How to Find the Right Contact for Selling Sponsorships
Selling sponsorships for your event or website can feel pretty daunting. And I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not as easy as just shooting off an email and watching the cash roll in. But it’s also not as scary as you might think.
The trick is to find the right people to talk to from the beginning. The decision-makers. The godfathers of the brand.
Okay, I’m not suggesting mob endorsements, but you get the idea.
Who Did You Contact?
Have you pitched a company for a sponsorship and got turned down? Or worse yet, sent off 15 perfect pitches and have yet to get a response?
Here’s the million dollar question: Who did you send it to?
Let me guess. Your research led to the marketing department or a top-dog sounding executive like “sponsorship manager.”
Am I right?
Maybe you got a generic form to fill out that looks something like this:
Know what this form says to me? “Don’t call us. We’ll call you.”
And the “sponsorship manager?” Usually just the gatekeeper between sponsorship seekers and the actual decision-makers in charge.
My advice? Avoid the obvious titles. Those are usually the people they set up to deter you from contacting the people in charge.
Don’t get me wrong, the company is not trying to be difficult. But if they get a lot of requests, they need a middleman in charge of weeding out proposals that don’t fit.
Another middleman to avoid is a sponsorship agency. Using an agency rarely works and you risk losing the respect of the company you’re trying to impress.
Who Should You Contact?
Okay, so maybe this is the million dollar question.
If you can get your information in front of the right person, your chances for approval will skyrocket.
So how do you know who that person is? Good question!
The best course of action is to seek out the brand team and find the person who makes the decisions there. If you can contact the brand manager, your chances of connection increases.
The brand manager usually has control of the budget, and the power to make the decisions. Most often, this person is in marketing.
Smaller companies may not have brand managers or organized marketing departments. If this is the case, you may need to get creative and find out which manager controls those types of decisions. Usually it’s the manager in charge of the budget. This could be the general manager or even a regional manager.
How Do I Find the Name of the Executive I Want to Contact?
A great place to start to find out the name of your target contact is good ol’ Google. Once you know the company’s departments, you can Google, “Target marketing manager” or “Chili’s branding department.” Anything that’ll get you close to the right department heads. And give you the departments available for contact.
Names of head corporate executives are not usually hard to track down. But their contact information may be hard to find. You will need to do a little digging to figure out how to get in touch with them.
How Do I Find the Contact Information for the Executive I Want to Contact?
I know what you’re thinking…but you’re wrong. This is the TWO million dollar question.
Tracking down names might have been a breeze. You may have a long list of contacts on hand that could lead you to the sponsorship decision-makers.
But how do you contact them? If you call the corporate direct line, will they put you right through to the President of Marketing?
The best thing to do next is to track down the people who answer to them. The key members of their team who have seniority and “pull.”
The Google Hack
I’ve been using this little hack to help me find email addresses for the people I need to pitch. I wrote an article and filmed a video:
My friend, Jason Glaspey, turned me onto this awesome free tool that can quickly find multiple email addresses as long as you know the domain. Just the Google Hack requires.
It’s called Email Hunter and you can get 150 free searches if you sign up. I’ve tried this tool a bunch of times and it works really well. To prove it, I searched for my own website and it found the ONLY two active email addresses I own. Nailed it!
Enter Social Media
The great (and a little scary) thing about social media is that you can find almost anyone. And while sending messages through these channels is not ideal, it might get you in the door.
Finding the social media channels for any corporation is not difficult. But these avenues are usually just set up for advertisement and run by third parties.
A better way in is to find networks in smaller departments related to marketing and branding. One example is the Home Depot Foundation.
This foundation is a department housed within marketing that targets nonprofit sponsorship activities. And even if you’re not a nonprofit, the key people in this department answer to the ones you need to speak to.
Visit their Facebook page and see what you can find. If nothing else, you can try messaging a member of the team and asking for help finding the contact you need.
Another avenue for tracking down contact information is LinkedIn. If you already have the name of the person you are trying to find, locating their profile is a breeze.
But even if you’re not sure who that person is yet, there is a trick to finding who you’re looking for.
See how that works? Just type in the title of the executive you’re looking for and the name of the company. Then, up pops all the people with LinkedIn profiles who fit your description.
They’ll have at least one way to contact them. Again, contacting them via any social media is not ideal, so find an email address or phone number.
Bottom line – if you can’t get your pitch in front of the right person, it’s all just wasted time. You now have the contact information of at least one key person you need to meet and a stellar plan of action.