How to Find the Right Sponsorship Agency 26th April, 2018

Finding the right sponsorship agency can be tricky. Each agency pitching for your business will be doing their utmost to convince you that they are the best people to help with all your sponsorship needs. But how do you make a decision that boosts your business, rather than one you live to regret?

To help you find a sponsorship agency that can deliver everything you need, here’s a list of eight questions you should ask any prospective agency. It’s important to ask these questions and get the answers at the outset, rather than a few months down the line when you’re wondering if you’ve picked the wrong sponsorship agency.

1. Where do you think we need help?

You probably have a fair idea of what you want from a sponsorship agency, but it’s a good idea to ask this question before you tell them exactly what you need for two reasons. Firstly, any prospective account manager can repeat your list of requirements to you, so putting the onus on them will give you a better idea of how well they understand your business and how much they’ve done their homework. Secondly, they may actually suggest some things you hadn’t thought of that should be added to your list of requirements. The sponsorship agency may offer a range of services beyond what you thought you needed, enabling you to get greater return from them than you had imagined.

2. Why do you think we’ve been unsuccessful in the past with getting or activating sponsorship?

This will tell you whether the sponsorship agency have gone to the trouble of looking at your past work and coming up with ideas on how they could improve it. If it becomes apparent that they’re just reeling off a list of standard services not tailored to your business, that’s a good indication that they haven’t put much effort into pitching for your business.

A good answer will give you confidence that the agency understand your business and how they can help it. It may even generate the first few tasks that you and the sponsorship agency need to tackle, assuming you start working together.

3. Do you have any clients with similar property rights to ours and how successful were you in helping them achieve their goals? 

Whether you operate in the fields of sport, fashion, entertainment or B2B, you need to be confident that the sponsorship agency understands your sector and has a good contacts network. Ask for specific examples of success backed up by quantifiable results. “We did some really great work with such-and-such client,” is not good enough.

4. How many people work at your sponsorship agency and how many of you will be working on my campaign? 

It doesn’t take a team of hundreds to manage a sponsorship relationship, but you need to ensure that your sponsorship agency has the resources necessary to manage your campaign effectively.

Find out whether you will have one dedicated account manager and point of contact. The last thing you want is to find yourself being passed around the sponsorship agency’s switchboard in your hour of need!

5. Who will be our account manager at the sponsorship agency?

Find out if the person you’re already dealing with will be your account manager going forward. If the agency person you initially meet won’t be your main contact, then insist that the account manager who will be gets involved with your discussions early on. You don’t want to commit to a relationship with someone you’ve never met!

You’ll need a strong working relationships with the person or people you’re trusting to manage your sponsorship programme. You don’t want to agree the deal with someone you have full faith in only to never see them again and find yourself dealing with someone you feel isn’t up to the task.

6. What measures will you put in place to track the success of our sponsorship campaign?

Agreeing the measurable KPIs at the outset is vital. It will help the sponsorship agency know exactly what you expect, and give you a fair idea of what they think they can achieve. It may require some back-and-forth or negotiation, but it will save a lot of trouble down the line.

There’s nothing worse than finding yourself arguing with your sponsorship agency that they haven’t hit their targets when they’re insistent that they have. Good targets equals good results.

7. Do you have existing contacts that would help secure sponsorship deals?

Ideally, the sponsorship agency will have plenty of existing relationships with companies that would be interesting in sponsorship opportunities around your business. Don’t expect them to list every name and number in their little black book, but you should at least have faith that they can open doors you can’t.

If they don’t have existing contacts in your sector, make sure you find out how they will build relationships and source prospective sponsors.

8. What are your sponsorship agency fees? 

Don’t be afraid to talk about money from the start. If the sponsorship agency are way beyond your budget, they’ll appreciate discovering this early on, rather than investing hours’ of work only to be told you can’t afford them.

The agency fees will obviously have an impact on your budget, but don’t necessarily opt for the cheapest offer on the table. Try to pick your sponsorship agency based on the potential ROI, rather than just the upfront cost. Work out what each prospective agency can deliver for you compared to how much they will charge and make your decision based on that.

Obviously you won’t want to spend more on agency fees than you can help to get back in increased business. This article on ‘How much revenue could my project earn through sponsorship?’ will help you make that judgment.