What frustrates corporate marketers when being pitched sponsorship or otherwise working with properties? What should rightsholders do differently when dealing with prospects and partners?

IEG SR recently posed those questions to six sponsorship decision-makers, all of whom were quick to point out their biggest pet peeves. Below, seven things properties often get wrong when communicating with potential and current sponsors:

Not understanding a prospect’s business. Nearly every sponsor expressed disappointment with properties that don’t know enough about how the company works, nor its products, targets, markets and priorities.

While no sponsor expects a property to understand its business inside and out, properties that have done their research are in a much better position to craft the kind of tailored proposals they are looking for, a number of sponsors said.

“Properties need to understand our business enough to know what would make sense to us, as opposed to selling what’s on the truck,” said Rick Singer, IBM Corp. vice president, client executive marketing. “They may say, ‘we know this is the right thing for your business,’ but then the proposal has nothing to do with our business.”

Chris Riedel King, senior relationship manager, corporate marketing for Principal Financial Group, Inc., echoed that sentiment.

She noted The Principal frequently receives proposals from golf tournaments and other properties offering access to high-net-worth individuals, a demographic outside its target of corporate benefits decision-makers.

“People seem to think we look for high-net-worth people,” she said. “We have them, but we approach them as business owners or business decision-makers, as opposed to individual consumers.”

Properties that make misguided assumptions. Sue Bundy, BMO Financial Group’s director of corporate sponsorships & marketing alliances, expressed frustration with properties that jump to conclusions rather than ask questions.

For example, properties should not take a look at the bank’s current portfolio and make the leap that it is not willing to add new property types.

“Don’t assume that we wouldn’t be interested in an opportunity because of the typical way we do things,” Bundy said.

Properties that are all talk and no listen. Casey Cortese, Janus Capital Group Inc.’s vice president of sponsorship & community relations, gets irritated with properties that come on too strong and dominate the conversation, especially in an initial call.

“I absolutely hate it when they talk for five minutes straight without asking if I have the time; they get so excited that they’ve got someone on the phone. It should be a two-way conversation, not just a data dump.”

Properties that just say ‘yes.’ Another irritant for Cortese—properties that simply agree to everything when brainstorming activation ideas.

“They say yes to every idea and try to butter you up, as opposed to offering their honest opinion and letting you know you are going down a path that may not be the best,” said Cortese. “They need to say it might not work because of x, y and z, and come up with a solution.”

Cookie-cutter sponsorship packages. Charmayne Vincent, community relations and sponsorship manager with the Virginia Lottery, points to properties that offer packages with no flexibility.

“It makes no sense to pay for things that we aren’t going to use,” Vincent said. “Sometimes I have to walk away from a sponsorship because they are not able to create a package that is unique to my business.”

Proposals addressed to the wrong company. Another pet peeve of The Principal’s Riedel King: properties that send proposals carrying the name of another company or that are not correct when it comes to her company name.

“I hate it when I get canned proposals that get our name wrong. We get proposals addressed to Prudential, or they misspell our name as Principle. I won’t pay attention to those.”

Salespeople that just don’t get it. Bruce Delahorne, senior manager, national advertising for retailer CDW Corp., expresses frustration with salespeople from pro sports leagues and teams who are passionate about the sports they represent but not effective salespeople.

“They know about their sport, but that doesn’t always do me a lot of good,” he said. “In many cases, salespeople get a pass because it’s a tough economy for sponsorship, as opposed to their bosses saying, ‘my salespeople aren’t very good.’ ”