It’s rare to find a woman sales executive working in tech. According to this LinkedIn report, the average percent of Women in Director+ roles in Software Technology is only 18%. Yet multiple studies show that those qualities more commonly associated with successful executives --relationship building, active listening, fostering trust and communications-- are key strengths in women leaders. That’s why we believe that bringing more women into sales and leadership roles at every level is smart for business.
In celebration of International Women’s Day we reached out to inspirational women leaders in sales and marketing who continue to push boundaries and forge the way for tomorrow’s sales leaders.
We hope you enjoy their stories.
After 6 years in Management consulting and 52 quarters in software sales, Jill is helping companies with Social Selling, Digital Sales Transformation, Marketing and Sales Alignment, and Sales Enablement. She is passionate about Culture, Customers, Content, Connections & Community.
Can you name someone that helped you in a pivotal way in your career? How did they impact your journey?
Early in my sales career at Salesforce.com, Shelly Davenport not only believed in me but was willing to upset other salespeople on the team, by giving me an additional territory when there was a coverage gap. She rewarded my hard work and loyalty, which motivated me to work even harder for her and for my customers.
Can you provide any advice for women looking to enter the sales space?
Be your authentic self. To be successful in sales, you need sales acumen, business acumen and customer acumen. You need to be insatiably curious and passionate about helping others.
Is there anything you're doing, specifically to make things easier for the next generation of women behind you?
I’m a big believer in If You Can See It, You Can Be It. #SeeItBeIt To that end, I leverage social networks, events, blogs, podcasts, and other forms of content to share my story and shine the spotlight on other successful women in sales. I’ve also guest lectured at a number of universities, including University of Virginia, UC Berkeley, Cornell, and UT Dallas.
What’s a great lesson you learnt the hard way?
Do the job/assignment you’re supposed to do and THEN do the job/assignment you aspire to. Don’t show up late for a customer meeting with a Starbucks coffee (unless you’re bringing coffee for everyone). Going around / above someone can blow up in your face. Make sure your customer isn’t copied on your rant email.
So much of leadership is about the people you're leading - can you share an accomplishment from one of the women that have worked for you that you're particularly proud of or impressed by?
My proudest moments are from the accomplishments my CUSTOMERS have achieved. During my sales career, I was always an individual contributor, not a sales manager or leader. I chose to lead my customers on their journeys and was their biggest champion and cheerleader. I’ve watched so many of my customers, Maureen McCormick, Meagen Eisenberg, LaSandra Brill, Kathleen Schaub, Stacey Epstein, achieve great things in their careers. I’ve also watched many women who were my peers grow into amazing sales leaders, including Susan Lorkovic Zuzic, Katie Azuma, Melissa Madian, and Jocelyn Brown.