WOMEN ARE THE FUTURE OF SALES
Despite sales traditionally being a male-dominated sector, tech companies are beginning to adapt to the current economy’s fast-paced changes. The skills women offer might be the answer many companies need to achieve greater sales success.
The Harvard Business Review (HBR) reports that the changing environment in the sales industry will rely heavily on women skills. By utilizing new tech trends, HBR predicts that women will be the future of sales.
According to Women in Tech World study, only a quarter of the industry is represented by women. While most of these women define their work as being technical, less than 10% of those women work in sales. Research shows that women salespeople often outperform men, yet women are still underrepresented in sales in most industries.
Despite being underrepresented, a 2019 study reported that 86% of women achieved quota, compared to 78% of men in sales. Yet women are earning less in their salary and commissions over time.
Men have traditionally dominated tech sales, and the gender divide still exists in certain workplaces. But tech organizations are beginning to recognize the unique perspectives and sales skills women bring to the table.
SKILLS WOMEN VALUE IN SALES
In HBR’S recent report, it analyzed why women succeed in sales by excelling at different skills than men. The research looked at the performance of 500+ salespeople across several industries, including tech sales. The research gathered concludes that high-performing women were more likely to emphasize connecting, shaping solutions, and collaborating.
7 Capabilities That Set High-Performing Salespeople Apart according to HBR
- Analyzing:understanding cause and effect and seeing significant picture implications
- Connecting:building a network of customers, team members, and other resources
- Collaborating:working cooperatively with others
- Shaping solutions:understanding customer needs and adapting the offer accordingly
- Influencing: shaping their messages and style to maximize the impact
- Driving: applying structured and planned approaches to deliver outcomes
- Improving: continually seeking to do things better and being prepared to try new things
Today’s buyers have new expectations of the relationship between the customer and the sales team. Salespeople now require skills for collaborating with customers and focusing on addressing customer needs. These skills play to women’s strengths and have become most critical for sales success.
In the fast-growing field of tech sales, women’s skills are becoming more relevant as business technology sales rely on more subscription and consumption-based purchases than one-time purchases. Women’s strengths in collaborating and connecting will succeed because the most value comes not with the initial sale, but the customer service and loyalty over time.
The need for better relationships with customers has created growth in the number of customersuccess managers(CSMs) — salespeople who encourage customer loyalty and retention by helping customers realize ongoing value. Women hold only a quarter of tech sales jobs, but as high as 70% of CSMs are women.
According to HBR, as of April 2020, women are leading global customer success teams at some major tech companies, including Oracle and Salesforce.
HOW TO INCREASE DIVERSITY ON SALES TEAMS
The research conducted by HBR recommends that companies increase women in sales roles for future sales success. Further recommendations to achieve greater gender diversity include diversity-focused recruiting, female mentorship programs, better coaching, and more promotions for women.
These recommendations align with the four pillars for gender equity success in the tech industry, outlined in the Women Talk Tech 2020Action Plan Report-recruiting practices, mentorship and sponsorship, workplace environment, and pay equity.
In the most recent Women Talk tech podcast, Kim Benedict, the CEO & Co-founder of TalentMindedcalls on tech businesses to improve their recruitment strategies when hiring more women in tech sales. In 2019, Benedict founded the Women in Tech Sales Bootcamp, which combats stereotypes about women working in sales. This event offers women support and access to quality sales training, mentoring, and coaching.
The persona built around the sales industry has depicted it as a male-only career field, traditionally discouraging women from stepping into sales. But Benedict urges women to reconsider, and like HBR, insists that women possess essential skills that will drive the future of tech sales.