The Art of Staying ‘Top of Mind’ With Your Sponsors
Are you so busy trying to attract new sponsors AND maintain your current partnerships that it feels impossible to find other ways to stay ‘top of mind’ and remind them why together, you’re such a great team?
I’m certainly busy.
I know you’re absolutely flat out.
I think it’s safe to say that everyone is busy. There’s never going to be an argument that we all have too many things to do with the amount of time we have available!
Having said that… I want you to imagine for a moment, the sick feeling of dread growing in your belly as you pick up the phone to your major sponsor, who’s calling you to make a time for an impromptu ‘review meeting’.
Your mind races. A review meeting? You know it isn’t ‘that’ time of the year, invoices aren’t due for a long time, contracts don’t need renewing… what on Earth do they want to speak with you about?
The added stress you are now feeling could have been avoided.
I emailed one of my clients this week to see if they were aware that their major corporate partner was recruiting for a new Senior Marketing & Sponsorship Manager. I wanted to make sure that they were taking every opportunity to be proactive in their ongoing relationship-building with this partner as I know this partnership is bringing in a huge amount of money for them each year.
Inevitably, when a senior role like this is advertised, it will attract people wanting to make their ‘mark’ on a company. Part of that journey will likely mean a significant audit of all current sponsorships and partnerships. And of course, internal discussions around those that are ‘performing’ and those that aren’t.
This can go one of two ways for my client.
This could be a fabulous opportunity and work in their favour (now that they’re aware their partner is recruiting for this new senior role).
They could speak with the CEO, or marketing team (that they presumably already have some kind of a relationship with – if not, now is the time to broaden their reach within the company and build relationships with other key stakeholders) and find out what their proposed timeline is for shortlisting and recruiting the new person.
When the new Marketing & Sponsorship Manager is appointed, they could set up a coffee date (once they’ve gotten their ‘feet under the desk’) to introduce themselves.
They could offer the new sponsorship manager a tour of their office, meet the team, offer to resend them any documentation they might need to become acquainted with the state of the partnership. (Of course, you’re not saying that the previous manager wasn’t good at collating all of the information about the partnership in an easily accessible way, but offering to make it easy for the new person to get what they need will help them look great, kick some quick goals in their new role, and make you their new best friend – who doesn’t want that?)
Might the timing be right for a volunteering opportunity that allows them to see first-hand, the incredible impact you make?
What an unmissable opportunity my client has to create a meaningful connection – there are so many things that can be done to get this brand new relationship off to a flying start!
Or, my client could do nothing.
The new Senior Marketing & Sponsorship Manager will be appointed.
The inevitable ‘review meeting’ phone call will happen.
My client will be on the back foot and lumped in the same boat as all of the other relationships that now need to have review meetings. This will, of course, make my client stressed as this will all have come ‘out of nowhere’ and they are already so busy everything else they’re doing.
What happens next and what to do is for another blog post. The point I’m making here is, that it’s vital to be proactive.
Being proactive when you are seeking sponsorship in order to set yourself apart from your competition is essential. But once you secure the partnership, you need to make sure you keep your position, and not lose it to another charity or event because you were ‘busy’ and took your eye off the prize.
After all, there are competitors out there right now, wondering how they can be in your shoes next year.
I look after my clients and make a point of staying abreast of their partnerships. A simple ‘Google Alert’ was all it took for me to be informed about this new position being advertised and I was proactive by reaching out to support my client.
Did they know about the new role? No.
Proactivity is about cut-through, it’s about caring, it’s about you being able to continue your journey to sustainability and meaningful impact because you’ve taken the time to nurture your relationships until they become transformational.
Transformation! That’s got to be the end-game because changing the world for the better becomes easier when money is no longer a barrier.
That sick feeling in your stomach (and then what can happen afterwards) just isn’t worth it – especially, when you already work so hard.
So set aside some time this week. Brainstorm with your team about how you can be more proactive in servicing and staying ‘top of mind’ with your corporate partners.
You’ll be so pleased you did!