Many companies use sales mentorship programs. There are usually two reasons for this. The first: so that new salesperson can gain experience. The second: so those existing senior salespeople can become better leaders. Unfortunately, some mentorship programs fail or do not live up to expectations.
This is due to a lack of preparation and effective strategies for mentoring. But this article can help ensure that your business executes sales mentoring well. Let’s begin by answering some common questions about mentoring.
Finding a sales mentor does not take as much time as many business professionals assume. You have two main options.
Many top salespeople across the US credit mentors with shaping their careers. Instead of taking credit for driving sales results, they thank their mentors. The first step is to hold a meeting with a potential sales mentor. Go over the professional experience and background of the mentor. Next, discuss what your sales mentoring expectations are. The person will either show interest or state that he or she doesn’t think it’s a good fit. If he or she isn’t a good fit, continue searching for a better-quality sales mentor.
Improving a sales team is no easy task. But there are development steps your business can take. Let’s go over four steps for developing a sales mentorship program.
Someone might ask this question about who works in management at a company. Or, someone might ask this question who is getting trained by a sales mentor. Either way, here are the best questions to ask a mentor.
Coaching and mentoring a sales team requires knowledge and discipline. Let’s go over seven tips about how to coach or mentor a sales team.
It’s simple. Hands-on training matters. There’s no better way to get hands-on training than to work with a mentor. Sales mentors will teach reps how to close deals in ways that the reps would not be able to learn on their own. Those same reps who receive mentoring will someday be able to pass on what they know.
They will then educate your less experienced reps. It’s a cycle of knowledge and techniques. Studies have proven that mentorship programs lead to many benefits. These include increased salaries, higher retention rates, and in-house promotions.
Below are seven mentorship steps your business can take. Each step will help you create a sales mentorship program with a strong culture. The steps can ensure that you will have an effective mentoring program. The program can position your sales people to succeed for years to come.
So, what’s a great first step for mentoring? It is to have face-to-face conversations in front of the members of your sales team. The mentor, mentee, and manager should all be in the same room. This is to ensure that everyone is on the same page and under the same culture. The manager can introduce questions to stir up a conversation. The mentor and mentee will be able to understand if they are a good fit. Below are some examples of those questions.
It’s human nature for anyone to ask, “What do I get out of this?” Don’t run from this question. Instead, answer it for both the mentor and mentee. (And anyone on your team interested in mentoring.) Be as transparent as possible. The relationship will not benefit anyone unless benefits get established. This will ensure that the manager and rep have some sort of common interest. Otherwise, mentorship would be pointless. For example, say your company has a rep who struggles with a CRM.
Pairing him or her with a manager that thrives in technology would be an excellent choice. You may want to divide the first commission checks between the mentor and mentee. If senior mentors aren’t rewarded, they tend to act as a coach instead of a player. This leads to slower deals and not as much involvement in the negotiation process. And as you might know, negotiation skills can make or break any sales team.
It’s best to have a mentoring action plan or playbook. Don’t leave it on the computer. Print it out and stick it to calendars. Seeing a physical plan will lead to greater progress while coaching.
The manager that’s in charge of the mentorship program must write the plan. Never consider the plan/playbook finished. It’s always a work in progress that adjusts to previous happenings. It may be effective for your action plan to have a checklist of buildable skills. The mentee can check off the list as he or she progresses.
The skills management feels a rep needs on day 1 are going to differ from day 100. That’s part of any successful business culture.
Start out with what the rep needs the most while writing your action plan. For example, say the rep struggles with inbound calls. He or she should learn production information, effective chat methods, and CRM. Say the rep is outbound calls. A good starting point could be email templates, script re-writing, or demo presentation.
The mentor will provide a lot of individual and team support at first. Over time, the rep will develop his/her skills and the mentor won’t need to be as involved. Always be as clear as you can when coaching. Oftentimes, inexperienced salespeople will have no idea what your acronyms refer to.
It’s often effective to do a monthly lunch for the mentors. This will help you check off two tasks. The first: it will show appreciation for their help. The second: it will instigate a discussion about what’s going well and what needs improvement. Don’t let the conversation go to waste. Make sure every meeting has a certain topic. Ask your mentors about what areas the mentees are struggling in. Once those areas are clear, they should be a point of focus for the next few months. But don’t be too hard on your mentees. You don’t want them to get overwhelmed. These meetings also determine the areas that the sales team has been struggling in.
Mentorship cannot last forever. At some point, the mentorship must come to a natural conclusion. The time frame depends on your particular sales cycle. Most sales mentorships last 6 to 10 months. Your company could set up a system where a presentation or quarterly review must take place.
This way, your reps can “graduate.” The reps should be able to showcase their skills and abilities to manage. Fellow reps can also be present to learn and ask questions during coaching. This will create a learning experience for the entire salesroom. Next, the reps can apply their new skills when speaking to customer after customer.
Before the mentorship begins, important metrics should be clear. This will allow you to determine if the mentorship is worth it or not. There are three key areas to measure.
You will be able to tell if mentees are making progress in a large variety of ways during training. One of those ways is to see how mentees answer management’s questions.
If the mentorship is working, a rep ought to be able to answer almost every question that comes his/her way. This will also prepare sales reps to answer customer questions after customer questions. Their newfound selling skills should take your business to new heights.
A mentorship/training program can only be successful if accomplishments are often highlighted. For example, ask a mentor to tell a story involving team accomplishment in front of the sales room.
You want your reps to get recognized by management. This will boost morale and inspire more reps to take part in your mentorship program. Over time, your team can learn to embrace mentorship. Below are some more ideas to consider while setting up your sales mentor program.
Management should make it very clear that they value the work of their reps. This is leadership 101. Mentorship can be part of promotion and compensation decisions.
This is a surefire way to generate enthusiasm amongst the reps. The specific numbers are up to you. But don’t make your programs so easy that your cash flow decreases.
Allow reps/mentees to set some of the key terms of the partnership. But don’t be too lenient. Make sure that certain parameters are in place. Otherwise, chaos may ensue. For example, you could allow the mentor and mentee to decide when they will meet every week. This will make both of them less likely to feel like they have more work to do. A little freedom will ensure that stress levels stay low. As a result of having some freedom, their bond will stay strong.
Some personalities don’t fit well together. It’s as simple as that. A great mentor/mentee relationship has to be organic. They should discuss career goals and common interests.
Otherwise, despite being a good fit on paper, it will be a bad match. The last thing you want is to waste your sales manager’s time. Wasted time can sour any business relationship. Consider meeting with mentors before they begin the mentorship process. They can tell you who they see as a good fit to be a mentee.
This will take some potential awkwardness out of your salesroom. And the mentor will stay on-track toward establishing a lasting business relationship.
Never assume a great sales rep will be a great mentor. Management should offer formal training. It will ensure the mentors know what they’re doing. Don’t abandon the mentors after the training process.
Check up on them to make sure everything is going well. One solution could be to give mentors their own mentors. This is a great way to make sure that you have taken cautionary steps to have a smooth operation.
Mentors and mentees must feel comfortable communicating with management. Have a structure in place so that everyone can give their feedback. You may realize a relationship that you thought was blossoming is actually soured. Never penalize or discourage honesty. Encourage the mentors and mentees to always be honest about what isn’t working.
Also, don’t let dissatisfaction ruin your salesroom. Make sure any issues get resolved as fast as possible. Hard feelings can take away sales and lower morale. It’s not the end of the world if a mentor/mentee relationship doesn’t work out. There are other mentors out there that can help.
Mentoring is not only for sales reps. Sometimes experienced mentors need someone to train them. After all, the role of a sales mentor is not easy. Sales mentor after sales mentor complains that their roles can feel stressful. But your company deserves a sales mentor who is someone that doesn’t complain.
That’s why there are training programs that can assist a sales mentor. This is crucial for developing a strong business culture. The training service will help each sales mentor prepare to make positive changes.
Leadership is an essential component of becoming a sales mentor. And many training programs make leadership a priority. That’s because poor leadership can affect the culture of a company. It can ruin the relationship between managers and sales people. As result, reps might not focus on making sales to customer after customer.
Instead, they’ll get distracted. The distractions can lead to a sales rep not forming a solid relationship with a customer. So, don’t let your business suffer. Consider enrolling a sales mentor in a leadership training program.
Their development can lead to more than improved sales mentoring. It can lead to customer after customer buying your company’s products. Check out our website for more information about sales mentor training programs. Our website features sales coaching tips. The coaching/mentoring tips will help your mentors know how to drive results.
Our website is a top-ranked sales mentor service in the US. Contact us today to learn more about sales mentoring.
Not all mentors need to be in-house. Sometimes it’s better to have a coach or consultant step in. He or she can offer a fresh perspective that your experienced sales reps may not be able to provide.
This will allow your top salespeople to focus on selling. The less experienced reps will meet with a consultant. This will help ensure that your bottom line doesn’t suffer.
Don’t stress yourself out about creating a sales mentorship program. At the end of the day, it needs to be nothing more than an engaging learning experience. Management’s goal is to have competent reps. How do you go about this? The possibilities are endless. Stick to the seven steps above as best you can. You will be well on your way to maximizing the skills and techniques of your reps.
Do you want to learn more about sales mentoring? If so, please check out our website. It is number one in the US when it comes to selling and training tips. In fact, our business has a reputation across the entire US.
We know how to improve sales service after service for every client. Contact us right now to learn more. Our leadership team is ready to help anyone become a sales mentor. Our patented sales mentoring processes can help ensure ultimate team selling success.