The War Room
Question
Post

Getting out of the echo-chamber: Women in Sales Stories

I've seen a lot of posts recently where the men in this community don't seem to recognize the divergence between their lived experience and women's in this business. I thought it might be both helpful and a bit cathartic to create a repository of the stories we want our male counterparts to know/understand as they establish their opinions on the topic.


Comment with one or one-thousand instances that you believe highlights an issue that needs better understanding.


***The purpose of this thread isn't to bash, it's to educate and challenge the status quo.



🏰 War Stories
🏙 Corporate Experiences
🤠 Culture
43
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
that's queen coups to u
Here's my experience:

I've never faced any discrimination from my employer, colleagues, or clients because of my gender. In my company, I'm treated exactly the same as any male salesperson. The male prospects I've spoken to have been nothing but respectful.

Thankfully, I have nothing negative to contribute here. Most men are normal, respectful people who are not sexist and treat women with respect. I don't feel the need to come in here and remind the men that other men do disrespectful things...there are assholes on both sides of the fence and I don't think the people who are truly sexist and disrespectful to women make up the Bravado community.

CuriousFox
WR Officer
+12
Senior Account Executive
Count your blessings. Being hit on by a client and feeling helpless in the moment are two things I wish on no one. Ever.
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
that's queen coups to u
Hey, I'm happy as hell that I haven't encountered this situation at work. I have encountered men who are pushy/rude/straight up perverted plenty of times in normal life and it's never a good time.
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Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
But don't you sell to HR? Not trying to downplay your experience, but I would think that the people you interact with are much different than, say, me who sells to construction firms. 
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Oh no... WAN Optimization, Cloud & Data Center, Cloud-Hosted VoIP, etc.
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UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Yes, please! I'm really glad to hear that, too. My current employer is actually AMAZING and I don't have anything negative in that light either. I'm paid fairly, treated well, my contributions are heard and I was the first ever female hire. 

However, prior to dealing with some of the situations I have faced- I would have been much better prepared if I had heard of other people's experiences. 

Again, the purpose wasn't to be negative or bashing- just to educate anyone and everyone on what situations have happened in the past and how to deal with them. 
harebrained
Valued Contributor
+5
Enterprise Account Executive
There is active discouragement about being a woman in sales, and often I'm the only woman on my team.

It is the rare job that doesn't include overt sexual harassment from at least one guy (ex. groping, flashing your dick) - especially when you are new and they know you will be afraid to say anything. 

Told in an interview with ADP: "we don't hire women because in our experience they aren't successful.. unless they're bitches - you don't seem bitchy enough"

In a RingCentral interview they recommended I go for the CSM job instead (I'd only been in sales for 10+ yrs at the time - no CS experience). But their sales "culture" was "fraternal" and "the women work in CS"
Hudsonsmom
Opinionated
+2
Area Sales Manager
I’ve had similar similar experiences with my current company. When I started out, I had over a year experience in current role and 2+ years experience in the industry. A new guy started with zero experience, got pregnant and within a month was promoted over me. They flat out told me that was the reason why - so he could be closer to home and not have to travel as much, since he just had a baby. I’ve had things said to me behind closed doors by male clients people don’t even believe. One straight up asked me “do you swallow”…. I was passed up for our largest territory because they said, I might cry in front of the clients and we can’t have that. Need a big strong man who can handle them. Cut to a year later, I was in a supply chain role (considered higher than sales at our company), and they were begging me to take that district bc the current rep created a huge disaster and couldn’t even step foot in his stores. I declined. Golden.
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Wow... "because you might cry". Are you kidding me?! I would have loved to respond with  "I'm more likely to stab someone than cry" (hahahaha)
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KingReso
Contributor
Account Executive
Do you think sales orgs as a whole actively discourage females? The teams I've been a part of allot a tonne of effort towards encouraging females to join both the sales and BD teams, but it's my understanding that the number of applicants are 5:1 male:female at least. 

Not disagreeing with you - I know traditional sales orgs are bro clubs - but, wanted your opinion on more progressive companies. Is it still a males-only environment, or just fewer hyper-competitive females out there looking for sales roles?
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
that's queen coups to u
My company does it's best to find a male/female balance...our last two BDR hires were women. But it's tough when there are so few female applicants... 

There's proven differences between men and women when it comes to what work they find fulfilling. Sales is much more appealing to the grand majority of men vs grand majority of women. The women who are good at sales are often straight up killers, but they're rare. 

tbh I would much rather be in a more "female oriented" position myself. If I could make six figures as a receptionist or HR employee I'd be there. 
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UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Funny that you bring those two examples- a friend just left ADP and I work in telecom. I can 100% understand your experience. 

I've seen SO MANY posts recently about the different things we deal with than our counterparts, I don't think that guys understand the positions we are put in. 
dryspongebob
Opinionated
+2
Business Development Manager
Forgive me for double commenting but I noticed something else right after I posted the last one.

I took on a seemingly male display name in the War Room because I was worried that my opinion would not be taken into consideration if I expressed my femininity. It's messed but that this was even a thought that crossed my mind.
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
This is exactly the entire point. 
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Nail on the head. Suppressing portions of ourselves to be taken seriously, no matter how much substance we bring to the conversation.
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CuriousFox
WR Officer
+12
Senior Account Executive
I have quite a few stories. There's one that still rocks me, even though it was over 10 years ago.

I was a specialty pharmaceutical rep at the time. It was no big deal to wait next to the sample closet after we stocked it with our product samples to wait for the doctor to sign our tablet and listen to our 30 second detail/pitch.

This physician was male, 6'4, 30 years my senior, a top prescriber and well-liked in the community. He approached me and loudly proclaimed he needed 5 more minutes before he could see me. What no one else saw was him winking at me and whispering, "I'm coming back for you sweetie" as he shut the door and locked it from the outside.

His charge nurse let me out as soon as he stepped away into another patient's room. It was probably about 15 seconds but it felt like 15 hours.

I am thankful for her to do this day.
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Holy shit. I am so sorry you went through that! I've been in a similar position once- but did NOT have a door physically locked on me. 

I can only imagine your heart beating so loud it was deafening. 

The part of this experience that I think gets missed is that we ask ourselves "If I make a big deal of this, how does that affect my job? My ability to land other clients? My take-home pay? My ability to pay my mortgage?" etc 

Ugh. I want to puke for you.
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+12
Senior Account Executive
And how does it affect my ability to stay in this industry if I speak up?

Thankfully we've made some progress since this happened. Not much, but it's better than it was.
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Hudsonsmom
Opinionated
+2
Area Sales Manager
WOWOWOWOWOW!
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
I worked for an MSP where I brought a net-new client that was supposed to pay $X commission when structuring pricing. Pricing didn't change, deal closed in July. In September I was approached with the information that they had miscalculated profit and comp would actually be 50% of original amount. But, if I wanted that full amount I would have to take it in 3 annual payments over 3 years, OR I could get 75% of the new amount in a single payment. 

I was pregnant and about to go on an unpaid maternity leave in 5 weeks. They waited until I was 5 weeks away from no income for 8 weeks to offer me 33% of what my original comp was supposed to be for the exact same deal, knowing that they had all the leverage. 

This is the experience of women in sales. 
SoldMySoul
Opinionated
+5
VP of Sales
Been steaming over this for a while. These are just some of the gems that stand out and honestly I’d say 90% of the time things are fine and dandy but then you get those wonderful 10% folk: -You remind me of my daughter -Sounds interesting but I don’t deal with women -You sound like you really know your stuff, who are you gonna connect me with for the next steps? -I avoid your calls because I like listening to your voicemails on repeat, you have a really sexy voice -*dick pics* on the VOIP line (bless you RingCentral) -What’d you do to be VP, sleep with the boss? -You must have been handed your job to fill a diversity quota, what are your actual qualifications -You can’t come to this vendor meeting because “it’s a guys kind of thing”
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
TO FILL A DIVERSITY QUOTA?! Well, asshole, you must have your job so your company meets EOE standards- Fuckface.
SoldMySoul
Opinionated
+5
VP of Sales
Considering it’s a female founded company, the comment made me laugh!
dryspongebob
Opinionated
+2
Business Development Manager
I have had different experiences in different industries. All of the negative ones were very subtle, so let me share two.

Working for a big shot company in Fintech, I often had my male colleagues try and pawn off their work on me and paint it as a "but you are sooooo much better at this than I am" type of deal.

In Oil & Gas, I only ever witnessed males getting promoted. Not an exaggeration. There were lots of women working across all departments, but there was also a lot of unconscious bias at play - all of the people with enough power to promote anyone were men, so it was hard to change the status quo.
Kiona
Opinionated
+2
Head of Business Development
"If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will"- Greg McKeown

^^THIS IS INSPIRATION TO LEAVE ANYWHERE NOT VALUING YOU!^^



A few memories....

"you must be the beauty, while they're the brains" - is this where the top 10 master degree should be referenced?

"I'll tell you my wifi password, but you have to promise not to report it to HR" - WTF, no thank you

"You should never wear heels that make you taller than any man in the room" - this was at an investment bank

"curly hair is unprofessional - take the extra time to straighten it" - also at the investment bank

"how do you stay so fit" - why? you are lazy, it's not hard to stay fit - its a lifestyle not a panacea 

"I just wanted to say that you always look so nice in the office" - from an MD with grandkids my age

"im so proud of you I could grab your ass" 
 

To anyone being marginalized at work - there is always a better option - don't stay somewhere where your CONTRIBUTION is not valued and paid for appropriately. 


Also adding, that many of my male colleagues have made me feel valued by offering to come with me to late night drinks with prospects, especially in situations where they sniffed out sketchy behavior; and for telling me that they understand things suck, and they are there to ride out the suck with me. Their own commitment to me as a person, is why our team continues to crush it all the time. 
CloudyWithAChanceOfQuota
Politicker
+4
Inside Account Representative
Had a bunch of coworkers in my new hire group make super fucked up sexually charged comments towards me for weeks on end. I was the only girl in the group at the time. went to HR about it because it was seriously making me uncomfortable, and they told me that *because* I was the only girl, they were worried that if they did anything it would get worse since the group would know I reported them. I know no company is perfect but I thank the sales gods im no longer there and tell other female friends to run full speed away from that place. 
CloudyWithAChanceOfQuota
Politicker
+4
Inside Account Representative
Same company also had a manager who made jarring comments about me at a coworker's WEDDING in front of everyone. He lied and made up some weird story about me crying over a customer, which never happened. So stupid how women in this industry are constantly seen as sexual objects or big blubbering toddlers who are incapable of functioning without waterworks. 
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Wow. What the fuck... also the HR department's reaction sounds so much like they hire people straight out of college who don't know how to deal and don't have the support they need either to effectively complete their own job. 

glad you got out!
SignThis_SalesGirl
Good Citizen
Director of Business Development
I'm the only woman and person of colour in this sales role in my company - across the country... I'm also the youngest. Maybe hiring me was a turn in the tides but it can get so bloody frustrating sometimes. Not only as a woman but as a person of colour... I'm lonely lol
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Ugh- I’m sure that’s a whole cross to bear on its own! Luckily, while you may be alone in your company, you have an entire community filled with comrades in the WR! 💪🏻
SignThis_SalesGirl
Good Citizen
Director of Business Development
Absolutely! It's lovely being a part of a community that I can vent to 👏🏽🙏🏽
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
Great article that is worth a read:

https://medium.com/@KirstyStricklan/why-men-should-stop-saying-notallmen-immediately-f657e244f7a1

I fully believe that the men here in the WR don’t ever intend to be sexist, and are good dudes. In the spirit of this post to foster positive discussions on the topic, this article pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject in a way that’s probably easier to understand. ✌️
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
I read the article and two of the commentors best summarize my thoughts on the subject:

1. #NotAllMen is not a meek cop-out, or a semantic word-play, but rather the requirement for improvement. The first step to finding any solution is to clearly and accurately identify the problem, isn’t it? Now, please explain to your audience how accusing and convicting half of the human race just based on the accident of birth is “clarifying” or “adding to the discussion or development”? Women alone will not be able to solve this problem. Men who respect women and who deeply believe in fair and safe society must step up and do everything they can to eradicate sexist and misogynistic behavior wherever they live or work. So prey tell how does your indiscriminate misandry help with this righteous cause?

2. Whilst men do need to stop saying this, the vast majority of times it happens is not in the way you describe, but as a response to women saying that men are the problem. Men are not the problem, violent criminals are the problem. If you stop saying men are the problem, then people won’t feel the need to counter with “not all men.” If you start saying rapists and murders are the problem, everyone will agree with you, and then no one wastes anytime with pointless arguments that get us nowhere.
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Great find! This article really articulates the spirit of my post... it wasn't meant to be a lump generalization of man-hate. Actually, if you read my own experience that I commented, it was in regard to weaponizing my motherhood against me to get me to accept less pay. What I didn't highlight is that this was a female owned and operated company. 

@CadenceCombat I think that unfortunately you thought you as an individual were being called out when the actual call out is the delta in lived experience. I can't say for sure- but I'd put money on the fact that you've never been locked in a room like @CuriousFox higlights above. Or been asked the questions that @Hudsonsmom has been asked while performing your job.

The point is less "men v women" and more a plea to "hear us, help us" because any one of the situations described in this thread likely wouldn't happen if a male-counterpart put their neck on the line to stand up for us. We don't need to recognize that #NotAllMen are dangerous, what we need is ALL MEN to recognize that women are put in dangerous positions (not just physically, emotionally, financially, mentally, etc.) on the regular during the course of performing our professional duties.
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
You couldn’t be more off @MrsTechSales about what you’ve extracted from my comments. I don’t feel called out in the least but at this point, I’m going to stop trying to explain myself and abstain from participating in these conversations going forward.
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Allisce
Tycoon
+9
Account Executive
More often Han not the top of the board is dominated by women at my company and that is great. Our sales management is dominated by men. I do get the smaller microagressions, is she too emotional, can she handle something else, etc. I feel like it keeps us in our exact place and only some more up. There is definitely a bias towards pretty young women in promotion, they get pulled up before much more qualified people. Guys get promoted much faster which is why most of the bosses are younger guys and I think why they pick pretty young super accommodating to their ego women to promote. Even still I am a top performer, but unsure of my growth. I'm tired of being told I'm too emotional but they love my passion, it's just coded language. I'm tired of the pretty young things and men being moved up after limited success, while many of us have been killing it at the top of the board for years. ughhhh
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive

This comment was removed

UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
I didn't see your post when I searched prior to posting. So, being respectful that you did post it; I don't think I understand the reason for a downvote when your OP was 3 months ago. 


Is the expectation to resurrect that post? Also, as you'll see in my profile I don't really understand the reason for hate on similar posts. This isn't to be argumentative, just a different viewpoint, I guess. 
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
I didn’t downvote you. I just didn’t upvote you because of similar posts already covering the topic but that downvote isn’t mine.
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