As an L&D professional, improving sales performance might not seem an easy feat. You may even feel your efforts aren’t directly related. In 2023, the CIPD Learning at Work report stated a misalignment in the priorities set by learning and development professionals and organisations.
Skill development and the closing of skill gaps was an area of alignment, which we at Guider believe will be the key to unlocking higher employee wellbeing, engagement and performance, which will in turn, increase productivity to achieve growth targets.
Effective sales training is directly connected to business success
Performance is an essential metric to track in L&D. It can be used to flag low engagement and skill gaps, so you can provide more support and training.
Sales performance refers to the effectiveness of a sales team or individual in meeting sales goals and generating revenue. It encompasses a range of activities, including identifying and targeting potential customers, presenting products or services, negotiating deals, and closing sales. The ultimate aim is to drive business growth by converting leads into paying customers.
What is sales performance mentoring?
Mentoring is an intrinsic method for the improvement of soft skills that have proven positive effects on employee wellbeing, engagement and performance. Improving self-confidence and creating a wider network for knowledge sharing.
Sales performance mentoring is a relationship-oriented process where experienced sales professionals guide and nurture the overall development of less experienced ones. Mentorship is an intrinsic method for the improvement of soft skills, such as communication and adaptability, crucial for navigating sales challenges.
What is sales performance coaching?
Sales performance coaching is typically a more structured approach aimed at enhancing specific sales competencies and achieving immediate objectives. Coaches provide targeted feedback and strategies to improve areas of the sales process, like prospecting and closing. This form of coaching is beneficial for rapidly improving sales tactics and performance, particularly in fast-paced sales environments.
Delve into the differences between coaching and mentoring.
Who needs sales performance mentoring?
If you aren’t sure whether your company would benefit from performance mentoring, ask yourself:
- How do your employees access self-improvement pathways?
- How are your leaders coping in their role?
- Are you seeing lowered performance of certain teams?
- Have you seen a lowered engagement of sales staff?
- Have new starters shown a high-turnover?
Mentoring creates a supportive professional network for knowledge sharing and career advancement, proven to improve engagement and new-hire satisfaction. Though the benefits of mentoring aren’t exclusive to revenue generating employees, all sales professionals should have access to mentoring or coaching to self-reflect, learn and improve their performance.
If you can’t answer all of these questions, calculate your baseline with Guider’s 10 essential Metrics to track in L&D.
Mentoring for sales performance
So, let’s look into 9 ways mentoring can accelerate sales performance in your organisation.
- Creating the ideal match
- Having regular check-ins
- Setting clear, achievable goals
- Developing soft skills
- Tracking skill development
- Centralising peer-to-peer learning
- Showcasing ROI in sales performance mentoring
- Succession planning and knowledge transfer
- Retaining top talent
1. Creating the ideal match instantly
Pairing the right mentor with the right mentee is crucial. For example, having a mentor from a similar background or who understands these unique challenges can be empowering as it provides a relatable role model and advocate.
Guider’s mentoring software aligns based on skills, and experience and gives the mentee the choice of their mentor to provide a personal learning experience. For sales performance, this tailored approach ensures that each mentee gets exactly what they need to excel in sales, and mentors can get the most out of the mentoring process.
Importantly, the matching process should be prompt, allowing mentees to receive guidance and support in real-time, exactly when they need it. This immediacy is crucial in the fast-paced world of sales, where timely advice and intervention can make a significant difference in sales performance outcomes.
2. Having regular check-ins
Consistent communication is key, particularly in sales when days can seem rather monotonous. Regular check-ins with mentors from outside one’s immediate team can be refreshing and provide a new perspective from outside the sales environment. Mentors provide a safe space for dialogue and feedback, free from internal competition or team dynamics, allowing individuals to discuss challenges and new strategies. The accountability to reflect, learn and grow will benefit both the mentee and the mentor, improving work fulfilment and aspiration.
3. Setting clear, achievable goals
Begin with clarity. Mentoring is the perfect platform to help sales reps set and achieve SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals. Whether it’s improving client communication or mastering the art of negotiation, clear goals pave the way for focused development.
4. Developing soft skills to improve sales performance
The development of soft skills through mentoring is a pivotal aspect in enhancing confidence and empowerment. 87% of mentors and mentees report feeling more empowered and confident as a result of their mentoring relationships. This empowerment is particularly significant in sales, where confidence plays a critical role in achieving targets.
Guider’s insights reveal that confidence is a highly sought-after skill in mentoring relationships, ranking alongside assertiveness, decision-making, and a growth mindset.
This highlights a crucial point: a lack of confidence can be a significant barrier in sales. When sales professionals doubt their abilities, targets can seem more daunting and less attainable. In such scenarios, the role of a mentor becomes even more crucial. By developing soft skills, mentors can help mentees not only reach but exceed their sales targets.
You know what they say “If you think you can, you can”.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”– Henry Ford
5. Tracking skill development
Measuring success is non-negotiable and will be second nature to any sales professional. A staple in any efficient sales department, monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), such as sales conversion rates, tasks completed, meetings booked, can provide tangible insights into performance
However, an area that sometimes gets overlooked is the tracking of skill development. How frequently are teams evaluating and measuring the growth of individual skills? This aspect is vital for understanding the broader impact of training and mentorship on sales outcomes.
Guider’s powerful mentoring analytics allows you to track skill development as mentees progress through their mentoring relationship. By using these analytics, it’s possible to draw correlations between the enhancement of specific skills and improvements in overall sales performance.
Observing this holistically allows for a more comprehensive understanding of how closing skill gaps impacts not just individual sales professionals but the sales performance as a whole. This approach is critical for identifying key areas for development and understanding the full impact of mentoring on sales success.
6. Centralised peer-to-peer learning in sales
Peer-to-peer learning refers to a relationship between team members, who are on the same or similar seniority level. Creating one place for mentoring and learning from peers is also known as centralised learning. By dedicating one platform for this type of learning, sales teams can engage in a more collaborative and interactive educational environment. This centralised approach encourages the sharing of best practices, experiences, and strategies among peers, which is invaluable in a field as dynamic as sales.
7. Showcasing ROI in sales performance mentoring
For L&D professionals, it’s crucial to demonstrate how mentoring boosts sales performance when presenting ROI. Employ data-driven visuals to highlight increases in sales metrics and other key performance indicators directly tied to the mentoring program. These visuals should clearly link mentoring activities to tangible improvements in sales figures, showcasing the program’s direct impact on boosting sales effectiveness. This focused communication effectively conveys the program’s value in enhancing sales performance to stakeholders.
8. Succession planning and knowledge transfer
They say that the best sales representatives don’t always make the best leaders. But what if they had received the appropriate support?
Mentoring is an instrumental method for effective succession planning, a key long-term strategy for improving sales performance. Through mentorship, sales professionals gain not just the skills needed for immediate sales success, but also the leadership qualities essential for future roles. This process of knowledge transfer and skill development ensures a consistent level of sales effectiveness, even as roles evolve.
Expert mentors guide advanced sales strategies, nurturing promising team members, also known as high-potential leaders. This dual focus on immediate performance and future potential ensures a seamless transition in key sales roles, maintaining the momentum of sales operations.
Implementing a mentoring program for sales teams signifies a commitment to both the current and future strengths of the sales department. It builds a resilient and adaptable sales force, ready to take on evolving challenges and leadership responsibilities.
9. Retaining top talent
Retaining top talent in sales is significantly influenced by providing opportunities for growth and development. Statistics show that 94% of employees are more likely to stay longer at a company that invests in their learning and advancement. In sales performance mentoring, the focus is on developing employees by equipping them with advanced skills, strategic thinking, and decision-making abilities. Individuals with a mentor are twice as likely to remain with their organisation for over five years, reflecting the impactful role of mentorship in retaining highly skilled talent.
Check out our guides to learn more about the transformative power of mentoring: