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Why You Need to Hire More Women Now

B2B sales has never been more difficult or required such sophisticated skills; companies are shooting themselves in the foot by ignoring one half of the workforce

It’s rare that a head of sales at a big company would come across a hiring strategy that could double their pool of candidates. But there is one staring many of them in the face – working out how to hire more women.

Despite the fact that women make up more than half of the college graduates in the United States, they are underrepresented at all levels of a company’s sales organization. This is a particularly big problem right now, as the selling environment continues to change out of all recognition, and so requires more sophisticated capabilities from sales reps and all those that support them.

This is borne out by the fact that last year the sales teams in CEB’s global network said that finding high performing sales talent was their number one focus area – all of which means that it should be an easy step for senior sales managers to rectify the lack of gender diversity and capitalize on all that overlooked talent in the global labor market.

Four Reasons More Women Will Improve Your Sales Team

Sales teams in the world’s companies have the second biggest gender equity gap of all corporate functions, according to CEB data. Only 1 in 4 mid-level sales managers, and only 1 in 5 sales leaders, are female. Companies also tend to pay women in sales less than their male counterparts too. Statistics like this show how sales teams have limited the pool of future successful sales leaders by not fully recruiting women.

But not only will companies benefit from expanding their horizons and the sources of talent they choose, accelerating gender diversity in the sales organization brings other benefits too.

In particular, hiring more women helps sales teams in four ways, according to analysis from Xactly Insights. All of which should make sales organizations think far harder about how to attract and retain high-performing women.

  1. Women achieve equal or higher quota attainment than men: Women achieve 70% quota attainment on average — higher than men, who achieve 67% on average.

  2. Women stay in role longer: Women typically stay in their roles for one year longer than men, leading to lower attrition costs.

  3. Women build more diverse teams: On average, female-led teams are 50% female and 50% male, while male-led teams are typically only 25% female. Teams with greater gender diversity contribute to a more stable workforce and are more effective as a variety of perspectives are brought to the sales organization.

  4. Companies with greater gender diversity achieve better business results: When compared to companies with a less diverse workforce (less than 20% female), companies with a highly diverse workforce (greater than 45% women) have significantly higher revenue, more customers, higher than average market share, and higher than average profitability, according to a 2009 study from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


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