Find Success with a Sales Mentor: Benefits, Where to Find One, & Expert Tips
Are you stuck with selling? Do you rely on a handful of the same old sales strategies? Maybe you’re looking for inspiration and new ideas to elevate your sales game. You’re not alone.
Finding a sales mentor might be the solution to enhancing your career and boosting your bottom line. Experienced mentors provide guidance, support, and feedback to help you reach your sales quotas and goals. Plus, most experts love sharing their knowledge and expertise. It’s an enriching experience for them, too.
Today, we'll dive into sales mentorship and explain why having an amazing mentor can have a huge impact on your career. From the benefits of working with a mentor, to how to find the right one…we've got you covered.
Let's unlock your sales potential.
What Is a Sales Mentor?
A sales mentor is a professional salesperson or sales manager with first-hand experience executing sales strategies. A great mentor will have a track record of sales success and a lot of hard-learned knowledge they’re keen to share with others.
Role of a Sales Mentor
An effective sales mentor contributes to the professional development of their mentee through guidance and support. They can help the mentee pinpoint where they’re going wrong, create an action plan, and support the learning process.
Through their knowledge and sales experience, a sales mentor offers tailored and actionable advice by listening to the mentee's struggles. They help mentees identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
A mentor isn’t there to do your job for you. They simply offer advice, ideas, and templates, and provide constructive feedback so that you can take your sales skills to the next level.
What Makes a Good Sales Mentor?
Extensive experience and success in sales do not automatically make someone a good mentor.
They need to be enthusiastic about succeeding in sales, willing to share their knowledge, and have the drive to be a mentor. You don’t want a mentor with an excellent sales track record, but zero passion for what they do.
When looking for a sales mentor, you want to find someone who is established in their sales career and goes above and beyond to achieve results. Perhaps it’s someone who shares their knowledge and advice online, or speaks at events to share and broaden their experience.
The sales mentor needs to have a positive, can-do attitude and great communication skills. They should be able to listen to your struggles, understand where you’re coming from, and offer specific and actionable advice.
Embrace a mentor who acknowledges the importance of silence—and how important that can be to a sale. Honesty and integrity are also vital traits to look for: someone who tells you the truth about what they think, not just what you want to hear.
In short, you want to build an honest relationship where you can have frank conversations and receive constructive feedback that will lead to your success.
Benefits of a Sales Mentor
According to Ben Wise, Sales and GTM leader at Google, the best resources available are often other people. Spend time talking with professionals and be genuinely interested in their journey, and you'll learn more than you could from any course or book.
If you think a sales mentor sounds great but aren’t sure of the measurable benefits, let’s discuss just how a mentor can help you and your team members with sales training and growth.
1. Improved Sales Skills
If your business or startup is young and you’re just beginning with prospecting and outreach, you may not have a defined sales process. Enter a sales mentor who can help you determine a sales process that is relevant to your business.
Instead of trying random tactics, someone with experience can draw upon context and past mistakes to advise you on the strategies that they know will work for a business model like yours.
It’s unlikely that your mentor was born with this information. They went through tons of ups and downs, trial and error. They don’t want you to make the same mistakes they did, which is why they make amazing coaches for you and your sales force.
With years of experience, sales mentors are often entrepreneurs who have honed their skills…the hard way. They can teach you the best sales communication techniques and help you with pitching, outreach, and improving your closing skills.
2. Increased Confidence
If you continue to face the same challenges, a sales mentor will identify the skill sets you need to develop, and/or the weaknesses you should tackle.
Don’t worry, it’s not only your weaknesses that your mentor will highlight. They’ll also help you see strengths you didn’t realize you had, boosting your self-esteem. Sometimes all it takes is a little push from someone with more experience than you to realize your full sales potential.
Once your mindset is positive—get ready to close those crucial deals with new-found confidence.
Sales can be a challenging field to work in, and sometimes you’ll want to give up. Endless rejections suck. When you have a mentor supporting you, you’re more likely to persevere when things get tough.
A mentor can help you reframe challenges as opportunities. After all, sales success grows from consistency, focus, and a positive attitude.
3. Gain a Better Understanding of the Sales Process
Sales mentors help you understand and map your buyer journey, and support you with lead-generation ideas.
You can pick your mentor’s brain about your ideas to gauge whether or not something will really work. Their knowledge is invaluable, and speaking to a mentor instead of basing your strategy on a hunch saves you priceless time.
If someone’s been there and back again—like your mentor has—you might as well use that hard-earned wisdom to your advantage.
4. Personal and Professional Growth
When you work with a mentor, you reflect on your own skills, gain new knowledge, and ultimately advance your career and future opportunities.
The experience might inspire you and provide a motivational boost because, sometimes, idea stagnation is a real struggle.
Access to a well-connected professional can also help you widen your network—which is essential in sales. Being part of a community of like-minded people with unique experiences can help you foster fresh ideas and stay informed of industry trends.
Networking isn't a dirty word. Be intentional. Spend time cultivating your network. If you wait until you need it, it's probably too late.
How to Find a Sales Mentor
When looking for your first sales mentor, focus on the area of expertise where you need the most assistance.
Do you need help with cold outreach, pitches, building a sales team, or closing deals? Think about the specifics of what you need to learn. This will enable you to find a mentor aligned with your business and current direction.
Here are some places to find your mentor:
There are many mentor-specific marketplaces online where people with a passion for mentoring and helping others share their expertise.
Sales mentor programs like Growth Mentor give you access to hundreds of highly-qualified, vetted mentors from top companies. Many mentors will give up their time and mentor you for free!
Joining professional organizations and attending industry events are both fantastic ways to find mentors. Meeting people in real life will help you establish whether or not you have a connection and “good vibe” with a potential mentor.
Also, ask your colleagues if they know anyone taking on mentees. There’s usually someone who knows someone that will help you!
Sales events, expositions, and conferences are other great opportunities to meet people and learn from experts in your industry.
If you want to go far in your sales career, you need to build an online network of sales professionals that you can learn from, bounce ideas off, and discuss trending tactics.
The Slack channel for Growth Mentor members is buzzing with conversations between business owners and employees sharing their knowledge.
Or, check out Pavilion to find a network of salespeople and community-powered learning.
You can also join online courses and workshops, or forums with others who are looking to develop their sales skills. Organizations like Mind the Product have large communities where they run online events for sales, marketing, and product professionals.
Tips and Strategies From Top Sales Mentors
We surveyed top sales leaders and mentors for sales advice and what they wish they’d known when just starting out in sales. Here are some insights.
An Actionable Strategy for Sales Success: Creating ICPs
Tom Parker, the founder of The Sales Architect, shares:
“A crucial part of your Go-to-Market planning should be audience mapping/identification, for example, Personas and ICPs (Ideal Company Profile).
“Look more deeply at the types of sales and marketing activities the organization does, how mature their product/service is compared to their competitors, and how they articulate their position in the market.
“A Persona is an individual that you sell to within these ICP organizations. It goes beyond just a job title, but encompasses their goals and needs, the pressures they experience in their job, their motivations, and the experience they have within the industry.
“I recommend to my clients that they run through the worksheet exercise for 3x ICPs and 5x Personas. Map into a table with Personas on the Y axis and ICPs on the X axis, giving you 15 potential 'audience profiles' (ie. the intersection between each ICP and Persona).
“This is more comprehensive than the classic audience profiling methods, as it makes you think more broadly about which Personas are present in which ICP organizations. A CMO in a large tech firm will have different motivations than a CMO in a smaller professional services firm.
“Once this is understood, the marketing language and sales proposition can be uniquely adjusted to these profiles for greater outreach success.”
For the New Salespeople: Be Patient
Manish Balakrishnan, startup advisor at Dshgsonic, highlights the importance of consistent patience.
“Patience is key. You have to go in with a lot of patience and persistence. Usually, a new salesperson gets what is called first-year luck, but for continued success in sales, you need to persist and have patience. All other sales skills can be taught, but these have to be practiced and can't be taught.”
Keep Outreach Short, Be Bold in the Follow-Up
David Kelly at dmkthinks has some key lessons for people trying to hone their sales skills:
- Go after people who are using similar products. In business and sales, we often overcomplicate things. If someone is already using a similar solution, they’ve already identified their core needs. Can you solve it better (your product/service is less costly, makes them more money, or saves them time)?
- Keep outreach short. Kelly’s team started succeeding when their outreach emails were 1-3 sentences long and dialed into their persona (which succeeded with a lot of copy testing). “My initial outreach is always along the lines of: ‘I have this idea, would you help give me feedback?’ or ‘I'm curious how the xyz problem is for you; how are you handling it now?’”
- Be bold in the follow-up. Our outreach sequence was 5+ emails sent every 24-48 hours. As long as the emails are valuable — and not just "hey, did you see my last message?" — then subsequent emails will get you results.
- Don't sell right away. There's so much noise in the sales world. Being curious about how you can help (using a "foot in the door" technique before you sell) helps you build relationships first, which makes selling easier. Come from a place of connection and authenticity to build power. Like on a first date: You're getting to know the person first, not trying to marry them immediately.
“Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak”
A piece of sales advice from Rui Bom: “As the sales guru Zig Ziglar used to say: 'Sell the sizzle, not the steak'.
When it comes to selling, it's easy to get caught up in the details of the product or service you're offering. Instead of focusing on the features, highlight its benefits. Tap into your customer's emotions and desires, and show them how your product or service can improve their life.
Play the Long Game
As most sales professionals will tell you, success requires patience and a long-term strategy. Business and sales coach Ioana Birleanu states:
“I was working with a large tech company, and I spent a lot of time with this one customer, doing proof of concepts and a lot of work to sell them on our solution. After months of engagement, they called me to say they were choosing one of our largest competitors instead—needless to say, I felt pretty angry and upset.
“However, I continued our relationship with the customer, congratulated them on their choice, and kept in touch. A couple of years later, they came back to me—as the chosen solution had not delivered on its promise, they wanted to switch to our solution now.
“Given that we had kept the relationship going over the years and I had continued cultivating our trust, they chose us this time. Cultivating the relationship, building the trust, and playing the LONG game proved pivotal to what we were doing and created a win-win partnership between our companies.”
Sometimes, sales is truly a marathon—not a sprint.
Get Granular With Your CRM
Volker Ballueder recommends building and maintaining relationships, while also nurturing a pipeline, by getting granular with your CRM:
“Using CRM effectively is a key strategy to successful sales. It is often said that salespeople don't like admin, so you need to make it easy and practical.
“Also, CRM can be used for effective communication and building relationships. You want to put personal pointers in there, (e.g. has kids, likes skiing, enjoys Italian food) so you have a way of engaging with prospects when you call/meet them next time.”
And for agile, high-powered sales teams? There’s no better CRM on the market than Close.
Prioritize Personal Well-Being
Working in sales can be fast-paced and high-pressure, and neglecting your well-being will negatively impact your work. Daniel Johnson from We Scale Startups reminds us that to stay motivated in sales, you need to strive for a solid work-life balance.
“It's important to remember that it's ok not to be productive all the time—taking a break can help you come back with a fresh perspective and renewed energy.”
Sometimes, taking a break is the most important work.
Never Quit Learning
Sure, there are workshops, conferences, and courses…but what about just a good book?
Startup consultant Ammarah Ahmed shares: “Sales is a negotiation at the core, and if done well, the customer should feel like you did them a service.” Check out Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss to understand how people work through negotiation, and to build critical skills that will help you access your prospect’s thought process and better meet their needs.
Here’s another book, great for mindset and self-organization: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It’s a true classic—one practically guaranteed to help your sales career.
Find Your Mentor = Boost Your Career
A sales mentor is often crucial to helping sales reps unlock their full potential.
With guidance, support, and feedback provided within the mentor relationship, salespeople develop key skills, increase confidence, and enjoy both personal and professional growth.
Finding a sales mentor requires effort, but it's worth it in the long run. By taking advantage of networking opportunities, online communities, sales conferences, workshops, and referrals, salespeople can find the right mentor to support them as they conquer their sales goals and crush the bottom line. The resources are available…the rest depends on you.
And speaking of optimizing your resources, you really need a CRM that supports your performance. Check out Close with this 14-day free trial, no credit card required. Your soon-to-be mentor will approve (we’re 99.9% sure).