Traditionally a male-dominated environment, the competitive structure and stereotypes associated with working in sales can be discouraging to women. But sales is more than just closing deals and making money. It requires exceptional talent and mental strength.
Ongoing research indicates that gender-diverse sales teams not only outperform revenue goals, they also help reduce attrition which ultimately enhances customer experiences. And yet, there is still a low representation of women in the industry.
In an effort to close the gap, we asked OutboundEngine’s top women in sales about their careers and how to get ahead.
The skills you gain from sales training, such as active listening and negotiation, are fundamental in business and transferrable to any industry. There’s also the incentive of performance-based pay, which is what appealed to Fabiola Ramirez, Account Director:
“The driving factor is being able to work for yourself and dictate how much you make. Having ownership of my paycheck gives me a sense of confidence and I thrive in that type of environment.”
Not to mention the ability to maintain a certain lifestyle. Kristin Harrison, Senior Account Director, explains.
“One of my jokes that keeps me going is ‘I didn’t choose the bougie life, the bougie life chose me.’ After becoming a single mom in 2016, I consciously chose a recommitment to my career in Sales. I love helping others and could have done that in another profession but sales allows me to earn the income that I make. I’m driven to succeed so I can buy organic broccoli, pay my mortgage in a good school district and buy Jojo Siwa tickets.”
Lastly, a career in sales can teach you a lot about yourself and what motivates you. Emily Hennessy, Sales Team Lead, states that understanding why you’re in your role is essential, so you can persevere through difficult months when you might not see a commission check.
Marilyn Myrick, Training Specialist, expands on motivation from her experience training sales representatives.
“People are either intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. Money in sales is a constant as far as motivation goes but that can’t be all. Putting money behind training people in portable skills is hugely impactful to someone’s value of life; when you invest in people they tend to want to show what they’ve learned and work harder, and that’s some of the best motivation I have seen.”
Strengths and Challenges
Why do gender diverse sales teams perform better? In speaking with OutboundEngine’s top saleswomen, we learned that empathy, intuition, and patience are common personality traits that give women a competitive edge on the sales floor.
Marilyn reinforces this notion by affirming that women tend to think about situations through a lens of caring for others. Coupled with the observation that most prospects don’t feel threatened by female solicitors, saleswomen are enabled to build rapport while maintaining their focus.
Kristin shares how exercising patience helps her win customers. She elaborates:
“I cultivate patience as part of my human experience, and my children help me exercise my patience deeply. My astounding patience has helped me win deals other people couldn’t close. The other remarkable thing about me is my empathy and ability to build rapport quickly. My clients love working with me and trust me, so I have a very healthy close rate and low clawback percent.”
There are advantages to being a woman in sales and there are areas that will challenge you. One thing is for certain: doubting or losing confidence in yourself will only have a negative effect. Upholding a positive mindset is no easy task but Emily Hennessy says you can overcome this by focusing on what’s in your control. Kristin also suggests that you should “treat your mind like athletes treat their bodies,” so you can function during troublesome times.
Recognizing there are still steps that need to be taken to improve gender diversity, we circled back with OutboundEngine’s top saleswomen for advice on what other women can do to develop or advance their career in sales:
“Regardless of gender, maintaining your confidence is key to success. Having a good attitude, self-awareness and composure will help you get ahead. There is no difference between men and women on the sales floor; recognizing that will keep you on the right track.” – Emily Hennessy
“Fall in love with the craft of sales, and use the practice of sales as a path to self-knowledge and confidence.” – Kristin Harrison
“Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself; know your worth and act on it. Additionally, I’d suggest falling in love with being uncomfortable. You will learn and grow a lot more if you just push yourself to do the things you might normally shy away from.”- Marilyn Myrick
OutboundEngine values our employees and is proud to provide an equal opportunity for growth and development. Interested in joining our team? Check out open positions at OutboundEngine.