The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 2 months ago

The Power of Mentorship


We all need mentors.

Whether you think you’re okay going it alone or not, the truth is that every person would benefit from a mentor. And not just a mentor, but a mentor from within their industry. The question is, how do you go about finding one?

Finding a new mentor can be a lot like blind dating. It’s not really something that you want to just grab out of a hat. It takes time, effort, patience, and in some cases, a lot of trial and error before you find the right one. But one thing remains true: A solid mentorship can do wonders for your career.


On this episode of The Sales Engagement podcast, we talk with Helena Wood. Helena is the VP of Marketing at ZenCargo and joined the show to talk all about:

- The importance of finding a mentor within your industry

- How to go about establishing a mentor/mentee relationship

- Building the courage to reach out to a mentor

- The guiding principles to keep in mind when looking for a mentor

- Three qualities that make up a strong mentorship

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

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Welcome to the sales engagement podcast.This podcast is brought to you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, andthey just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach welldoes outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record timeafter virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runsaccount based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own salesengagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as theydo. Head to outreach Doo on outreach to see what they have going on. Now let's get into today's episode. Welcome all the sales engagement podcast.We had Keitlin Kelly today, senior manager of sales development outreach in the Amaregion, also co founder of STRs anonymous. I am the host over here,based out of London, and today's episode will be focused on the powerof mentorship and really around career development. We have Helena Wood, VP ofmarketing over at Zen cargo, joining us today. Hello, Helena, hicaitlin thrill to be here. Really happy to be talking about mentorship, somethingI care and awful lot about. I am excited to dive into this andnot only talk about mentorship and how to kind of progress within your career,especially as a female here, but also talk about feedback culture and how thishas helped in really build a circular approach to how you run your business overas Zen cargo, to ensure that not only are your people teams excelling,but also product feedback is looped into this as well. Yeah. Absolutely.I think the whole system is so connected by culture. There's no way thatyou can get mentorship, there's no way we can support development unless everything comesback to a really strong feedback culture. Yeah, definitely. So we hadshouted a couple weeks ago and what I'd love to do to kind of kickoff the conversation today is understand kind of your experience and you've been in salesfor just under ten years now and you've got to work in a lot ofhypergrowth companies. Can you tell us a little bit about basically about your previousexperience and your path to vp? Of course I can. I've had aquite a mixed experience where I've been in and around sales throughout my career,which, I think now that I've ended up so soledly in the marketing camp, has really helped me sort of understand exactly what we are really trying todrive as marketers. So my career started with a small start up at thetime could pre seat. Thank you. I recognize them know as dext.They have an accounting platform that helps people manage expenses and payments and when Istarted I was an intern. I'd first just moved to London, I'd finishedmy degree and after spending a few weeks making cups of teas and writing anemail newsletter, I was asked by one of the founders to step into asort of entry level sales position and I was demoing the product and there wasme and one other amazing girl, a sales leader and I have called anElla, and we work together on really building out what the sales process wouldlook like with our crro. I really fantastic mentor at that point and throughmy career with receipt band covers with some just over six years I worked throughthe ranks of the initial sales position leading a sort of new business sales team, taking that team global. So really thinking about how to establish process andmake sure we have a lot of ability to train and develop great people.And as we were approaching our series be and we kind of realized we probablyneeded to feel our growth with a bit more marketing, I started doing thatand partnership with the sales role I was looking at and I then was wenttoward by an amazing marketing leader. So he later came to c Mo ofbusiness and I used to spend I spent a lot a year and a halfbasically getting on a flight, going over foot to Washington for two days chattingabout marketing and then coming back to London to do it. And after thatI stepped into a global head of marketing position under that Se Cmo, whichhelped me really understand, you know,... to look at and think aboutgrowing and leading marketing teams. After my amazing experience a receipt bank which afterme, I got a little bit bored. At the end of six and ahalf years. I've gone through a couple of cycles of the whole marketingjourney and went on to an amazing business called intum, who have a marketplacefor clinical supply. So they help people find doctors and I was in acommercial director position there. So at that point I was looking not only atmarketing but also sales and customer success, which was a really great opportunity tothink holistically about the whole growth and the whole revenue journey in a business thatwas really growing very quickly. So whereas receipt ban could gone from seed fundingall the way up to series see, at the point that I was workingwith them land to revery specifically in their prev journey. So they were tryingto get to that kind of more proof of concept, ready to scale phase. And now I'm at sand cargo. I've been in San cargo since Januarythis year, so almost ten months, and in that time I've been obviouslyfocus on marketing. My position is you be marketing but working incredibly closely withwhat we describe as our growth teams, that's str sales, marketing customer success, and thinking not only about how to expand my own team and marketing strategy. There's just one sort of very frass old person at the beginning of theyear, so we've had a lot of work to do there, but reallythinking about how all the different organizations in growth can work together to build areally strong culture or not only our leaders working together, but also were rolemodeling for our teams to do great things, because I think when you're in afast growing on business that's super ambitious, the only way you're going to getthe growth who need is by facilitating, you know, development for every singleperson that you have and really setting them up for success. And that'swhat I really care about, what I'm sort of leading teams. That's whatkind of guts me out of bed in the morning. I love that.I think that is, I one of the biggest things that you just mentioned. There is no making sure of the culture within your leaders that it startsthere. You guys are kind of studying the tone of the example and it'sgoing to just funnel down into your individual teams from then on moving forward.Oh, completely, like there's everything starts at home and you know, eventhough I've absolutely loved every opportunity of out of my career journey, I've seenthe example sometimes where there's leadership and certain functions that's not necessarily living the culturethat they're trying to facilitate or drive in their teams and, frankly, youknow, I think this kind of a lesson we maybe all learned in thestarshop space. If we're not prepared to rule model for our teams, ifwe're not prepared to kind of rule our sleeves that up and get right indowne trenches, why would we expect or someone else right? No, definitely. So you should chat a little bit there about your mentorships and how thisreally picked off for you back as an intern and it kind of how thoserelationships developed into potential leaders that you've been followed onto different opportunities as well inor able to learn from. How would you if someone was looking to kindof find a mentor in the industry that they are in? Where would youkind of direct them to kind of carve this out? How would you kindof advise them to go about this in looking for a mentor? So Ithink the first thing I would advise people to do is actually to look fora mentor. And it sounds really obvious, but actually, if I look backon my career development, I have to admit that I was probably luckyand reactive rather than very proactive. So I in a few cases ended upin situations where I was receiving mentorship from amazing people that I probably haven't proactivelygot out and sort of looked and sought, but really he's working with those peoplehelped me grow so much faster than I would have done on my own. So, you know, for anyone that's thinking about growing their career,for anyone that's super ambitious, being afraid to look for a mentor step one, and I just going to want to make that point because I think alot of people aren't even aware it's something they can do, particularly people whoare in new in their career, particularly when they're trying to find their feet. I think we often are nervous to ask for help. We can feelvery exposed when we asked for help or we worry that other people might nothave time or might not be interested, and the reality is often just sodifferent. So, firstly, look for a mentor. Secondly, start closeto home. So often when we're in growing businesses, there may be peoplein our teams, around our teams or...

...completely different functions who've done something thatyou think is cool. Or maybe you're something in common. It might bethat you drink the same craft beer, maybe you went to the same university. I think mentorship can often start really close to home and getting like closeto someone, of being able to build a relationship where you feel safe oryou don't mind asking questions that might expose the fact that you're a little bitstuck or you feel like you're making mistakes. It's really important and I think whenyou're first testing the waters of building those relationships, starting close to homeis really important and I think as you grow in your career and hopefully yourconfidence and maybe your rule as well, that's a time to start thinking morebroadly about the best place to people to help you with the problems that youwere trying to solve today, and that's where there are amazing networks that youcan start to tap into and you know, maybe you do need to be abit courageous and go to someone that you super, you know you reallyadmire, and just see what happened. So I'm part of the what wasthe London revenue collective? Is and pavilion amazing to just sort of reach outto people there and ask for help. I think something I've sort of doneas I've prepely lurked and stopped certain people on Linkedin watch their careers growing andwhen I feel like I'm a point where I might have a question they've sortof probably answered in the past. What's wrong with sending out a message andasking someone for help? You be amazed how often people are willing to jumponto calls. So for anyone looking, be aware if people are in thesame space as you, try and find a community where you can ask forhelp. Listening to podcast like this is a great place to find people andthen just be really unafraid. What's the hours that's going to happen? Theymight say no, but you probably looked really brave for asking. Yeah,and I definitely I think that's like people always love to help people, soit's just having the courage to ask for it. Yeah, you'd men inthere. That is so true. Is Some, especially people earlier in theircareer, they don't know about the bet wish their opportunities maybe that lie withina metterr and so it's just, you know, being curious and just reachedout to people that are either on the curature directory that you want to imitateor are, you know, are in the field, field their industry thatyou're looking to learn more about, that you can leverage their resources or insightson totally and be greedy. I mean there's nothing we talked about mentors.If everyone's going to have one person, it's like your sort of career soulmate who's going to coach you through the you know where. I think weall you know, the more curious we can be in the more people thatwe can ask questions of, particularly is our careers change and our needs changeing. I kind of sometimes think of myself as a bit of a like Collaptimania, I could looking for people to help because we deal with different challenges everyday and businesses that grew really quickly. So, you know, I wouldjust encourage people to constantly look and if you've chat someone and maybe you don'tthink there are more conversations to be house, that's cool. You probably learn something. Go and find something else. Yeah, I know, definitely,and I think that's another point right there, is it doesn't have to be thislike soul mentor that you're with like forever. Like one of the thingsthat I always look at and like always encourage a lot of my reps aswell. As you know, it's okay to change it up every six monthsor when you need to, depending on where your growth is and where whatyou're looking to lean into to develop es. Actually, yeah, agreed. Ithink the only the only thing that I would say to anyone looking formentors, particularly people who are kind of going about it the first time,is this is a time to take accountability, to really own your own development.So, you know, I think I've had conversations be C I meantor a few people were sometimes someone turns off on a call with a bitof a kind of so where you're going to help me approach? And Ithink when you're all outside of the complish you as a mentor, it's nothingyou can do. So as long as yourself aware and you really have asense of how you're wanting to grow, where you want to help. Maybeyou've got questions that you need to ask, however you want to structure it,but this is a time to take ownership of your growth and come inwith some purpose, and I think that's where, you know, just startingby reflecting on yourself, being aware you want to find a mentor thinking aboutwhy is super important. That is a perfect seg when my next question,which you know you are a mentory yourselves and you have some menties that youguide and lead. What would you say are like three key things that reallymake for a strong mentorship? What works... If somebody was looking tobe that meanty, what would you advise them to do to prepare for thisrelationship? I mean, it will obviously depend on the people you're talking about. For me, step one is I absolutely have to feel like I knowthat person. You know, I'm very, very motivated by empathy. I reallycare about the people that I act as a mentor for and we willprobably spend our first couple of calls chatting about you, your life, yourhobbies, where you live, what you eat for dinner, whatever it is, because for me it's really important to try and board build a sort ofemotional bond. But I you know, the more invested I am, themore I want to help the individual and I hope for the Mente's I workwith, the more they might trust me and feel safe in the conversations werehaving and then able to bring stuff that's really really bothering them. That numberone, I think. The other thing I then tries make sure we havereally structure conversations and without being preachy or a lectury, I don't as sendpeople away with homework, but actually we are there for a purpose and makingsure that if we have had a conversation about particular scenario or particular challenge thatthe menties experiencing, let's pick it up again, let's keep talking often.You know, I what's that? A lot of people that I mentor becausethere's a constant dialog around. You know, how is that situation involving? Areyou taking the steps that we spoke about? And I kind of wantto make sure that the people I'm working with her taking accountability for that aswell. I can't be bothered telling the same conversation ten times over. It'snot always it's not good you SP anyone's time. Yeah, so building relationship, having a little bit of structure and, I think being don't know what thethird is, just probably not dying too many bounds around the conversation.If I think about some of the areas where I'd ask my own mentors forhelp, some of them have been very, very tactical. Work specific scenarios.I'm running this marketing campaign, how can I optimize it? I'm hiringin my team, wat should I look for in this particular role? Butalso I've leent on mentors for cultural situations in the companies I'm working for.Guidance on how to work with stakeholders, guidance on how to communicate with customersin a different market. You know, the spectrum of questions you can askand where you can look for help, I think is really, really broad. So trying not to be limited as being important as well. Yeah,I think that is that I so true, because you never know where the conversationcould go. And earlier on you also mentioned don you know, takeownership of your own development and have kind of a purpose behind it. Somake sure if you are swing up, ready to invest in it as muchas you're asking the other person to invest their time into it as well.Exactly, exactly, all right. So you know, being a female insales, and you as well, if there was a female that's just gettingstarted out on her career, and I know you're very passionate about development andmaking sure the people are mentoring and have the right support in place. Wherewould you suggest that they seek out in mentor or any guiding principles that theyshould keep in mind when looking for one? Think the guiding principles be spoken aboutbeing afraid, shop around, do your research, and I frankly don'tthink this is advice only applies to women in sales, but I think sometimesas women in the sales environment it can feel harder. Particularly depends on thebusiness that you're working in. But in terms of the range of successful peoplewho maybe have kind of an apart to calls made it, we know thatthere are fewer crows in the industry, for example. It's a more limitedpool. But also I would encourage women just to go out and chat otherwomen, chat boys that they think you're doing well. Don't limit your conversationsand if you are able to join one of the communities that are right there. For example, there's Los of amazing sty our communities. There are lotsif you really specifically want to be in the community community. That's kind ofgals only you can do that. The great thing is to our clubs outthere now and look con social social media beyond Linkedin's well also, I'm sureyou've had lots of conversations about how linkedin has become our sort of number onetwo, particularly over the last two years. Some having an embarrassing conversation with friendsyesterday about the fact is the tool we all use more than instagram ortick tock or facebook or anything like that. But yeah, you know, thereare also communities wherever you want to hang out, you know. SoI'm embarrassingly maybe use tick tock by a...

...lot and you would be amazed howmany leadership conversations are taking place on a forum like tick talk, and that'sa great place to them reach out right. I think I'm another form that justgave a mind. There is twitter. There's so much for makes on twitteras well. There is sometimes we get this tunnel vision and we're allon the thinked in, but there's other there's other avenues that we can leverageto so exactly, and I think in particular, like something I talked alot about. As leaders, we bring our whole cells to our work andalso, you know, our work impacts our whole cells. So when weneed help or a Meuni guidance, why would we look only in that oneplace where we live really specifically in our work life, which is linkedin?So if twitter as your platform, get on there. If it's Instagram,get on there. Some people are really into you know, also to differenttools and podcasts are also amazing. All right, fantastic. So we kindof covered a lot there. Within mentorships, which I love when I kind ofswitch it over to feedback altering really what this means for you and yourteam over at Zen cargo. Can you kind of explain this brand the peoplestairpoint, as well as that products their point. Yeah, so I thinkI mean a feedback culture is so important and it can cover so many differentelements of the work that we do. So for me, I was luckyenough to work with an amazing coach when I was early in my career andone of the things that she specialized in was helping people develop feedback cultures.So I first got close to this when I was actually working as a salesleader with str style teams. We didn't call on that at the time.That was the same thing and we used a whole load of really fantastic feedbacktraining based a little bit on the whole kin of Kimscott radical candor framework.And then there's another fantastic book which is called thanks for the feedback, whichhelps people recognize, firstly, that they have a human response and a reactionto feedback and it's okay to feel stuff when someone when someone gives you feedbackin to think about how best to manage yourself in a feedback conversation to thenget into the right pout space to actually implement the feedback. And it alsocoaches people on how to deliver feedback to people in a way that is goingto resonate with that individual. So if it's about having a conversation about howsomeone best receives feedback or making sure you're creating the right setting or giving givingthem right framework. So for us the feedback culture started there and we thenwe're using feedback to do collaries. So all our calls were reported, wewould have conversations for after listening to someone's call, to str to give onanother feedback. And then we expand that beyond the business. So product managerswould listen to us, to our calls, and everyone was kind of working crossfunctionally to do that. And what we then did is we sort ofstall so some of those principles of the feedback culture and brought them into otherparts of the business that had other things that we could feedback on. So, for example, in marketing, and this is something we do it asin cargo today, we have a regular retrospectives where we look at specific thingsthat we've done as a marketing team. So maybe we've run a campaign,for example. We want you launch and run events quite a lot. Sowe might sit down look at that event. We will bring in cross functional players, so some of our stakeholders from sales, from customers success even fromwider, you know, further across the business, like product I'm all gettogether and more look at the particular activity and we'll think about what's gone wellbut maybe didn't go so well. How could we do better? And thehope is, you know, we've created a formal setting there. But bycreating that formal setting you do a few different things. You said the example, you build relationship that bridges for people that might not normally have worked togetherstart having conversations, and you also normalize giving an implementing feedback. And thething that, you know, I hope happens, and I kind of knowhappens because I see it, is those people are then slacking each other ona regular basis looking for the opportunity to give feedback. You know, ifwe think about within the marketing world, product marketing, which is such aa sort of sup put the central kind of who love marketing as it was, has a chance to g give feedback and receive feedback from product teams,from other GTM teams like sales, that...

...might work with strategic teams in thebusiness where some finance for specific you know, by role modeling. You know,what start off is actually quite formal feedback processes. You then start tosow the seeds of just more casual peep back popping around the business and that's, I think, what what's helped us and what I saw definitely work verywell and my past experience. Yeah, I know that is that is amazing. I think a lot of people are trying to find that that dynamic betweenthe sales the marketing teams. How can you ensure that they are communicating andreally working in DNA so that you guys can scales rapidly as you have been? I love the idea that you have just mentioned there. Even for likeyour steer call reviews, you guys are bringing in like the product team justto provide feedback there. That is like. That is I really like that becauseit gives a different Lens than what the ASTR team or sales teem andseeing and you can just pick up something very intangible that you could then putin the practice there well and it's amazing because then also maybe it's a productmanager has been on the call. They learned something about a customer. Youknow, I think often across the wider business we underestimate the volume of salescalls, your strs and our bdms or on the kind of like cool faceof conversations with customers on a daily basis, and it's so valuable to be ableto work with them and actually find out what's coming back crows and boards, whereas you might have other subject subject matter of experts across the business whoconsider time with that let's say SDR and sort of saying, oh well,it's really interesting. Did you ask this question or I'm surprised you didn't talkabout this amazing feature of that our product has had you thought about how itties to their circumstances, like it really helps everyone's that have brought in theirtheir thought really and the conversations are having. I love that. So when youguys really starting to implement this at Zen cargo, how long would yousay it took for, you know, the conversations to start happy happening kindof naturally on their own and for this kind of be second nature? Ifother sales leaders were looking to internet kind of the same thing. What doesthat timeline look like? I don't think they've done in full cyclists on cargoyet. So I think you know, maybe we started really trying to dothis in earnest, probably beginning of q two and as end of q threenow. So takes a while, and that's not that the conversations aren't happening, but the things that take the longest or helping people get really comfortable andthen making sure this become second nature. So if I think about when we'vedone this in the past, maybe a receipt bank. There were a fewthings that made this quicker. So I'd say it probably took about three monthsto really become that's a lie. Maybe four to six months to really becomestandard practice in the culture. And there was massive leadership alignment and investment fromthe GETGO. So we invest in the training. We brought someone external totrain every single person in the business, New People, you know, becauseof course business is like ours, grow really quickly. So every month peopleholding a new people went through the exact same training and their first month.So there was a repeated cave dance. Is that training and then what wealso did is be ensured that every team had structures and processes in place tofacilitate feedback conversations beyond sales. So, as I said, we started SDRto str then we go and other people to sales calls. Then we weregetting other people to think about well, within my function or my area ofexpertise, where is there the opportunity to have a feedback conversation? And thereality is it's literally everywhere. And you know, by the end, Ithink the thing was really fantastic and this kind of evolved world of a feedbackculture is people were having conversations where they were giving feedback on their feedback forI love that. So I think that was just like a really awesome wayof showing how much we cared about it as a business and writing. That'show it became ingrained in our culture. Okay, fantastic. That as awesome. Well, thank you so much, hell enough, for sharing your insightson not only mekership but also had to create a feedback cultures that all teamsare working together. Lastly, I'm one more question for you and I'm notgoing to let use the book that you mentioned earlier. I believe was.Thanks for the feedback. Was the button. If you had to recommend one morebook that or it could be a podcast that had a big impact onour professional development. What would that be? An impact my professional development? Iam completely obsessed with Chris Wal Christamong...

Gen podcast at the moment and Ithink I bore everyone in the company was Sunday those snippets on a weekly basis. They probably didn't think I learned anywhere else, but that's a fantastic podcast. Dave Gerhart also has a fantastic podcast in a patreon group. Push peoplemight want to subscribe to a their marketers who are trying to learn. Butif I think about really early on in my career when I was trying tokind of work out this weird space that's fast green businesses and startups and scaleups and thinking about what it meant to be a leader, the hard thingsabout hard things was a really fantastic book that I found incredibly powerful. Allright, fantastic. So the hard thing about hard things is the butt andteach. It is right lovely. Well, thank you so much for your timetoday. Any of our listeners wanted to connect with you and chat.whereould be the best place for them to reach you. Best Place to reachme is on Linkedin. I'm easy to find. It's Helena Wood and fromsaying cargo and please get in touch. I'm always really, really happy tochat to an. An oven was also in the luncheon revenue collective community.We can get in touch there, all right. Thank you so much.How a fantastic afternoon everyone, fight thanks, Kaitlyn. Take care. This wasanother episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front ofmore eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review.Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagementto get the most out of your sales engagement strategy. Make sure tocheck out outreach, that I oh, the leading sales engagement platform. Seeyou on the next episode.

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