Diversity is making considerable waves in the political and economic arena. With consumers demanding that companies become more socially responsible, business leaders are slowly realizing that integrating diversity is a must if they want to thrive.
This is especially important in sales.
Considering the bloodline of every business, the sales team is also the human connection between your brand and consumers. Having a team of sales professionals from all walks of life equips your company with a workforce who can understand and relate to their customers.
However, diversifying a company’s staff can be challenging. As business leaders and sales managers, you hold the power to drive change within your organization. In addition to creating a healthy work environment, a diverse workforce sparks innovation and increases financial gains.
Read on as we discover the best methods in growing a diverse sales team and how you can leverage sales professionals to meet your goals.
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How to Foster a Diverse Pipeline for Sales Talents
Diversity does not begin and end with hiring. Before delving into reorganizing your sales team, assess the current status of your hiring process and work environment. Evaluate existing data, analyze your hiring trends, and pinpoint areas for improvement. A comprehensive strategy that aligns with your resources and business goals is necessary if you want lasting results.
You can integrate the following tips into your strategy to foster a diverse sales pipeline.
1. Create a Balanced Workforce
Many hiring managers have an unconscious bias or make decisions based on initial impressions before meeting potential candidates.
A study done by researchers, who sent 13,000 fake resumes to thousands of job posts, reveals that companies were less inclined to call applicants with Asian-sounding names for an interview, even though they shared similar qualifications to other candidates. This results in an unbalanced workforce that limits opportunities only to the privileged few.
As a sales manager, you can tip the scale by working closely with your HR department and ensuring that you employ people strictly for their talent and skills. Start with the basics, like rewriting your job descriptions and requirements to be more inclusive.
For example, you can omit words associated with specific genders, like “aggressive and decisive” for men and “attractive and understanding” for women. Another suggestion is to use “you” instead of “he or she”.
Skip technical jargon and qualifications that are not necessary or can easily be gained through a short training course. This way, you can employ talents who, albeit not ticking the boxes 100 percent, may possess transferable skills that you can hone.
The best way to avoid unconscious bias is to stay educated. Learn what it entails to be inclusive and keep yourself informed about social issues. Finally, be consistent with what you advocate and how you manage your team.
2. Tap Sales-Focused Organizations that Promote Diversity and Inclusion
While you can always create a direct streamline of applicants, you should also utilize organizations dedicated to connecting diverse sales talents to companies. This also saves you time from having to sift through hundreds of applications to discover the right candidate for your organization.
When you hire sales professionals from the following companies, you’ll be able to build an empowered sales force.
- GirlsClub: Founded by Lauren Bailey, a longtime technical sales leader, GirlsClub trains and places women in sales leadership roles.
- Entity Academy: A women’s EdTech bootcamp that produces hundreds of qualified professionals in sales, fintech, data science, and software development.
- Management Leadership for Tomorrow: Looking to fill more senior roles? With almost 20 years of experience, entrepreneurs can find highly competent BIPOC senior leaders from this nonprofit organization.
3. Initiate Programs Geared at Diverse Candidates
Besides seeking sales professionals from the organizations mentioned above, you can ramp up your efforts by implementing programs that attract candidates from minority and underrepresented groups.
Set up hiring and recruitment events or job fairs that are group-specific. Take your cue from Afrotech, a tech conference that brings together thousands of Black tech innovators to meet business leaders, recruiters, and hiring managers.
Internship programs for women and members of BIPoC are also a great way to close opportunity gaps among young and budding sales talents. Additionally, you can partner with universities and other learning institutes and sponsor marginalized students that can work with you in the future.
4. Hire Remote Workers
Technology has paved the way for a more advanced and virtual world. With a hard push from the pandemic, companies began adopting a hybrid work structure. Take advantage of the remote work setup and find talented sales pros from different states or cities.
Hiring remote workers has shown to be a more efficient alternative, in addition to saving an organization money. With a more flexible work structure, remote workers are less likely to quit and can be more productive.
For example, parents juggling their jobs and taking care of their families have a better chance to find a work-life balance. Casting a wider hiring net can also connect you to skilled sales professionals that remain undiscovered due to disabilities or are in poorer communities far from business districts.
Managing a remote sales team is a challenge. However, you can find some helpful tips in our article on how managers can motivate their sales team.
5. Build an Inclusive Work Culture
All efforts to enhance a company must begin from within. Business owners should start from the top when it comes to raising awareness about diversity and inclusion.
Training workshops are essential for sales teams, and some companies do bi-weekly or monthly sessions. However, aside from honing sales-related skills, you can host diversity workshops and events that allow people to connect and share experiences, too. Provide opportunities for marginalized groups, from entry-level to senior jobs, whenever possible.
Additionally, work policies that discourage discrimination should be taken seriously to protect employees from unjust treatment. You can also set up an Employee Resource Group (ERG), which includes employees who advocate for a diverse and inclusive work environment. Take your cue from over 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies that have put ERGs in place.
These initiatives bridge the gap between employers and employees and establish trust.
4 Benefits of Having a Diverse Sales Team
If the above measures are implemented correctly, companies can reap the benefits that a diverse sales team may bring. Below are some of the outcomes you can expect.
Recognize More Opportunities for Growth
There’s more to diversity than hiring women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+. To be diverse means having access to a collective of cognitive abilities, skills, and perspectives gained from a wide range of experiences.
This diversity translates to a variety of creative solutions and ideas. This nonlinear approach also results in increased innovation and opportunities for growth, with a 70 percent chance of your sales workforce expanding their hold to new markets.
Make Well-Informed Decisions
Having multiple voices to listen to may sound daunting for a sales manager. Your team can present you with different insights and solutions based on their experiences, which can slow down your decision-making process. Instead of looking at this as a disadvantage, leverage inclusivity to ensure that you consider all the possible scenarios and take the next best step for the company.
A study by Cloverpop supports this claim as it has found that companies with a diverse and inclusive environment are 87 percent more likely to make better decisions.
Raise a Company’s Reputation
According to a Facebook survey that included 1,200 people, over 70 percent of respondents look for a proper representation of themselves in ads and are more inclined to support brands that can understand them. And who better to do that than a diverse sales team?
Moreover, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte, it was discovered that 57 percent of consumers remain loyal to companies they respect and trust due to their commitment to inclusivity and diversity.
Increase Your Profits
Sales is a high-pressure discipline. However, with the perks that an inclusive environment brings, you can increase the chances of your sales team performing better and staff staying in the company longer. As a sales manager, it is essential to foster an environment where sales talents can voice their concerns and suggestions and work with people they can relate to.
With improved decision-making, strong customer relationships, and the ability to strategize innovative solutions and determine growth opportunities, diversity plays a crucial role in increasing a company’s profits. According to Forbes, diversity in senior leadership roles yields 43 percent above-average profits. Another study revealed that diverse companies could expect up to a 19 percent increase in revenue.
Invest in Your Sales Team with Flockjay
With sales becoming an increasingly knowledge-driven and digital-first field, elite sales leaders are looking for ways to invest in the most important part of their tech stack: their people. Flockjay helps sales teams reach their full potential by automatically capturing, tagging, and sharing best practices, wherever they are. Find out how you can elevate your sales team.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.