We get this question often: "How do I submit a sales proposal that will attract partners and sponsors?", there isn't a safe answer for this.
We live in a high-octane world where dynamic agendas and end-goals change on a quarterly basis. Things change often and it's up to you to examine where the needs of the market are heading. For instance, 5 years ago, if you were to approach a brand with a proposal of getting them brand exposure and driving sales from the eSports audience.. Chances are they would tilt their head and awkwardly walk away from the table literally and figuratively.
Now, if a thriving marketable organization were to offer an endemic or non-endemic brand a sales proposal of the aforementioned, they would take it very seriously. Why? The market has changed, the needs have changed, but one thing remains a constant. You have to come to the table prepared with good quality sales proposals and sales decks to reel brands in. Today we're breaking down what makes a perfect sponsorship proposal to help prospect organizations and players understand the business aspect of the market in this week's In:Focus.
Understand the market
In eSports, the market has grown substantially with outside support coming in at an increasing rate. Wading through the industry like a Renaissance period. We've gone from mom & pop LANs to selling out Madison Square Garden in NYC. All sorts of brands inside (endemic) and outside (non-endemic) are attempting to enter the industry through shock-blasting their way by financing everyone and everything that is synonymous to eSports. Then you have the people who have dabbled in eSports, but haven't fully committed yet. Maybe they're simply not ready to invest all their nickels and dimes, maybe they're just waiting for the perfect opportunity, a deal that is mutually beneficial now or 5 years from now.
Which is where we currently stand. 5 to 10 year plans. People, especially Venture Capitalists (VC's) have come into the industry, throwing tons of money and people at eSports organizations knowing they are going to lose money for the next couple of years until the industry blooms into the estimated $1.1 billion due 2019. That's a lot of skrilla guys. They're investing in our future because they understand the market -- and so should you. Don't just understand our current market, understand the potential partners and sponsors market, their demographics, how you and your organization or business can help bring in new business, new exposure, new demographics and new regions.
If I'm an eSports organization with over 200,000 followers on Twitter, have a great social footprint with fans ranging ages 18-29. That's not even factoring the teams we house that are top 5 in the respective game title, their personal analytics, and their fandom.. Prime numbers, that's what brands want to see. People who stay away from traditional media, and follow trends as they come. eSports has been the biggest trend and it's continuously growing with no signs of slowing down. An average eSports spectator watches an (1) hour and a (30) half a day of eSports content. A lot of opportunities for advertisers wanting to connect their traditional brands to the Millennials and gamers. Which is why Gieco, Coca Cola, even the United States Air Force, and so many other non-endemic companies and brands engage with the industry and the market.
It's truly like nothing else, and that's why you have to understand the market to know what's going on. The more knowledge you have, the better it will be when it's time connect with brands.
Preparing your sales deck and marketing/sales proposals
Would you go to your 9-5 job that required you to constantly analyze numbers unprepared?
Would you take a test without studying at all? Would you go into a meeting with a decision-maker without knowing what the hell you want? If you're a logical person, you just said "Hell no. I need to be prepared.", working a connect and engaging with decision-makers requires patience, time, and research. In a dramatic sense, it's like an exchange of a prisoner. You give us cash, we give you prisoner. Prisoner equals sales decks and other proposals, cash equals.. Cash.
They give you cash or product sponsorships if they get the prisoner, but they won't come to the negotiating table if you don't show up with just that, the prisoner. Brands receive thousands of sponsorship applications a year, they aren't checking them all, they skim through them and if they have links, documents, and other materials to help understand what they get out of the offer they'll filter and review. If you don't have any of that especially a proposal or sales deck, forget it, consider it like applying for a job without a resume and cover letter. You're not going to hear back from the recruiter anytime soon, if at all.
Now to the meat and potatoes of the topic. What should be included in these reports?
- Files should be in .pdf attachments, created presentations via slides or document sheets
- Presentations should include market details, your figures, goals, ambitions, and selling-points
- Presentations should include excerpts of your sales proposal, and open and honest pricing
- Graphics, your brand assets, and your digital footprint (websites, social media, fandom reports)
- Closing statements, contact, redirects to your sales proposal for explained project expectations
Essentially, layout your business plan. What can you do for them? Sell them ad space? Market their products on your social footprint? Help them with sales logistics during tradeshows? Sell them branding space on your team jersey? These are the things you need to mention or you're going to delay the process of getting answers.
What details do I need
In 1-2 of your presentation slides, it's best that you gather up all your social media reports such as engagements, likes, shares, click-throughs, and other key-performance metrics (KPI's). Average them out, find specific posts regarding products and show the brand how you could inclusively connect their brands to gamers. For instance, you retweeted a nutrition supplement company and your thousands of fans clicked on the links, referred a percentage of them to sign-up, which some purchased a product using your discount code. How many sales did that amount to? What's the click-through-rate? How many fans like their products and continue to engage with your promotional posts? Those are the important posts to mention.
Other details could be your demographic. Sometimes a brand wants to expand their domestic reach, maybe a brand is located out in Europe & America, but want to introduce fans or solidify their presence in the Oceanic area. Your social media reports showcase geographic and gender demographics, it show them that your fans are primarily in the EU/NA region, but you have plenty of fans in the Oceanic region, ripe for expansion! It could be vice versa as well. Look at the graph supplied below. These are my personal analytics. Proven track-record statistics that don't lie. Instilling confidence in their investments.
Remain optimistic & patient
A self-explanatory header. These things take time. Partnerships don't form overnight. It takes weeks, if not months to facilitate partnerships and sponsorships.
Weighing the options, finding out what you can do for them, and what they could do for you. After submitting proposals and sales decks, wait 3-4 weeks, then use your discretion when contacting them for a follow-up. Respectfully look for an update to show the brand you remain committed to seeing something through. Don't feel down n' out, demoralizing you will only reduce your proficiency as an employee directly-in-charge of marketing. Continue to focus on other duties associated with your title during the down-time.
Most brands/companies will contact you from their business-to-business or marketing department with a decision. Sometimes they simply don't have it within their operational budget, your numbers or requests aren't something they can do at the current time or they will approve the proposal and set up a meeting to touch base. Expect some to reject offers because you don't meet a demand. They can't accept the current offer.
You win some you lose some.
Meetings are incredibly important. Few tips.
- Be polite
- Remain attentive to detail
- Avoid long-winded sentences
- Have your documents ready
- Talk about your companies history, business models, goals
- Talk about integrating the brand in your market by explaining their market's flaws, etc.
- Use your analytical data & source, something they can pull up to reaffirm the market/industry
- Inform & ask questions, encourage them to ask questions pertaining to your brand or the market/industry
- Be clear and concise about the deal and what YOU get out of it and what THEY get out of it. No hidden deals.
I can't stress the last point enough. Make sure you have a contract if the deal goes forward, no oral or "trust" contracts. You get it on paper or do not proceed. Seeking legal remedies can be a hefty expense to try to get products or money owned to you. If there's no written contract enforceable by a court, you're in a bad position and you're the one that's going to lose a lot trying to hunt down owed good and checks.
Networking & Connections
We've conveniently aggregated links and point-of-contacts for sponsorships.
Those links help you connect with sponsors, however, if you're a large organization that is attempting to expedite the process, I would recommend you seek out the heads of marketing or B2B relations for a steadfast response. Don't solicit responses from them, but try to connect with them via social media or platforms where industry leaders converge. Such as Linkedin, eSports Professional Network, and World of eSports. Awesome places to meet these in-house marketing specialists who help make decisions on whether to accept partnerships and sponsorships.
Connect with them, so they get to know you on a personal note. Then use your relationship to open up a business one. It's not dirty politics, it's not unfair, it's you doing your due diligence to your brand and your organization to better itself. It never hurts to meet your industry peers, especially if it's mutually beneficial. Hope this guide helps many out there! We'll continue to add-on to this index as time goes on.
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