By: Brian Gainor
Your Passport to Uncovering New Revenue Beyond Borders
5 Expert Tips to Securing International Partnerships
Prospecting for new revenue in international waters can be invigorating, intimidating, and eye-opening. 4FRONT has unique expertise in this area having led the NBA’s Global Revenue Meetings session on this topic and the great fortune of helping multiple NBA teams in shaping their international partnership strategy, storytelling, and sales efforts. The aim of this post is to share universal tips for success for any sports organization looking to capitalize on global revenue growth opportunities.
1. HAVE A WORLD-TRAVELER’S MINDSET
Before beginning your journey toward new international revenue opportunities, it’s important to do a quick mental reset internally and encourage open dialogue, a willingness to fail forward, and perseverance. Patience is important when prospecting internationally so slow down, take a deep breath, and get ready for the journey ahead!
It’s healthy to break out of your comfort zone, try some things that normally give you anxiety, ask questions, and keep an open mind. Embrace different possibilities, opinions, customs, and interests and just remember, perseverance and relationships will pay off if you have the right organizational mindset.
2. DO YOUR RESEARCH. START WITH THE FACTS & REASONS FOR THE CALL
International partnerships success starts with having a world-class game plan and approach to prospecting. We recommend investing 4-6 weeks to complete a comprehensive, data-centric market discovery and assessment to establish a deep understanding of your property’s positioning in international markets, with a focus on identifying markets with the greatest:
Identification of size, demographics, needs and attitudes of fans in International markets
Understanding of top International markets for viewership, social, digital, and mobile engagement
Brand & Business Alignment
Companies and categories with aligned mission, vision, values
Companies and categories with aligned headquarters, offices, growth markets
Companies and categories increasingly spending on International partnerships
Companies and categories well positioned for growth
Companies and categories endemic to sport
Companies and categories who activate effectively in International markets
Market Alignment, Spending, Security & Health
Market alignment (sister cities, International visitors, natural/growing business ties, etc.)
Markets with a mature (or growing) business & sponsorship marketplace
Markets with companies willing & interested in partnerships with International entities
Markets with unique cultural and community ties
Markets with growing economies without barriers to international trade
Unique & Authentic International Team / Player Connections
- Team / player heritage connections
- Global sustainability initiatives
- Prominent upcoming events, trips, and unique moments in time
3. THINK LIKE A BUYER
When selling internationally, it’s important to “think like a brand CEO” and propose ideas – unique to their business and market – that they can invest in. It’s very enticing for brands to have a values connection and an opportunity to do something that’s never been done before.
Always start with the “Why?” Ask the questions of, “Why would this company invest in this?” “Why wouldn’t they?” This will help create a focus on the companies with the strongest reasons for the call.
When helping the Cleveland Cavaliers grow their partnerships internationally, we had tremendous success capitalizing on several players with personal ties to the Australian market (Matthew Dellavedova, Kyrie Irving) and creating a platform centered around “Cavs Australia Day” and positioning the Cavs as Australia’s NBA team – as outlined in the case study below.
4. SIMPLIFY THE SALES PROCESS
Getting international deals across the finish line requires a bit of art and science. Find creative ways to create a sense of urgency for a flight or a decision. In addition, consider ways to simplify your sales approach by presenting partners with three package options – Good. Better. Best.
5. PITCH PERFECT
Challenge your team to evolve your partnership sales approach – attention to detail matters when selling internationally and the little things can make the biggest difference.
Keys considerations include:
Are you translating your sales/presentation materials into the native language?
Are you showing data to prove a business case?
Are you leveraging your local US embassy and key governmental relationships?
Do you have a strong understanding of currency conversions?
Are you taking the appropriate steps to be a good global citizen?
Are you taking into account local customs, holidays, and business practices?
Are you accounting for the best days/times to communicate with your prospects?
Dive into one of our success stories with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Australia Day here! Interested in learning more? Please contact:
Vice President, Innovation