How to Be an Effective Sales Mentor
Sales organizations of all sizes can benefit from having a mentorship program. It's one thing to learn from premade lessons and training sessions. But nothing compares to learning from someone who's also in the thick of the sales jungle!
Peer-to-peer learning offers many benefits. Great mentors can pass on their sales expertise, teaching game-changing techniques and best practices to greener reps. It's also a fantastic way to accelerate ramp-up times for new hires eager to generate revenue. Even mentors have a lot to gain. It helps with professional development and could lead to a future position in leadership. Whether you're a sales manager or an experienced deals expert looking to pass on your knowledge, here are some tips to become a reliable mentor who leaves a lasting impact.
1. Begin with Clear Goals for Both Mentor and Mentee
Before you start any collaborative sales mentor program, set goals. Great mentors identify what mentees will get out of the process.
Of course, define the changes the sales representative you're mentoring wants to see. It could be adopting better communication skills or learning to handle objections more effectively. Whatever the case, understanding what goals you're striving to hit can help guide the mentorship moving forward.
That applies to mentor goals, too. You may want to expand your knowledge of how other sales reps work or validate your leadership skills. Define those ambitions early and start your mentor-mentee professional relationship on the right foot.
2. Have Scheduled, Structured Mentoring Sessions
The next thing to do is develop an agreed-upon schedule. Mentorships can be time-consuming. It's another thing to pile on an already busy workload. However, consistency is key to making these processes successful, and it's the best way to ensure that the lessons stick.
The exact details of your schedule will depend entirely on what you want to achieve, the needs of your company, and how busy you and your mentee already are. Your plan doesn't have to be every day, and you don't have to spend as much time mentoring as you might think. Once or twice a week, with some flexibility for additional weekly meetings, is more than enough.
The most important thing is to have an established schedule and stick to it. Mentorships are a commitment, but they will pay off in the end.
3. Focus on Skill Building, Rather than Sales Stats
It's easy to focus too heavily on sales stats. That may be what triggers the need for mentorships in the first place. For example, your company might ask you to participate in a sales mentorship program after identifying individuals who aren't meeting their quotas. It's okay to recognize those stats.
But a good mentor will set their sights on building skills instead of boosting stats. There are many skills involved in being a successful sales professional. It's an amalgamation of those competencies that leads to better sales figures. However, all it takes is one weakness to create trouble.
Prioritizing skill-building will empower sales mentees to make improvements across the board. It equips them with the knowledge and know-how to make a change on their time. You're there to instill your expertise and build the foundations to become a success on the sales floor.
4. Talk Strategy About Real Prospects, Then Take Action
Role-playing can be beneficial, but strategizing with real prospects helps your mentees apply what they learn to real-life sales situations. Take a look at genuine sales prospects. Discuss what you would do to move that potential customer through the sales funnel and develop an actionable plan of attack.
Then, let your mentee take the reins. Take action to demonstrate your techniques in a situation that your mentee will experience time and time again. Walk them through your processes and allow them to see how you approach those complex sales situations. All sales situations are unique, and you can easily demonstrate your adaptability using many core skills. Seeing what you do in an actual sales cycle is more memorable and impactful than any simulated deal.
Furthermore, working with real prospects during your sales coaching sessions lets your mentee experience your style of success firsthand. Show them what it takes to navigate complex sales conversations and inspire them to take what they learn to their next call.
5. A Good Mentor Asks Questions and Encourages Feedback
Don't be afraid to ask questions and accept feedback. There's a misconception that mentorships are a “see and do” type of situation. In reality, they're much more collaborative. The best sales mentors will adapt their coaching strategies based on the mentee's needs.
Maybe you need to explain things more. Your mentee shouldn't be apprehensive about saying so. Otherwise, neither of you gets anything out of the experience. Take constructive feedback and have some flexibility in how you coach. The goal of great mentors is to help the mentee improve; they can only do that if they get what they need from your meetings.
6. Create a Safe Space to Get Real About Mistakes
Let's get real: No one likes to talk about their mistakes. It's not easy to hear that you're not doing well or that you need to improve something about how you work. People naturally get defensive and put up a brick wall that prevents them from getting the help they need.
As a mentor, it's your job to make your mentee as comfortable as possible. Create a safe space free of judgment or awkwardness. You must be frank about mistakes, but delivering those blows in a way your mentee can easily accept is imperative. Always practice empathy and make your meetings feel safe. When you get to that point, you can get real and take steps to encourage others to do better.
7. One-on-One Mentoring Is Great, But Groups Are Great Too
Individual mentor sessions are fantastic. Some people need that one-on-one interaction to get the personalized help they need while still feeling safe and confident. But that's not the only way to help others.
Group mentorships allow you to take a more prominent leadership role and make a noticeable difference in your team. It's an opportunity to share your knowledge with as many people as possible while optimizing your time.
Good sales mentors will also open the floor to collaborative discussions and coaching in a group setting. Some people learn best when they have others by their side, and you can spread your expertise more efficiently.
A Peer-to-Peer Platform for Strong Sales Teams
Taking a mentor role is an excellent gift to your company and your colleagues. Whether you're looking to position yourself as a candidate for promotion or want to see your team succeed as a unit, mentorships are the way to do it. To make mentorship programs a key part of your company, turn to Flockjay.
Flockjay is a peer-to-peer platform full of tools to make training, onboarding, and collaborative learning a breeze. Eliminate the separation on your sales floor and foster an environment of shared knowledge and coaching. With these tips and Flockjay, you can strengthen your team, help colleagues further their sales careers, and become a unified sales powerhouse.