Hands in the Middle, Everyone! Sponsorship Sales Is a Team Sport
By Michael Kithcart
I challenge you to walk through any company and find a role that doesn’t support sales in some way. Several areas contribute to sales preparation and follow-up. Marketing helps tell the story. IT keeps systems operating and manages valuable data. Finance makes transactions effective and efficient. Production produces the product or service sold. Customer service troubleshoots and ensures fulfillment. Board members make important introductions. All of these general areas within most organizations contribute to a successful partnership.
Sponsorship sales is a complicated process. Actually, it’s a simple process but each step requires a consistent and smart effort … and group participation to get the desired outcome. Successful businesses understand today’s world is multi-functional and that people’s roles and impact cross departmental borders. Whether or not you think your role is involved in the sponsorship sales process, it is. The difference is whether or not leadership is creating a culture that demonstrates it’s a sales-driven organization and emphasizes the importance of everyone’s role in revenue growth.
The sooner you figure out you’re a sales-driven organization, the faster your objectives will be met. What does that look like?
Hands in the Middle
At one company, a challenge was made for “non-sales” people to think about someone in their network that could open a potential door. A “non-sales” person happened to be connected to an executive of a large company, and made an introduction to the CMO and CEO. It opened a door for a conversation to take place, mutual understanding to be had, ideas to be shared, and a solution to be delivered. Ultimately, needs were met and a substantial new business relationship formed.
At another company, leadership proclaimed: “We are a sales organization!” This was a new way of thinking for many who thought they were in the business of providing news and entertainment to the masses. The proclamation, and consistent reiteration, shifted the way everyone in the organization saw it. While production of what the company provided remained the same, the attitude of being in support of sales changed dramatically. It shifted from an “us vs. them” (various departments in the organization vs. sales department) divide, to a collaborative “we all win when we all win” mentality.
If you’re not in sales, or even if you are, here are some ways you can contribute to the sponsorship sales process:
- Provide leads using your personal and professional network
- Conduct research on new potential partners
- Be on the lookout for people/companies that need your product/service and let sales know
- Create sales proposals/professional materials
- Help make the story more compelling and share relatable experiences
- Execute on the order/idea/event
- Make it easy to do business with invoicing/accounts payable
- Keep data/opportunities/materials/technology up to date
- Share ideas
- Contribute to the overall experience the partner has with the company
Everyone contributes to the overall experience customers have with a company, either adding to the relationship or detracting it. Being a sales organization doesn’t mean the sales department rules over all else. It means everyone is held accountable for their role in contributing to a positive partner experience, and in growing revenue.
About the author: Michael Kithcart is the chief strategy officer of Caravel Marketing. Throughout her career, Michael has transformed organizations, created divisions, organized startups and enhanced the effectiveness of individuals and teams. She is a leader in working with organizations to develop strategic initiatives that meet and exceed sponsorship sales goals.