We celebrate women in sales all year long at WISE, but this October we took time to reflect on the origin and importance of Women in Sales Month. While this awareness month has started to gain momentum over the past few years, especially on social media, we polled our community and 95% of respondents did not know the meaning behind it.
Enterprise Sales Forum’s founder, Mark Birch, started Women in Sales Month as a way to feature women sales leaders and learn about their experience in order to create a more inclusive environment. Now, it has grown and morphed into organizations and companies using it as a time to highlight and thank the female sellers on their teams.
It’s no secret that women can excel in sales roles. It’s also not a secret that female sellers and sales leaders are underrepresented at every level of the revenue world. Breaking through these statistics is no easy feat, especially coupled with The Great Resignation and overturn in the workforce, which has statistically affected women more heavily.
We interviewed six women in our community to gain a deeper understanding of their passion for sales and what advice they’d give to fellow women in sales everywhere.
Here’s what they had to say:
What inspired you to pursue a career in sales?
“Sales is the root of all business and something I was surrounded by growing up. My lineage is that of entrepreneurs and at a very young age, I recognized that I have a knack for sales and building relationships. As I navigate through my career, I’ve now landed in alliances which is a core function of sales.” – Priya Mokha, Senior Director, Strategic Alliances @ Introhive.
What advice would you give for women beginning their journey in sales?
“Sales is tough work, especially for those starting in inside sales. It’s a grind but it’s your grind to put in the hours, learn from your peers, do the work, and have open communication about areas you want to improve. Own your journey and growth, read books on sales, watch videos, develop relationships with other women in sales, practice your talking points, ask for specific feedback, and put yourself in your clients’ shoes to gain perspective.” – Jorja Palmer, Director, Customer Success @ PitchBook Data.
What women do you look up to?
“One of the biggest role models in my life is my mother. Although not in the sales industry, my mom broke glass ceilings within the sports world for her early involvement with Title IX and the right for women to have the same opportunities as men within athletics. She took this passion to another industry that lacked women representation, the automobile industry, where she built a program aimed at empowering women with the resources, support, and confidence to feel comfortable negotiating appropriately during the car buying process. Anyone who has bought a car understands this is no easy task and is notoriously slatted against women. Aside from leading by example, she taught me to never take no for an answer, and I learned from an early age that being a woman is a strong asset.” – Erin Schwartzstein, Sr. Regional Sales Manager @ Collibra.
What is your favorite way to advocate for fellow women in sales?
“Advocating for women starts with building their confidence up so they take on new and challenging projects or roles. I love finding new opportunities for the women on my team and giving them the confidence boost they need to put themselves forward (even if that might mean them leaving my team!).” – Céline Kimberly, Senior Director, Customer Success @ HubSpot.
What is your favorite thing about working in sales?
“The constant state of being introspective and being in tune with how others experience me.” – Kara Kayrouz, Strategic Account Executive @ Gong.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received during your career?
“Do not be overly grateful, you earned your place at the table so sit comfortably with your feet up and occupy space!” – Abi Williams, Senior Director, EMEA @ Udemy.