People and the talent, dedication and enthusiasm they bring are the critical factors behind a company’s long-term growth and success. And when it comes to gender equality, companies with a gender balanced sales team have been found to outperform those with a gender imbalance.
So, what does gender equality look like in the tech sales industry? We asked Céline Zuberek, Director, Commercial Sales ASEAN, SAARC and GCR at Datadog, and Emma Rickerby, Director of Digital GTM & Sales Asia Pacific at Adobe to share the benefits they see from having gender-balanced sales teams and what they’ve learned in building these teams.
“In my experience, working in a diverse sales team is more likely to reflect the makeup of our own customers’ organisations and the way the world is evolving. As a collective, I believe that embracing gender-balance has helped our sales organisation to nurture solid relationships with an equally diverse customer base.”
“The best teams are made up of diverse talent. All of our differences come together to create better results, whether this means improved staff development, decreased turnover, increased productivity or more. We have so much to gain from shaking up the status quo but this requires changing the way we, as employees and employers, approach the issue.”
The impact and benefit of having a gender balanced sales team
“I’d start with performance. Studies indicate that gender-balanced sales teams are more likely to outperform those which are not and I agree. Second, diverse teams create a more positive and inclusive culture which helps attract and retain more top talent (and improve morale!) Third, diversity means a wider candidate pool. Companies that do not embrace diversity miss out on great talent.”
“There’s no mistaking this – companies with a diverse workforce not only perform better but retain an engaged employee base. At Adobe, we have access to a wider skill set and more creativity, with lots of ideas bubbling up that impact our bottom line. In short, we can hire better talent simply because of our bigger selection pool.”
Barriers to creating a gender balanced sales team and what to do about it
“Do we need to compromise on skill sets to achieve more balance in the team? No, we don’t. Companies must invest in candidates from different industry sectors to bring transferable skill sets in. Amplify these efforts with a robust onboarding program. Add on mentorship, coaching and strong role models and you have a program destined for success.”
“Biases, pay parity and the lack of diversity within leadership teams are some of the biggest challenges to creating sufficient diversity within the company. When sourcing talent, there are a few best practices that I think work really well. Create job descriptions that resonate. Ensure that diversity is reflected in the hiring interview panel. Be mindful about where you source your candidates. When consistent effort is put into growing and developing diverse leadership teams, you then arm yourself with strong role models and mentors for your next-gen leaders.”
“Could more be done at the industry level to promote gender diversity in tech sales and gender diverse sales teams? Perhaps, a couple of ideas come to mind. First, open up the pool of candidates that can be considered for a sales role. Second, invest in candidates from other industries who show themselves as having transferable sales skills. Arm them with the tech know-how and product training they need.
Create diversity goals when hiring and host gender diversity-led focus groups. Give candidates an opportunity to interact with both male and female tech sales professionals within the company. Then, showcase your diverse sales workforce. Use social media, your website and other marketing channels to amplify your messages. Provide your teams with the opportunity to share journeys that other candidates can relate to.”
“At this level, I believe there is still more that can be done to raise awareness, garner support and lead education and training efforts. Industry bodies are well placed to shed light on and market-map areas where female talent is lacking. They can conduct annualised studies that examine and go some way towards addressing the issue and lack of gender balanced sales teams.
In general, it’s possible that diversity fatigue can set in at companies and targets can get rolled back. But it is important that companies move beyond tokenism and remain invested long enough to reap the rewards. It is an investment for the long-haul.”