"I try to hire more women on my team, but they don't apply." Anyone heard that one before? If you're in sales, I can guarantee you have.
There's no question organizations want more women in sales, why wouldn't they? Research shows women in sales are outperforming their male peers. Not to mention women are smart, organized and innovative. However, there's still a massive gender gap.
Perhaps it's not the pipeline of candidates, but the culture stigma around sales?
As sales leaders it's important to understand that men and women are motivated differently. According to a recent study by LucidChart, men and women have different ideas about what inspires their success. Women placing the utmost importance on flexible schedules, paid vacation days and performance bonuses.
With COVID-19 shifting the landscape and expectations around being in the office there's even more opportunity for women to feel supported in a sales role. Let's work on creating sales cultures that attract and retain them.
1. Do you include women on your interview committee? Women like to see diversity in the company and will feel more welcome and included if one of their first conversations and introductions to the company is with a woman in sales.
2. Do your "perks" align with the interests of women? Instead of free beer try a free book program.
3. Does your culture encourage and celebrate failure? Research shows that women are more likely than men to be perfectionists. often times women are harder on themselves than necessary. If your company does not celebrate and encourage failure and vulnerability women will hold themselves back out of fear and self-doubt.
4. Do you have a mentorship program? 76% of people say having a mentor is extremely important but only 37% of people actually have one. Why the gap? Fear. Women especially are afraid to make the ask. They don't want to be a burden on their mentor and question if they can provide any value in the relationship. Formal mentor programs eliminate this fear and provide women with an experience that then gives them the confidence to make the mentor ask in the future.
5. Do you have real life examples of career growth happening to women inside of your company? Offer up the opportunity to share these stories with potential candidates so they can visualize themselves growing!
By diving deep into your current sales culture you can make a few adjustments to create a more inviting environment for women in sales to thrive.
Written by: Tara Ryan - Founder & CEO, Infinidei