What Role Does Mentorship Play in the Development of An Account Executive?


    What Role Does Mentorship Play in the Development of An Account Executive?

    Exploring the transformative power of mentorship in the sales industry, we've gathered insights from top sales professionals and founders. From the lasting impact of a first mentor's advice to the role of mentorship in relationship building and closing deals, dive into five compelling stories that underscore the value of guidance and experience.

    • First Mentor's Impactful Sales Advice
    • Seasoned Director's Empathetic Sales Approach
    • Manager’s Advice on How to Enhance Selling Skills
    • Sales Director’s Consultative Selling Approach
    • Mentor's Role in Relationship Building and Closing

    First Mentor's Impactful Sales Advice

    I began my professional B2B sales role at 21 years of age, selling consumables. I have been blessed with great mentors throughout my career, but my first mentor made the biggest impact on me by transferring to me the love of selling. Roger was the consummate sales leader who saw in me potential that I did not see. He brought out the best in me by demanding excellence in my critical thinking and execution.

    The three best pieces of advice he provided to me for selling are: 1) The importance of active listening; you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen with your emotions. 2) The importance of thorough investigation in the sales call. He said, 'Make the goal to be able to sit on a four-legged chair before making a recommendation.' This means if you only garner information from one person in a B2B scenario, you are sitting on a one-legged chair and are likely to fall down based on just one set of assumptions. Key point: Get the viewpoint from the top of the mountain, not down in the trees, so you don't miss any opportunities to serve. Identify the economic buyer, technical, and user buyers, and find yourself a coach. Uncover motives by asking, 'Why is this important to you?' because people buy based on emotions and justify with logic.

    The third piece of advice was to never stop once you get the momentum going. Be in the spirit of selling! Always be planting seeds and reaching out to customers. What you do today is creating your future tomorrow.

    Rhonda M Petit
    Rhonda M PetitSales Peak Performance Coach, 3x5 Coaching

    Seasoned Director's Empathetic Sales Approach

    Mentorship has been pivotal in my development as a sales professional. Early on, I was mentored by a seasoned sales director who emphasized the importance of listening over speaking and solving real client needs. He taught me to ask insightful questions and conduct reflective practice—reviewing each sales interaction to learn and improve. These lessons have not only enhanced my sales approach but also shaped how I mentor others, focusing on empathy and customer-centric problem-solving. This guidance has been a cornerstone of my career growth.

    Michael Hammelburger
    Michael HammelburgerFounder, Sales Therapy

    Manager’s Advice on How to Enhance Selling Skills

    When I first started in sales in 2008, I knew dentistry, but I did not know much about the sales process. I had been an educator and in a clinical capacity previously, but that was my first time in sales.

    I had mentors as my managers who showed me the value of educational selling and qualifying the doctor to try and solve a problem. With the proper questions asked, you can receive insight into what the doctors are looking for, so you can help with issues they have in their practice with products.

    My mentors stressed the point of having a thorough knowledge of the products I was selling, while also knowing the features and benefits of the competitive products I was selling against. Having mentors with a clinical background also helped me to be able to integrate my clinical knowledge into the sales process so that I was speaking the same language as the doctors I was calling on.

    Since then, through the years and development as a sales professional, different mentors have helped me with different aspects of my role. Communication is a large portion of the process, along with being emotionally intelligent to handle certain situations and foster relationships. Each mentor at each stage in my career development has definitely contributed to my success. I am very grateful for every one of them.

    Kayce Hollingsworth
    Kayce HollingsworthEastern Regional Manager, Shofu Dental

    Sales Director’s Consultative Selling Approach

    My first advisor, a sales director with a lifetime of knowledge of the PR business, taught me to tell a prospect: 'I don't want to learn what your company does; I need to know your business and your requirements.'

    This provided me with the necessary mentorship for developing a consultative selling approach, where my main focus is about creating value for the client versus driving a transaction. This is a simple approach that has become critical in developing long-term client relationships, and thus, aspects such as trust have become key values that my company upholds to enable it to succeed.

    Mark McShane
    Mark McShaneFounder, Cupid Digital PR

    Mentor's Role in Relationship Building and Closing

    In the early stages of my career, I was fortunate enough to have a mentor who was a seasoned sales veteran. He had a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the sales process. His guidance was instrumental in shaping my approach to sales. He taught me the importance of building relationships with clients, understanding their needs, and providing solutions that meet those needs. This approach has been a key factor in my success as a sales professional.

    One instance that stands out is when I was attempting to close a deal with a major client. My mentor stepped in to help me through the process. He assisted me in understanding the client's perspective, their pain points, and how our product could address them. With his help, I was able to make a compelling case to the client and ultimately close the deal. This experience was pivotal in my career, highlighting the importance of having a mentor.

    Mentorship doesn't just end with learning the ropes. Even as my career progressed, I continued to seek advice and insights from my mentor. You see, the world of sales is dynamic and ever-changing, and having a mentor helped me stay ahead of the curve. I learned how to adapt to changing market trends, understand new sales methodologies, and continually improve my sales strategies.

    Matt Little
    Matt LittleDirector & Entrepreneur, Festoon House