great sponsorship management

Great Sponsorship Management – The Three Things It Takes

January 27th, 2016 Posted by

We live in a world where success and lessons are all around us. I was listening to the radio the other day and I heard a comment about a world class athlete which I immediately related back to great sponsorship management and what it takes.

The radio hosts were discussing that in the recent cricket pre-season a coach had their players practicing under-water swimming. The team had not done very well in the season which prompted the host to comment, “You know, there is a line of thought out there that Ian Thorpe wasn’t the world’s best swimmer because he practiced his knitting”.

What the host meant was, Ian Thorpe was the world’s best swimmer because he practiced his swimming and nothing else.

Great Sponsorship Management – The 3 Things

Now, that wasn’t what made me think of great sponsorship management. Instead, what made me think of great sponsorship management was thinking about what makes an athlete great. I came up with:

  • preparation;
  • systems & support; and
  • practice & commitment

So, how can you adapt this to be great at sponsorship management?


Preparation is key to great sponsorship management, both on the sales side and delivery side. It is imperative that you:

  1. Research your prospects and current sponsors to help with creating alignment between your offering and their corporate objectives.
  2. Put effort into scripting for sponsor approaches, stories for presentations and proposal/acquittal documents. This will always make you stand out from the crowd.
  3. Good organisation around your work area, communication processes and data will enable you to be prompt and always prepared.

Systems and Support

We speak about it a lot, but people with seamless and easy to use systems, and a collaborative and integrated support network, are easily the most efficient and best in our industry. That’s because:

  • Good systems create efficiency, allowing you to make full use of your time.
  • An organised and easy to use process saves you time and helps ensure you program is governed correctly, leaving you with the surety that you will deliver what you need to whilst giving you time to work on selling and maintaining relationships.
  • Support across your organisation, in the form of a team environment where everyone plays a role in successful delivery, is really important.
  • Support from your executive and board, in the form of sales support, investment in technology and freedom to act as needed to win business is also key in great sponsorship program.

Practice and Commitment

There are not many people out there who haven’t tried and failed, then tried again before they have seen success. That’s because:

  • It takes a while to find your groove in terms of what works for you on a sales front as well as a communication and presenting. For me, it took years of trying new things (and a lot of failed presentations) until I found what I was comfortable with and started landing deals.
  • Commitment to reaching your goals, constantly improving and a dogged attitude to sell helps to breed success.
  • The pursuit to find innovation and meaningful relationships will ensure you are rarely left behind and in a panicked hole.

The key area in this list for sponsorship professionals really is the systems and support area. With good systems, governance and environment, as well as a supporting executive and board, you really will find clear space to create efficiency, find more time to prepare and to practice.

That will lead you to sponsorship greatness. Not knitting.

Mark Thompson - SponServe

Mark Thompson // Director

Mark specialises in sponsorship and diversified income strategies and has used this expertise across the Community, Semi-Professional and Professional Sports sectors. He combines hands-on experience in managing the expectations and obligations of sponsors with marketing and stakeholder engagement to deliver outstanding results.

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