Whether you are a planner tasked with sourcing event partners for your clients or an in-house planner reaching out to vendors or suppliers and pitching sponsorships, there are 5 critical steps in the process.
Have a conversation
Cold-calling and cold-emailing potential sponsors does not work. Blast emails that are not tailored to each prospect’s specific marketing goals also don’t work.
Partnerships start with a conversation.
As planners, we spend our time creating great attendee experiences and we should be creating the same for our partners. Understanding their specific goals and the metrics by which they will consider the partnership successful is a critical step in managing the partnership.
Flexibility for partners is critical. We recently redesigned partner offerings for a non-profit so that they include a standard set of benefits across all partner levels, as well as a selection of a la carte benefits. The selection of a la charge benefits allows partners to pick the benefits that align with their specific goals and tailor the package accordingly.
Assign a champion
Securing sponsors does not end once you cash their check. A staff member should be assigned to each partner as the point of contact for any questions. The sponsor champion should also be in regular communication with sponsors to ensure that they are engaged and maximizing their benefits.
Deliver on the benefits
If you promised a benefit, make sure you deliver it! You don’t want to be in a situation where you missed delivering a key benefit during the event that will now cost you a sponsor renewal. Create a tracking system to ensure all benefits are delivered and assign the management of this task to a member of the event planning team.
Measure, follow up and retain
Planners routinely measure the attendee experience and conduct post-event debriefings. But are you doing the same for sponsors? In many cases, sponsors spent a lot more than attendees to be part of the event. Post-event follow-up and ROI analysis is a critical, and often overlooked, step for partners. Ensure that you have systems in place to gather information from partners and then, using the goals you identified at the beginning of the relationship, analyze the success of the sponsorship. If you can help sponsors see the ROI, it will be easier to retain them or leave the door open to call on them again for another event.
Your turn: what are your best practices for managing your sponsors? Tell us on Linkedin!