It’s no surprise that even in today’s day and age, specific industries are more male or female-dominated than others. While we like to think that both genders are equal, where we see a considerable gender gap is in tech sales. Women only hold approximately 25% of tech sales jobs.
While tech sales have always been a male-dominated field, studies have shown that sales teams that include women have more success than male-dominated or only male teams. A higher success rate makes hiring women and closing the gap well worth the effort.
It’s not just the right thing to do to make sure everyone has the opportunity to go after the job they want – it’s good business.
Why is Closing the Gap Beneficial?
Closing the gender gap in tech sales is beneficial for all parties involved. It helps increase diversity and more.
Diversity Benefits Everyone
Intentionally or unintentionally, we quickly form opinions about someone after meeting them for the first time. Human brains are hardwired to create connections with people we feel like we relate to.
When your sales team is diverse, you’re more likely to pull in a broader net of clientele. Clients want a salesperson who understands them and their needs. Men tend to feel more comfortable dealing with men, while women can feel more comfortable with women.
A female business owner may be more comfortable dealing with a saleswoman because they’ve faced similar challenges. Similarly, a client from India may feel more of a connection with an Indian salesperson who may have a similar background or views.
A more diverse team is also more likely to brainstorm a wider variety of ideas and sales tactics. When you have team members of all backgrounds, they can develop marketing strategies that a more homogenous group may never think of. A sales team of men and women can benefit the company by reaching a larger client base than they could with a larger male team.
Women Can Bring a New Perspective
Generally, men tend to be more aggressive in sales than women. While this isn’t always a bad thing, it may not be as beneficial for every client. Women are known to focus more on building long-term relationships with people.
Cultivating long-term relationships is beneficial, especially in SaaS products, because they’re becoming subscription-based and require long-lasting relationships.
Women are also more likely to employ empathy-based sales practices than men, such as active listening, which only assists them in building relationships.
A study run by the Department of International Business Studies at the Amsterdam College of Applied Sciences showed that sales teams with an equal number of men and women resulted in increased sales.
Teams featuring both men and women will tend to have a variety of viewpoints and perspectives and a variety of sales tactics, allowing for stronger sales overall.
Both genders bring sales tactics and views to the table. When you incorporate women, you’re expanding your team’s ability to connect with more people.
Reasons the Gap Exists
It’s clear that a gender gap exists in tech sales, but why?
A “Tech Bro” Culture
The tech industry has what people call the “tech bro” culture. But what does this mean? In short, “tech bro” culture is a male-dominated atmosphere in technology sales where many women feel unwelcome or out of place.
A 2021 study by Techopedia elaborated on this further. They surveyed 1,233 tech employees to gather information on the gender gap in tech sales. Of the total surveyed, 41% were female, 57% male, and 2% nonbinary. Participants ranged in age, company size, and position level.
Of the 1,233 people in this study, 22% believed that tech has too much of a “bro culture” to attract women.
This environment can easily lead to harassment, alienation, and violation of boundaries with little support from higher-ups when employees raise complaints. When asked if they had been subject to negative gender bias, 43% of women working in tech responded, while 23% of men answered the same.
As a specific example, Head of Security Strategy at Exabeam Samantha Humphries responded that she frequently found herself forced to justify her position to clients, superiors, and peers. She also stated that she has to work harder to be seen as equal to her male peers. Over 30% of women felt the same way as Samantha Humphries.
Furthermore, 44% of women mentioned witnessing gender discrimination toward female colleagues, while 61% of men said they hadn’t noticed gender discrimination.
It’s no surprise that tech has a negative reputation if women are experiencing gender bias, but men don’t recognize it for what it is – or are turning a blind eye for various reasons.
Uneven Recruiting Efforts
Recruiting plays a large part in tech sales. Recruiters will scope out potential employees they feel would be suitable fits for the role. While overall, women dominate the recruiting field, with roughly 60% of recruiters being female, that doesn’t mean there are not uneven recruiting efforts in tech sales.
The gender gap within recruitment and hiring can feel like a never-ending cycle. Since tech sales is a male-dominated field, recruiters naturally gravitate towards hiring men. More men will be employed or recruited when your recruitment funnel is full of men.
A Swedish study found that male recruiters were more likely to call back male applicants. Male recruiters also may be less likely to consider gender balance in their hiring process.
If male recruiters hire primarily male employees, these employees go on to do the hiring, and the cycle continues.
A survey by ResumeBuilder found that men are more likely to lie on their resumes to get a job. 42% of men admitted to embellishing their resumes compared to 22% of women.
Since women feel like they can’t apply for positions unless they’re fully qualified, they tend not to take as many chances. In contrast, men will usually apply for jobs even if they’re only partially qualified.
Steps to Close the Gap
Closing the gender gap in tech sales isn’t going to happen overnight. However, there are steps companies can take to further their efforts.
Actively Recruit Women
Hiring more women doesn’t mean you should hire a completely unqualified female candidate over a perfectly qualified male one.
It means intentionally recruiting women in general. Ask your recruiters to check through their networks – are the majority of their contacts all of the same background, education level, gender, etc.? If so, they should consider broadening their nets to make sure they’re finding the best candidates.
This may require a longer hiring process, but finding the best possible candidates for every position you’re looking to fill is worth it.
Use gender-neutral language in job postings, establish a company presence at events targeted at different groups, and make sure everyone who interfaces with your company feels welcome.
Make Your Company a Place Women Want to Work
The United States is the only wealthy country that doesn’t require paid maternity leave. As a result, only 40% of employers offer paid leave to their employees. 33% of women take no leave, despite how difficult and painful the process can be and how important it is for a baby to bond with their parents.
Offering parental leave to men and women makes your company more appealing to women who have or want kids. Suppose there are internal procedures to help parents transition back to work after maternity leave. In that case, there won’t be as much fear around being passed over for responsibilities and promotions.
Women are also more responsible for caretaking duties within a family, whether for children, elderly parents, or family members with special needs.
Having a policy that promotes good work-life balance tells your workers that you acknowledge their responsibilities outside of work and don’t expect their job to be their life.
Companies can offer daycare if possible, a stipend for daycare if they cannot provide it themselves, menstrual products in bathrooms, and explicit policies on harassment and discrimination. Even if you have procedures for these, making sure they know you’ll support them if they report it is vital.
Create Programs for Women
58% of women and 47% of men in the Techopedia survey believed that companies should offer training programs specifically for women. Mentorship programs with higher-level female employees are another way to help drive upward success for women.
A study concluded that three out of four women who work for companies that offer mentorship programs will always accept the opportunity to grow.
No Tolerance for Bro Culture
Any company that is serious about hiring women must also ensure that those women aren’t harassed during the workday. Zero tolerance for bro culture means strict policies on sexual harassment and calling out those who display casual sexism.
Letting your employees know that you have a zero-tolerance harassment policy and working to be inclusive in all aspects creates an environment where women feel comfortable working.
There’s no cure-all for closing the gender gap in tech sales. There’s a wide range of reasons for why it exists, but closing it will push the future of tech sales forward.
Women can offer unique strengths and strengths to your sales team. Make a conscious effort to make your company a safe and appealing place for everyone and anyone to work, and you’ll be amazed at what talent comes calling.
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