October 14

Be the Mentor Who Mattered


Sales teams are working hard to hit Q4 goals and set up Q1. There are sales numbers to hit. Effective sales managers help their sellers by conducting pipeline reviews to ensure they achieve their numbers.

But at the end of the day, your sales team may not remember the numbers and goals you helped them achieve.

They will remember HOW you helped them achieve those numbers and goals.

I’ve been lucky to have great mentors in my life who were instrumental in my personal and professional development. They helped me achieve my numbers and also helped me develop as a person.  

One such mentor was Don, a former boss. He was vice president of sales and I was one of his regional sales managers.

I was going through a rough patch in my personal life because of a painful breakup. It was the holiday season and I was dreading it as a newly single person. I didn’t want to field the question, “Where is ______ ?”

It was nothing to do with family and friends, as they were kind and supportive. It was everything to do with my mindset.  

Then Don stepped in with an invitation that would change my life.

As I was preparing to go home for Christmas, he casually said that if I wanted to come back early, he could use help with preparing next year’s sales budget. 

Now, let me be clear. Don was a whiz at budgets, territory and account planning, margins and establishing sales quotas.

He didn’t need my help. But he knew I needed a little help.

He knew my perky exterior wasn’t matching the hurting interior.  

I did come back early and I learned a TON about setting and managing budgets. I learned a LOT about numbers. And Don invited me to join he and his wife for dinners or movies. I accepted just one or two invites, but the gesture meant a lot more.

Don’s guidance on numbers has been invaluable to me in my career as a former vice president of sales, a sales trainer and speaker. He taught me numbers and also was good at holding me accountable to achieve the numbers.

But what sticks with me almost 20 years later is the empathy he showed me at a low point in my life. It enabled me to get through a difficult time, showed another side of a colleague, and exuded caring and empathy – which is sometimes missing from sales management.   

That’s what I remember today.

That’s a gift I try to pay forward.

Sales managers, numbers matter because companies need to make money in order to remain competitive, cover payroll, and reinvest in people and systems to remain relevant.

However, in your quest to achieve numbers, never forget there is a person, a human being that you are managing and developing.

That will be what your sales team remembers.

Be the mentor who mattered.

Good Selling!


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