The same rules apply when you reach out to sponsors, current and potential. To build relationships that bring you significant investments from committed partners, you need the right information. That means doing the right kind of research.
If you think of sponsorship development as a sales process, a couple of things become clear. You need an accurate, up-to-date contact list, and you want to make sure everyone on that list feels appreciated. But going back to the three definitions of data cleansing, you also want to make sure the right contacts are on the list. Here’s what you can do to fully align your organization with every sponsor and prospect:
• Go High: You may have identified your lead contact for a specific sponsorship opportunity, but what will you do if they suddenly change jobs? Entrench yourself in the company by developing a relationship with that person’s colleagues or supervisor.
• Go Wide: If you’ve built a relationship with one department in the company, chances are there are conversations you could be having with other departments. Your main contact might help you figure out who else to approach.
• Go Deep: If your contact is a director or a vice-president, they probably don’t handle the administrative side of the sponsorship, and they may not be onsite at your conference or trade show. The partnership will work best, for your organization and theirs, if you can build relationships with everyone involved.
It takes time and effort to build and maintain a healthy sponsor relationship. But as that relationship grows, you and the sponsor will both get more out of it…which makes it that much more likely to continue year after year. Count that benefit against the effort of replacing a sponsor who steps away, then start investing time in your most promising sponsorship success stories.