Finding great talent is only the beginning of the process when you want to improve your sales team.
Have you noticed a difference between pre-hire expectations and actual sales performance?
Are you sick of having to deal with high turnover rates and poorly qualified salespeople who underperform and leave you feeling overworked?
Sales should be a fun and exciting career, not a constant battle.
If you are ready to start making lasting changes in your sales team, mentoring is an effective way to improve your team’s performance and start in a new direction.
The sales industry is changing every day. Maybe it is time to look at changing your hiring and training process, too.
The Trouble with Traditional Sales Training
Traditional training can be useful for exposing people to new ideas and often provides new sales representatives with invaluable information about the company, products and expectations of the team.
That is as far as traditional training programs usually go.
Traditional training programs often fall short when it comes to providing sales representatives with first-hand experience and learning the tips and tricks that rainmakers use to get ahead every day.
To get the most out of your new recruits, consider adding a mentoring program to your employee onboarding.
The Benefits of Sales Mentoring
Historically, mentoring has been one of the most widely used and effective forms of training in the business world.
Family businesses naturally used deep mentoring practices to train younger generations to take over and improve on their processes. Modern companies have done away with many mentoring programs in favor of traditional training programs that take place in a concentrated few days or over a few hours here and there.
Businesses today miss out when they choose to forego a mentoring process. Mentoring provides all the soft skills that cannot be taught in a classroom or through a tutorial. It is defined here as:
Intellectual guidance and emotional support provided by a more experienced and seasoned person to someone who has less experience and maturity in a given situation.
The experience provides new sales representatives with information that they can absorb over a period of time.
Rather than learning a set of facts or best practices and regurgitating it in a textbook scenario, mentoring allows for new people to become immersed in the sales setting, apply what they have learned along the way and receive constructive feedback from successful colleagues. Best practices and techniques naturally become part of their approach, sometimes without them even trying.
In many ways, a mentoring program can also be beneficial for a seasoned professional. There are always new and creative ways to approach any given situation. By pairing fresh eyes with sales veterans, you may see innovative techniques emerge to help the whole team.
It can also give the experienced sales professional an opportunity to play a mini-management role, and may provide managers and executives with the information needed to promote an individual or restructure a team.
At its core, a mentoring program is natural and mutually beneficial to businesses in all industries, including sales. Mentoring is the ultimate tool for guiding salespeople to their highest potential.
Developing a Mentoring Program
Sales is extremely challenging and requires an attention to detail and wisdom. A true mentor brings not only wisdom but also street smarts gained through years of successfully sailing through the often subtle and hidden reefs and shoals that are not necessarily on the training map.
A great mentor can help successfully launch a new salesperson, and help prevent a number of mistakes which can occur in the first year on the job, when emotions and fear run the highest.
Mentoring can be tremendously satisfying and productive for both the mentor and protégé. A mentoring process should be developed within all sales programs, either internally or through a relationship with a coaching platform (if needed, SalesDrive can provide referrals).
The end result is a higher level of production, achieved faster, with fewer turnovers as salespeople appreciate and leverage the powerful resource made available to them.
Tips for Developing a Mentor Program to Improve Your Sales Team:
- Use incentives. New recruits may be open to the idea of a mentoring program, but more experienced salespeople may exhibit reluctance. Use mentoring as a platform for promotions or provide mentors with additional, non-economic benefits.
- Try to make the partnership natural. Mentoring programs work best when a mentor and mentee match up together on their own. Consider making the program voluntary for senior sales representatives and allow them to choose their own mentee. Natural relationships tend to yield stronger patterns of growth and opportunity.
- Provide mentor training. Some sales representatives may want to be mentors, but may not understand how the process works. Create a short program to introduce new mentors to the general concepts and goals of a mentoring relationship.
- Encourage feedback. Your company needs to know what is and is not working through the whole process. Provide new sales representatives with a resource to talk to who is outside of the mentorship. Sometimes, a mentoring relationship may need to be rearranged, and the process should be open and smooth rather than cause problems between team members.
- Create a “weaning” stage. In the beginning, the mentor and mentee may work very closely together on projects. Over time, the mentee should start picking up more responsibility and eventually strike out on his or her own. Create a process to ease the transition to avoid creating dependent partnerships within the company. The relationships forged during a mentorship may last for the duration of a sales professional’s career, but both parties need to operate in their own ways after a certain point.
Mentoring can work at all levels of a sales pyramid. The goal of the overall program is to create a legacy of highly valued skills, techniques and understandings that will last beyond an individual employee’s tenure. By highlighting the value of experienced sales representatives and encouraging them to work with rather than compete against new recruits, companies can effortlessly enhance their overall sales department.
Enjoying the Benefits
A mentorship program may seem impossible if you are facing problems with hiring and keeping great sales candidates.
Whether you need to start from scratch or just need to tweak your current team structure before starting, you can find the right resources to improve your sales team through SalesDrive’s Production Builder© Assessment Test for tailored mentoring, coaching and training, which works hand-and-hand with The DriveTest™.
These sales tests can help you find and keep the talent you need to develop a strong sales team, start your mentoring program and enhance your team’s overall success.