Top 10 Habits Of A Highly Effective Sponsorship Team

I wonder how many of you have ever taken a moment to think about what it really takes to have a highly effective sponsorship team.   Here are my top ten habits to help get you on your way:

1.       Know Your Assets.  There really is no point in trying to sell a partnership arrangement  if you don’t understand and manage the assets you have.  Take time to compile an audit to support the development of packages.  

2.       Align your brand with like-minded companies/individuals.  Do your due diligence.  Make sure you align yourself with like minded businesses/individuals who share the same values.   Although somewhat unforeseen, you don’t want to be in the position of Nike, Anheuser Busch or Giro who pulled their sponsorship arrangements with Lance Armstrong this week.

3.       Play the role of an agency.  This point relates closely to my post last week.  It’s really important to think outside the box and provide creative solutions to sponsors so that they can achieve their objectives through your partnership.

4.       Go the extra mile.  In our current economic environment where budgets are always being scrutinized and companies are resistant to establishing long term partnerships, it is important to surprise and delight with value add opportunities.  Why?   Well, it’s much easier and cheaper to renew and grow an existing partner down the road than bring a new partner on board.

5.       Customize pitches.  Don’t fall into the mistake of so many organizations.  I cannot stress how important it is to customize a partnership proposal for each and every organization you approach.  Take time to add industry  insights from your research and create unique out of the box activation plans to wow any potential sponsor.

6.       Keep It Simple.  Stay focused.  To avoid clutter and the potential for creating a logo farm, try focusing on establishing a few large sponsorship deals rather than lots of smaller deals.  Small deals will create clutter and a lot of extra work and diminish the value for other partner.  By compiling a sales plan that prioritizes categories of sponsorship, you will be much more focused in your efforts.

7.     Develop mutually beneficial partnership objectives.  Establish objectives for each partnership with each sponsor and keep these the focus of everything you do.  And of course, make sure the objectives are SMART.

8.       Evaluate performance.  This point seems to be over looked way too much in my opinion, but if you don’t evaluate the performance of your partnership on a regular basis, then how do you know what to improve and focus your efforts on moving forward.  A sponsorship arrangement should be viewed as a strategic partnership that is integral to one another’s business plans.

9.       Compile Year End Reports.  The single most important thing you can do for any partnership after establishing a legal contract is to compile a year end report highlighting the benefits and ROI a sponsor has received from your property from the event/previous year.  This evidence validates the cheque that each sponsor signs on an annual basis and is a really useful tool for senior executives to review to understand the value that they receive from a partnerships.

10.     Have fun!  Last but not least, make sure you have fun doing what you do.  It shows and will only add value to all the other points above.

I shall elaborate on several of these points over the next few weeks, so please stay tuned.  In the meantime, I’m curious to know what habits, if any, you would add to this list if you could?

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7 Responses to Top 10 Habits Of A Highly Effective Sponsorship Team

  1. Vohara says:

    Well said Susanna, Lance Armstrong fall from grace is something to learn from. I also like the custom pitches, I am in sales and couldnt agree more with that point

  2. This was a really excellent blog–minimalist, informative and packed with really usable information. I will be looking for sponsorship and partnerships down the road and will be taking a lot this post to heart and to task!

  3. Richard says:

    Very Informative post. Can relate to #5 as so many times as I have so many times recognized a presenter whom has either not customized their pitch or worse yet, had customized it but had forgotten to edit that customization to be applicable for our organization.

    • I know exactly what you mean. People are always keen to get to the pitch without putting in enough time for preparation and then they enviably slip up. As a rule of thumb I would recommend putting in twice as much time on the preparation and research than on the actual pitch and negotiation.

  4. Excellent blog and I so agree that you have to customize your pitch. I hate the used car salesman approach. Thank you

  5. VM says:

    Thanks for laying this out so well. You are absolutely right about aligning you brand, some companies go for the big wow factor even if they don’t complement their brand.

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