Keeping up momentum in sponsorship sales is like watching the London Marathon on your sofa

If like me, you spent Sunday morning and much of the afternoon sat on the sofa with leftover pizza and a chocolate bar saying to yourself (for the fourth year in a row), “this is going to be the year I do the London Marathon” then you know exactly how influential ‘being in the moment’ is for making decisions.  If I don’t register for the London Marathon within 4 weeks of watching, it’s unlikely that I ever will consider registering for the rest of the year – until that annual ritual of watching it sat on the sofa again next year.
Unbelievably, this is no different to sponsorship sales, especially sponsorship of annual events.  As a sponsor, sponsoring annual events is a bit like the London Marathon – you get excited about confirming your sponsorship/registration, but then months go by and it seems all but forgotten until the actual day.  However, upon passing the finish line after a number of hours of slog throughout Greater London, you remember why you signed up in the first place and quite likely think it was the best decision you ever made.
Understanding and keeping up momentum is absolutely critical within sponsorship sales.  Like the London Marathon, there is a limited time-frame from which a sponsor remembers all the great times, the finite details that may exist beyond the assets list.  Memories of the sponsorship are always viewed with a ‘glass half full’ and sponsors are more likely to de-brief with you, grab drinks with you and generally more likely to want to discuss plans for the following year.  However, go past 4 weeks and memories fade fast – leaving only hard numbers.  I should clarify that hard numbers are not necessarily a bad thing as sponsorship is only as good as the measurement and ROI behind it, but when combined with the very distinct memory of how great it was, it’s incomparable.
One of my biggest sponsorship sales tricks is ensuring that we keep up momentum as well as truly understanding the time-frame for commitment from a buyer’s point of view.

My top three ‘keeping up momentum’ sponsorship sales tips include:

  1. Renew all sponsors within 4 weeks of the event.  If you are unable to do this in this time-frame, you run the risk of starting all over again in terms of the sales process you need to go through.
  2. Include renewal clauses within the contract at the outset.  First right of refusal is a benefit and as such should be used as an asset.  Not only does this help within the sales process it also provides a clear and communicated deadline to your sponsor well in advance.
  3. Don’t just sign a sponsor and never speak to them again until just before the event (or worse yet, when you need something).  If your sponsor signs well in advance providing a very long lead time, create reasons to catch up and talk about the event in the run up.  If you have a large number of sponsors, creating bespoke sponsor communications to update them on the event progress is a great benefit and keeps everyone in the loop.

In the meantime, I shall keep you posted on my London Marathon musings.  Maybe 2018 is the year I finally get off the sofa…