Curious about how to create a thriving sponsorship program? It takes a good deal of forethought and planning to set it up for success. A combination of sales, forecasting, and client/prospect communication are vital to a healthy process. Here are the must-haves you need to think about or develop before reaching out to potential sponsors:
Conduct an Onsite Re-sign Program
Be prepared with the following years’ sales prospectus and contract to conduct an onsite re-sign. The best time to sell next year’s show is when your prospects are pumped up and excited about your current event. Nothing beats a face-to-face sales opportunity, so strike while the iron is hot. Think about what you can offer as an incentive to sign up, such as maintaining current rates if they contract onsite to avoid a price increase after the event.
Create a dashboard that projects sales at each level and work to understand how many of each level needs to be sold to reach your goal. The ability to track sales progress against forecast and previous years’ sales helps you ensure that you are on the right path to meet or exceed your goal. Also, a comprehensive sales dashboard provides the ability to view current sales - including contracted sponsors and exhibitors, revenue and payments - along with sales pipeline and history in one place.
You should always be working on ways to expand your database of prospects. Try to have at least five times the number of forecasted sponsors and exhibitors in your prospect database. You can expand that database by going to competitive events, networking and researching your current sponsors and exhibitors’ competitors.
Create a communication timeline to send monthly prospect emails to your database. Include a sales message with a link to your sales prospectus and contract. Change the show highlights within the email as they are finalized with the following essential information:
- Keynote line-up
- Session tracks
- Attendee increases by %
- Key contracted sponsors/exhibitors
Phone Follow Up
Follow up with your top tier sponsor targets by phone a couple of days after each email. Voicemail is likely, but a follow up call may alert the prospect to look for your email, read it, and take action! Sometimes you get lucky and the prospect answers the phone, giving you the golden opportunity to have a conversation about the event.
With some thoughtful consideration and research, the tools to developing a thriving sponsorship program are within your reach. Work with your team to craft a program based on communication, forecasting and sales data that not only makes sense for your line of business but also sets you up for a successful future.