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Women in Sales

Thrilled to learn that efforts are being made to ensure a good balance of men and women in this user group.


I’ve worked with some amazing women in sales but I don’t think I’ve fully appreciated some of the unique challenges present in this male dominated field.


Can you share something you wish your male colleagues knew or appreciated about being a woman in sales?

28
SalesGal
Politicker
+6
Account Manager / FSR
In my experience, being in a male dominated industry, I need to know my products better than my male colleagues in order to get the same recognition/respect from males clients than the guy sales reps will get. 
ATLSalesQueen
Contributor
+2
Sales Consultant
Agreed with this 100%. I have to know not only my products better, but also my processes and how to get issues resolved in order to be respected and viewed in the same light. 


I also think women are also better “losers” when they lose out on a sale because we don’t want to be viewed as taking something too emotionally. 
SalesGal
Politicker
+6
Account Manager / FSR
So true ! 
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
Wow, never considered that. Thanks for sharing!
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
up in Fiji, under paddy
I'm a woman and not sure how to answer that question. I don't really see myself as a woman at work, I see myself as just another member of the team. 

I work with mostly men - we just don't get a lot of female applicants. It doesn't bug me, except when the seats are left up in the bathroom stalls - lol.

My office is pretty casual. Does off color humor or language come up? Absolutely. Is it always politically correct? Nope. Is it ever meant to hurt someone or at anyone's expense? Absolutely not. Sometimes I feel like the guys on my team will hold back on the jokes/language when I'm around which is nice of them, but I really don't care. In fact, I'm known to give it right back to them. 

CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
Great answer
wahmsales
WR Officer
+10
SDR
For a few days out of a month, I'm just physically drained. Sales is hard enough as it is, but throw bleeding on top of that and it's a lot worse.
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
🙌🙌🙌
Hudsonsmom
Opinionated
+2
Area Sales Manager
👏👏👏👏👏👏👏
AK_47
WR Lieutenant
+3
Sr. Director of Sales Development
I'm sick of being treated and asked what it's like to be a "woman in sales." 

BTW- women are better suited for sales (multitaskers, empathetic, active listeners, etc) My top performers have always been women.

The challenge I have is I have to backfill them more (bc they get promoted faster) and there are more male candidates applying for sales. So keeping my team balanced with women and men is the hardest thing. 
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
@AK_47 Apologies if this post rubs you the wrong way. Wasn’t trying to imply that women are ‘lesser than’ and require special treatment or anything like that.

It’s such a loaded topic, I’m just trying to ensure I’m not unknowingly contributing to any toxicity.

Any advice?
AK_47
WR Lieutenant
+3
Sr. Director of Sales Development
No problem! I think if you treat your female colleagues the same way you do your male counterparts- that's enough! :)
Show 2 more replies
salesqueen
Good Citizen
Regional Sales Exec - Enterprise
Honestly, it has been tough for a few reasons:

- I have been told I only close deals because I'm a woman and can "flirt to get what I want".... I have top numbers because I'm a top seller not because I have boobs....
- I've had leadership at a prior company tell me to "act sexy" when I head into a male dominated meeting.
- I sometimes feel I am not taken as seriously during pitches as my male counterparts.
- I've been told "I'll take a meeting with you if you send me a quick pic"
- I'm usually, and currently, one of the only women on a sales team. and it's not done on purpose, sales is just very male dominated.
SalesGal
Politicker
+6
Account Manager / FSR
You're giving me flashbacks to all the times I've heard things like this ! Its sad how common it probably is for women to hear stuff like that despite the fact that were now in 2021... 
Aries
WR Officer
+4
Fractional VP Sales
Next time you're told that you close deals because you're a woman you can reference this great post from Gong from a few years ago.  https://www.gong.io/blog/this-is-how-gender-affects-close-rates-in-sales/
Aries
WR Officer
+4
Fractional VP Sales
that is so sad to hear in 2021. 
no one, male or female, should put up with abuse in their role. 
there are too many great companies and sales teams out there that would not tolerate that sort of behavior- including with prospects. 
salesqueen
Good Citizen
Regional Sales Exec - Enterprise
agreed 100% - my job currently is great thankfully (even though i'm the only woman on the sales team, not on purpose we just need to hire more people lol) - but i'm in the hospitality industry where things are a bit crazy
Hudsonsmom
Opinionated
+2
Area Sales Manager
ALL OF THIS!!!! 
ri_ri
WR Officer
+4
Account Executive
I used to work as a recruiter and it’s a well known fact that most job postings in software sales, and other roles, get way more men applying because women actually read the job description and don’t apply if they don’t meet all of the requirements. #1 advice I give to women is apply, job descriptions are always loaded, and you never know your competition, just go for it.

As for the topic at hand, I definitely noticed a shift about two years ago when my bosses started asking me for female referrals because the company’s goal was to have more women selling. Up until then I never thought about it much. I was used to working with mostly men, and I didn’t encounter anything particularly challenging. Sure my boss and another male co worker were buds and were often going for lunches and golf. But it didn’t affect me in any meaningful way. Maybe if we were competing for a promotion it would have.

Anyways since this pressure from the company started to hire more women, the comments started flooding in from some male coworkers “well we will now give the job to a woman just because of her gender, nothing to do with qualifications”. One of the managers ended up hiring a black woman and went around saying to people how he’ll get so many brownie points from HR because of it. This is when it started being very obnoxious, women that were hired had a tough time since some men were disappointed their male referrals didn’t get the job and have already decided that women that joined are not qualified and just got the role because of their gender. This behaviour was very disappointing, and honestly screw you men. We’ve had hundreds of years of unqualified men getting hired for jobs, if there are some women that get the job and aren’t super qualified, so what. 
I found myself working much harder than my male colleagues because I was conscious of potential condescending comments, and it’s so unfair to work under that kind of pressure.
Ultimately I’m now comfortable with my knowledge that I just focus on bettering myself for myself and don’t give a rats ass if someone thinks I have the job just because I’m a woman. I dare them to outsell me ;)
ja
jackodiamonds
Opinionated
+4
Account Executive
One of my biggest challenges is having fellow lady sales savages at my company to emulate or learn from. There are very few of us so most of the calls we listen to, reps who give tips in meetings etc are guys which is totally fine - but it can be hard for me to adapt some of these really aggressive styles the guys have. Women always have the fear that we will come off as a bitch if we use the same tone/approach as our male counterparts. I find it a lot easier to copy the styles of the top female reps. Then we’ve got the classic - I can say something to a prospect 10x but the minute my male manager or director says it they believe it (may also just have something to do with brining in leadership but I always wonder). 
SalesGal
Politicker
+6
Account Manager / FSR
All of this rings very true. Especially about not having women sales reps to learn from...I guess the only consolation is  thinking we'll pave the way for the next sales reps to learn from us. 
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
Reading this makes me sad. Dont doubt yourself! Take the message and make it your own! 
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
That's enlightening. Thanks for sharing!
MassholeMovesWest
WR Officer
+11
Account Executive
Having worked with a hundreds of different salespeople over the years, the 2 best reps that stick out in my head are both women. Furthermore, the percentage of top reps on every team or company, have mainly been women. 

I can't say the best reps are usually women because they're women, but there's definitely a correlation in my experience. I think it's important to note because it goes against the outside perception that you have to look like Jordan Belfort or Alec Baldwin to be the best. My 2 male cents.
jaybee
Good Citizen
Account Executive
Not related to working with predominantly male colleagues but rather with predominantly male prospects (senior leadership) 2 things come to mind:

1. Going to events can be difficult. I often find that I'm not taken seriously when meeting new potential prospects at (in person) events.

2. Separating private and business social media and/or private and work phones is a MUST for me. I've had numerous prospects try to get my number or add me on private social media (fb/insta)...
SalesGal
Politicker
+6
Account Manager / FSR
I keep two phones for this reason ! And I changed my social media last name to my husband's last name so prospects/customers wouldn't be able to find me on social media. Its crazy how many people insist to have my Facebook/Insta even when I politely decline... 
jaybee
Good Citizen
Account Executive
I know right! I use my mother's last name on fb/insta and my father's last name on LinkedIn. My full name is double-barrelled so that comes in handy...
Show 2 more replies
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
1. Sorry to hear that.
2. I imagine it's a much more delicate and complicated tight rope to walk. 

Thanks for sharing
bitchbetterhavemymoney
Fire Starter
+2
Manager of Channel Development
Scheduling customer calls for the morning when my voice is lower. 
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
just replying because I love your username. also, sad that you feel like your results will be effected by your perceived gender
bitchbetterhavemymoney
Fire Starter
+2
Manager of Channel Development
But it isn't feeling, it's fact - I've truly been treated differently, as most of my clients are white middle-aged men. I've received sexual harassment from complete strangers over the phone. 

I totally understand the need to switch to "male aggressive mode" to win a customer's trust. It's exhausting.
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
I swear, hearing “better watch our language now that a lady is in the room, don’t want to get written up for sexual harassment “ is so incredibly tone deaf to the actual issue it hurts my brain. 

Because, you know, that pat on the head with “good job sweetie” is as pleasant as having needles stuck into your eyeballs. 

also, the man-rage when you consistently hit quota and close that big rev account is real. 
dopeness
Good Citizen
Regional Field Rep
Ugh it's the worst! But it almost bothers me more when another guy will reply "o don't worry she's a cool girl." As if that makes it OK haha
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
re:tone deaf - I totally agree. I have to wonder what goes on in a dude's head to vocalize that. It's the most unoriginal, ignorant attempt at levity with respect to the sexes in the workplace.

Re:man rage - Hahah, I've seen some low key man-rage from men that are threatened (I imagine) by top performing women. But here is where you lose me because I would wear that like a badge of honour.

If you're upset at me because I outperformed you so hard that it makes you look bad, that's the best possible compliment you can give me.

@Incognito 
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
You misunderstand - I mean that the fallback position to many dudes is sexism rather than just doing better next time. It has a greater impact on you than you think. Think “old boys club”, where fellow “bros” get special favors and promotions. If we get loud, we’re labeled a “bitch” and get written up. 

especially true if you outperform a “golden bro”. Then you find yourself getting assigned a shitty service team, added CRM input scrutiny, and definitely no expenses approved. 

Like many things with crappy humans, easier to blame an “other” than hold yourself accountable. 
Show 1 more replies
spartankitten
Old School Bravo
Export
I think that young women in sales are taken less seriously than male counterparts. Over the phone I might get equal respect but once we have to switch to a videocall, it soon changes the tone of the conversation. Sometimes I even have to stand "compliments" on my appearance while I'm presenting very well prepared material..
 
SalesGal
Politicker
+6
Account Manager / FSR
So true ! 
I always figure the compliments are probably well intentioned but they don't have the intended effect...if I spend hours preparing material, I would rather a compliment on my work than my hair...Especially considering the comments often come from much older men... 
CadenceCombat
Tycoon
+13
Account Executive
Yikes. Sorry to hear that 👎
woof
WR Officer
+4
Account Executive
Super interesting thread and lots of mixed reactions it seems. 

+100 to what @wahmsales said on being tired a few days out of the month, this is SO painfully true. I wish I could cancel all of my demos for about 2-3 days out of the month because I feel like I don't have 2 brain-cells to rub together. 
SalesPharaoh
Politicker
+8
AM BDR
Great post looking to see the comments from women in here. Especially that our sales team no longer has any and we are focused on balancing this as a company.
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