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I Wasn’t High When I Said Women in Sales Rock

There’s something to be said for the “woman’s touch” in sales.

I was called out on Twitter by someone challenging my post about why women excel at sales. This person implied that I was smoking some funny stuff or lived in a state where weed is legal. He was right about my state, but wrong about my state of mind. Women generally rock at sales, and that’s a proven fact.

I thought about ignoring this arrogant barb, but instead chose to forward him some of the research. Not surprisingly, there was no response.

Women in sales know how to build strong relationships. Our brains are hardwired differently than men’s. Our tendency is to nurture, connect, and collaborate. Those are major strengths in this profession. Yet, we must silence the voice that tells us the only way to reach the top of the leaderboard is to model men’s behaviors—whether that voice comes from others or our own self-conscious. In fact, salesmen routinely tell me (unsolicited) that the best salespeople they know are women.

Yet, sales leaders tell me that women aren’t applying for sales positions. It takes an intentional effort for them to find women who want a sales career. Maybe it’s because sales gets a bad rap (think used-car salesman). Maybe they never thought about a career in sales. I never did. Or maybe they think it’s a man’s world.

Whatever the reasons, diversity still needs to be a bigger priority for most organizations. This is the realization that Hank Barnes reached after spending time with sales and marketing thought leaders at CEB (now Gartner). In the following post, he sets the record straight about the success of women in sales and the challenges that remain.

Women in Sales—A Missed Opportunity?

By Hank Barnes

Diversity is an interesting, sometimes challenging discussion and one, to be very honest, that I don’t think about a lot (but … that is changing).  I’m not a hiring manager, but can see how unconscious biases and preferences can lead to an awful lot of sameness.

Intuitively, I know that if you get too many people with the exact same thought processes and perspectives working together you fall into traps. You lose creativity. You miss opportunities. I see this in my own role as an analyst. One of the biggest sources of value that I, and other analysts, bring to clients is a fresh, different perspective. As Brent Adamson said in the meeting, “Diversity of thought generates better results.”

But while we know intuitively that this makes sense, our actions don’t always match.  As you look across your organization and teams, what is the distribution? Do you have a diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives? Or is the group remarkably similar? I suspect that, in most cases, including my own, some additional diversity could be a benefit.

Read the rest of Hank’s post on the Gartner blog. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for a fantastic infographic, “The Power of Women in Sales.”

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