We all know it, sales peo­ple are pro­tec­tive over their leads, clients and techniques. 

Most man­agers let this go on as long as tar­gets are hit. But, if you have a team who like to work using com­plete­ly oppos­ing meth­ods, as well as a num­ber of new starters, 3 main issues emerge: 

  1. Every­one is using a dif­fer­ent lan­guage — this is dam­ag­ing for your brand. 
  2. Your new starter can­not aim for com­pa­ny best prac­tice as it does not exist.
  3. Your team are do not know how to collaborate.

What exactly is sales mentoring?

Tra­di­tion­al­ly, men­tor­ing is a more senior employ­ee giv­ing a help­ing hand to their pro­tegee in the hope of increas­ing sales.

For the ‘offi­cial def­i­n­i­tion’ Carmin (1988) says men­tor­ing is ‘ an inter­ac­tive process occur­ring between indi­vid­u­als of dif­fer­ing lev­els of expe­ri­ence and exper­tise that incor­po­rates inter­per­son­al or psy­choso­cial devel­op­ment, career, and/or edu­ca­tion­al devel­op­ment, and social­iza­tion func­tions into the relationship.’ 

So, basi­cal­ly, men­tor­ing is giv­ing employ­ees the oppor­tu­ni­ty to reflect and dis­cuss their sales in order to devel­op in all kinds of ways.

increasing sales

Why mentoring?

Research shows the men­tor­ing is ben­e­fi­cial for all three par­ties involved: the pro­tege, the men­tor and the organ­i­sa­tion (Pullins, Fine and War­ren: 1996). Men­tor­ing increas­es job sat­is­fac­tion, earn­ing poten­tial and increas­es employ­ee reten­tion, all of which can result in increas­ing sales (Bras­hear, et al: 2006). 

Stud­ies have found that pro­fes­sions that are less super­vised, such as sales, are more sen­si­tive to the influ­ence of men­tor­ing (Rollins, Ruther­ford and Nick­ell: 2014).

In the light of this, if we start to socialise and accli­ma­tise employ­ees using a well struc­tured men­tor­ing pro­gramme, valu­able knowl­edge remains in-house, and gives you a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage (Mar­che­t­ti : 2005). 

An out­come based sales­force will improve through an in-house men­tor­ing programme.

4 steps to increasing sales through your mentoring programme

Step One: Find volunteers

Find vol­un­teers for men­tors and mentees. By using vol­un­teers they will be more like­ly to throw them­selves into the men­tor­ing process, and when it starts to work, every­one else will want to get in on the action.

Step Two: Make Goals

The first ses­sion should always be on the mentee’s goals, what do they want to achieve, why do they want to achieve it, when should these goals be com­plet­ed by? 

The men­tor should make sure these are rea­son­able and doable.

Step Three: Make a plan and STICK to it

Both par­ties should also book in time for men­tor­ing to hap­pen and STICK to it. Put it in your diary and make sure every­one knows you are busy. Too many men­tor­ing pro­grammes fail by oth­er ‘things’ (sales) tak­ing a priority. 

Per­son­al devel­op­ment means more sales, so I promise in the long run it will pay off.

Step Four: Reflect on change

It’s impor­tant to reflect on devel­op­ment as and when it is hap­pen­ing. It’s moti­vat­ing and will encour­age fur­ther devel­op­ment. It will also allow you to check in with the men­tor­ing part­ner­ship and make sure it is working. 

To ele­vate this fur­ther, con­tex­tu­alise the feed­back. Record exam­ples of real-life sales to allow self-reflec­tion in a sup­port­ed envi­ron­ment with the men­tor. This encour­ages behav­iour change and sup­ports the feed­back giv­en by the men­tor, increas­ing its impact. 

After the men­tor­ing peri­od has hap­pened, or the goal has been reached, a more in-depth reflec­tion should take place. What have I improved, why have I improved, what can I con­tin­ue to do to con­tin­ue improving? 

Eval­u­at­ing suc­cess is the key to keep­ing a men­tor­ing pro­gramme going. Mak­ing suc­cess vis­i­ble encour­ages wide­spread par­tic­i­pa­tion in the men­tor­ing programme.

If you’re inter­est­ed to learn more about coach­ing and men­tor­ing in the work­place, make sure to check out our blog: Work­place Coach­ing: 4 Com­mon Prob­lems (How To Solve Them)

Down­load your prac­ti­cal guide to devel­op­ing a high per­form­ing sales team >

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4 steps to increas­ing sales through mentoring
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