||Sales Tips: Veteran Sellers Share What's Working
Creative Packages, Knowing Fiscal Budgets and Taking an Agency-Like Role are Key to Securing and Renewing Deals
What sponsorship sales strategies are working in today's environment? What are sellers doing to close deals and gain renewals?
IEG SR recently posed these questions to a handful of veteran sellers. Below, four field-tested tips on what is working:
Help support existing sponsorships. Cleveland's I-X Piston Power Show recently secured a new partnership with PPG Industries, Inc., in part by positioning the sponsorship as an enhancement to the company's co-title of the Goodguys PPG Nationals auto show in Columbus, Ohio.
The property accomplished that task by creating a promotion around which PPG can offer award winners at the Goodguys PPG show the opportunity to display their vehicles at the I-X Piston Power Show. The Goodguys PPG Nationals takes place July 6-8, while Piston Power takes place Oct. 5-7.
"We told them they could use Piston Power to support the Goodguys show. 'You give us the list of winners, and we'll offer them complimentary showcase space courtesy of PPG,'" said Steve Volchko, manager of corporate partnerships at the International Exposition Center, which owns and hosts the event.
In addition to gaining the interest of a new partner, the promotion should make the sponsorship more difficult to drop than a stand-alone tie, he added.
"We're supporting another partnership, so hopefully they'll keep the relationship."
The promotion also will enhance Piston Power by providing access to a new source of vehicles, added Volchko, noting that the Goodguys PPG Nationals draws thousands of cars.
Support sponsor ad campaigns. The Tribeca Film Festival presented by American Express this year secured a new partnership with Oppenheimer Funds in part by creating a marketing platform that supports the company's "Globalize Your Thinking" ad campaign.
The April 18-29 fest is supporting the campaign with the film series "Beyond The Screens: Globalize Your Thinking." The series features several documentary films including Wagner's Dream, a movie that follows a stage production of Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera.
"We use the festival as a platform to launch campaigns and support current initiatives," said Brandon Lowitz, Tribeca's senior vice president and co-head of sponsorship development.
Know prospect's fiscal year. Properties need to kick off the sales process by knowing when a prospect plans its sponsorship budget.
"It's a good question to ask so you know when to approach them," said Kathy Emery, president of sales agency The Sponsor Placement Co.
The fourth quarter is the most opportune time to approach sponsors, a period when 43 percent of companies determine budgets, according to the 2012 IEG/Performance Research Sponsorship Decision-makers Survey.
Twenty-three percent of companies determine budgets in the third quarter, 20 percent in the first quarter and 14 percent in the second quarter, according to the survey.
For more information on fiscal budgets, check out the IEG SR story "Best Practices: Aligning Sponsorship Sales With Corporate Budget Planning."
Take agency-like role. In today's sponsorship environment, properties need to do all they can to help a partner succeed. That often involves taking a proactive role in developing and executing activation programs.
That's the strategy of the Professional Bull Riders, which helped develop Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Invasion activation program around the automaker's title of the 2012 PBR Built Ford Tough Series.
The program features a team of five PBR personalities that visit military bases, Ford dealerships and other locations in a Ford F-Series truck. The automaker posts videos of their adventures on FordInvasion.com.
"My strategy is to become an extension of Ford's marketing department," said Terry Basset, the PBR's executive vice president of sales and partnerships.
The PBR's agency-like role also extends to executing sponsorships. That ranges from coordinating retail promotions to distributing samples and bounce-back coupons.
And if that wasn't enough, the PBR encourages its sales execs to keep abreast of trends and developments that may impact its corporate partners. That includes new competition and new product rollouts.
"When I call on Jack Daniel's, I need to know more about the brand than the guy sitting across from me."
(Source: IEG Sponsorship.com, 04/16/12)
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