Women hold more than half of college-educated jobs, but less than one third of B2B sales jobs, as noted in a recent Harvard Business Review article. The piece also points to research that women salespeople actually often outperform men. In honor of International Women’s Day, Brainshark spent some time speaking with one of Brainshark’s female directors about women in sales roles, and how we can work toward a more equal future.
As Director of Strategic Sales Enablement at Brainshark, Beverlie is focused on helping organizations with their sales enablement strategies. Before starting this role with Brainshark, Beverlie was an account executive, so she has first-hand experience as both a sales enablement practitioner and a seller.
What first interested you in your role?
My current role as Director of Strategic Sales Enablement gives me the ability to share my experience and help other sales professionals become more successful in their roles. As someone with a background in sales, it is fulfilling to my work help others be the best they can be.
What do you think women uniquely bring to the table in a sales role?
There are many traits I’ve seen that help women succeed in sales roles. First, I believe many women are effective listeners. They are focused during their sales conversations and ask relevant questions so they can leave the conversation with a greater understanding of the customer scenario and the implications of their problem. Second, women tend to be more empathetic which can result in a stronger connection with their customer. Lastly, many of us in sales roles are also working moms so we are comfortable multi-tasking so can manage the many constant demands of the sales role.
How can we inspire more woman to be interested in sales positions? Xactly reports that women outperform men in sales by 3% yet still earn less. What role does a sales enablement platform like Brainshark play?
I’m not surprised by the study results stating women outperform men as I feel it has to do with the traits I mentioned above. We can inspire woman, and men, to move into a sales role by better educating them on the skill sets, the compensation upside, and the satisfaction that the role can bring. The Brainshark platform can help with all of this. For example, sales enablement managers can use the platform to train people more effectively and allow them to practice prior to speaking with their customers. This can give women and men more confidence and comfort, especially when starting a new sales role.
What lessons have you learned from being a woman in sales?
I learned the importance of being confident and being prepared in my sales calls. I wanted to make sure I was successful in my role. It inspired me to work harder to be the top performer.
Who has been your biggest supporter/mentor in your career?
I have been very fortunate in that I came across two mentors, Kathleen Gilligan and Jackie Comp, early in my career. To this day, I still turn to them for advice and perspective. I urge all women to find a person who can provide you guidance and help you navigate through your career. This person can be your cheerleader, your moral compass, your career advisor and help you develop the skills and competencies you need to be successful in your role.