Women in tech is a hot topic these days: what is it like as a woman to work in a field dominated by men? The Women of Conductor hosted a panel focused on an even more specific question, one that is asked much less often: what’s it like to be a woman in tech sales, a field no less stratified by gender as the tech world as a whole?
Many women can feel like there is no career path in sales, but the incredible women in sales at Conductor organized this event to debunk that myth, open up about their careers and challenges, and inspire others of any gender in the organization to consider exploring options on our sales team.
The panel was attended by Conductors at every level of the company, of every gender, a testament to the level of respect the four seasoned salespeople on the panel command in the organization.
In the end, they gave us a lot to think about, regardless of our particular position in the company. We learned that sales is not just about closing the deal and making a profit. It’s a journey that requires incredible communication and relationship-building skills, internally and externally. It’s a mindset that allows you to listen, thoughtfully consider, and respond to your prospects to connect them to the solutions they need.
It was such a successful and inspiring panel that we wanted to share some of their insights with you.
How do you deal with rejection throughout the sales process? What do you do to help yourself reset?
Working in technology sales (or any sales) means that sometimes, unavoidably, you will encounter rejection. The women discussed handling rejection in their day-to-day and how they focus on the situation to turn rejection into a learning experience and net-positive outcome that helps them grow as salespeople.
“Just don’t let the rejection be the rejection. Go do something about it and you’ll be successful.”
Sometimes the best option is to step back, think strategically, and realize that not every deal is the right deal, and not every quarter will be your best quarter. Then figure out how to improve.
What are some strengths and experiences unique to women that give you a competitive edge in being a successful salesperson?
The stereotype of a salesperson is an assertive, sometimes pushy, aggressor who will do whatever it takes to close a deal at any cost (think: ALWAYS BE CLOSING). That perception can discourage women from pursuing a sales career because they don’t believe they have the right characteristics or skillset to be successful.
The women on our panel stressed that, at the end of the day, selling is selling, and it shouldn’t matter what your gender is. They encouraged people to remember that they’re pitching to humans, and forging a human connection is the key to any deal.
“The women in sales at Conductor do a lot really well, especially in big deals. Nurture campaigns, winning somebody over with value and a personal relationship, ultimately lands us more enterprise business.”
More women in sales mean bringing fresh perspectives to the table, and that in itself is a huge competitive edge. In fact, in Q3 2018, 55% of top Conductor Sales Performers were women.
What’s different about being a woman in sales vs. a man in sales, and how do you combat those challenges?
The women on the panel agreed that although the environment in tech sales has improved over the years, they still feel like they often need to work a little harder than their male counterparts to prove they belong in the room.
“When talking to the audience we often sell to, women do have to work a little harder to prove they’re not just there to be a pretty face.”
But all of the panelists asserted that if you go into a meeting with a clear mind and conviction, you’re going to be heard, regardless of your gender.
They also indicated how important it was to have a team you can rely on in tough or uncomfortable situations. Mentors and supportive colleague relationships are a key part of the sales team experience at Conductor.
“The rapport we have with each other and knowing we can lean on each other in challenging situations are huge advantages as well.”
Multiple panelists spoke specifically about the importance of female mentors at Conductor, especially watching them grow into leadership positions and develop new skills.
“Seeing my female mentors and everyone else move on and throughout the organization was really exciting, and really changed my mindset about sales. Leaning on them has been an inspiration.”
The Conductor Community Celebrates Women in Sales
One thing that was made increasingly apparent was how crucial the sense of community at Conductor is for people in every part of the organization. The leaders on our panel encouraged the Conductors in the audience to break out of their comfort zones and reach out to people they might not normally come into contact within the company. Mentors and allies come in all shapes and sizes—and sometimes where you least expect them.
“Let’s eliminate that inherent feeling that you shouldn’t approach someone or reach out, that it doesn’t seem right, that it’s a little too intimidating. That puts up barriers that don’t really exist and might get in the way of meeting the people who can support you professionally.”