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Alloy

11 Sales Tips Every Woman Should Know

Women represent just 39% of the Sales workforce.


Although this number has been on the rise in recent years, the figures for Sales leadership are even more alarming: only 21% of Sales VPs are women.

Here at PowerToFly, we spend a lot of time talking about the importance of representation for women in male-dominated industries like tech. But Sales is one male-dominated industry that often flies off our radar.

Today, we want to remedy that by sharing female perspectives on how to succeed in this male-dominated field.

We asked 11 women in sales at our partner companies to share their top sales tips for women looking to excel in the industry.

Tips from Alison, Head of Self Serve at Asana

What should a woman sales leader try to avoid in her work?

"Avoid complacency in favor of relentless self improvement. Embrace and engage with all of the enablement and sales training you can get. The best sales people I've worked with are constantly honing their craft: sending that extra follow up email, asking for feedback, shadowing calls, mapping their accounts, and generally finding ways to improve every week."

What's a big tip you want to share with other women in sales to achieve success?

"Sales is an industry that constantly innovates. Modern sales teams are more data driven, more integrated with Customer Success, Marketing, and Product, and more customer-centric than ever before. In this environment, salespeople are general managers of their book of business. So, my tip would be to own your accounts and bring all of your partner teams in on a cohesive strategy – no one wins deals alone anymore!"

Can you share an anecdote surrounding your process?

"In my day to day work I don't actually get to hear or do that much selling – I'm in cross-functional meetings or working on growth initiatives. However, one of the most memorable moments at Asana was last year when we did a big end-of-quarter push. Everyone was on the phones across every team – including me and all of the leadership team. The energy was intoxicating on the floor. We hit our goal at 5pm and celebrated with tacos, but a few customers were still returning calls and everyone kept answering them. The collective hustle made the victory so sweet."

Join Asana's team! Apply here.

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Tips from Summer, Director of World Wide Customer Success at Cloudbees

What should a woman sales leader try to avoid in her work?

"Absolutely avoid trying to be someone you aren't. Throughout my career I've been given a lot of advice and while most of it was great some of it would have required me to be disingenuous to my personality or my beliefs. Never take that advice. Instead, always be authentic to yourself in your work.

One of the examples that comes top of mind is being told on multiple occasions to speak more in meetings. While I 100% agree that establishing a place at the table is important, I am also not a person that feels the need to dominate conversations. Instead I tend to listen and then add thoughts as they naturally fit into the dialog. In the long run I've found this works for me because when I do speak people tend to listen. I can't say that for people that have a reputation for always talking."

What's a big tip you want to share with other women in sales to achieve success?

"Most importantly, define what success means to You! The world is great about telling us what success looks like from how we should look, to how we should feel, to what title or role we need in our careers. But ultimately define success for yourself then make a plan to work towards it."

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Tips from Buffi, AVP, World Wide Software Delivery and Enablement at Cloudbees.

What should a woman sales leader try to avoid in her work?

"Avoid spending time on things you don't have the power to change. If you want to search for inequality and negativity, you will find it. But if you search for equality and support you will find those too. The easiest way to effect change is through yourself, hard work trumps all. Don't hide or ignore your unique strengths. For me, it's my instincts, free thinking and compassion that give me an edge."

What's a big tip you want to share with other women in sales to achieve success?

"Don't stay in your box. Don't be the victim of your own glass ceiling. As women, we often have these societal and familial voices telling us how to dress, what we're good at, and how high we can climb. If you don't strive to attain what you feel might be unattainable, you will never really know the limits of your potential. I believe we fall victim to our own limitations every day. Break your Glass Ceiling. Shatter it, climb up and don't look down. But remember, it's invisible, so you might not even know where you put it!"

Do you have an anecdote you'd like to share?

"I was working as a Fortran programmer, just 3 years post-grad, interviewing for a new job in windows programming. I edited my resume and replaced my first name with my initials. Physics, math and computer science degrees, for sure, everyone would assume I was a male. I did not get a ton of hits until I enlisted a consulting firm, who re-wrote my resume and added my name back in. The job interviews poured in. On my first day in my new cool programming job with one of the big banks, I found out the only reason they interviewed me was to see what a "Buffi" looked like. And here is where you can choose to find the good or choose to find the bad. I realized that as a woman I have advantages that men don't have and there is nothing wrong with using them. I also realized that hard work and intelligence trumps all, because although I secured the interview with my name, I secured the job with my brain. Ok, maybe it was the red dress I wore, but a red dress and weird name only gets you in the door. My insane work ethic kept me there."

Join CloudBee's team! Apply here.

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Tips from Christine, Commercial Sales Manager at Smartsheet.

What's a big tip you want to share with other women in sales to achieve success?

"To achieve success, you need to show up every day as your authentic self, and be consistent; consistent with your customers, your coworkers, your process. If you are looking to continue making moves within your career, raise your hand for responsibilities that fall outside of your current job requirements. Though this may feel outside of your comfort zone, by agreeing to do something new, you are stretching and growing your skill set, which can only lead to progress."

Join Smartsheet's team! Apply here.

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Tips from Dorian-Michelle Smith, Regional GM at PAX.

What should a woman sales leader try to avoid in her work?

"Avoid not speaking your truth. If you feel there is a decision being made that goes against your beliefs don't be scared to speak up. You know your market, you know what is working. Be fact driven but drive your opinion home."

What's a big tip you want to share with other women in sales to achieve success?

"Take risks, but learn from others. Who are the people in your life you want to emulate? Can you reach out and learn more? You don't need to be an expert in everything but you should know who is the expert in things you don't know! Sales is a double edge sword you need to make every connection that you can possibly get but you also need to learn how to say no."

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Tips from Kristen Winterbotham, Director Commercial Enablement at PAX.

What's a big tip you want to share with other women in sales to achieve success?

"Everyone is winging it. I used to look at my parents... at my leadership team... at my clients... with such awe and amazement that they always had the answers, the secrets to success. I would let my insecurities hold me back from asking the (seemingly) obvious questions, suggesting the (seemingly) simplest solution. And then one day I realized - we are all trying to find our way, we are all just winging it. So, my big tip is obvious, don't be timid and speak up."

Join PAX's team! Apply here.

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Solstice

Tips from Leanne, Client Principal at Solstice.

What should a woman sales leader try to avoid in her work?

"Talking about the lack of women in sales only fuels a self-fulfilling prophecy leading to less women pursuing sales careers and so my advice to female sales leaders is simple: 1. Avoid highlighting the differences. More importantly, stop reserving soft language for women ("nurturers") and bold language for men ("hunters"). 2. Continue leading in the profession. Be a role model for other women (and men) by demonstrating sales as a viable career path and promoting better gender balance on your team. Treat it like the expectation and not the exception."

What's a big tip you want to share with other women in sales to achieve success?

"Make friends with your self-limiting beliefs. Awareness is the first step and in replacing any negative self-talk. Instead, spend that energy on your pipeline, better understanding your product and how to spend your bonus."

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Tips from Lee, Business Development Senior Manager at Solstice.

What should a woman sales leader try to avoid in her work?

"Avoid trying to be something you are not. Focus on being your authentic self. Guard your integrity as a sacred thing. You can only be a successful sales leader if people trust you and believe you."

What's a big tip you want to share with other women in sales to achieve success?

"The rules for achieving success as a salesperson are no different for a man than they are for a woman. Gender does not matter. What matters is setting goals for yourself that are outside of your quota and making sure one of them is becoming an expert in your craft. Commit yourself to lifelong learning. Your mind is your most precious asset, and the quality of your thinking determines the quality of your sales career. The more knowledge you acquire that can be applied to practical purposes, the greater will be your rewards. You own the success of you."

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Tips from Andrea, Client Principal at Solstice.

What should a woman sales leader try to avoid in her work?

"Avoid waiting to speak up, especially with questions. Women tend to be more empathetic and can read between the lines of what a client/prospect is saying, so speak up and ask open-ended and clarifying questions to build your understanding of their needs."

What's a big tip you want to share with other women in sales to achieve success?

"Play to your strengths, and don't try to fit into a mold. You may often look different than the salesperson your clients/prospects are expecting, but that can be an advantage. Figure out your own personal way of connecting with prospects and clients."

Join Solstice's team! Apply here.

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Tips from Laura, Cofounder and Chief Revenue Officer at Alloy.

What should a woman sales leader try to avoid in her work?

"She should avoid minimizing herself. There's a temptation to shrink and allow men to lead, because that's how things have been forever. And it's often easier to do -- as a woman, being deferential and passive is expected. But don't let things stay that way: take up space, be loud, say yes to things, and most important, take risks. Make yourself uncomfortable at times."

Join Alloy's team! Apply here.

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Tips from Andrea, Channel Sales Director at Netskope

What's a big tip you want to share with other women in sales to achieve success?

"Be honest, confident, and always bring forth a solution to a problem. Trust your heart, trust your gut and stop giving power to the opinions of other people. If you have a "team", then work together as a team and not as an individual. The team will be better together."

Join Netskope's team! Apply here.

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