Sponsorship is an interesting animal, and many people, even those in the business, do not fully get what it takes to grow revenues through sponsorship. We encounter folks all the time who ask us to help them with their sponsorships but do not know what they are truly asking us to do. Most believe that we provide a magic potion that miraculously infuses large amounts of sponsorship dollars into their organization. Neither I nor TrinityOne is a sponsorship magic wand. In fact, I would argue that no person in the business is. Are there talented sponsorship people who generate revenue for their organizations and clients? Absolutely. But sustainable sponsorship is not an overnight wizardry spell; it’s a long-term process and building approach.
Sponsorship should not be approached as a transactional mechanism to secure revenue. When it is advanced in this method there always will be unsatisfied and unhappy people on both sides of the deal. Sponsorship comes from a long-term commitment and a well-thought-out plan of how to help your clients achieve their goals. In The Revenue Game section of the book, Winning the Customer, we discuss what we believe are the steps necessary to ensure a properly executed sponsorship deal that will have longevity and produce beneficial results for both provider and client.
Sponsorship is not selling. Sponsorship is all about a full understanding of your partners’ needs and goals. Yes, you provide elements in the deal that allow you to recognize revenue; but as I always say: ultimately, you are in business to help your partners do business. Most people reading this, regardless of whether they are providing or acquiring a sponsorship, are nodding their heads as if to say, “Yeah, that’s exactly how we do it.” Yet I know from too many years of experience that regardless of the industry, it is just not the case, and that this approach is not the norm. The reason is that companies, teams, and charitable organizations that provide sponsorship want results today. When they bring in new sponsorship people they want immediate effects. The problem is that immediate results often destroy long-term sustainability and revenue growth. Obtaining immediate results typically means taking short cuts in getting to the deal.
Closing a sponsorship deal does not begin at the pitch. It begins with the structure of the organization and its philosophical approach. Sponsorship is not about calling on brands you think fit with your packages. It’s all about Relationship Architecture (TM) and a thoughtful process to make sure you can deliver results towards your partners’ goals. That is the TrinityOne way. It’s a detailed process, not to get quick sales, but a method to build your business and to have it flourish for years to come. What I know to be true is that if you proceed the TrinityOne way, you may not have short-term money gains, but you will have amazing growth over the course of time. If you adjust your thinking today, in three years your company will see significant revenue growth and sustainability. It doesn’t come easy, but nothing good ever does.
There is specific direction that we tell our clients to follow, and have a few tips we would like to share today. Here’s the TrinityOne way if you are entering into a sponsorship deal.
1) Understand the goals of the sponsorship elements and if they are in sync with your Brand’s goals.
2) Have criteria of what sponsorships you should enter into. Make certain that the affiliation fits not only with Brand, but also complements other initiatives.
3) Do not waste budgetary dollars on a sponsorship if you do not plan to activate it and bring it to life.
4) Have guidelines in executing and implementing the sponsorship, but do not let them prevent you from maximizing its potential.
5) Target specific results from the sponsorship and establish a legitimate way to track results.
These are five of the basics that every company, regardless of size, should be thinking of when entering into a sponsorship deal. There are other tactics you need to know and execute, but we can’t give away all of our methods.
Remember, regardless of which side of the deal you are on, there is a checklist of sponsorship aspects and steps you need to take for a rewarding sponsorship. Ok, one final tip. Once the sponsorship is in place, you can’t just expect it to run itself and work. Many times, a sponsorship deal is put into place and both the provider and the acquirer sit back and think their work is complete. A sponsorship is a living, breathing asset and like any living thing, you have to nurture it and give it some TLC. If you tend to your sponsorship it will flourish; don’t just stand by and watch it wither.
All the best sponsorship people, regardless of which side they are on, understand and implement these principles to the fullest. If you do as well, you will join them in executing great sponsorships that deliver results and revenue. Don’t succumb to the “need it now” mentality in creating and deciding on a sponsorship; do sponsorships the TrinityOne way.