Sales Executive Corner

Cracking the B2B Sales Gender Diversity Code

Mary Shea, VP, Global Innovation Evangelist's Avatar

Mary Shea, VP, Global Innovation Evangelist

Unleash 2021 is just over a month away, and I am excited to participate in my first Outreach event as the company’s Global Innovation Evangelist. On Thursday, May 13th, I’m hosting our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Breakfast, where I’ll share executive-level findings from research I led for the Journal of Selling's special edition on women in B2B sales— It's Time To Move Beyond Lean-In: Breaking Institutional Barriers to Empower Female Sales Leaders.

Women make up more than half of the global workforce yet represent fewer than one-third of all B2B sales and only one-quarter of all B2B tech sales roles.

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And when it comes to the coveted top sales jobs, women hold only 12% of those positions. While gender diversity in B2B sales is severely lacking, company profits are close to 50% higher when women are well-represented at executive levels. And when women lead sales teams, they deliver higher win and quota attainment rates than their male counterparts.

While the research shows that women in B2B sales deliver results, they frequently face implicit and explicit biases throughout their careers. Some of these surface early in the hiring process with unwelcoming job descriptions and interview processes that lack female interviewers. Others, like confidence issues, plague female sales professionals throughout their career journeys. Pay inequity — and different gender perceptions on the topic – is one of the most persistent and pernicious issues female sales pros face at all stages of their careers.

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I am especially pleased to bring an amazing panel of experts to the discussion. Cynthia Barnes, Founder and CEO of the National Association of Women Sales Professionals (NAWSP) and author of The Top 1% will share advice on how to take an inclusive approach to hiring. Jody Michael, Founder and CEO of Jody Michael Associates and author of Leading Lightly, will help us more deeply understand why confidence issues hold female sellers back. Marc Altshuller, President & CEO of Varicent will talk about the role technology can play in fostering more heterogenous and equitable sales cultures and Dr. Stefanie Boyer, Professor of Marketing at Bryant University and Co-Founder of RNMKRS, a sales simulation and national “pitch” competition, will talk about innovative ways she and her academic colleagues are preparing the next generation of sellers to succeed in the ever changing world of B2B buying and selling.

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This conversation is really designed for sellers, managers and leaders who want to create and be part of a wholly modern sales organization. I hope you will join us.