According to a study conducted by sales performance management provider Xactly only 16% of Sales managers in Tech (including SaaS) are women, a figure well below the industry average of 26% as reported in the “2019 State of Gender Equality in Sales”. What’s more, female sales representatives within Tech sectors are in short supply, making up under a third of employees.
These statistics are not only a concern from a human perspective, but too from a financial perspective considering what excellent sales representatives women make. From the same 2019 study, it was reported that 86% of women achieved quota, compared to 78% of men. Why is it that they are so underrepresented in that case?
Our Chief Commercial Officer Alan Giles, and our Senior Sales Manager for Southern Europe and LATAM Patricia Crespo Bella discuss the growing role of women and challenges encountered as part of the sales team!
Chief Commercial Officer – Alan Giles
Having myself worked in male dominant industries in previous roles, including the army and hyper-competitive male sales departments, it was only when I hired a female senior sales rep in a previous company that I started to see the unprecedented benefits to having females on the sales team. This hire marked a clear before and after in my way of thinking, and on seeing her sales performance, which month on month exceeded that of her male counterparts (much to their disgruntlement), did I begin to study the psychology behind why she was such a great sales representative.
From my research and observation, it was clear that women exhibit more empathy when it comes to building relationships with clients. When once the gift of the gab was thought fundamental in sales, with aggressive, competitive and relentlessness synonymous with many people’s view of the role, now this mindset is evolving in favour of listening, to understand and empathise with client’s pain points. Selling a solution over the hard sale of a product is paramount.
What’s more, women are more willing to collaborate and work together to succeed as a team over individual benefit. This collaboration is not limited to the sales department, but transcends to customers, working with clients to add value and solve client needs.
I think the tech industry is slowly improving on areas of diversity and equality in terms of gender however, a shift in behaviour and attitude is needed in order to reap the benefits of more women in tech sales, which in terms of revenue is substantial.
I’m very proud to lead the sales department here at VoxSmart made up of such brilliant saleswomen!
Senior Sales Manager for Southern Europe and LATAM – Patricia Crespo Bella
The most challenge thing, in my opinion as a woman in tech sales, is dealing with the disregard shown to women at times. I have sat in meetings with dumbstruck looks as I tell key stakeholders (a male dominated arena) that I am their main point of contact. I have sat on calls where I was assumed to have a softer function as opposed to more senior. Being shown the same respect as men, isn’t always easy.
In terms of the tech sector, girls haven’t always been given the same opportunities in terms of education or encouraged when it comes to STEM subjects. What’s more, a stereotypical view of the industry as male dominant can act as a deterrent for some women.
What I have seen and experienced in previous roles, is that women must work twice as hard as men to earn their place at the table, often equipping them with more knowledge and understanding of the solutions. Despite this, questions remain directed at male colleagues as the main source of information on the assumption that they know more. Yet from this experience I feel that women often notice more, listening and gauging the body language of a prospect. Understanding their pain-points and assessing where best a solution can help.
At VoxSmart, with so many strong, powerful women as part of the sales department there is no place for sexism in the team. We all work together without fear of someone getting “one-up” on the other, collaborating to reach our collective goal. The strengths which females bring to the table often complement the strengths which male sales reps offer, so teamwork just makes sense.
VoxSmart is definitely a company in which I feel I can grow professionally and that the support for women goes right up to the C-suite, with respect a core value of the organisation. Within the wider tech industry there remains work to be done to ensure women are treated with the same respect and given the same opportunities. Company culture and a shift in attitude and behaviour are starting grounds!
How can we make SaaS a more inclusive and diverse sector?
The answer to this question lies deep in the foundations of company culture and values of a given organisation. This involves the rewiring of the perception of sales as a “man’s world”, through diversity-focused recruiting and a change in the language used to advertise such positions.
At VoxSmart we are incredible proud to support a team of many talented and powerful women, each with their own strengths and skillset.
The time for more female representation in sales and the wider SaaS industry is now!
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