Using a sniper rifle in sponsorship acquisition

Babcock Renault sponsor

With approximately 5 million businesses in the UK, 1.5 million of which are registered as Limited Companies, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a few interested in becoming a sponsor! Then why am I always being asked by sponsorship-seekers how to choose which businesses to approach? 

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The truth is you need a targeting approach that increases your chances of success. There are two primary methods. I call them the “Shotgun” and the “Sniper” approaches. Far too many people adopt the strategy of sending out a host of “proposals” in the hope that one or two will generate interest. That’s the “Shotgun” approach. The problem with this method is that it allows very little time to research each business, determine the decision-maker or come up with any innovative strategies. You’re relying on luck. Not only that, but you’ll be unable to follow up each proposal within a few days! Remember, you can’t make proposals until you have identified the need.

The better alternative, in my opinion, is to identify just 5 or 6 companies that you will have time to thoroughly research. Then create an individual phone or another method of approach to each one, based on the findings of your research. This is the “Sniper” approach and it’s my own preferred method of identifying which businesses to aim for. It also makes it feasible to follow up on each individual approach.

The objective is to secure a first meeting at which you can ask the key questions that will provide the information you need.

Brian Sims

Whether you are targeting local small businesses or international corporations, the more research you can undertake, the more chance you have of matching the capabilities of your sponsorship property to a company’s marketing strategy. The objective is to secure a first meeting at which you can ask the key questions that will provide the information you need. We’ll look at ways of securing that first all-important meeting in a follow-up article. Another tip for identifying companies is to create a filter system. You need to apply this to every company that you are considering. It comprises a set of various criteria that you can apply that will indicate the level of likely success.  These criteria might include, but are not limited to: geographical market – for example, if you’re only competing in a Brands Hatch series, there’s little point in approaching a national business and vice versa; market profile – look at where a company positions its advertising as that will indicate the market at which they’re aiming; sponsorship history – has the business been involved in sponsorship previously and if so, what type and how long was it involved? The more criteria that you apply, the less time you’ll waste further down the line.

Finally, there’s another tip that I‘d like to pass on. I normally target sponsors by industry sector, which has proved extremely successful for me over a long period of time. Let me explain why this works so well. If all 6 companies are in the same industry sector, for instance, “freight logistics”, and you can interest one company, it stands to reason that it might possibly interest all of them.

By targeting in this way, there are many benefits, including learning a lot about the sector fairly quickly; saving time on research; what applies to one company may well apply to the others; you can find out who the key players are within the sector; you can quickly pick up industry sector news… maybe a new branch being opened or a new company coming in; you can learn how the industry sector operates. Don’t forget, in my online course I deal with this in a lot more detail!

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