Who Run the Huge Business World: Women in B2B Sales
The image of a salesperson in our mind is still of an average male with an over-cheerful smile and a bag slung over his shoulder. It is still somehow very difficult to imagine a woman working as a sales rep.
We do see elegant and professionally dressed women walking long corridors to conduct conferences, demand respect, and work with authority. But they are hardly a handful in a sea of men.
Fortunately, this landscape is changing. Because gradually, businesses are becoming more woke and realizing the importance and necessity of gender-diverse teams. With research and data indirectly show that the qualities and skills of women are more suited to deal with the evolved B2B buyer. The way for more women to be a part of the workforce is being paved.
If you are a manager looking for answers to some burning questions, go right ahead.
What is it like being a woman in the B2B world?
Women make up a significant part of the college-educated workforce, almost over half of it. But still, make only one-third of the B2B sales force. Even though research shows that women frequently outperform their male colleagues while hitting quota, sales are not usually their first preference for a profession. And hence they remain a minority. A 2019 study by Xactly reported that 86% of women achieved quota, compared to 78% of men.
Women who choose sales to build a career, do it for the leader board because, at the end of the day, the number of deals and the revenue earned is what counts. Women are more successful in sales because high-performing women excel more at the skill set required to be a successful salesperson.
Connecting with a prospect, building a relationship, finding out a solution, etc. are used by both men and women but women are more proficient in these qualities.
Self-researched and independent buyers of today’s technology-driven generation can look beyond the sales exterior of reps. And are willing to deal with only those who can be seen as trusted advisors and solution providers.
Sugar-coated words don’t work anymore, practical solutions to the right problems do, and women can do this better than men.
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Why is Gender Diversity important in Sales?
Research shows that gender diversity has a profound impact on the success of a company. Such teams generate more revenue in comparison to homogeneous ones. And outperform other companies that do not have adequate gender diversity.
The idea of a salesperson is now different from the typical one. Because the new generation of reps come from a more diverse background and have a higher representation of women.
Gender diversity not only boosts growth but is also instrumental in securing social equality.
How to diversify my sales team?
To benefit from gender-diverse teams, many businesses make a conscious and active effort to ensure diversity while recruiting. To balance your current team, you probably need to attract more female professionals onto the sales floor.
Start by gender-neutralizing your job descriptions. It is a petty thing but when male-oriented words like ‘competition’ or ‘aggression’ are used, they are already left out of consideration by women. Try to use more peaceful words like ‘hard work’ and ‘success’.
This creates a more female-friendly environment and makes the job attractive to women. You can reach out to women associations to exclusively hire female applicants. Have women on your interview panels and in lead roles.
Why is female mentorship essential?
Sales have always been male-dominated and when there are fewer women there, they need a woman’s perspective to help them through the corporate world. And even day-to-day businesses. For example, if they are meeting a client for dinner, what is the appropriate place and time, considering their own comfort as well. If they are working late at night, they would want to know how safe they are in the office. These are issues that a woman finds difficult to discuss with her male colleagues. And needs a female to guide her.
Female mentorship programs are a necessity in a company when you want to promote gender diversity. It helps the new recruits adjust to the corporate setting and can assist them with issues they face in the workplace. Sometimes, businesses place the new recruits under a female leader for direct communication and also host open sessions where they can freely discuss their challenges and solutions.
Now that we are addressing stereotypes, female-female mentorship is also a stereotype, however necessary and convenient it might be. Special training and coaching programs can also be held for women by accomplished reps, irrespective of their gender.
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Women in management and leadership positions become role models for the new professionals to look up to. The message that growth and success is not just a dream is sent out well with women leaders. Promoting more women to higher positions is also an indirect way of securing gender-diverse teams. Sales teams under women are fairer in representation than teams under men. This also attracts more women to the sales floor.
The evolving B2B market is undoubtedly in favor of women in the workforce and the Covid-19 pandemic has amplified it. Even though companies understood the importance of women in their workplace. Inherent biases like performance bias and consequently attribution bias and maternity leaves and harassment pose a considerable hindrance to the growth of women in their professional lives.
Shifting to a work-from-home culture, using digital channels and remote selling methods has not only helped women avoid the problems at work. But also empowered them through efficient use of their skills. Remote selling will be a part of the future, and hence, so will women.
Gender diversity in the workplace is a necessity today, and it is not just about equality and justice, and empowerment. It is also about better company performance, increased revenue, and making business easier.
There will still be hurdles, psychological and social, but if you are determined enough to grow your company and have more female employees, you will find a way out to make your company culture female-friendly and appropriate. It is on you to take an initiative and consciously work with this goal in mind to better your own business.
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