Feb 23, 2011 at 04:26 PM
written by Brent Barootes, Partnership Group

Knowing Your Sponsorship Inventory

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I don't know how many times I have run across this issue. More often than not, it is when there is a selling broker involved, but it also sometimes occurs when the property is selling for itself. The most recent occurrence was just a few weeks ago.

Our client, a brand, was being pitched a proposal for a substantial amount. The issue was that the sponsorship property sellers did not know their assets. When we inquired about additional assets (specific to the property that we were aware of), the property representative was not aware of them. This rep was not green. She was not new to the property. And this was not rocket science. It was just a plain failure to understand her property to the fullest extent. Needless to say, we sent her back to the drawing board and suggested that she learn her inventory of assets.

If you, as a property, do not know your sponsorship property inside and out-every detail and option-you are not doing your job well when you are out selling. It is critical you know everything that you can, or in some cases cannot, sell. You need an inventory control system to ensure that you do not sell 20 hole sponsorships for a golf tournament. You need to understand that you can add another rink board to the deal or that, yes, your CEO will deliver a motivational talk at the brand's sales conference as part of the deal. It is critical you know that your data base is confidential because it consists entirely of children under 18 and the sponsor cannot reach them directly...or that they can. You need to know that the program the sponsor is discussing at your event cannot be revised-that it must run the way it does...or that it can be adjusted.

When property representatives do not know these details, they cannot represent the property well. Money will be left behind or lost altogether. It is critical that every property has a comprehensive listing of all its saleable assets. Without a record or inventory, a sponsorship property is at a loss. They are behind the eight ball since they are unsure of their assets and must delay the negotiation. We conducted an inventory identification and valuation for a CFL team that had a list of 75 assets to sell "in their inventory." When we completed our work, they had over 400 identified and saleable assets. They were able to move from under $1.2 million in sponsorship revenue to presently generating over $3 million. A child-focused charity client of ours grew from $50,000 to over $200,000 in annual sponsorship revenue once they were able to identify what they actually had to sell. It is like anything else in sales.

If you don't know what you have or what you can procure, you will not maximize revenue. And in the case of sponsorship and sport marketing, you will fail to maximize the opportunities and ROI for your brand sponsors.

If you want to be a successful sponsorship property and maximize revenues, determine what you have to sell before you hit the street. This goes both for properties that sell for themselves as well as those that hire sponsorship agencies and brokers to do their selling.

These are just one person's thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well, so please email me at brent@partnershipgroup.ca or add your comments.

Brent Barootes is President of Calgary-based, Partnership Group.