Dec 15, 2011 at 02:38 PM
written by Nick Anderson, Slingshot Sponsorship

10 Sales Tips For Sponsorship Rights Holders

With an increasing number of platforms available for corporate partnership, the selection process for brands is becoming more complex, with a wide range of factors influencing the allocation of marketing budgets. Therefore when approaching potential partners, it is important for rights holders to ensure that each of the following factors is taken into account:

1. Price

The fees asked by the rights holder play a key role in the decision-making process for a sponsor to come on board with a property. The price of association is often the first aspect of a proposal to be looked at and it is therefore imperative that rights owners understand how to value their sponsorship assets correctly.

2. Timing

Depending on the company and industry, budgeting can take place at different times of the year. However, as a rights holder, the important thing is to understand the general time of year that marketing budgets will be allocated by your prospects in order not to miss the boat.

Depending on the size of the investment relative to the prospective sponsor, opportunities with lower fees may be handled on a tactical basis. However generally, companies will be much less open to new partnerships once budgets have been set and it is therefore crucial to get in there early.

Typically planning periods are September/October and March/April.

3. Prospects

It is important that rights holders understand the key demographic of their property’s audience as misunderstanding this can lead to approaching an inappropriate market and wasting valuable time.

Once understanding the relevant brands to approach, the next step is to understand their behavioural tendencies in terms of their general sponsorship partnerships and activations and how they have utilised these relationships in the past. This will highlight which assets are relevant to each sponsorship category and in turn allow for a more tailored approach.

4. Audience Resonance

Are the prospect’s consumers interested in the sponsorship? And furthermore, will the sponsorship audience be interested in the prospect’s products and services? A sponsor will always have their target audience in mind when activating a sponsorship and therefore you as a rights holder must also adopt the same thought process, ensuring that the needs and wants of your prospect’s consumer base align with the benefits of your property.

5. Attendance

In the case of an event-based platform, the attendance is always of high priority to prospective sponsors. Whether the focus is on engaging with a specific audience or allowing for key networking opportunities, the attendance must present the prospect with new business opportunities.

A common error in the sales approach of a rights holder is approaching all companies within their property’s industry rather than taking the time to break down it down by relevance. By evaluating the industry and which areas will be most relevant, sales teams can prioritise their approach, generally receiving more positive feedback and in turn taking less time to close new partnerships.

6. Reflection of Company Values

The more a company can see of itself in a property, the more willing they will be to forge a partnership as a key aspect of a sponsorship is to emphasise brand values. This again relates to audience resonance and the tailoring of a sales approach as different selling points will appeal to different brands depending on their relative markets.

7. Comparison of New Business Figures with Previous Sponsorships

Producing financial, attendance, or media value figures are one of the most effective ways in which to sell a property as they are cold hard facts that cannot be easily manipulated. Tangible figures and facts provide a clear indication of such highly influencing factors as ROI, media coverage, attendance and give the prospect an immediate understanding of the tangible benefits they would receive from their investment.

8. Prioritisation of Company Goals

Each sponsorship platform caters to different aims and objectives of sponsors, this being a huge factor in the prospect’s decision making process. What is the largest benefit of sponsoring your property? There may be more than one but at least one of them should align with the core objective of the brand.

9. Cross Marketing Opportunities

Sponsorship platforms can attract brands from different industries with similar audiences. These rare opportunities can create cross marketing benefits that add substantial value to a sponsorship. This tends to occur with Media Sponsor rights and we’d highly recommend considering bringing on board something like this to strengthen your event or program.

10. Data Provision

Another advantage of sponsorship is the opportunity to carry out research amongst a captive sample of a brand’s target audience. If you are able to offer behavioural data to your sponsor helping them streamline their products and services, this brings a whole new level of value to the sponsorship – gaining important exposure whilst receiving precious qualitative feedback.

By putting in the time and research to evaluate each of the above factors before pitching to prospective sponsors, rights holders are able to carry out a truly time and cost effective sales approach. This will in turn allow for a more streamlined prospect list, resulting in fewer knock-backs and improved close-ratios.

Furthermore, adopting a more methodical approach will significantly increase sales staff motivation, driving the property forward in terms of investment and the opportunities for expansion that come with it.

Slingshot Sponsorship offers running commentary on the practice of sponsorship on the Slingshot Sponsorship blog, and allows us to republish here when the subject fits.