Three things that will help you to improve your Esports sales deck
After my time in Fnatic, where I have mainly done business development and sales, I have been in touch with a couple of other Esports organizations seeking advice. I received some sales desks I was supposed to review and feedback on. Here is a common pattern I found in most of them:
- They were generic and not tailored to the target company
I assume this was the case because some organizations send the same documents to several companies to save effort and time.
- The decks were clear about what the Esports organization wants, but they did not show what the company would get in return in a meaningful way
What I am talking about here is a clearly structured approach that is aligned with the company’s strategy and operations based on your observations.
Luckily, there are easy ways to avoid both pitfalls and to make your offer stand out and to make it count.
What is your value proposition: how can you add value?
There is an increasing amount of Esports organizations hitting the market. Everyone with a sense of economics will understand that at a certain level of time commitment, players will need to earn money to survive, rent has to be paid and operational expenditures occur. So the value a company can add to your organization is pretty clear. Besides additional exposure and support it often boils down to money.
Now ask yourself: if I were asking you for money, what would you expect me to do to help you make your decision? Whether it’s a short- or long-term investment, you want to know what value you are getting in return. I always try to put myself into the shoes of the company, sometimes with more and sometimes with less success. What can I offer to them that will help them succeed with their business? What can I do to benefit them? Perceived value differs, as Warren Buffet said: “price is what you pay, value is what you get”. So in order to answer the question what value you can add for the company, you need to do your homework first.
What does the company do: do your homework!
Here is a video of Rahul Sood, talking about an agency that didn’t do their homework: click here.
If you watch the video, I am sure you will immediately get the point.
Do you want companies to feel about your offer in the same way? You don’t necessarily have to go through balance sheets, but you should know whom you are talking to. Try to answer the questions below. There are many more, but it’s good to start with something, eh?
- What does the company do?
- What does it offer? A product? A service?
- What are its benefits?
- What is the company’s core business? What are secondary business areas?
- Where and how does it operate?
- What are the company’s communication channels?
- Where are overlaps with what you are doing?
- What is the company’s potential in what you are doing? What can it gain?
I could go on for hours posting questions that you might think are obvious. As mentioned above, I have seen sales decks that are focused on the needs of the Esports organizations and did not consider any of the above. I have also seen offerings that do not even match what the company is doing. Yes, it is easy to write a generic pitch and send it to 100 companies. Do you personally reply to generic spam? People want to feel special in the same way you want to feel special. If you are asking for something, at least have the decency to spend time on research to personalize your offer.
Make it count: propose your tailored inventory!
Now, that you have asked yourself how you can add value and with understanding what the company you are approaching does, it’s time to put it together. Shape your value proposition and make it count for the company. I know it’s work, but don’t expect to get the best deals by spamming companies. That might work every now and then but I wouldn’t count on it in the long run. Instead of trying to simply get money in and forget about the company who provided it to you, try to think of the company as your partner, and never underestimate the value of a solid long-term partnership.
Here is a structured approach to build your own inventory, by clustering activities into four main categories.
- Physical branding
This mainly involves your jersey and merchandise. If I were about to sponsor you, this section tells me on which physical items my logo will be seen
- Digital branding
Following the logic above, this section will tell me on which digital media my logo will be seen. This includes Facebook and Twitter headers, your website, shop banners, and everything else that can be considered a digital asset.
- Marketing (influencer and campaigns)
Whereas physical and digital branding are more of a standardized offering, the marketing section shows how much thought you put into your proposal. Here you can show what you have learned about the company and propose what you think works for them. As a simplification: you figured I like video? Offer me videos or help me to better distribute them/increase their fit with the target audience. My marketing is based around influencers? Offer me endorsements, streaming sessions, etc. I am sure you get the point. Again, perceived value differs
- Event marketing
This section mainly considers sending your players or other relevant staff to trade shows, events etc. How many hours per month can you send your players away? How many of these hours do you want to attribute to me? This might not be relevant for everyone in the initial stages, but it’s worth thinking about.
When you tailor your inventory, try to quantify your assets and be as specific as you can be. Don’t be afraid to drop numbers. If you are not a tier 1 team, nobody expects you to produce the same output. Which of the two alternatives below would you like better?
- Four monthly Twitter endorsements by Player ABC.
- Four monthly Twitter endorsements by Player ABC, with a total estimated reach of 300,000 users and an average engagement rate of 15% (45,000 users)
Although estimated reach and average engagement rate might not be the number one measures, you can get both number easily without rocket science. Additionally, it can send the signal that you know what you are talking about and that you are not afraid of being transparent.
Some last words
I know the world isn’t black and white, but I wanted to share my best practices and hope you can find some value in what I’ve said. If you ask yourself: ‘how do I now put this in practice for my team and company X?’ my answer is: ‘it depends’.
One of my former colleagues at Fnatic called Saad Sarwar, go and follow him on Twitter (@saadsarwar) he typically says smart things, wrote some interesting articles on inventory building and pricing for Esports organizations, click here to read his blog.
You also might want to check out Razer’s Sponsor Proposal Guide.
If what I said above makes sense to you and you are looking for more detailed information tailored to your organisation: Feel free to reach out and I am happy to make time available for your questions.
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