Women in Sales – The XX Factor With Anonymous

women in salesWhen we decided to start the Women in Sales – The XX Factor  Sarah was one of the first women we asked to participate. Sarah has  inside sales and field sales and has an awesome track record.

She has worked for Fortune 1000 and Fortune 500 companies. She’s even worked for one of the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work. Oh, and a few of her start-ups were successfully acquired.

Naturally we think Sarah belongs in The XX Factor.

Now here’s the rub…Sarah is not her real name. She’s asked to remain anonymous.

At first we thought this might hurt the authenticity and transparency of the series. Then we realized this is exactly why we need to have this series. We hope others are as moved by this as those of us at The Harris Consulting Group.

“Sarah” thank you for your contributions and welcome to The XX Factor…

Q – How many years have you been in sales?
Sarah – 18 years.

Q – Can you please describe the “aha” moment when you decided you wanted to be in sales?
Sarah – My first real sales job was working for a weekly newspaper selling advertising space. Back in that day it was the best job ever! I got paid to drive around a major western metropolitan city talking to restaurant, retail & bar owners about their business and create fun advertising ads in a mostly non-measurable way.

Q – What can you tell us about the single biggest sale you ever made? ($, sales cycle, industry, etc.)
Sarah – I have been a part of some very large million dollar deals.

Follow Up Q – Could you tell us more about this deal or another one?
Sarah – As far as the large deal size the only thing I would add is I tend to not
like the large deals as it bring lots of egos into the process and I prefer
six figure deals for that reason.

Q – What women in sales do you admire most?
Sarah – Not in sales specifically, but Marissa Mayer. To take on Yahoo and all the media attention it brings is really impressive! And the timing of her move around the birth of her first child! Who cannot admire that?!

Q – If you could go back and give your early career minded-self advice about a career in sales, what would that be?
Sarah – Have more confidence!

Q – What advantages do you think women have in sales over men?
Sarah – Not sure if there are specific advantages, but I do think by nature women tend to lead more with trying to understand the problem and come to a solution / fix. I think a disadvantage is (hate to say this) but men lead more with ego which I think actually helps move bigger deals forward.

Q – What advice would you give to men about working with women in sales?
Sarah – I worked for a fairly large company, unnamed and not my current employer. We had a week of sales training  and meetings for all of sales. As part of the general discussion during the conclusion of the meeting, someone asked “how do we feel about how things went this week”- and the sales “leader” stated “we are men, we don’t have feelings”.

Which was followed by a room full of laughter (except me). I was the only female in the room.

My advice is KNOW your audience internal & external!

Thanks Sarah for sharing your story and giving us all a lot to think about!

In closing we want to leave you with a final thought. For some reason we psychologically expect women to be nurturing and warm. When women in sales take initiative, are direct, and forthright we are surprised and think they are doing something wrong.

Except there is one problem. They haven’t done anything that needs to be adjusted! It’s time everyone adjust their frame of reference. It’s time for everyone to create their own “new normal”.

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