Maximize Your Sales Enablement Potential with the Power of Mentorship
Aventi Group COO and Co-Founder, Sridhar Ramanathan, has worked closely with Pankaj Strivastava (CEO) and Ravi Gundlapalli (founder) of MentorCloud, an Aventi client, to discover more about the power of mentorship. This post is based on Aventi’s own experience on the subject plus terrific wisdom from Pankaj and Ravi.
As a sales enablement or marketing professional, chances are good that you already have a learning platform and training materials for sales reps to go through as part of their onboarding. You have your playbooks, your battlecards, your webinars, all of them fine tuned to address your key personas’ needs and questions. How can you take all that wonderful learning content and give your sales and marketing teams a supercharge?
The key is to supplement your existing tools and training with the power of mentorship. In particular, sales and marketing mentoring programs put your learning content into an organizational context by forming a person-to-person learning network, helping accelerate core competencies faster and strengthening the human fabric of an organization. By harnessing the power of human-to-human connections, sales and marketing leaders can increase retention rates, internal mobility, and diversity amongst their team members.
Focus on growing your team’s competencies
When it comes to growing your people, it’s essential to remember that everyone has a different learning style. Some of your team members are going to be great in a one-on-one situation, while others do better as part of a group, bouncing ideas off each other. To reflect these different needs, your approach must be multi-dimensional and multi-modal, providing a separate training journey to grow slightly different competencies and match each type of learning style.
To use sales as an example, many salespeople begin their careers as sales development representatives (SDRs) or business development representatives (BDRs). Both of these positions focus on generating leads, either inbound or outbound, but they don’t necessarily know how to nurture an account all the way to close. In order to help these reps upskill, you could give them lengthy training materials to go over on their own––or you could create a very specific training journey for each rep based on their comfort levels, learning style, and existing skills.
For example, SDRs that are just starting their careers might benefit from a one-on-one mentorship with a more experienced salesperson with the goal of learning how to take sales calls, run demos, and finally hand the deal over to a closer. On the other hand, someone who is good at doing demos but doesn’t have a lot of experience with closing deals would benefit more from buddying up with an accomplished closer to learn tips and tricks directly from an expert. Either way, the SDR is taking the next step in their career while continuing to do their work at the same time.
Another great way to uplevel your sales or marketing team members is to create a circle of employees moderated by a single highly accomplished leader. To use the example of SDRs again, now they are being mentored in a group of their peers, all of whom are focused on learning and upskilling to take the next step in their career. So if they are talking about target audiences or how to recognize a customer’s needs when they’re on the phone, they can either look to each other for immediate answers or they can ask the senior sales leader.
Whether it’s in a learning circle or a more traditional one-to-one mentorship setting, you are catering your training solutions to each individual’s needs and growing slightly different competencies as a result.
What are the benefits of a mentorship?
Beyond helping your sales or marketing team uplevel and reskill more quickly, adopting a mentorship platform to supplement your existing sales enablement materials can benefit your entire organization. Here are just a few of the ways it does so:
Mentoring improves talent retention & internal mobility
Adopting a culture of mentorship helps companies train, identify, and retain the next generation of top talent. Instead of letting high-performing employees languish unchallenged in their current position––and risk them leaving when something better comes along––mentoring allows your top salespeople or marketing superstars to share their knowledge with the rest of their team, keeps them invested in your company’s success, and ensures a pipeline for future talent.
Additionally, by giving team members a sense of culture and human-to-human connection, mentorship encourages them to find new opportunities internally. As a result, MentorCloud studies found that mentored employees felt 42% more connected to their senior leaders, 30% gained a better understanding of their organization’s mission––and 12% got promoted to a leadership role.
Mentoring creates true diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
In order to create a team that is truly representative of your customers, you need to build an internal culture that encourages everyone to experience other cultures and understand them at a deeper level. Mentorship helps companies meet this challenge in several ways––by creating affinity groups for each subculture within the company, for example, or by bringing people from different backgrounds together in a one-on-one setting to learn from and about each other.
In these ways, mentoring has been shown to reduce implicit bias in the workplace, boost confidence amongst underrepresented groups, and pave a pathway for a more representative workforce. One study showed that mentoring programs boosted the number of Black, Hispanic, and Asian-American women as well as Hispanic and Asian-American men in managerial roles by as much as 24%.
Uplevel your team and your company with mentoring
Creating a culture of sales or marketing mentorship helps companies supplement their existing training materials with the magic ingredient of human-to-human connection. Working in a mentoring relationship helps your team members upskill or retrain faster and more efficiently, reduces turnover in the workforce, and increases the effectiveness of your DEI initiatives. In short, having easy access to the support, encouragement, and skills of colleagues and leaders makes all the difference––for us, for our teams, and for our companies.
If you’re interested in exploring MentorCloud as a platform to support mentoring, click here. If you’d like to see how mentoring fits into the broader context of learning, click here to download the Aventi Group Sales Enablement scorecard.