In the last year it seems to have become trendier to talk about women in sales. In fact it seems like a lot of people are getting on the “women in sales” bandwagon. I’m not complaining – it’s refreshing.
What I notice in working with front line SDRs (sales development reps), BDRs, ADRs, and others involved in onboarding is that my clients have few women reps and lots more men. These sales teams are in manufacturing, technology, and telecom.
One CEO of a sales technology tool company that is a familiar name told me he can’t find women to hire and that his team of sales reps is 100% male.
This may not be your experience, because there are sales teams – some tech included – that have SOME women but MOST CROs and VPs and SVPs of sales say they’d like more women on their team.
The reason I am happy to hear companies want to talk about issues in finding, recruiting, and retaining top women sellers is because this is not a new issue. For some of us who have been around B2B selling we have seen it for years. And years.
In the past there were interested parties but little interest in initiating a conversation about some basic ideas:
Why can’t our top technology company attract great women sellers?
Where should we be looking to find recruits different than the typical people we hire?
Why have we hired women reps but could not retain them?
How are women different in the way that they sell, present, and relate?
Why does it matter?
Recently I moderated a panel at Dreamforce called, “The Payoff for More Women in Sales” and when I told the story of the CEO that says he can’t find women to hire for his sales team, our male panelist, Shep Maher, SVP Sales of Guidespark adamantly said, “Then he needs to try harder.”
This week I’m in Chicago hosting a sales summit where all of the sales experts speaking are women. It would be a first in the B2B sales world except it was done 7 years ago – by best-selling sales author and popular keynote speaker Jill Konrath.
Jill is our keynote speaker this year here at Rev It Up – Sales Leader Summit. I’ll be interviewing her to see how she’s seen changes in the last 7 years so be sure to check back for that.
We know that companies with a balance of men and women on a board do better. A recent article in Crain’s shared how multinational company Sodexo has proved that units within their company with an equal amount of men and women in leadership roles created more profit than the units which were male-dominant.
In the sales team, it makes sense to have your sales reps represent who your buyers are. I have not seen ROI numbers on this yet but will be in the future as this will be an important benchmark.
How is your sales team doing to reflect your buyers?
Does leadership at your company represent you and all of your peers?
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide and is a Top 25 Innovative Sales Blogger. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog for sales strategies, tactics, and tips.
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