Given all of these reasons for gender diversity, why is it that more companies aren’t actively recruiting women for sales roles? And why aren’t more women proactively considering sales as a career option?
It could come down to pay. CEB Global found that the sales function has the second largest gender equity gap of all corporate functions after supply chain. It also reported that currently, despite achieving equal or even higher quota attainment in some cases than their male counterparts, women remain underrepresented in all levels of the sales organization. This means changing the dynamic — and the pay.
Along with making recruiting women into sales roles a much higher business priority, your messaging needs to change. As a profession, sales still has an image problem. Somewhere buried deep in the collective psyche is the bias that anyone who sells is nothing more than a sleazy snake oil salesman out to take your money. Without realizing it, many companies are inadvertently reinforcing this bias in the way that they talk about the sales roles at their company.
As you put those job descriptions together, drop the warrior language when describing the sales role. Words like aggressive, crusher, killer, or hunter create an impression that selling is a cutthroat business. The aggressive, hunter/kill mentality often seen (and rewarded) in many sales organizations holds no appeal for many women.
If women’s perception is that selling is about hounding people until they buy something, it is no wonder that sales hasn’t held much career appeal for women. Women often want to work in collaborative, team environments where the focus is on serving customers — not crushing quotas. That doesn’t mean that women don’t crush their quotas. They absolutely do and often at higher rates than the men, according to the CEB Global report. But the idea of being a quota crusher sounds like a negative, as if the only thing that matters in sales is hitting your number no matter the cost.
When we put all of these factors in perspective, the benefit is clear: More women in sales is good for business! The question is what will companies do to better balance the scales? And, ladies, our sales profession needs you, too. Take a closer look at the changes happening and help drive the future of sales.
“Companies with higher levels of gender diversity in their sales force significantly outperformed on their revenue goals over those sales teams who did not have high numbers of women among their ranks.”