Sales Mentoring: 6 things to know before setting up a sales mentoring program

Sales Mentoring: 6 things to know before setting up a sales mentoring program

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Mentoring is becoming the new benchmark in people management. In fact, 71% of the Fortune 500 companies have, or have conducted, a business mentoring program, according to the American Society for Training and Development.

Companies such as Pepsico, Intel and American Express have leveraged mentoring programs to increase employee participation and engagement with the company.

So, if you want to follow the example of the greats, here are 6 things you need to know before you get started to make your business mentoring efforts effective:

1. You must have identified your areas of opportunity in the commercial area.

When we talk about opportunity areas, we refer to those aspects that you have to strengthen to take advantage of them. To achieve business success, it is important that you recognize the areas of opportunity as those spaces that can be used to achieve something.

If you are not convinced just look at the example of Disney: it started as a company that made movies and when it recognized its areas of opportunity it became a large conglomerate consisting of theme parks, product lines and television channels.

Before starting a mentoring program it is important that you have these areas identified so that you and the mentor can work together on how to resolve them

How can you identify them? An excellent option is training courses, which will help you identify the areas you need to work on.

2. A good mentor asks questions

If you stop to read the origin of the word mentor, you will see that its role is to serve as a thought-provoking agent. And this has much more to do with asking than advising.

At Innova we know that reflective listening and generative questions are the basis for good mentoring. That's why you can count on our programs to ask you many questions that will help you question and reevaluate many areas that you may not have considered before.

"We want others to respect our intellectual property, so we have to respect others'."

- Jennifer T. Mills, Senior Intellectual Property Counselor

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3. Forget what you "already know" about a sales mentor - Have a trainee mentality.

Before looking for a good mentor you need to let go of some common beliefs about sales mentors. They don't always have to be older than you, have a senior position in your company, or work in the same field as you. The reality is that mentoring opportunities are everywhere, if you look and listen.

So if you're having a hard time finding the right one, you're probably overthinking it. Keep an apprentice mentality and you'll be able to call on many potential mentors in your network when you're faced with a challenge.

4. Internal vs. external mentoring

There are two "playing fields" on which any mentoring process will unfold: the external and the internal context.

By external context, we mean everything that influences the quality of your decisions but is not related to the way you are. For example:

  • Knowledge about the company's strategy, values or processes.
  • Technical data necessary for the execution of a specific function and/or position.

While the internal context is your value system, beliefs, strengths or areas of opportunity.

For a mentoring program to be considered successful it must be able to connect these two contexts in a balanced way to help you enrich the way you analyze problems and decide what actions to take to achieve your goals.

The key to this, again, is: more questions, less advice. Always keeping in mind that the value of the answers the mentor may give you is far less important than the usefulness of keeping the questions open-ended long enough.

5. Activities are delegated, not responsibilities

In any mentor-mentee relationship, responsibility is not delegated, it is shared. A mentor who delegates activities to you without assuming his share of responsibility is the same as a commander who tells you "Go and defeat the neighboring army with a fork and no help".

6. Hire a sales mentor who is involved and has a genuine interest in helping you.

Starting from the fact that mentoring is an act of reciprocal knowledge, where the one who teaches learns and the one who learns induces the one who teaches to reflect; a mentor with a true desire to help will guide you in your transformation process with the security and empathy necessary for you to achieve effective results.

At Innova we are willing to put our sales mentoring experience to work for you and become that sounding board that will help you see things differently. Learn about our Sales Mentoring programs designed to help you convert opportunities into sales.