If you didn't come across this article, I am very sure you'll do the same mistake most people seeking corporate sponsorship do. You are most likely to submit your Sponsorship proposal to one of the several Gatekeepers, who will quickly throw the godemn document into a trash bin, without giving it a second look.
Who are the GateKeepers
You may feel lucky when you find that a company has online sponsorship submission form on their website. Well, let me tell you now, that's a trap! It is nothing but automated gatekeeper that doesn't allow you the chance to showcase what you really have to offer the company. Don't fall for it, avoid it at all cost. NOTE: Don't you ever submit your Sponsorship Proposal through online form!
The worst thing you will ever do to your Sponsorship request or proposal, is to submit it to the Front desk/ Receptionist. Goof, the next place you will find your proposal, is in the hands of groundnut sellers by the corner of the street. Go and check yours if you've already made such mistake.
You may never know, but companies employ gatekeepers to specifically cotail the influx of sponsorship proposals. They are just too much!
An insider in MTN told me that the telecom company receives nothing less than a thousand Sponsorship proposal every month. So the job of someone in the corporate Communications department is to courteously write a letter of decline back to you...
Does it surprise you? You may even think the Corporate Communications Manager is the best person to direct your Sponsorship proposal to. No! The Corporate Communication department are the official Gatekeepers. They are employed to STOP wrongly channeled proposals from moving on.
Some company call them Sponsorship managers. You’d think somebody called the “sponsorship manager” should be the right person to receive your sponsorship proposal. That’s just what the company is hoping you’ll think, as one of the sponsorship manager’s biggest roles is that of gatekeeper... keeping you away from the real decision-makers.
Yes, there are a few exceptions to this, but not good enough to make him or her your first point of call to receive your Sponsorship proposal..
Maybe, you know the CEO/MD/President of the company... Believe me when I tell you this: The CEO is not going to say “yes” to you. They aren’t going to say “no” to you, either. They’ll pass your proposal down the line until it gets to the corporate communication department and then, to the sponsorship manager who’ll say “no”. Meanwhile, you’ve wasted a lot of time and perhaps, money to get that far.
You must also be careful when it comes to using Agencies. It’s just not a good idea to volunteer to put a third party between you and the decision-makers. Stories of this working are rare, and I’ve never seen it happen myself. It'll always back firfire!
Who Then Are the Real Decision Makers?
Target the Brand manager or a member of the brand team. In most companies, this is who has the authority, flexibility, and budget to say “yes” to you. As a bonus, because so many sponsorship seekers are wasting their time with the CEO and the sponsorship manager, very few get to the brand manager.
Another target could be the General manager. This is often the right person to target in a smaller company, particularly a local or regional company. The good news is that you can call to confirm, as smaller companies tend to be less cagey about providing details to sponsorship seekers.
In some cases, Regional marketing manager will actually be the right person to target; If what you’re offering has a primarily local or regional focus, you could opt to approach the regional marketing manager. S/he may have the budget and authority locally, and can be a strong advocate in home office if your offer outstrips their budget.
The Battle to Get Approval
The Brand Manager/ General Manager/ Regional Marketing Manager as the case may be, will eventually face the GateKeepers (Corporate Communications Manager/ Sponsorship Manager and CEO), who'll battle to outwist the brand manager... and STOP the proposal from flying.
It is the brand manager that will defend your proposal at the risk of his job. He is the one to convince the board beyond reasonable doubt, why s/he should go ahead to spend the chunk of the company's promotional budget... to Sponsor your football Club, event or project.
The boardroom is usually like a war zone when it comes to approving Sponsorship budget... So you must provide the brand manager all the arsenal (benefits of the proposed project) so s/he can use the persuasive aunce to defend your course. Sometime, you and your team may be invited to the company's management meeting... to defend the proposal yourself.
How to Get the Brand Manager to Buy-in
The challenge is, if you succeed in by passing the GateKeepers, how do you get to the Brand manager, introduce your proposal and get s/he to buy-in.
This is where you need a Sponsorship consultant. You can blow it up in the first meeting. For you not mess yourself up in front of the brand manager, you need to prepare very well. The Sponsorship Consultant will be on hand to help you and your team at the different level of the process. Contact GreenHunters Sport Marketing International: +234 809 877 2556 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org