Sponsorship Account Management Tips to Help Your Partnership Work Smoothly
14th March, 2017
If you don’t have the money, resource, or need for an account manager, implementing these quick and simple account management processes will ensure your sponsorship partnership runs smoothly.
No matter how much strategic insight you throw at a project, or how much creativity you generate, the thing that makes a sponsorship partnership really work is the people. This means the relationship between those people – in particular the sponsor and, you, the rights holder – is of great importance.
Not giving a relationship with your sponsor enough attention can make the whole sponsorship process challenging, but it doesn’t need to be. Putting some simple account management processes in place can ensure smooth execution and management of the relationship.
Many rights holders tend to miss the boat on account management. Not because they don’t want to be great account managers but because they don’t have the resource to support a sponsorship. Everyone focuses on the next deal, leaving the current one to look after itself. This lack of foresight can lead to a high rate of churn and a harder year following.
While we’re not saying you need to bring in an account management team for every sponsorship deal you have, some thought about how you’re servicing your partners is crucial to end that familiar burn and churn cycle. Putting a bit of resource into account management creates sustainability and, over time, profitability.
If you don’t have resource to spare but still want to provide a great account management experience, these simple tips should help.
- Pre-plan account management for quieter times
Planning is key. Sponsorship tends to work in cycles – most people aren’t buying in the summertime or over Christmas. If you know this in advance, you can pre-plan blocks of time that your team dedicates purely to planning the activation of the sponsor rather than the typical ad hoc chasing that tends to happen whenever someone secures a new sponsor.
By creating a full year’s calendar plan that outlines when people need to focus on sponsorship sales and when they need to focus on account management, you are ensuring that the time spent is useful and intentional – and also means you don’t need to hire a secondary team to do something your current resource can.
- Create a sponsorship communications plan
If you have a lot of sponsors, create a sponsorship communications plan. Or take it one step further and create a sponsors communication platform online to keep them up-to-date with what’s going on with the project and ensure they remember what they should be doing.
If keeping sponsors up-to-date is too challenging, at a minimum just sign them up to your organisation’s newsletter. Unbelievably this only happens about 50% of the time and requires no resource at all, but at least your sponsor is kept in the loop with what is happening so they can activate and communicate their involvement around key times in the year.
- Create deadlines for your sponsor
Most people think that once they have a sponsor, they are beholden to their timeline. But this actually creates a lot of extra work for both you and your sponsor. Instead, create actual deadlines with consequences.
For example, “Please communicate you wish to distribute leaflets at our event by December 15th. We will not be able to include any leaflets past this date.” These deadlines help your sponsors manage their own internal resource so they aren’t scrambling at the printers the day before an event. By giving them (and your own team) a long lead time, you have a full plan of action of what needs to be done when.
Sponsors come on board to work with you. So remember that once that sponsorship contract is signed, it’s only the beginning!