Success in Sales

What Does a Sales Mentor Do and How Do You Find One?

What Does a Sales Mentor Do and How Do You Find One?

Here's what we'll cover:

Experience is the best, most effective teacher, often requiring hundreds of hours of immersion to really take shape. However, there’s a well-known workaround that tons of salespeople are well-aware of but lack easy access to: the sales mentor.

Establishing a strong, professional relationship with an experienced mentor is indispensable when furthering your career. But what exactly is a sales mentor, and how does having one impact organizations and individuals? Let’s dive in.

What is a Sales Mentor and What Do They Do?

Sales mentors are longtime professionals who have clocked thousands of hours across disciplines related to sales and building customer relationships. Through mistakes, victories, and adjustments, they’ve developed a firsthand understanding of the challenges salespeople face.

But experience alone does not make an effective educator. Sales mentors are also passionate about teaching and passing the torch of knowledge into the hungry, willing hands of the next generation.

In short, a sales mentor is a skilled professional with experience in sales, marketing, communication, and managing other salespeople. This, combined with a passion for teaching, helps them formulate specialized advice beyond the boilerplate “just sell more.”

"The vast majority of people can grow with a little bit of professional help from an experienced mentor." Tweet

How Does a Sales Mentor Benefit Individual Salespeople?

We know that having a sales mentor can facilitate an individual’s professional and personal growth, but we always like to dive deeper into the data and research to understand how that happens. Let’s get closer to the action and discuss how a sales mentor can benefit the individual salesperson.

You learn how to harness your personal strengths and passions.

Sales is a dance, and everyone has their own unique rhythm.

That means there’s no one “ideal” salesperson, but there is an ideal mindset that cuts across different kinds of strengths and interests. With a productive sales mentorship relationship, a person’s individual strengths become laser-focused into one thing: becoming a dependable, empathetic professional within their field.

You don’t have to be a sales machine who makes no mistakes. However, you do need to develop yourself to be the best salesperson you can be, and mentors can show you which path to take.

You gain insight into your weaknesses and self-defeating bad habits… and how to manage them.

Just as identifying your strengths and interests is tantamount to success, so too is recognizing your weaknesses. However, building an objective picture of your performance can be exceedingly difficult.

Evaluation isn’t just a manager’s game; everyone in sales should make a habit of taking stock of their performance over time. This is one of the ways a mentor can help you or your colleagues.

Unlike working with a manager, mentors can break down a person’s performance and point out key areas of improvement without the added baggage of also working alongside you every single day.

But here’s the best part: when combining this unbiased perspective with decades of experience across industries and niches, you receive high-level insight that you may not get from an in-house mentor.

You find out that customer objections aren’t always the end.

Selling means offering a solution to your customer’s problem. However, sometimes they may have objections or reservations about that solution – and that’s totally okay (and expected!)

Many inexperienced salespeople might take customer objections as a personal attack on skills or expertise. It can be laborious to step out of this mindset and approach the issue with care and concern.

In the end, however, it all comes down to practice and proper guidance. When working with a mentor, you’ll soon uncover why customers object – leading you onto the path of allaying their fears and making the sale.

Your professional perspective widens and you’ll start to comprehend the nuances of your niche.

As a salesperson, you’re in the business of providing solutions to your customers’ problems. However, this deceptively simple task requires a deep understanding and fluency of your ideal customer’s specific needs and tastes – which may vary based on the industry and niche you’re selling in.

While you can build the requisite understanding over time, this can stretch on for years of work, reevaluation, and restructuring your strategy.

Now imagine you had a shortcut to unlocking that deeper knowledge. That’s what a sales mentor can do for you. For instance, are your customers in logistics struggling with a day-to-day issue that only your warehouse management software can fix?

If so, your mentor can help you get the lay of the land and assist with developing your strategy and capturing your niche market like a consummate professional beyond their years.

Salespeople with mentors generally enjoy more success.

If you’ve ever idly thumbed through a famous salesperson’s professional profile or interview, you probably read something about their mentor figure being a central part of their success.

Mentors are indispensable in the face of personal and professional challenges – and they’re also more accessible than ever with online mentorship programs.

That means you, like the successful people who came before, can enjoy all the benefits of mentorships, like greater job satisfaction, a higher average salary, and more promotion opportunities.

How Does a Sales Mentor Benefit a Salesperson’s Organization?

While mentorship can elevate an individual’s performance, the same effect can be replicated company-wide. Here’s how a sales mentor can impact your organization on a larger scale.

Your sales reps will feel more engaged and fulfilled at work.

The days of work being a self-contained 9-5 commitment are falling behind. Today, purpose and fulfillment are two of the most important value propositions to new and existing employees.

Some organizations may try to raise team member engagement (and thus their sense of purpose at work) with fun activities, games, and hip amenities littered throughout the office. While this definitely can help, it’s not the end-all solution.

That’s where mentorship comes in to boost engagement and fulfillment. This uniquely human element provides a sturdy professional support system that helps team members feel more invested and like their work matters. They aren’t some expendable part of the machine that can be replaced in a snap.

Your salesforce will gain a deeper understanding of the solutions the organization sells.

Effective sales professionals are experts in their field – and that can’t happen without a deep, technical understanding of the products they sell.

Through mentorship, your salespeople’s comprehension of a solution becomes more than just “what it does.” Instead, they gain insight into how these products impact their customers’ daily lives beyond the marketing copy.

This results in genuine recommendations centered in service and trust-building rather than milking a customer for as much money as possible – leading to long-term professional relationships.

Your turnover rate will plummet

The Great Resignation is something every manager, recruiter, and HR representative is keenly aware of – and with good reason. As general attitudes around work shift, so do your employees’ needs and metrics for a “good job they’d love to keep.”

As a result, many organizations have started staging fun company events and padding their compensation packages with benefits. However, these solutions overlook a core component that many modern workers seek: interpersonal relations and robust support systems.

Mentorship programs aim to fulfill both of these needs while also improving overall fulfillment, resulting in lower turnover rates and happier workers.

As a result, the company can recruit, cultivate, and continuously develop their employees without worrying too much about finding and training a replacement – which can be extremely costly in the long run.

Help your sales team grow with one of our sales mentors.

Get Started

How Can You Tell if You Need a Sales Mentor?

Every single professional always has room to grow and improve, no matter where they are in their professional journey. The vast majority of people can grow with a little bit of professional help from an experienced mentor.

However, there are a few telltale signs that you may benefit from a sales mentorship more than others. Here are a few things to think about.

1. You experience sales anxiety.

Have you ever felt genuine dread when prepping for a presentation or sales call? Have you found yourself feeling helpless at the thought of missing your quarterly sales goals, but are also too anxious to do anything about it?

If either of these things sound familiar, you may be struggling with sales anxiety – which is extremely common among sales professionals.

A lot of this anxiety comes from a lack of understanding and confidence, but mentors can help bridge the gaps while calming some of your fears with practice, instruction, and a little bit of sales wisdom.

So if anxiety is tanking your sales numbers, consider seeking out a mentor for yourself. But if the idea of a long-term professional relationship seems a bit much, there are alternatives like our on-demand sales coaching program.

2. You’re struggling to meet your sales quota.

As a salesperson, quotas are your bread and butter and your primary criteria for success – at least on paper. Because of this, reaching these numbers is vital to career advancement. However, they can also be a source of great internal conflict and apprehension.

There are many ways to overcome this all-too-common struggle, but one of the most straightforward methods is finding a bit of perspective with the help of someone more experienced that isn’t also your manager.

Sales mentors aren’t just your vanguard into the murky waters of sales; they’re also your biggest cheerleaders. Instead of thinking about numbers forecasting like managers tend to do, mentors work solely to help you reach your goals – judgment-free.

3. You love helping your customers, but you’re unsure about your future in sales.

The feeling of uncertainty in sales weighs heavily on many bright minds – especially if they’re more about customers than commission. Many folks struggle with the idea of sales professionals being skeevy peddlers, but the truth is that there is so much room for compassion and care. It just takes a little bit of work to get there.

Remember, if you love finding the best solution for your customers, you already have something special: a heart for genuine service. Working with a like-minded professional can help you reframe and refocus your career to find meaningful impetus as a salesperson.

What Mindset Do You Need to Have When Working with a Sales Mentor?

Sales mentors aren’t magicians; they don’t just show up and turn you into an elite salesperson ready to hawk every kind of product imaginable. On the contrary, they’re only half of the equation. The rest is up to you.

Like most things, the outcome of your sales mentorship relationship is intimately connected to mindset – so showing up with a good one is critical. Here are a few things you’ll want to (mentally) pack before every session with your mentor:

  • A ready, open mind for constructive criticism
    An open mind is a willing one, and mentorship may elicit feelings of hurt and defensiveness if you aren’t prepared for constructive criticism. Remember that it isn’t personal, and what you may view as a “failure” is another opportunity to grow.

  • Willingness to work on yourself both personally and professionally
    As much as we’d like to separate our work and our personal selves, the two are intrinsically linked. Working on bettering yourself can profoundly impact how you perform at work. This process can be rocky and difficult, and that takes courage.

  • Patience and compassion for yourself
    As you proceed on your journey of self-improvement, you need to remember one thing: be patient with yourself. Nobody is born knowing how to sell, and taking it one day at a time will be your greatest comfort as you reach beyond what you formerly thought was possible.

Get personalized help with our on-demand sales mentorship.

Let's Get Started

How Do You Find a Sales Mentor?

Gone are the days when finding a sales mentor was a long process of asking more experienced professionals out for coffee and courting them over a few months. With SalesEthics, you can find experienced mentors that will meet you on your own time.

Our on-demand sales mentors are consummate professionals with years of experience under their belts – meaning they can adjust to different work styles and professional needs. Let’s work together and build toward your success.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to our blog. You will be getting a confirmation email from us shortly.


Please wait while we process your request.