Who is better at selling: men or women?
It’s a very sexist question to ask but with International Women’s Day – March 8, 2020 – it seems to be a recurring bone of contention. Forty-five years since International Women’s Day was first launched, gender inequality remains an issue – albeit we are getting better at debating and hopefully progressing towards a point in the future where it’s not about gender.
For now, Gartner says 84% of chief sales officers (CSOs) report they are satisfied with the gender diversity of their sales organisations with men still outnumbering women in all levels of the organisation.
“Our research found that the gender gap is still large and not getting better despite more attention being paid to the issue,” said Cristina Gomez, managing vice president in Gartner’s Sales practice.
“In fact, while many organisations have made progress with hiring women in sales managers and leadership roles, most still fall way behind their male counterparts in similar roles, and perception differences between female and male employees may be the reason why.”
From a particular point of view
Gartner’s State of Gender Diversity in Sales: 2020 Report reveals a misalignment of perceptions on progress toward closing the gender gap in sales organisations among CSOs, sales leaders and sales reps.
Despite CSOs’ efforts to improve gender diversity, 74% of female respondents and more than half of male respondents reported that their organisations still have a male-dominated sales culture.
Other key findings that indicate an inclusion problem still exists within sales organisations include:
- 66% of women and 56% of men report that their organisations struggle to retain high-performing female sales professionals.
- 61% of women believe that they have the same opportunities for advancement as their male counterparts with the same skills and qualifications.
- 55% of women believe that their company’s nonmonetary rewards appeal equally to men and women. This is down from 2017, when 94% of men and 68% of women agreed that their company’s nonmonetary rewards appeal equally to men and women.
- 63% of women agreed that women and men have equal access to resources in attaining or exceeding goals at their sales organisation.
Gomez commented that gender diversity is not on the rise in sales organisations — and deep misalignments between men’s and women’s perceptions of gender diversity challenges remain.
“As long as these biases remain, it will be hard for senior leaders to identify how their organisations’ norms and culture need to change to attract high-performing female candidates and retain female sales leaders,” she added.
To effectively improve gender diversity in their sales organisations, heads of sales will need to take a planned and purposeful approach to auditing broad elements of their employee experience — from hiring and recruiting, to retention, advancement and overall culture — in order to identify and eliminate the outdated policies that are disadvantages to female talent.