Because I talk to so many women in sales today and coach them, I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to share these exact words of wisdom with you.
First, as a woman in sales, sometimes we don't always have role models to look up to. And because we don't have role models to look up to, we don't always get recognized for some of the accomplishments that we do.
Write down your accomplishments
To build your self confidence and your bravery in sales, which is critical, write down the accomplishments that you've done.
Whether it's that you've met a monthly quota, you've helped a major customer with a problem, you've found a new prospect who's ideal- whatever it is, write it down!
This came into play for me when I was working the VP of Sales at my first tech startup. Every time we did something, whether it was tripling the amount of recurring revenue in the company or getting featured on the Discovery Channel for some major breakthrough that we had done, he told me, "Carole, you need to go on LinkedIn, and you need to write those things down."
I didn't realize that at the time, but what he was doing was helping me to improve my self confidence that I took with me throughout my career.
Feel like you're not being heard?
The second thing that I hear from a lot of women in sales is that they get really frustrated when they either have to repeat themselves or their ideas don't necessarily get heard.
First of all, if you don't feel like you're being respected and heard at the company that you're at, there are plenty of companies out there who are looking for top sales people that have the kinds of cultures that women will thrive in. So don't feel like you have to stay where you are because there's plenty of opportunity out there.
However, if you're in a situation like I was once upon a time, this is what I did when I felt like my idea wasn't getting heard. Again, I was working at that same startup company, and they had tasked me with understanding everything to know about Salesforce. (This was back in Salesforce 2.0 days.)
As I was learning everything about the tool, I started seeing that there was an opportunity for us to link our support tickets to our sales contact records so that we never went into a conversation with a customer who was unhappy without knowing it ahead of time.
As we were talking about it in the meeting, I'd been there all of two weeks, and I made the suggestion. Guess what happened? Yup, it was dismissed and wasn't discussed again until...
Four or five weeks later, when the head of support said, "Hey, I think we should use Salesforce to track our support tickets to tie to our sales contacts," When leadership nodded their head and said, "Ok- let's look into that." my first reaction was, "You've got to be kidding me. I just said that three weeks ago!"
But instead, what I said was; "I am so glad that you liked my idea and took some action on it. Let me know if there's any way that I can help."
Rather than get mad or get frustrated, again, don't be afraid to say, "I'm so glad that you liked my idea." It comes back to that being confident and knowing that you've accomplished something.
Don't be afraid to ask for help when needed
One last thing, because I think that this is important for almost all women, is to realize that it is okay to get help. And when I say that it's okay to get help, what I mean is: find an advocate.
For example, when I was working at this startup company, Bill the VP of Sales was an advocate for me. He would often say when an idea came forth, "Carole had a great idea. Carole did this thing. Carole did that thing," He was an advocate and a microphone for me within the company. So that eventually my voice started to get heard more often.
So, find your advocate. It can even be a peer, it doesn't have to be a boss. It could be your coworkers or someone on your team who will support you in helping you to get heard.
If you are a women in sales, what challenges do you encounter? How have you handled it? Share them in the comments below.