Empowering women in sales leadership is critical in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Women are underrepresented in leadership positions in sales, and this lack of representation can have detrimental effects on an organization’s performance.
According to a report by McKinsey & Company, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Empowering women in sales leadership can help companies tap into this potential.
How do we support and empower the women in sales leadership?
One way to empower women in sales leadership is through unique workshops that provide education, training, and support. Here are some reasons why such workshops are essential:
Addressing Gender Bias
Workshops can help women identify and address gender bias in the workplace. Gender bias can manifest in subtle ways, such as when women are interrupted more frequently than men or when their sales pitch ideas are dismissed. A workshop can help women recognize these biases and provide them with tools to address them.
“I didn’t realize there was an unconscious bias at my workplace until I attended a gender awareness workshop recently. Every time our clients would visit our office, I was asked to arrange the meeting. I was proud as the team acknowledged my organizational skills and how well I prepared refreshments for the clients. Only after the workshop, I realized the unconscious bias behind this and noticed how my male counterparts were used for more competitive roles,” said a female sales analyst from Singapore.
Many women struggle with self-doubt and imposter syndrome, which can hinder their ability to take on leadership roles. Workshops can provide women with tools to develop confidence and self-assurance, which can help them overcome these obstacles.
“I was a sales professional at an Indian company that catered to the US market. My clients were skeptical while speaking to me as I spoke with an Indian accent. I would lose my confidence when they would ask me about the USA weather, anything about football, or the elections. During a workshop, I was taught to say I don’t know. There is nothing wrong in saying you don’t know something and yet retaining the customer’s trust in you,” said a woman sales professional from India.
Workshops can provide women with opportunities to build networks with other women in sales leadership roles. Building a supportive network can provide women with the support they need to navigate the challenges of leadership.
“I was introduced to a networking group called BNI through a coach I met during a workshop. She was part of the network and helped me join, too. This helped me meet like-minded women and expand my network abroad. After just four months, I met someone who taught business management in Canada. It helped me quit my job and travel to a good university to pursue my education. I wouldn’t have dreamed of such a leap at any point in my life!” said an ex-sales rep from India.
Developing Leadership Skills
Workshops can provide women with training in leadership skills, such as communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution. Developing these skills can help women become more effective leaders and navigate the unique challenges of the sales industry. It can also help them ensure well-being to perform better without losing themselves to stress.
Improving Sales Performance
According to a study by Zenger Folkman, women outperform men in 12 out of 16 leadership competencies, including taking initiative, driving results, and building relationships. The study surveyed over 7,000 leaders in various industries, including sales, and found that women outperformed men in several key leadership competencies.
Empowering women insales leadership can lead to improved sales performance and better business outcomes. Building relationships is essential in the sales industry, as it requires building trust with clients and customers.
Women were found to be effective at building relationships with others, demonstrating empathy, and creating a positive work environment. This can lead to stronger relationships with clients and customers, which can improve sales performance. The study also found that women were more effective at taking initiative, practicing self-development, and providing feedback.
These competencies are also important in the sales industry, as they require taking ownership of one’s work, continuously improving oneself, and providing feedback to others. Empowering women in leadership can help companies tap into these competencies and improve their overall performance.
Examples to reinforce these suggestions
One example of a successful women’s leadership workshop in sales is the Women in Sales Leadership Forum, created by Salesforce. The forum provides women in key leadership roles with opportunities to connect, learn, and grow. The forum offers workshops, networking events, and other resources designed to help women advance their careers in sales.
Another example is the Women in Sales Summit, created by Sales Hacker. This summit is an annual event that brings together women in leadership roles to share their experiences, learn from each other, and develop their skills. The summit offers keynote speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities.
In addition to these workshops, many companies are implementing broader initiatives to support women in leadership roles. They don’t just support women in their goals and endeavors, but also expose them to broader opportunities and possibilities that were unknown to them.
For example, Microsoft has a program called LEAP (Leadership Excellence Acceleration Program) that is designed to accelerate the development of women leaders. The program provides training, coaching, and networking opportunities to help women advance in their careers.
Overall, empowering women in leadership through workshops is essential to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. By providing women with the tools, training, and support they need to succeed, companies can tap into the potential of women leaders and improve their business outcomes. With the right resources and support, women can thrive in leadership roles in the sales industry and beyond.
Based on the current trends and movements toward greater gender equality in the workplace, it is likely that the number of women in leadership roles will continue to increase in the future. As more companies recognize the importance of diversity and inclusivity in their leadership teams, they will be more intentional in empowering and supporting women to take on leadership roles in sales.
In addition, there has been a shift in the attitudes and expectations of the younger generations toward gender equality in the workplace. Younger generations are more likely to value diversity and inclusivity, and they will be more likely to seek out companies that prioritize these values. Companies that prioritize empowering women in leadership will be more attractive to this younger workforce.
Moreover, as companies continue to recognize the benefits of having a more diverse and inclusive leadership team, they will invest more in workshops and training programs that specifically target women sales professionals. These workshops and programs will provide women with the tools, training, and support they need to develop their skills and advance in their careers.
With these trends in mind, we will likely see more women in leadership roles in the future. This will lead to a more diverse and inclusive workplace, which will benefit companies in many ways. Companies with more diverse leadership teams are likely to perform better financially, be more innovative, and have a stronger brand reputation.
As companies recognize the importance of gender diversity in their leadership teams, we can expect to see more investment in programs and initiatives that support women in leadership roles. The future looks bright for women in leadership, and we can expect to see more women taking on these roles and thriving in their careers.