Mentorship Programs

Building a mentoring program for your sales team

Here are the critical steps to follow when building a sales mentorship program.

Ryan Carruthers

August 12, 2022

Experience, they say, is the best teacher, but nothing beats the support and encouragement of a mentor who has once tread the path you are about to follow.

A recent sales analysis revealed that sales representatives under a mentoring program fetched more revenue of about 18% than those without a mentor.

The consensus?

You need a reliable mentoring program for your sales team to perform better and achieve more results. To start a sales mentor program at your organization, you should keep a few things in mind:

  • Define the goals of the program. What do you hope to achieve?
  • Create a structure for the program. How will it be organized and operated?
  • Identify potential mentors and mentees. Who would be a good fit for the program?
  • Communicate the program to everyone involved. Make sure everyone knows what to expect.

In this article, we’ll share all you need to know about sales mentorship and how you can start a sales mentorship program for your team members as a leader.


What is a sales mentorship?

A sales mentorship is a professional relationship in which an experienced salesperson provides guidance and support to a less experienced colleague. It exists between two sales personnel, where one sales rep is more experienced than the other in the field with a credible track record.

The goal of a sales mentorship is to help the mentee improve their sales skills and knowledge and ultimately grow professionally.


What are the benefits of mentoring your sales team?

The satisfying truth about mentoring your sales team is that it benefits both the company and the mentee. Let's look at some of the benefits of mentoring your sales team:

Boost the morale of your sales team

A successful sales mentorship will boost the confidence of your team members and make them feel more supported in their roles. This leads to improved performance and motivation as they feel that the company values their success. It also helps them learn how to sell effectively.

Increase your team engagement

Another benefit of mentoring your team is they become active participants in the company's affairs. They engage in activities that lead to the company's success. When they see the company succeeding, they take pride in their contribution and feel more loyalty towards the company. This creates a virtuous circle of engagement and productivity.

Expand their soft and hard skills

Mentoring your team broadens their horizon and expands their skill sets. Through training, they learn how to communicate effectively during negotiations, among other relevant basic skills. Mentorship helps train your team to acquire skills fundamental for a long-term thriving sales career.

Improve the organization's culture

Sales mentorship doesn't just boost sales but also improves the organization's culture. Enrolling your sales team in mentorship equips them with all the relevant knowledge about workplace ethics, policies, rules, and regulations.


6 steps to launching a sales mentorship program

Life is in stages, and so is the launching of a sales mentorship program. This guide sums up the whole process in six steps. We'll examine each step in detail in this section.

Goals

Determine their existing skill levels

Assess your sales reps' current skill levels. Do they need improvement in specific areas? Are there any skills that they are lacking? Whether they should learn how to create an invoice in Google Sheets or master using a CRM software, it’s important to identify all the areas where they could improve to deliver better results and better experiences for customers.

Estimate their development needs

Once you know where your team is now, where do you want them to improve? Do they need help with specific areas or more high-level strategy skills?

Align their development with their interests

To close skill gaps on your team, align their development with their own goals. This helps ensure that they are more engaged. People only get engaged and pay more attention to what they are interested in.

Align sales members' development plans with organizational goals

Every employee comes into an organization with their own goals, which they must integrate with the organizational goals. When designing a mentorship program, align the organization's goals with your sales reps' development plans.

Decide on a model for the mentoring program

There are several different mentoring programs, each with its advantages. Choose a model that best suits the company's interests. Here are the five mentoring models to consider:

Traditional 1-on-1

Pair a salesperson with a more experienced employee to act as the sales mentor. The primary aim of traditional mentoring is to directly assist the mentee in honing their skills in a specific area.

Group mentoring

The mentor takes on several salespeople as mentees concurrently and coaches them together. It often involves more than one mentee or mentor. The primary aim of group mentoring is to provide support and advice to the mentees rather than focus on individuals.

Peer mentoring

This model is a situation whereby sales representatives at similar levels teach and share ideas. It is an informal mentoring method that helps promote a good rapport and harmony in the department.

Reverse mentoring

A junior salesperson mentors a more experienced salesperson on the latest technologies and trends. This model gives the senior sales rep a new stance on how things should be done. It also helps close the generational gap in views and understanding.

Virtual mentoring

The mentors and mentees meet virtually rather than physically. They schedule online meetings and make other resources available for the mentees online.  

Pairing

The pairing stage is one of the crucial steps in launching any mentorship program. If the employees are wrongly paired, it will disrupt the whole program.

Knowing the mentorship compatibility of the mentor and mentee is crucial to the program's success. The best way to determine who should be paired is by comparing the mentee's goals with the mentor's achievements and experiences. Besides, the mentor should have the skills or experiences that the sales representative desires.

Some similarities to look out for when pairing include interest, communication styles, skill sets, personality type, career backgrounds, and career objectives. These similarities make it easier for both parties to connect more deeply.

Agendas

Give the sales mentor and their mentee resources like articles, ted talks, discussion topics, and sample questions. Together provides a resource library with relevant TedTalks, insightful articles, discussion questions and more.

We provide templated agendas with our mentoring programs on our platform. These templates are predesigned and customizable to meet your objectives. There are activities to perform before the session, during the session, and after the session.

Check-ins

Program managers should connect with participants at the beginning, end and AND throughout. The responsibility of a program manager does not just end with creating the program. They have to be available throughout the program and offer assistance when necessary.

A typical mentoring program runs for six months or more. During that time, mentorship program admins should do the following:

  • Get feedback on the program. From time to time, the program manager should encourage mentees and mentors to provide constructive feedback on how the program has helped them and what to improve upon.
  • Solve issues that come up with pairings. The program manager's job is to help the participants sort out issues when they arise. The issue could be that the sales mentor isn’t a great fit, which would call for a quick rematching.

Reporting

Monitoring and evaluation are two important prerequisites for every sales mentorship program. It is crucial always to measure certain metrics at every program stage. What to report on? The various activities to report on during the mentoring program include:

Signups

The program managers need to be informed about the number of mentors and mentees who register. Signups indicate interest in the program.

Mentee and mentor goals

Mentees and mentors need to discuss beforehand and agree on what they intend to achieve with the relationship. This is usually done through a written document—a mentoring agreement—clearly stating all their expectations.

Anecdotal feedback

The success of the program should not only be measured using numbers. The mentee's anecdotal feedback is essential in judging the progress and effectiveness of the program. Mentees should be asked to rate their satisfaction with the program on a scale of 1-10.

Session feedback

This metric should be used in measuring the effectiveness of each mentoring session. After every meeting, both parties should rate the session using a rating scale. It will give the program administrators insight into ongoing mentoring relationships.

Together’s platform, mentors and mentees complete a short survey on how the session went. The form mandates the participants to write at least one or two sentences, giving the program manager an idea of how it’s going.

Business outcomes

It would help if you could track the progress of the business outcomes achieved by both parties. This will help determine if the mentees benefit from being mentored and meeting their goals.


Match every sales team member with the best person for them to learn from

In navigating through a career path choosing the right mentor for your mentee is pivotal for the success of the program and your business at large.

Sales mentorship has been instrumental in the advancement and expansion of many businesses today. Many prominent sales institutions use this program to train sales professionals for leadership roles and equip new employees for successful careers.

Sales leaders or managers can effortlessly match every employee in their sales team using the Together mentorship platform for free.

The Together platform makes the process seamless and straightforward. You don't have to match your workers manually; an automated algorithm does that for you within minutes.

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Want incredible results from your mentorship program? Then download our comprehensive list of best practices.

We draw these best practices from the first-hand experience of program managers like you and our own expertise. This white paper is a comprehensive guide that will be your roadmap to building a world-class mentoring program.