Thursday, April 16, 2015

Anatomy of a Successful Sponsorship Sales Team

Critical to any sponsorship sales plan and strategy is your sales and sponsorship activation team. The team should consist of the four roles defined below, each requiring team members who have certain attributes, experience and work-habit characteristics.

Prospecting Team Members (The Sponsor Hunters): These individuals are tasked with researching new sponsors and maintaining your existing database.  This involves updating the contact information of your prospects as needed, and documenting new leads appropriately.  This is an entry-level position and can easily be handled by a hard working intern or committee member seeking to advance in your organization.

To be successful in their role, The Sponsor Hunters should possess the following attributes:
·       Willingness to conduct entry level research and documentation
·       Ability to focus on simple tasks for periods of time
·       Creative thinking when prospecting new sponsors that strategically align with your organization
·       Organizational skills when saving critical information and noting follow-up calls and emails
·       Willingness to try new roles within the sales process including selling and activating

Selling Team Members (The Sponsor Schmoozers): Team members that are focused on selling are required to contact sponsorship prospects and leads to present your company’s offerings. Your sales team members must be willing to work hard and maintain a “get it done” attitude. 

It’s imperative for these team members to not be afraid to contact prospective clients and communicate the values of your sponsorship.  They should also be prepared for some prospective sponsors to decline your opportunities and have the ability to move forward if a sale falls through.

These individuals must possess strong and effective communication skills, including listening to the needs of sponsors.  Schmoozers should work with prospective sponsors to determine the company’s goals for aligning with your event and the best way to achieve them through partnership.  Creativity is key when defining the most effective involvement opportunities rather than simply pushing predetermined packages on companies.

Schmoozers should consult with your activation team to ensure they aren’t promising items to sponsors that cannot be implemented at your event. 

Contracting Team Members (Legal Beagles): Team members tasked with contracting sponsorships are required to finalize all deal points that were agreed upon during the sales and negotiation period. These individuals should have:
·       Knowledge or experience with drafting and finalizing business agreements
·       Strong organizational skills
·       Effective communication skills when communicating any nuances from the signed agreements to your activation team
·       Legal experience (beneficial but not required)

Activating Team Members (Task Masters): It is these team members’ job to ensure that both parties (event and sponsor) deliver all deal points agreed upon in the final sponsorship contract.  It is important for your activation team to understand the importance of their role, and that a significant amount of time, resources, and revenue hinge on their ability to implement what’s been sold.

Task Masters should be detail oriented, as it is their responsibility to ensure that all sponsorship items are activated in a timely and accurate fashion.  Effectively delivering the sponsorship elements and assets that were sold can be the difference between an easy, positive sponsorship renewal for the following year, and a breach of agreement conflict.

Task Masters are the point of contact for your sponsors, who often require assistance with tedious and time-consuming tasks.  Your team maintaining a positive and “can-do” attitude and energy will help sponsors deliver their required items, keep their morale high at your events, and hopefully want to continue the partnership in the future.

Who are your Sponsor Hunters and Schmoozers? Can you find a Legal Beagle and Task Master? 

By identifying and designating qualified individuals to fill the above roles for your sponsorship team, you prevent team members from overlapping their efforts, streamline the sales and management process, and set your event up for a successful sponsorship program.

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