Why Peer Mentoring Should Be a Bigger Part of Your Sales Learning

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peer mentoring

The rep onboarding experience can be daunting. With the pressure to get ramped as fast as possible, but a lack of progressive recognition that builds toward hitting goal, it’s no wonder that churn rates are a real problem for many companies.

Reps relate to other reps for obvious reasons, and peer learning should make up a large part of the sales learning program. One thing that makes each rep different is their experience: tenured reps, for example, hold a library of tribal knowledge and best practices. Unlocking and distributing this knowledge at scale is a missed opportunity for many companies.

Here is why peer mentors can help bridge this learning gap.

1. Social Proof Drives Learning

Social Proof is the idea that people, observing others, will alter their own behaviors to match those of their peers. To drive learning, have peers lead lessons, naturally influencing others to take notice and creating a culture of sharing tribal knowledge. Instruct your managers to play a part in guiding lessons, but create structured opportunities for reps to guide each other whenever possible.

2. Peers Master Tribal Knowledge

Sales tribal knowledge – the in-the-field tips, nuances, and advice that drive successful sales in your organization – is typically not accessible for the average rep. Having peers, including sales leaders, work together naturally transfers this knowledge from rep to rep. Using video or social tools can make this transfer scale, reaching your entire organization.

3. Peers Lead to Learning that Sticks

Sales training “stickiness” is a measure of how well sales lessons carry with reps after training. Studies by the Sales Leadership Council have found that peer-led teaching resulted in a 2% increase in stickiness, a significant difference in how reps learn and apply knowledge in a large organization.

What does this mean? Reps will more quickly internalize and demonstrate their new behaviors in the market. The result is increased quota attainment, reduced churn, and a more prepared team.

4. Peers Are Natural Motivators

Even the best reps need motivation outside of compensation. Constructing peer teams during the onboarding process creates a natural support system for each rep, friends to share win and loss stories with and to rely on when goal looks unattainable.

Not only does this increase the chance of a rep solving a problem in their learning before they miss quota, but it also creates a culture of support that will drive retention and success.

peer mentoring stakeholders

5. Peers Stick Together

Sales reps tend to stick with their onboarding group for their entire tenure, naturally gravitating toward these peers socially and within their role.

Teams are essential not only to sharing sales tribal knowledge and new skills but also in navigating the sale: the average sale, according to CEB, now takes 5.4 stakeholders on the buyer’s side and many more resources on the seller’s end. That makes having peer sharing a critical way to transfer knowledge on how to internally and externally navigate complex deals.