Yesterday, I had the privilege of keynoting to a global group of sales managers on the topic of magnetic leadership. The room was filled with enthusiastic sales leaders of which the majority were men. Next door, a medical device company was hosting their annual sales leadership meeting. Their room was also filled with men, with perhaps a handful of women in attendance. I see the same demographics in most organizations. Now’s the time to change this. Here’s why.
Currently, the unemployment rate for business to business sales reps is 3.8%, which is lower than the national unemployment rate of 4.1%. And this number drops even further for those with Bachelor’s degrees. Their unemployment rate is 2.1%.
Women are nearly half the labor force, yet you’d never know this looking at a company’s sales force. And if you’re looking for a sales rep with a college degree, then consider the fact that women have earned more degrees than men for some time now.
Simply put, there are many qualified women who could be quite successful in your sales organization. Here’s what it’s going to take to get these women to consider a career in sales.
You are going to have to sell women on the fact that you are working diligently to hire more female sales professionals and that you will be supporting their growth and success by providing them with mentors to help them navigate this new territory.
You will need to encourage your female sales reps to recruit their female counterparts at other organizations. Provide them with employee referral bonuses. Encourage them to attend conferences where women gather. Teach them how to recruit great candidates so they can seal the deal.
You will need to shift your biases. In particular, the one that says women would never be interested in selling technical products. There are plenty of female candidates who are interested and capable of mastering the technical jargon needed to sell these kinds of products and would be quite successful doing so.
You are going to have to stop worrying that your customers will never do business with a woman. That kind of thinking is what got you here in the first place. Thankfully, the younger generation could give two hoots who is selling them what. It won’t be long before these people are in key decision making roles.
You will need to demonstrate to women that a career in sales can be quite lucrative and will provide them with flexibility throughout their life to work around family obligations that may come along.
Companies that make this shift now, will be able to grab an untapped goldmine of talent. I can show you how, but the rest is up to you.
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