Imagine this: Several major sponsors have just signed hugefor your next event. Before you pop that bottle of champagne, understand this is where the real work begins. From this moment forward, you must care for and nurture your sponsors. It is your responsibility to make sure they are completely satisfied with their experience before, during, and after the event. They are looking for business results. You should be prepared to deliver.
Here’s some advice to get you on your way to creating lasting sponsor relationships:
• No communication? Not good! Don’t take their money and run. There’s no such thing as over-communicating leading up to, during, and after the event. Sponsors need help managing all of their sponsorship benefits and that requires sending periodic updates to make sure key deadlines are never missed. We go to great lengths to make sure our sponsors are well-informed along the way. This includes an online Sponsor Resource Center, with 24-hour access to all the sponsorship benefits.
• Teamwork makes the dream work. Make sure your sponsors are connected to the other integral members of your team. From general contractors, to Web and mobile app teams, to the signage and onsite team, there are a lot of players in the game. Make sure the communication flows freely between your sponsor and your team to ensure your sponsor reaps the full benefits of their investment.
• Toolkits, treats, and traffic. Show them you care with a “sponsorship essentials toolkit” and/or a welcome packet. Whether they are a seasoned veteran or a first timer, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Next, who doesn’t love an ice cream treat? A little break from move-in day will be welcomed. Feel free to make the setup time a little sweeter. Lastly, think about how you will drive traffic to their booths throughout the event. Plenty of traffic and good exposure is the recipe for sponsorship retention.
• Math is hard, but forgetting to measure is unacceptable. Most sponsors want to know registration numbers, engagement levels during the event, and attendee satisfaction scores. Provide daily dashboard metrics to sponsors so they have the pulse of what’s actually happening. If your sponsors do not require metrics onsite, this is your hero moment. Give them results before they even ask.
• Are you even listening? Your sponsors want to provide feedback, too. Here is a revolutionary idea: Ask them! Whether you conduct face-to-face debriefs or have another avenue for direct feedback, your sponsors will appreciate the opportunity to share their opinions. Here is the kicker though: You actually need to vet their ideas and implement some in the program next year. If you are going to listen, follow it up with action.
Being a great partner means more than just making sure you have the right logistics, space, and room temperature for attendees. Your sponsors are devoting their valuable dollars to your event, it’s important you take care of them too.