Most sports marketing inventory is sole via a transactional sales model. There is a cost for space – be it in arena, advertising, or website… it’s based on size/time and availability/frequency. That’s not to say there are not sales skills required – there are, but the buying process is transactional – it is largely a commodity; there are rate cards.
Selling the social space is different. It’s a solution sales model – a consultative process. Ideally, effective social media campaigns are a collaborative endeavor including the team (sales person, digital resources and perhaps others) and the sponsor. It’s not a rate card-quote-and-negotiate strategy. Here are some key elements to keep in mind when selling the social space:
- Does the sponsor have a social presence or strategy?
- What are the goals of the campaign for the sponsor?
- Will it increase social populations?
- Duration – how long will the campaign run? Why?
- Will be in featured on the team page/sponsor page/both?
- How is pricing structured and justified?
Sellers need to know what they are talking about. This sales model is called “solution consulting” for a reason. Lack of knowledge often comes off the wrong way, and sellers often try to “sell around it” and end up coming off like snake oil salesmen.
The Triple Win
A “successful” social campaign addresses 3 elements:
- For the team ($, partnership)
- For the sponsor (brand leverage and association)
- For the fan (to win, or get “closer” to the team)
Each of these parties needs to have a “what’s in it for me” factor. The social space belongs to the fan – so their need is paramount. Reckless selling in this space won’t be tolerated. The team’s need is clear – this is a premium buy with a lot of upside and room for innovation, fun and excitement. It’s the aspects of the sponsor that need careful considering and planning… Sellers need to develop consultative sales skills in order to uncover and develop these opportunities. That might require some training and planning to achieve.