Ahead of the Curve: Xavier Cobos
Manager Partnership Development, Golden State Warriors
SponsorPitch Profile: XavierCobos
How long have you been in the biz?
I have worked in a sales & marketing capacity for about 10 years and have spent the last 4 years in a partnership development capacity.
How many deals have you done?
Somewhere in the range of 30-40.
You are in just your first year of selling a sports property. What did you do before the Warriors?
I worked in a partnership development role with the San Francisco Travel Association.
What have you found different about selling sponsorships in sports than non-sports properties?
There are a lot more brands spending on sponsorship in the sports category, and there are a lot more properties. This means strong research, creativity, and relationship skills are paramount as brand managers are inundated with requests. In short, you need to stand out.
Most sports sponsorship sales professionals sell their team, but you sell the fans. Can you explain your sales approach and how it is different than selling the team?
Very few brands market to our players. It’s our fans and their hearts, minds and wallets they’re after.
In general, would you say brand marketers know the difference between buying media and sponsorship?
In general, yes. I’m always a little wary of working with media agencies as often all they care about are total number of eyeballs. There is so much more we can do with sponsorship besides drive impressions.
Do you ever find yourself having to sell sponsorship as a medium before you can even sell your property?
That varies depending on the brand manager’s experience. But I see it as my responsibility to do so when necessary. It’s a great opportunity to show you’re not “just” a sales guy, but understand marketing and their industry as well.
What is your best sales tactic?
A creative hook in my introduction that reflects some solid research on both the brand and the brand manager, and some creative examples how we might ultimately activate. It shows I have spent some time thinking about their brand and helps open doors.
How do you see SponsorPitch helping you in your career?
Ultimately, it will save a lot of time.
If you could say one thing about the industry you are in, what would it be?
As an industry both properties and brands need to be more innovative and forward-thinking. While mockery may be the highest form of flattery, I see way too much repetition among activations. In time, the fans will notice and lose interest.
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Note on Ahead of the Curve Interview Series
Ahead of the Curve is a regular interview series featuring professional members of SponsorPitch, a research and networking site for sponsorship professionals. If you'd like to be featured, become an active member of the SponsorPitch community. Past guests in the Ahead of the Curve interview series include: