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The Heart and Soul of a Sponsorship: Activation and Fulfillment

Heart and Soul of a Sponsorship Activation
Jason Smith
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In the sponsorship world, all properties focus on revenue numbers. Simply put…sell as many sponsorships to get to your annual revenue goal as quickly as possible. You can’t fault sales people for this mindset. Most have been trained to think that way. With that being said, I do think over time, truly successful sponsorship sales reps start to see the bigger picture as experience is gained.

The easy part in the sponsorship sales process is the actual sale itself…some might think I’m crazy with that statement, but it’s true. If you are selling a product that you have passion about, then helping others see that vision is the easiest part of the process. So what is the hardest part? I like to call it “the heart and soul of a sponsorship”…activation and fulfillment!

Think about it, you spend time building a relationship with someone, sharing the passion you have behind the services you can provide, and then all of a sudden you actually have to fulfill all those wonderful dreams you just outlined for your newest sponsor. Not only do you have to do that for them, but now times that by 20-50 other sponsors you’ve been having that same conversation with. Yep, that is difficult! In fact, it can be overwhelming. Trust me, the sale is the easy part!

Since sponsorship activation and fulfillment is the heart and soul of a partnership, mastering it can help in so many ways. Let me provide a few ways you can benefit:

  1. Sponsors for Life: If you can manage the sponsorship activation and fulfillment of your partnerships effectively, then they will be loyal to you for life. You will be able to count on that sponsor each year come renewal time because they have now developed an unbreakable trust in you. You are the one they can count on because you deliver results. They don’t have to ask you all the time what is happening with their sponsorship. You are proactively reaching out and giving them updates. You are ever present. No sponsor likes a sales rep that only shows up when it is time to work on signing a contract.
  2. Increased Referrals = More Revenue: Sponsorship decision-makers are a tight-knit group. They get that way because you invite them to networking events at your own property. Many are sponsoring the same properties in the market, and having conversations with each other. When you have a sponsor that develops an unwavering trust with a property/sales rep, that will naturally turn into referrals which makes it even easier to sell sponsorships, and achieve your annual sales goals.
  3. Become Part of the Team: During the activation and fulfillment process is where you can become a member of your sponsors marketing team. This step is not natural during the sales process, but when you get in a room with multiple members of the sponsor’s marketing team (i.e. creative, digital, social media teams), then relationships can get even deeper within the organization. You begin to be part of the organizations creative processes, and start giving input and thoughts to where you become an extension to their marketing team. This can solidify your partnership for many years to come.

So, what makes great sponsorship activation and fulfillment? The key is to make sure these elements are being met.

  1. Communication: Make sure both property and brand understand the responsibilities each have in the activation and fulfillment process. Provide consistent and transparent communication.
  2. Proof of Performance: Provide visual proof of performance on all assets fulfilled. Be proactive in showing photos, videos, and audio. This builds trust.
  3. Reporting: Show reports that provide value back to the sponsor. Outlining added value and other important facts about the partnership can give talking points to your contacts to take back to executive leadership.

I have been on both the property and brand sides of the sponsorship business process for many years. Activation and fulfillment are the heart and soul of a great sponsor relationship.

Hopefully this provided some insights into sponsorship activation and fulfillment. Feel free to share this blog with others. Also, I have a new and innovative software (SponsorCX) being released early 2019 that helps properties and sponsors effectively and efficiently activate and fulfill sponsorships.

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