Wisely offering the right sponsorship benefits to your partners helps ensure that everyone receives what they are looking for out of the relationship.
I read a great article recently, by Jordan Leask at Tixstar, titled Top 5 Signs Your Client Entertaining Is Not Working (and what to do about it). In the article, Jordan speaks about:
- knowing who is using the hospitality benefits;
- how those benefits are allocated;
- internal barriers to using hospitality as a benefit;
- the struggle to measure ROI on hospitality; and
- the errors in multi-year terms.
It really is a good article for hospitality sales specifically, but, how does what Jordan speaks about fall into a sponsorship manager's consideration and how can a sponsorship manager use their hospitality and sponsorship benefits wisely to help sponsors avoid the common mistakes highlighted by Jordan?
The answer to this lies within 3 simple rules….
Always align benefits to objectives
Jordan talks about three common problems which clearly show that the sponsor objectives, that would warrant a sponsor utilizing hospitality, are not high on the priority list for those making these errors. They are:
- the all staff email;
- client entertainment is viewed as a cost; and
- inability to measure ROI
Those sponsors who have objectives which warrant hospitality, such as Networking or Relationship Building, will use these opportunities to drive opportunities within this space. They will send the right people, invite the right people and commit the right resources to ensuring those people are there to make the most of these opportunities. Those people value these objectives and will, as a result, measure the ROI accordingly based on how it helps drive their objectives.
The relationship is paramount to renewal (and acquisition)
Having a deeper relationship than just a transactional one will help drive your awareness around how a sponsor is engaging with you. As the article correctly points out, it is vital to know who is in attendance at your events, why they are there and how you can help make the experience great for them. This will help drive their objectives and create a greater alignment for you but it also provides greater security and opportunities for you as a rights holder.
A deeper relationship also helps you to move with your sponsor and changing how you deal with them and what they receive to align with their moving objectives.
The article talks about multi-year deals being ‘old school’. Unfortunately, this is the only part of the article I disagree with because multi-year deals are vital to continuity, building meaningful partnerships and providing commercial security for a rights holder. What is ‘old school’, however, is having a rigid relationship which is locked in and can’t be moved. That’s why rule #3 is important.
Focus on providing value to the customer and use your systems to drive that value
Gone are the days where you lock a sponsor into fixed assets for a multi-year term and rigidly stick to it. Objectives change, personnel change and, as such, your ability to deliver value must change as well.
Granted, 90% of a sponsorship deal will most likely not change over the term, however, in today’s world you need to have systems in place which allow you to identify what your sponsors’ objectives are and whether you are meeting them. If you aren’t meeting those objectives then you need clear vision of what assets you have available, that won’t cost you extra money, that you can position to help meet objectives. Those clients using SponServe are all over this and making great gains in their commercial programs as a result.
TAKING IT ALL FORWARD
It is modern day adaption of the age old sales techniques which make the best sales teams – client happiness, servicing and value have always been the pillars. However, modern day business moves at a rate which means modern day adaption of techniques is what is needed. Systems like Tixstar can be a great partner for you to improve your sales of tickets/hospitality as businesses have their own account so you can be assured that tickets/hospitality are benefits they are looking to activate because they align with their objectives.
Jordan’s article can be found on the Tixstar website here.
Mark Thompson // Managing Director
Mark specializes in sponsorship and diversified income strategies and has used this expertise across the Community, Semi-Professional and Professional Sports sectors. He combines hands-on experience in managing the expectations and obligations of sponsors with marketing and stakeholder engagement to deliver outstanding results.
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