Just this week, I’ve been involved in a number of discussions about sponsorship brokerage.

This is when a company will contact me to represent their events or organisations and sell corporate sponsorships on their behalves.

Most organisations believe that an outsourced approach would be the most efficient route to achieving their sponsorship goals, and I am proud that we, at Collaborate Communications, are able to offer this very specialist and unique service.

However, some people who contact us convey a sense of hopefulness, as if finding someone to sell the sponsorship to their event will make all their financial dreams come true. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

If you’re unsure about whether to outsource your sales efforts or keep them in-house, here are six important factors that senior executives and leaders of organisations with current or potential corporate sponsorship operations must consider:

Performance and expectations

When you work with an outside broker, you’re one of many of their clients. Occasionally your event could take a back seat. Also, they cannot control which opportunity one of their corporate clients will prefer (if all things were equal), and when looking beyond the immediate circle of contacts, long sales cycles are the norm.

Staffing

Outsourcing the sales effort does not preclude your need for staff. To integrate your sponsors’ efforts into your event or sponsorship opportunities, your two organisations must work closely together. This means a lot of detail work plus many small and large decisions about policies, logistics, nuances, and branding that must be made. An outside resource can be a guide, but ultimately these are decisions you and your team have to make.

Access

The external resource must also have access to information and timely responses. Depending on your organisation’s structure, there may be ownership issues (‘why did they need to give it to someone outside of the company?’), or simply overloaded staff members who do not have time to deal with this external person. Lack of access and timely responses will completely undermine everyone’s efforts.

Strategy

Besides staffing, starting a sponsorship operation requires a strong strategy and a significant effort to get underway. Your team and the outside resource will have a great deal of start-up work to do. Abandon any magical thinking you may have that having a salesperson is all you need in place.

Lucrative

Because of this substantial start-up effort, your sponsorship opportunity must be lucrative enough to be worth the effort for an outside sponsorship seller or broker to take on your event. Will your sponsorship opportunity command the fee structure that will generate a return on investment for both your organisation and the outside seller?

Relationships

An outside resource may have great relationships with corporations outside of your sphere of influence. Are they the right corporate partners for your organisation?

The most important part of corporate sponsorship is the relationship that you develop with your sponsor. Yes, you need great ideas, a great event, and strategic alignment, but if you don’t have an excellent relationship with the sponsor, the rest barely matters. An experienced sponsorship broker will know the market, know their clients and – nest of all – will introduce you to some superb sponsors who can become ongoing ambassadors of your own goals and aspirations.

If you’d like to find out more about how Collaborate Communications can assist you with sponsorship brokerage, please contact  julie@collaboratecommunications.com

Julie