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Robert Durrant mentoring

Sales Coaching & Mentoring – the NEW Normal!

Updated: Jan 8

WHY has Sales Coaching & Mentoring become SO important? Learn how to accelerate your sales performance with Sales Training, Coaching and Mentoring.

Sales coaching and programs are becoming high-demand items for professional development in sales, business development, and key account management roles.

Traditionally, a company would invest in pure sales training programs for new or existing staff who are outselling or promoting their product or service. This sales training is essential for your team to understand the sales offer in order to complete their day-to-day sales functions. During this locally run sales training, undoubtedly you will hear the line “This is how we sell our products, we’ve always done it this way.”

Sales Coaching and Mentoring DOES NOT replace the need for sales training.This service, which is usually provided by subject matter experts, extends your functional training with advice, guidance, and most importantly, the strategy. It’s this total combination that builds self-confidence within sales staff and turns sales into business development.

Today, sales coaching and mentoring is often used to identify a positive change in individuals (the ones you know have a gift for sales), and encourages their development. It is also used to encourage the transfer and sharing of knowledge across the organisation.

Sales coaching and mentoring is also used when the management team recognises that there are individuals who with some proper and structured guidance, have the potential to by far exceed anything derived from basic sales training.

Know the difference between Sales Coaching and Mentoring?

Sales Mentoring provides the guidance (usually from experienced people) that in turn builds their confidence, nurtures ideas, allows for advice and criticism, and helps with their enthusiasm (strategy and planning).

Sales Coaching is where you may identify an area of the sales methodology where the individual may need extra help e.g. Public speaking (Training and skill development).

Different ways to execute a Sales Coaching and Mentoring program

Individual Development: Acknowledging a specific employee who shows potential to develop themselves far more than a basic sales executive.

Sales Team Executive Leadership: Where you nominate an employee to be the sales coach and mentor for your group. They, in turn, are mentored and then relay what they have learned back to your sales group (train-the-trainer style)

Regardless of your approach, sales coaching and mentoring is now fast becoming industry best practice for any employees who are involved in sales, business development, and account management.

What’s the value of Sales Coaching and Mentoring?

Benefits to the Learner (recipient)

• Increases self-confidence and self-esteem to make more informed decisions

• Promotes professional career growth and job promotions

• Enhances sales skills and knowledge

• Identifies weaknesses in a positive way and works into potential successes

• Creates a dynamic and open relationship with the mentor

• Allows employees to become problem solvers

• Reduces the feeling of low self-worth and frustration

• Opens the possibility of career paths and role development

• It extends the outcomes and the investment of your internal sales training programs.

Benefits to Coach or Mentor (applicable to Sales Team Leadership model)

Some people excel when they are given the scope to lead others. If you plan to use the internal Sales Team Leadership model, the coach or mentor can play an important role in the knowledge transfer and also the leadership aspects of your sales team.

NOTE that it can also be very high-risk when you are transferring bad skills to other staff potentially polluting your sales programs.

• Increased job satisfaction

• Enhancement of their sales skills to include leadership and training

• Group respect, someone internally showing others in real-time

• Internal visibility to any underlying employee or department issues

• Develops a competitive nature to ensure what they say is also what they do.

Benefits to the Organisation

• Higher employee retention and satisfaction

• Improved team sales performance

• Enhanced skills and knowledge levels of sales staff

• Greater chances of attaining goals and meeting sales milestones (KPI targets)

• Succession planning and the transfer/sharing of knowledge

• Better value and utilisation of staff training

• Enhancement of collaboration across the business

• Strengthening of company culture, ethics, AND values.

Do I NEED Sales Coaching and Mentoring?

Easy answer. Everyone who shows potential in sales SHOULD have a Mentor!

Quick Self-assessment

  1. Is there an employee that shows sales potential more than others in the team? Is it their charisma, style, energy, vision, passion, or just how they have adopted and use the learnings from internal sales training?

  2. Is there an employee who has the respect of others, seems to be the “go-to-person” for sales related questions?

  3. Does this employee develop great ideas BUT lacks the experience and sales experience to see the longer-term business goal?

  4. Is this employee a ‘knowledge sponge’ and continually asks for more training, and to be included in strategic planning type functions of the business?

  5. Lastly and MOST IMPORTANTLY, do you want to invest in the development of this person for their self-good, and also for the benefit of your organisation?

By answering these questions truthfully and honestly, you will easily see that any organisation who have sales, business development, and account management teams have employees who would benefit from sales coaching and mentoring services. (Or you seriously need to re-think your sales recruitment process).

Fundamentals of GREAT Sales Coaching and Mentoring

Get the positioning of your program correct at the start.Make sure everyone within your sales team who is involved in this program understands how the mentoring program will work, why, and also what the value is. Laying the groundwork for a successful sales coaching and mentoring program not only communicates the right information to the team, it builds the initial support and results in faster adoption.

Don’t forget the change management aspect. As a part of this initial program positioning, management and team leaders should reinforce the message that mentoring is worthwhile and the value it brings. Sharing positive mentoring experiences will reinforce your program and provides a powerful message.

Set the expectations for the program’s outcomes.Setting expectations includes what employees will gain from the program, as well as what their responsibilities will be (over and above their daily work tasks). If employees are concerned about the “additional time”, then you may have selected the wrong employee for such a program, OR you may not have been successful at the change management phase.

Work with a mentor to develop a plan.Mentoring programs can quickly become lip-service style initiates (junkets).The mentor you choose should lead the development of this plan and customise the sessions and content to suit your business/employee needs.

Choose the right mentor.Not every mentor is right for every employee. It’s important that you meet and greet, get the feeling about how the mentor operates. It’s ok to assess their capabilities e.g. level of sales skills, product knowledge, industry knowledge, etc.

Don’t forget program closure.Mentor programs don’t go on forever. You may also have numerous mentors throughout your career. The closure is an opportunity for all parties to celebrate their success as well as to reflect on what they’ve learned through the process.Sometimes the program can lead to the creation of new KPI targets, role development, promotion, the next wave of mentoring or simply coaching on a specific skill-set.

Don’t forget that sometimes a mentor from an industry segment different to your own can bring a wealth of knowledge and tips. They can look at things a bit differently, and prevent you from doing the same sales programs as your competitors (think outside the box).

AND Sales Mentors ARE NOT Sales Coaches, make sure this is clear! Mentors will often introduce you to coaches for specific skill development areas as the need arises (refer to our article the difference better sales coaching and mentoring).

Need to Change? Want some help to boost your sales results?

Robert Durrant Sales Coaching Programs provides sales executives and managers with a structured sales training, coaching and mentoring service.  Our programs have everything you will need to immediately improve your sales results and begin to smash sales targets.

Elevate sales success for executives and managers. Refine skills, hone processes, ensuring success across every facet of sales expertise

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