Back when I was a Sales Development Rep (SDR), I would hear stupid things such as women who got over their fears of cold calling would eventually make the perfect salesperson.
At first I incorrectly thought that because women understand women better than men understand men, that this would somehow manifest itself into prospecting. That the intuition my spouse would often talk about could somehow be summoned on command. I could not be more wrong.
The business world is currently going through a huge market change to add to the already ongoing equality battle. But what does this mean for women in b2b sales? We strongly believe that these market changes are a great opportunity to bring up real positive change in the business world and here are 3 Reasons Why.
Women in Sales
Before I dive into my 3 reasons, I’d like to provide a little background on a couple of stats that help highlight the problem.
It’s been proven that more women graduate college than men. In fact, women make up over 55% of college graduates yet only occupy around 35% in b2b sales roles. The number drops to 21% for women in the VP of Sales positions. That’s an issue.
So now let’s look at 3 areas:
According to No More Cold Calling author, Joanne Black, the top salespeople, regardless of gender, build strong, trusting relationships with their prospects. They know networking and prospecting is an ongoing process and that the results now mentality doesn’t always work with today’s customer.
Top salespeople ask insightful questions, listen and make real connections. Saying that these attributes are uncommon in men would be completely wrong, but some of our best SDR’s have fantastic rapport and relationship building skills and not coincidentally, they’re females.
Joanne goes on to say that women’s brains are hardwired slightly differently than men’s and have a tendency to nurture and collaborate. Nowadays, real conversations and proper listening skills are the difference makers.
According to badgermapping’s article, Women in Sales, 70% of women hit their sales quotas compared to 67% of men. Might not sound like an important statistic to highlight but when juxtaposed with the women in sales statistic vs men, that extra 3% can be a game-changer.
A few days ago we published an article 5 characteristics found in the best SDR’s, one of which was listening skills.
In the sales world it has been said that the guys that could talk their way out of a paper bag make for better salespeople. Though it might work in some industries, I’d take a hard-worker who has listened and knows what problems your product or service will solve over the smooth-talker any day.
Great listening skills are found in all sales teams, men and women, but if I could think of any relationship I’ve ever had, I cannot remember one where she would not be able to repeat something I've said, verbatim. This is a silly analogy but a great opener for a Cambridge University article published in 2014, that highlights the differences between men and female brain structures. The article goes on to say that the portion of the brain known as Heschl’s gyrus which is responsible for listening, is more ample in women than in men.
Sales people that are skilled at listening not only understand their customers better, but don’t peel the onion as much to get their point across. More prospects will buy from you if they perceive they are being listened to.
Emotional Intelligence in Sales
The future for sales in the tech world might be in A.I, but the past, present and future of human interaction in sales is emotional intelligence (E.I.).
In an article published by forbes in 2018, the author stresses the importance of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is being able to identify your own emotions as well as that of others. What does this mean in layman’s terms? Well, it’s the ability to stay cool under pressure.
When facing adversity as a SDR, I would find myself often rambling on incoherently about the benefits of using the product or service I was selling. Many salespeople do this. They begin to talk about prices and case studies when all the prospect is doing is looking to ultimately tell you you’ve lost and are wasting their time. People who practice E.I regularly are able to sway conversations in their direction without being pesky.
The second part of E.I is the ability to read and interpret your prospects signals. This might be difficult in emails and messaging, but the best people in sales can pick up on those cues. I guess that’s why my wife often gets angry not at what I say, but the way I say it?
We don’t want to be quoted as saying that women are more emotionally intelligent than men or vice versa. However, I will say that women are predominantly known for expressing their emotions more than men. According to Psychology Today, women are better than men at emotional empathy which is the kind of empathy that stimulates chemistry and rapport.
Humans with strong emotional empathy end up holding positions of educators, group leaders and counselors.
The Future of Women in Sales
With many organizations prospering during these times and others struggling to stay afloat, prospects have less time than ever. With this comes the responsibility to get your point across not just quicker, but to the right people, at the right time. Skills like listening, emotional intelligence and relationship building are crucial to any sales team.
Though women on sales teams have only grown 3% in the last decade (went from 36% to 39%), we hope that this post will at least have readers question why this stat is true and then go on to think what we can all do to help change it.
We need a more equal sales world from the junior positions, right to the top, and it will come!