Relationship building, empathic listening, and problem-solving – inherent skills and competencies are helping women make an impact in new-age sales. Studies reveal that women take faster action on leads, show greater engagement, and drive better revenues. However, the Indian sales industry continues to have poor women representation in high-value roles – even though profits rise by as much as 50% when women are well-represented at executive levels.
It’s time we acknowledged the need for gender diversity in sales and understood how the function will benefit from more women in sales. Using innate empathy, trust, and intuition, women in sales can easily build long-term relationships and drive persuasive conversations instead of solely resorting to aggressive product pushes.
The soft skills advantage of having women in sales
Women salespersons have various soft skills that make customers feel a deeper connection and trust their problem-solving skills. From being able to read non-verbal cues to efficiently multitasking in a demanding work environment, there are several reasons why you need more women in your sales team.Here are some important traits of women in sales that set them apart from their peers –
• Empathetic listening
In an increasingly cluttered and digital-led sales environment, B2B customers want to conduct business with those who exhibit human values such as empathetic listening and authenticity. Over the years, women have proven to be active listeners, bringing immense empathy to conversations, feels Chowhan.
• Engaging communication
Effective selling means the ability to sell even before the product or service comes up in the conversation. Women have a knack for recognising the buyer’s needs – said and unsaid. Using natural communication and storytelling skills, they are able to easily create value for the product in the prospect’s eyes as a viable solution – even before they begin the actual pitch!
• Reading the room right
High-performing sales executives have to gauge the unsaid hints even when driving the conversation with persuasive storytelling. In this context, women salespersons hold an advantage, feels Chowhan.“Women are good at picking up non-verbal cues. For example, during any meeting, I instinctively notice details like awards on the wall, books, pictures, and so on. It helps me identify what is important to the person in front of me and frame my conversation keeping their whole self in context”, she says.
• Effective multitasking
Modern-day sales, especially enterprise sales, demand salespersons to work in a more layered environment. “IT sales requires you to work with cross-functional teams, complex situations, and multiple stakeholders for deals at different stages. It is easier for women to thrive in such an environment since they are better multi-taskers,” explains Jain.
Sales leadership lessons from women@Salesforce
To develop capabilities that can lead to successful selling and greater productivity, sales teams can take inspiration from their women colleagues and leaders and learn skills like:
Adapting to change
An agile business environment requires everyone, especially customer-facing teams, to adapt swiftly to change. Not only do women manage change better and respond to it faster, but they are also able to motivate and inspire others in the team when the going gets a bit too tough, points out Sarang Ohol, Senior Manager Sales – Growth Business, Salesforce.
Tune into EQ and SQ
According to experts, Emotional Quotient (EQ) is a key leadership trait. Sales is no exception, says Ohol, who concurs that women tend to have more EQ. “They don’t push the deals too much. Even if they are being aggressive, they bring enormous amounts of EQ to the table,” he says.
“A woman increases the EQ and the Social Quotient (SQ) for everyone in the room. The team’s 360-degree understanding of the situation increases manifold with a woman salesperson,” agrees Jain.
Be intuitive about red flags
In a customer-centric function like sales, knowing the hurdles that can obstruct progression is an essential sales skill. “A woman salesperson is likely to notice a red flag much earlier in the sales cycle; it is what makes them unique,” adds Ohol.
Women – adding value to the sales cycle
Most customers are conscious about pricing and want to maximise the value they derive from their purchases. Even the most independent decision-makers tend to seek advice on resource-intensive or complex buying decisions. By empathising, listening, and identifying even unspoken concerns, women salespersons can influence buyers and drive positive outcomes. Organisations, on their part, need to actively dismantle gender prejudices in their teams and change the perception of sales being an ‘old boys club’ to create balanced, future-ready sales leaders.
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