Sponsorship Sales Basics – Part One: “It’s Not My Proposal, It’s My Lack of Contacts”

We have been running a monthly event at our Head Office since December (find our next Sessions event) and some of the challenges and hurdles that are being faced by quite diverse companies we have been helping seem to be the same.  Therefore, I have decided to create a Sponsorship Sales Series for the beginner.  If you are an expert, this blog is not for you – you might be more interested in reading this.


The one thing I hear quite often is that the lack of success in sponsorship sales has nothing to do with the capability, the product or the proposal – but rather, because they just don’t have the contacts.

Opportunities that are truly great opportunities for a company and are communicated well will get noticed within any business.  It is quite easy to make excuses for lack of sponsorship sales from junior sales teams because they just don’t know the right people, when in actual fact the problem lies not in their little black book, but their inexperience at understanding the true proposition between your organisation and the prospect’s strategy.

With the right proposal, right property, to the right brand – there is no sale.

Far too often a significant amount of investment is spent in sponsorship taking sales training courses and the creation of tools to support the value such as media research – without actually addressing the real issues.  Media results and training are incredibly useful tools for a sponsorship team, but if the people generating the leads don’t understand why they are making the approach, these tools become useless.

The 5 Top Tips of Prospecting for Sponsorship:

  1. Know your USP – what makes you a more viable sponsorship opportunity than your competitor
  2. Stop contacting the Big 5 just because you’ve seen their logo on other sponsorship campaigns: HSBC, Barclays, Coca-Cola, Google, and Emirates. This is not a good enough reason to be contacting them.
  3. Know your prospect’s challenges and understand why you can help them when no one else can.
  4. The sponsorship needs to work on a number of levels across a brand’s business – so understand how this will impact and support wider business objectives.
  5. Stop randomly contacting people in hopes that someone will read your proposal. Within any Marketing Director’s job description nowhere does it ever read “to read over 12,000 proposals, feedback to each person who has submitted something, and then find one that works for the business”.

Join Our Webinar – we’ll teach you how to get the right sponsorship

At Slingshot Sponsorship we’ve already helped dozens of companies find the right commercial partners. Whether it’s to help them grow, reach a bigger audience, or simply make a project a success, there’s one common theme: we find clients the right, long-term partners.

At the root of it, that’s what Slingshot Sponsorship does differently.

To get there, our clients normally go through our intensive Bootcamp. But we want more businesses and individuals to benefit from the Slingshot approach.

So, working with our friends at Monkfeet, we’re launching our first webinar.

Looking from the perspectives of both attracting and proposing sponsorship, we’ll take you through:

  • Tricks and tips for making the most of sponsorship opportunities
  • How to form valuable marketing and marketing partnerships
  • Understanding your proposition
  • How to write a sponsorship proposal
  • How to navigate the sponsorship sales process

This 55-minute online course might be the best £25 you’ll ever spend. Book now!

We’re also hosting in-person, in-depth sponsorship workshops at Monkfeet: take a look at our courses.

Are Live Broadcast Apps a Threat To Official Broadcast Rights?

The advance of technology has been incredible in terms of driving the sponsorship model, broadening audiences, and supporting more creative sponsorship campaigns that truly engage the audience.  On the whole, rights holders have an unquenchable thirst for understanding how new technologies can help them deliver better sponsorship.

However, most recently, this has shifted due to a number of apps that have been launched that turn your mobile into a web-cam enabling consumers, attendees and fans the ability to broadcast whatever content they are consuming live to the rest of the world.

Even in light of content being shared and distributed in a multitude of forms now, broadcasters still harness and ultimately own the live experience – understanding that the real experience is enriched by people en mass experiencing it all together.  This has been capitalised and then monetised to support a significant portion of the commercial revenue with more widespread sports.

However, with live broadcasting apps such as Meerkat and Periscope now sharing this experience for free (albeit without the production value), rights holders are becoming increasingly wary of their core revenue stream being cannibalised. And it’s not just sports rights holders that need to be concerned, many of the top viewing figures through these apps also feature the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

In light of the threats, there are also a significant amount of benefits from the development of live broadcasting apps and include:

  1. Fan engagement: Fans should be encouraged to take videos, before during and after sporting events tagging the team in the post. Giving fans around the world a real account of what it is like to be in the stadium/arena watching their favourite team. This content can support the wider broadcasting content by featuring behind-the-scenes exclusives and tailored content that wouldn’t necessarily be broadcast to the general public.
  2. Increased marketing opportunities: Brands can use live broadcasting apps to connect with consumers in real-time, enhancing their experience.
  3. New rights: Artist and player rights differ between archived footage and live streaming footage – often offering much more flexibility for live-streaming content.  This provides great opportunities to deliver unique and sought-after content for consumers than previously possible.
  4. Increased exposure: Smaller teams/events/charities now have the opportunity to broadcast their team’s performance to the world much more easily than ever before.
  5. Cost effective: Live streaming can be a significant drain on an event’s budget; however, by utilising apps in clever ways, you can reap the benefits without the significant risk and financial investment.

Regardless of your take on whether live broadcasting apps are a threat or an opportunity, they clearly represent a shift in the way consumers engage with content – which is critical in an industry that is all about the audience.

Snozone appoints Slingshot Sponsorship to reinvent its commercial strategy

Snozone, the indoor Snowsports destination and unique training ground for skiing and snowboarding has announced the appointment of Slingshot Sponsorship as its commercial partner to recruit fresh, like-minded brand partners across events, sponsorship and hospitality.

Slingshot Sponsorship will work with Snozone to evolve their commercial strategy reflecting Snozone’s brand values and vision.

Elena Kale, Snozone’s Group Commercial manager said:

‘We are delighted to have Slingshot on board as our commercial partner. We’re convinced Slingshot will add to the continued success of growing our brand and taking us into new markets, inspiring a whole new audience for whom Snowsports can be their sport of choice.

We’re open 364 day a year and we believe Snowsports should be accessible to everyone regardless of their ability- all year round– and not just seen as a seasonal activity. We are firmly committed to position Snowsports as truly a sport for all.’

Jackie Fast, MD at Slingshot Sponsorship, said:

“Snozone is an exciting property in the market and illustrates how more organisations are utilising sponsorship to not only increase their bottom line, but also how partnerships can be facilitated across a business to amplify other core business activities.  We can’t wait to start developing these types of partnerships across the business.”

Time – the Key Component for Success in Sponsorship Sales

Historically, the premise of a sponsorship deal was a logo on a shirt or a banner at an event arranged overnight. However, the way brands use sponsorship has evolved, working much harder to make a greater impact with a reduced budget. The experience is fundamental for brands now more than ever; therefore, sponsorship professionals must adapt the way they sell to brands. Time is of the essence.

Sponsors endeavour to exhaust all opportunities available to them and meticulously plan their campaigns; therefore the greater period of time given to a sponsor prior to an event, the more valuable the sponsorship can become. With regards to the major sporting event of 2015, the Rugby World Cup; Heineken have stated that the tournament will be their “biggest marketing platform of the year” in a deal announced prior to the finish of the 2011. Emirates have also have signed a deal well in advance of the event which takes place in 2019. In both cases the companies committed to the tournament over 4 years in advance. To allow sponsors the time to fully exploit the opportunities afforded to them, the Rugby World Cup sponsorship sales team would likely have begun devising a sales strategy 5 years in advance from the tournament. If time is critical for sponsors, it is even more so for ones trying to sell it.

Sponsorship sales teams should follow a crucial 5 step process before approaching brands:

5 Step Process

  1. Analyse the market – The start point for any sponsorship deal. Identify the key trends, how active and more importantly, how saturated the market is.
  2. Research the competition – Dig deep into your competitors. Analyse what’s good, what’s bad and apply those points to your property.
  3. Value – Uncover all possible assets of your property and your unique selling points. Using the two previous steps you should be able to provide a justifiable fee.
  4. Prospecting – Identify a number of brands who could benefit from the sponsorship. Have a clear reason of why you are approaching each brand. If you cannot find a reason, take them off the list.
  5. Tailor proposals – Condense your property into a tailored, informative proposal that will catch the eye of a marketing director, intriguing them to put yours top of their pile.

Although this process is time consuming, when done correctly, it is critical for success. Many sponsorship professionals lose out because they do not leave themselves enough time to carry out these crucial steps before approaching brands. In order to be successful in sponsorship sales you need to set targets for each component of the process to be finalised, don’t linger, don’t relax, and above all don’t waste time.

London 2012 Olympic Taekwondo champion named as Baku 2015 European Games ambassador

Slingshot Sponsorship’s client GB Taekwondo has just announced that Olympic Gold Medalist Jade Jones will be an international Athlete Ambassador for this summer’s inaugural Baku 2015 European Games.

Ms Jones became Great Britain’s first-ever Taekwondo gold medalist at London 2012, with victory in the 57kg weight division.

She also won silver at the 2011 World Taekwondo Championships in Gyeongju, South Korea, and picked up another silver medal at the 2014 European Taekwondo Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, last May.

Mr Simon Clegg, Chief Operating Officer of Baku 2015, said: “To be able to name a reigning Olympic champion as a Baku 2015 ambassador is a fantastic achievement for the first European Games and a testament to the calibre of athletes that the event will attract.

“I am sure Jade will very much enjoy promoting the Games in Great Britain through her role as an international Athlete Ambassador, and we hope to see her give a memorable performance in Baku this summer.”

Baku 2015 international Athlete Ambassadors will represent their sports and feature in extensive marketing campaigns around the continent and on social media to promote the first European Games.

Ms Jones, 21, said: “I am very proud to have been named as a Baku 2015 Athlete Ambassador, and it will be an honour to help promote the Games. It is important for European athletes to have our own multi-sport event, and my aim is to become the first European Games Taekwondo champion.”

Mr Mark England, the British Olympic Association’s Chef de Mission for Baku 2015, said: “Jade’s participation as a Baku 2015 international Athlete Ambassador reflects British athletes’ enthusiasm for the European Games. Britain has a strong sporting tradition, and the Athlete Ambassador programme will help to generate interest and excitement in the country ahead of Baku 2015.”

Ms Jones joins French rhythmic gymnast Kseniya Moustafaeva, Denmark’s canoe sprinter René Holten Poulsen and Serbia’s Basketball 3×3 team of Dušan Domović Bulut, Marko Savic, Marko Zdero and Dejan Majstorovic as Baku 2015 international Athlete Ambassadors, with more to be announced in the near future.

How Small Businesses Can Maximise Sponsorship Potential in 2015

*This article was originally published on Smarta

Sponsorship isn’t just for Premier League football clubs – and despite what the front covers of newspapers might tell you, it can actually be more impactful for small businesses if you do it well. Jackie Fast, founder of Slingshot Sponsorship, has worked with big brands across the globe and the entrepreneur gives her 5 tips for securing sponsorship this year.

The benefit of being a small business in 2015 is that you have many more sponsorship assets that you can work with than ever previously, allowing you to create more sponsorship packages, additional value, and ultimately driving more revenue to your bottom line.

Here are my top 5 tips for securing sponsorship successful in 2015:

1. Don’t Just Think Money

There is a big misconception that sponsorship is a cash transaction. However, a lot of sponsorship is done through contra agreements or value-in-kind. You can significantly decrease expenses by partnering with experts in the form of Venue Sponsors, Photography Sponsors, Branding Sponsors, PR Agency Sponsors, etc.  Have a look at what is costing you the most and if your audience is of value, then there is an opportunity to work more collaboratively with your suppliers.

2. Think Outside of the Box for Contra Deals

Sponsorship can also expand activity you are doing, which may lead to an increase in sponsorship. For example, many smaller businesses do not have the expertise, resource, or money to be as digitally savvy as they wish they were. However, by partnering with other digital firms or technology products, you may be able to incorporate more digital based services or products which may help increase your core revenue stream.

3. Consider Being A Sponsor

Most small businesses rarely consider sponsorship as part of their marketing mix as they feel that sponsorship is only for big business. However, securing sponsorship rights can also be done on a contra deal and can greatly increase your marketing activity with minimal cost.

4. Don’t Forget Your Audience

Sponsorship isn’t just about money, sponsorship is about creating a partnership which provides mutual benefits for both parties. You need to understand your audience as well as the audience you are going after before you start considering how to create a partnership.  The better understanding of audiences and how those businesses can work together, the stronger and more sustainable your sponsorship will be.

5. Get Help

Sponsorship isn’t rocket science, but it also requires more than just going out and doing it. You don’t want to burn bridges and equally you don’t want to waste time, so some advice can help you get there much quicker than going it alone.  Read blogs and articles, attend sponsorship conferences and events, or get training (check out Slingshot’s Bootcamp or Sponsorship Sessions!).

You can network with Jackie by following her on Twitter

How Fashion Can Truly Embrace the Digital Age through Sponsorship

Developments in technology have provided the fashion world with an opportunity to increase sales with the capability to now target consumers in the palms of their hands.  Collaborations between businesses as diverse as Burberry and Twitter demonstrate the extent to which fashion labels are utilising technology to drive sales and communicate brand values, which promises to increase creativity and innovation within this industry farther than ever been made possible previously.

Our top 3 fashion-tech fusions:

1.  Google+ x Topshop

Topshop’s Unique AW13 show was one of the most innovative fashion shows to date. The collaboration with Google+ made the show an experience shared and enjoyed by a much wider audience, virtually placing them on the front row – proving that as long as you’ve got the internet you can access all areas without having to leave the house. The show was characterised through the way in which it was marketed, involving a wide audience through digitalising every aspect of a traditional fashion show. Consumers were able to buy any item from a model’s outfit right down to the nail polish. As well as being able to start online discussions with buyers, designers and editors using the Google Hangouts helping to drive revenue of products, the collaboration drove a significant amount of consumer engagement for both partners involved following the show.

2.  Vodafone x Richard Nicoll

For the Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter ’12 fashion weeks, Richard Nicoll was sponsored by Vodafone to bring functionality to fashion and allow Vodafone to support British design, whilst targeting an industry with high digital activity. The collaboration produced a truly pioneering fashion product – a luxurious designer handbag that charges your phone – perfect for people on the go! This was a product the fashion industry had not seen previously and having only launched in 2012, it was ahead of its time.  Nicoll and Vodafone created something which had a sense of necessity, making consumers question design as well as design collaboration with technology – inspiring other designers to follow suit.

3.  Twitter x Burberry 

Twitter began its venture into e-commerce with the addition of a ‘buy button’, a simple, accessible feature that could increase sales by enabling users to immediately buy an item directly from a firm’s tweet. This tool both diversifies and increases Twitter’s revenue streams by becoming a platform and conduit for online shopping.  Burberry recognised Twitter’s potential and became the first to utilise this feature at its Autumn/Winter ’13 show, allowing consumers to simply touch the icon and have the desired product delivered straight to the billing address set up on their Twitter account. The collaboration of Burberry and Twitter was an experiment for both businesses and sets an example for other brands to consider how to maximise the potential of online networks to drive sales.

Slingshot Sponsorship Launch Full Day Training Events in London

Slingshot Sponsorship is delighted to announce that they have expanded their popular Slingshot Sponsorship Bootcamp training to also now provide full day, in-depth Sponsorship Sessions held each month in London.  The sole aim of the Sponsorship Sessions will be to provide teams the necessary tools to increase their commercial capacity within sponsorship for their event, charity, start-up, association, sports team, or online network.

Most organisations fail to reach their full sponsorship potential due to common pitfalls.  By working in a small team, industry expert Jackie Fast (MD of Slingshot Sponsorship) will create a tailored training programme for each attendee in order to help pinpoint challenges and create strategies and tools to overcome them.

Jackie Fast commented: “Unfortunately, typical sponsorship training and education often fails to address the different challenges organisations face when tackling sponsorship.  To be successful, one needs to really question these variables in order to recommend the right sponsorship strategy.  The Sponsorship Sessions allow us to do this by working in very small groups with a format that encompasses absolutely everything teams need to learn to truly develop commercially.  The success we have had with our training programme has even shocked me – having helped raise £1.27m additional sponsorship revenue for our attendees in the last three years alone.  Having kept our Bootcamp under wraps previously, I am absolutely thrilled to be bringing this training scheme out to the masses!”

The Sponsorship Sessions combine the need for high level training at the cost of attending a sponsorship conference (£219/ticket) – ensuring that attendees walk away with a clear direction on how to build the right sponsorship programme for their own organisation.

Previous Slingshot Sponsorship Bootcamp attendee Charlene Asamoah, Corporate Fundraising Manager from Parkinson’s UK commented: “It was absolutely amazing bringing Slingshot Sponsorship to Parkinson’s UK and I truly believe it was one of the best things I have done whilst working here.  Our entire team have changed dramatically and it’s all for the better!”

The next Slingshot Sponsorship Session will take place on Thursday 22nd January.  More information on the agenda and booking can be found here.  Or please contact Slingshot directly at Sessions@slingshotsponsorship.com

To read some testimonials from previous Slingshot Sponsorship Bootcamp attendees click here.

Future Predictions for the Sponsorship Industry 2015

Following a fantastic 2014, the entire Slingshot team is gearing up to embrace 2015.  With a number of new exciting clients to kick the year off including Wales Rally GB, Ideas Britain, and the Chartered Institute of Marketing – we can’t wait to get started!

Another great thing about 2015 is that we are expecting a significant amount of change – both for our own agency as well as the industry as a whole.  This has been brought about by a shift that has been discussed at length for years, but is actually starting to take place.

  1. More Confusion on What Sponsorship Is:  The age old argument of ‘sponsorship’ vs ‘partnership’ has evolved.  It is no longer an argument about semantics, but rather an argument about what sponsorship actually is.  One of my favourite things to ask people who work in sponsorship (especially at sponsorship conferences) is what their definition of sponsorship is.  It is astounding how so many people have such different definitions when pressed for specifics.  Most people can spout the typical ‘partnership’ speak, but when queried on specific campaigns (typically digital based) they trip up on whether they believe that is sponsorship or some other type of marketing/advertising.  As the lines get more blurred, the value of understanding becomes greater.  Which leads me on to my second prediction…
  2. Sponsorship Education and Sponsorship Training Will Be Desperately Sought After: Whether in the form of great content online or in books, taught at conferences or through webinars, or consultancy in the form of course training or at Slingshot Sponsorship’s one day Bootcamp, people are trying to get to grips with what to do, and how to do it better.  Through our own sponsorship training sessions alone, we have seen interest in sponsorship training double within the last 3 months.  While this is due to increased confusion on what sponsorship is, it’s also driven due to the fact that it is becoming harder to understand how to make money from it.
  3. New Sponsorship Agencies Will Crop Up: Sponsorship is becoming more diverse and it takes specialists who truly understand how to harness this commercial value to maximise it.  No longer is sponsorship confined to agencies helping out with Olympic sponsorship applications or designing sponsorship proposals, industry professionals are becoming driving forces within the overall business.  And because of this, more diverse and specialist sponsorship agencies and professionals are required to fill this need.
  4. The Value of Sponsorship Services Will Increase: Although there is increased confusion about what sponsorship actually is, the value of doing it well is becoming much clearer with better measurement tools, better purchasing behaviour, smarter activation, and clear demonstration of ROI.  When done well, sponsorship can be transformational – and when you can do this, your value is apparent and worth much more.
  5. Digital Agencies Will Sneak Up Around Sponsorship: The industry has still yet to get to grips with digital and its implications on how brands influence consumer purchase behaviour.  Although there are a few brands who are doing this well, on the whole it is being ignored or undervalued within the sponsorship mix.  Digital agencies are hungry to get more involved within their brands business and regardless of skill set, are actively pitching for sponsorship business by showcasing smart digital activations.  This poses a real threat to our industry.

Whatever the future holds for you this year, the entire Slingshot Sponsorship Team wish you a successful one!

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