Sponsorship Relationships That Are All in the Family: Q&A with Pocono Raceway

March 30, 2021

Pocono Raceway, in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, has been a family-owned business for more than 50 years. The Raceway hosts multiple national motorsports events like the ARCA Menards Series, NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Camping World Truck Series. Plus more than 200 annual events such as car clubs and racing schools.

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It’s also the world’s first, privately-owned solar-powered sports facility. A 25-acre, three-megawatt solar farm provides the energy needs of the Raceway and electricity to the local power grid. As if its history and state-of-the-art facilities weren’t enough, Pocono Raceway is a leading Winmo client, implementing the tool for their sponsorship sales efforts.

Business Development Manager, Eric Flood, and Partnership Sales & Service Manager, JJ LaRose, both attended motorsport events at the Raceway as children. I sat down with them to discuss their histories with The Tricky Triangle, COVID-19 response, and how Winmo helps sponsorship sales professionals prospect smarter and faster.

Samantha Stallard: Tell me about Pocono Raceway and your roles within the company.

JJ LaRose: I attended races there as a kid. My love for the facility, motorsports, and marketing led me to join as an intern in 2014. After graduating from Pennsylvania State University in 2015, I began my career at the Raceway as a promotional street team manager. I’ve been on the Partnership Sales & Service Team since 2019.

Eric Flood: Growing up in Central Pennsylvania, I attended races at Pocono from a young age and followed motorsports throughout my childhood. I studied Sports Management at Slippery Rock University, met the crew, and came onboard as an intern in the summer of 2012. Then, I transitioned to concessions and merchandising from 2013 to 2018 when I joined Partnership Sales & Services.

SS: 2020 was a difficult year for all of us. How did Pocono Raceway adapt and adjust? How was your sales strategy impacted?

EF: When COVID hit our entire strategy pivoted from actively pursuing new partners to fostering existing relationships. We realized our events could still happen, just without fans. So, the hours that would have been spent on prospect research transitioned to assets we could offer without a grandstand or infield full of people. At the same time, we had to ensure that onsite staff were as safe and taken care of as possible. Our focus turned to companies that could provide PPE for our employees.

SS: To what do you attribute Pocono Raceway’s growth?

JJL: We’re the only family-owned and operated facility on the NASCAR schedule. Because of this, we have the freedom to create unique and meaningful experiences for our fans and corporate partners they won’t have anywhere else. We can go straight to our Chairman of the Board to get answers and implement partner ideas immediately. There’s a saying at Pocono, “If it sounds crazy, we’ll give it a shot.”

SS: Why did you choose Winmo?

EF: The ability to deep dive into not only a company but its key, decision-making employees is invaluable to us throughout the researching phase. I can go into a cold call, email, or pitch over-informed. It makes the entire experience much easier. The personality insights are great when reaching out for the first time — language and tone are crucial to secure that important callback.

Direct access to a prospect is typically a big hill to climb. But, with Winmo, we know the right people to get in front of and can narrow down our targets from a large employee list. Since every place uses unique job titles, it’s valuable to see everyone all together.

SS: How does Winmo help with Pocono Raceway’s research and prospecting efforts?

JJL: The daily WinmoEdge emails — they bring us so many new ideas. Every day, there’s at least one prospect, but usually more, that we wouldn’t have considered. We’ve taken information from current partners’ competitors, from the Accounts on the Move section, to create our own experiences that will stand toe-to-toe.

SS: What is your favorite or most used feature?

EF: Pocono Raceway is heavily impacted by sponsors, so my favorite is the quick link to Sponsorship Contacts. Scrolling through is such an easy experience. And, being fairly new, we learn more ways to implement the tool every day. It’s useful not only for Pocono Raceway’s sales prospecting but for marketing, too. We’re looking forward to what’s ahead!

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If you liked this blog post, check out:

  1. What Will Nonprofit Sponsorships Look Like in 2021?
  2. How Winmo Launches Publishing Giant Into New Verticals: Q&A with Future’s Jason Webby
  3. Accomplishing Miracles Through Sponsorship: Q&A with The Spirit of Liberty Foundation

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