How to Find a Sales Mentor — and Why

RepVue Editorial Team
RepVue Editorial TeamDec 5, 2023

Finding a sales mentor can be a valuable step in advancing your sales career. A mentor can provide guidance, support, and industry insights that can help you achieve your goals. 

Identifying a suitable mentor and building a successful mentor-mentee relationship can be challenging. Fortunately, we can help.

Here are our suggestions for finding a sales mentor and how to make the most of the mentorship experience.

What is a Sales Mentor?

A sales mentor is an experienced sales professional who can offer personalized advice and industry insight to boost your skills and career. A sales mentor goes beyond sales training, as they provide personalized advice, share industry insights, and offer constructive feedback based on their own experiences. 

A sales mentor will help contribute to your professional growth, helping you navigate challenges, refine your sales techniques, and ultimately achieve greater success in sales. 

Sales Mentor Vs. Sales Coach

It’s important to understand that there’s a difference between a sales mentor and a sales coach. The line between a mentor and coach is not always clear — as a mentor will often provide some coaching, and a coach can also fill the role of mentor. Here are a few differences:

  • A mentorship relationship is often on a timeframe of many years, whereas coaching relationships are often shorter term.
  • A coach is often a paid role — whereas a mentor is typically not paid.
  • A coach is more likely to be a “professional” advisor. In many cases they will be a full-time coach with many other clients. For most mentors, while they may have other mentees, they usually consider the mentorship to be a side activity of relatively low commitment that they do to “give back” – while in many cases also holding their own full-time job. Although retirees can also be excellent mentors.

Knowing the difference is an important consideration to help ensure that expectations are aligned for what each party expects to get out of the relationship.

Understanding the Need for a Sales Mentor

For sales pros just starting their careers or a few years experience, having a mentor can be extremely beneficial. A mentor is someone who has experience in the sales industry and can provide guidance and support to help individuals improve their skills and achieve their goals. One research report even shows sales people with mentors have significantly higher quota attainment than reps who don’t.

One of the main benefits to having a sales mentor is to gain insight into the industry. A mentor can provide valuable advice on how to navigate the complexities of the sales world, including how to approach clients, how to negotiate deals, and how to close sales.

Another reason to have a sales mentor is to gain access to a network of contacts. Mentors often have a wide range of connections within the industry, which can be useful for expanding your professional network.

In addition to providing guidance and access to contacts, a sales mentor can also offer emotional support and motivation. Sales can be a challenging field, and having someone to turn to for advice and encouragement can make a big difference in your success.

Mentorships are frequently encouraged at sales orgs with strong professional development. If you’re not sure how your company compares in this area, you can see what others say by looking up the company’s RepVue profile

Finding and Identifying Potential Mentors

Finding a sales mentor can be a challenging task, but if you find a mentor who can guide and support you in your career, the benefits can be enormous. 

Try to choose a mentor who understands what it’s like to sell at the same type of company at which you are selling. If you’re at a small org, for example, a sales mentor who has been selling at a large company for 20+ years may not remember what it’s like to sell to prospects who have never heard of your company. 

Here are some ways to identify potential mentors:

Within Your Network

The first place to look for a mentor is within your network. This could be someone you already know, such as a former colleague, boss, or even a friend. Identify individuals who have experience in sales and have achieved success in their careers. Reach out to them and ask if they would be willing to mentor you.

Look up your sales organization’s RepVue profile to see how it ranks for 

Online Platforms

There are several online platforms where you can find potential mentors. LinkedIn can be a good place to start. You can search for sales professionals who have experience in your industry and who are willing to mentor others. 

(Why not follow RepVue while you’re at it?)

Something else to consider are mentor matching services, which connect mentees with mentors in various fields, including sales. A quick search for “mentor matching service” will yield a number of results. Be aware that these types of services may charge a fee, so looking within your own network or to 2nd- and 3rd-level connections is likely best.

Industry Events

Attending industry events may also be a good way to meet potential mentors. Look for events that are specific to your industry and attend them regularly. This will give you the opportunity to network with sales professionals who have experience in your field. Don’t be afraid to approach them and ask questions. In our experience, most sales professionals are happy to help fellow reps, and the conversations and connections you make can lead to mentorship.

Approaching a Potential Mentor

Initial Contact

Once you’ve identified a potential mentor, the next step is to initiate contact. That is, if they’re not someone already within your professional network. If they are, you can skip to the next section.

A casual email or LinkedIn message can be an effective way to make initial contact. The message should be friendly and professional, introducing yourself and expressing your interest in learning from the mentor’s experience. Keep the message concise and to the point. There will be plenty of time to talk once you build a solid relationship.

Expressing Your Intentions

When approaching a potential mentor, express your intentions clearly. Be upfront about what you hope to gain from the mentorship, whether it be advice on a specific sales technique or guidance on advancing in their career.

It is also important to be respectful of the mentor’s time and availability. You’ll need to express willingness to work around the mentor’s schedule and be flexible in terms of meeting times and locations.

Building a Mentor-Mentee Relationship

Building a strong mentor-mentee relationship is crucial for success. This relationship should be built on mutual trust, respect, and open communication. Here are some tips on how to build a successful mentor-mentee relationship:

Setting Expectations

Before starting the mentorship, it’s important to set clear expectations for both parties. This includes the goals of the mentorship, the frequency of meetings, and the level of commitment required from both the mentor and mentee. By setting expectations upfront, both parties can ensure they are on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Maintaining Regular Contact

Regular communication is key to maintaining a strong mentor-mentee relationship. This includes scheduling regular meetings, checking in on progress, and providing updates on any challenges or successes. It’s important for the mentee to take the initiative in scheduling meetings and keeping the mentor updated on progress.

How often should you meet with your Mentor?

There’s no firm rule here, but for most mentorships a frequency of quarterly calls – or a coffee or lunch if you can do so in person – is a good way to start. Monthly may be too frequently where there’s not enough time between conversations, and if you don’t connect at least quarterly it’s easy to let the relationship lapse. Quarterly is a good middle-ground – but you should feel free to meet at a different frequency if it works better for both mentor and mentee.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Feedback is an important part of the mentor-mentee relationship. The mentor should provide constructive feedback to help the mentee improve their skills and achieve their goals. The mentee should also be open to receiving feedback and willing to make changes based on the mentor’s advice. Additionally, the mentor should be open to receiving feedback from the mentee and willing to make adjustments to their approach if necessary.

By following these tips, both the mentor and mentee can build a strong relationship that will help the mentee achieve their sales goals and develop their skills.

See which sales orgs rank highest for professional development

What’s in it for the Mentor?

Most people don’t have the courage or discipline to seek out a mentor, or to ask for mentorship. And many people are happy to share their experience and advice if asked

People like to offer advice, and serving as a mentor can make for a rewarding experience that gives the mentor a feeling that they’re “giving something back” to the community of people who are less experienced. Just be sure to set clear expectations up front about the time commitment and communication frequency that you envision.

Evaluating the Mentorship Progress

Once you have found a sales mentor and started working with them, it’s important to evaluate the progress of your mentorship. This will help you determine whether you’re on track to achieve your goals and whether adjustments need to be made.

One way to evaluate your mentorship progress is to set specific goals and track your progress towards them. For example, if you’re looking to increase your sales numbers, you can set a goal for a specific increase in sales and track your progress towards that goal.

Another way to evaluate your mentorship progress is to have regular check-ins with your mentor. These check-ins can be used to discuss your progress, ask for feedback, and make any necessary adjustments to your mentorship plan.

It’s also important to pay attention to the quality of the advice and guidance you’re receiving from your mentor. Make sure that their advice aligns with your goals and values, and that they have the necessary experience and expertise to guide you in the right direction.

In addition, don’t be afraid to seek out additional resources and support outside of your mentorship. This can include attending industry events, reading books and articles, and seeking out advice from other sales professionals.

Overall, evaluating your mentorship progress is key to ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your mentorship and making progress towards your goals.

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