This April, the best and the brightest minds of corporate sponsorship world convened in Chicago for the 35th annual IEG summit. A key session for those selling sponsorships to major brands was the standing-room only roundtable, The Art of Storytelling, hosted by our very own Brian McCue and Jackie Liney. The roundtable discussion focused on exploring outreach techniques that make or break successful sales outcomes. What’s the best way to get a prospect’s attention? How can you sell your offering without being salesy?
Whether you were in the mix at IEG, or you’re just looking for a new approach to sponsorship opportunities, we’ve consolidated the salient points from the roundtable for you below. Use these to create a roadmap for a successful outreach.
When going after new sponsors, getting your story together is crucial. That’s why you need to start with the prep-work. This will lay the foundation of who you are targeting and why, and can be categorized in two ways:
- Fine Tuning Your Target Demographic/Audience: In the world of corporate sponsorship, knowing your target audience and being able to offer it to a sponsor, can be one of your most powerful assets. This means that doing your research and establishing your target demographic is extremely important to your success.
- Know The Brand’s Target Demographic: If your target demographic doesn’t align with a brand’s, you’re likely wasting your time. Look at who they’ve historically targeted, their media kit, and if possible, their latest campaigns or ad creative, as well as where ads might be running, for clues into audience composition. This will help you qualify if you’re a good fit, and articulate how you fit into their overall communication strategy.
With your prep-work done, this will lead you to your next step, which is planning your outreach. While many organizations feel intimidated going after sponsorship opportunities with big brands or senior level executives, if you have your prep-work done, and have crafted meaningful and impactful outreach, you’ll gear yourself up for success and higher response rates. Be sure to focus your outreach efforts on being organized and aiming high, this will include:
- Timing – knowing peak buying and planning periods and focusing on reaching out at the right time.
- Sniper Approach – short and sweet messaging, with creative subject lines
- Not giving up/getting frustrated – 80% of sponsorship conversations happen between the 8th and 12th outreach.
Tell Your Story
You’ve done the prep-work, and you’re aiming high with your outreach, so what’s the final step to win new sponsorship opportunities? Storytelling.
While it’s important that your story gets told, it’s more impactful if you allow someone else to tell it for you. No one likes to be “sold,” and as much as you try, telling your own story often times comes off too much like a sales pitch – and rightfully so. By getting your clients to tell your story for you, it creates a much better dialogue and produces much more trustworthy opinions about what you’re selling.
Getting clients to tell your story for you is an art that you’ll get better at with time, but here are tips to give you a head start:
- Ask. You’ll never get anything if you don’t ask. The majority of your clients are willing to give a testimonial, but often just a small percentage are asked for one. This means that your first step is that you need to ask. Don’t forget, you can also offer a discount or added service in exchange for a testimonial.
- Make sure that the person giving you a testimonial uses specifics. You want what they say to drive value, and by sharing a testimonial that drives value, they will also be reminded of the value your organization brings to their brand.
So, to show the value of your clients bring when telling your story for you, we have included three testimonials from three of our clients attending IEG, that told our story exactly the way we like it to be told.