting. 

Proposal Submitted

After you have your initial meeting with the sponsor, they may ask to see your sponsorship proposal. If not, then don’t fret. It can take sometimes two or even three or four meetings before the prospect requests this document. 

You should never be the one to bring up the sponsorship proposal first. Let it come from the prospect, as then it will happen organically. You’ll know the prospect is truly interested in seeing your sponsorship proposal when they finally do ask for it. 


Once you send off your proposal, the ball is once again in the prospect’s court. They could review your materials and, even after several great and productive meetings, decide that you’re not what they want. 

In that case, the pipeline for this prospect ends here. 

Others will accept your proposal and wish to talk further about its contents or even move on to the negotiations stage. You’d put these prospects in the approved section.

By following my sponsorship pipeline, you’ll eventually be able to readily say something like, “okay, out of every 10 prospects, one will become a sponsor.”

You can then determine how much outreach you must do based on the amount of money you receive from your sponsors on average. Maybe that’s 100 people, maybe it’s 200, or perhaps it’s more. Unless you have deep-pocketed sponsors though, the number shouldn’t be under 100. 

If you know that you have to do outreach for 200 prospects and you only have 30 days, then you can calculate how much outreach to do per day to achieve your sponsorship goals with plenty of time before your event. 

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The sponsorship moves management system is a diagnostic tool that indicates to you and your team how well your sponsorship outreach efforts are going. You’re determining your rate of responses, meetings booked, accepted sponsorship proposals, and then approvals.

Rejections will happen, and that’s to be expected. However, if most of your responses are “don’t contact me,” it’s a good idea to ask yourself why that is. Are you too aggressive? Too salesy? Are you using a formulaic email?

I hope my sponsorship moves management system helps you begin getting a better feel for how your prospects become sponsors!