What Are the Best Tips for Sponsorship Sales?

Jan Fletcher

Successful sponsorship sales begin with an understanding of the motivations of those who buy sponsorships. This understanding provides the basis for crafting effective marketing tactics targeted to the specific prospects. It's also important to decide who will sell the sponsorships, and what sales strategy will be used to market those opportunities.

A business can sponsor a Little League team with promotional baseball hats.
A business can sponsor a Little League team with promotional baseball hats.

The first tip is to recognize that sponsors do not necessarily have the same motivations as advertisers. In addition to the obvious benefits of promotion and indirect marketing, sponsors may also use sponsorship opportunities to seek goodwill, to thank supporters, or as a way to push forward a community cause. Sponsorship sales materials should be crafted with each potential motivation in mind. These sponsorship sales materials should spell out specific benefits to the sponsor.

The next tip is to determine which specific individual is the most appropriate person to approach for sponsorship sales. Often, this information is available on a prospect’s website, or local news of sponsored events may also provide clues about who is the best person to contact. Approaching the true decision-maker increases the chances of closing the sale. Another tip is to surmise what the specific objectives might be for the sponsor in sponsoring a particular event, by researching this on the Internet.

Accurately determining the perceived value of the sponsorship opportunity by a particular prospect increases the likelihood of closing a sale. For example, an automobile dealer may view a sponsorship of a high-school baseball team as a good return on investment. Selling a car to a high-school graduate may launch a relationship that lasts for many years, resulting in multiple automobile purchases. This sponsor may be more willing to sign up for a long-term sponsorship, because he or she has a long-range investment strategy in promotions.

Offering multiple touch points to a sponsor may be a very effective strategy. This involves giving the sponsor opportunities to connect with participants in myriad ways. One scenario might be to offer the sponsor the opportunity to speak for five minutes, to have a booth or table, and to hand out literature. Some sponsor packages include messages about the sponsor sent via event email notifications, or posted on the event’s website. Each exposure is a touch point.

When selling sponsorships, it's important to weigh whether the sponsorships should be sold in-house or outsourced. Expecting volunteers to meet event sponsorship sales goals is usually not realistic. Employees often have full-time duties and may resent the extra burden of selling sponsorships.

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