Gender inequality in STEM has been making news for a while. But that’s not the only space where women are underrepresented. It’s a problem in sales too.
According to the 2019 State of Sales Performance survey, 73% of teams polled said that less than half of their team were women.
To many, this is an all too familiar problem — but not just for women. Companies and sales teams are missing out on the benefits that diversity brings. Repeatedly, studies are proving that more gender diversity corresponds to increased revenue and innovation.
According to a report by McKinsey & Company,
“Top-quartile companies on executive-level gender diversity worldwide had a 21 percent likelihood of outperforming their fourth-quartile industry peers on EBIT margin, and they also had a 27 percent likelihood of outperforming fourth-quartile peers on longer-term value creation.”
Luckily, there are many excellent people and programs that are determined to change the industry.
With help from our community and a huge special thanks to Lori Richardson for tag-teaming this with me, we were able to round up this phenomenal list of the top programs for women in revenue positions. It’s great to see that these groups truly support each other.
Top Groups for Women in Revenue
These programs don’t settle for the status quo. They do everything from advocating for more diversity in companies to helping women already in sales and revenue learn more and advance in their careers.
These programs are leading the charge to change the way sales organizations and teams look, and the way we think about sales as a whole.
Women Sales Pros
Women Sales Pros is actively working with companies to attract, hire, and retain more women in their sales teams and sales leadership roles.
But they don’t stop there. They’re also focused on education, training, and community.
They educate businesses and sales teams about what they’re missing out on by not prioritizing diversity, and they host events to help women sales leaders improve their skills and network with each other.
They are also planning on releasing more training and resources for women, so be on the lookout for that.
WSP is committed to community. They have a thriving community that helps build women up and celebrate their successes. They are also very active in working with other women’s groups to make sure that they are all working together to change the landscape of sales for the better.
We spoke with the founder, Lori Richardson, to learn more.
SH: Why did you start Women Sales Pros?
Lori: I worked as a sales strategy consultant and was going into companies with hundreds of male sales reps and a handful of women — or NO women, or ONE woman rep and very few women sales leaders. I thought it was 1980 all over again.
Armed with data to support the idea that more women is better for revenue growth, I began the commercial division of Women Sales Pros. Which, to date, has already promoted about 50 top women sales experts as keynote speakers, consultants, and sales trainers.
SH: How is Women Sales Pros helping women now?
Lori: We facilitate off-site and in-house meetings at corporate clients around North America.
We do research! WSP works with Dr. Joel LeBon of Johns Hopkins University to study why women continue to be underrepresented in all aspects of sales, and we are finding answers (hint: men and women are different!) and will be sharing our results soon.
We also have several big events that we host.
- We host an annual “Rev it Up – Sales Leader Summit – West” in San Diego (March)
- We host a “Rising Stars” morning for up-and-coming women in sales on October 23, 2019, in Boston (Waltham) and “Rev it Up – Sales Leader Summit” that afternoon (October 23, 2019) for men and women sales leaders.
- We host Executive Presence workshops led by Julie Hansen, former actor, in Denver, Boston, and more cities in 2020.
SH: What is unique about Women Sales Pros?
Lori: WSP supports, champions, and talks up EVERY group and organization, working toward more women in sales and sales leadership. We publish a weekly newsletter (currently to 25,000 women and men) on what in-person events, podcasts, blogs, LinkedIn posts, and other resources are out there that many groups and companies are creating.
We know that some of our members have inspired others to start groups, hold events, and build hiring tools, so we will keep on speaking up and shining a light on women who are in sales and sales leadership as role models. We will keep speaking at schools and universities about how sales is an admirable profession.
Many women are awesome in sales roles, and many women make great leaders. We need to get more companies to understand the gender bias that happens in an old system like sales — from hiring to onboarding to supporting, promoting, and retaining great team members in an inclusive manner for top sales culture.
We believe #IfTheyCanSeeItTheyCanBeIt.
How can you be a part of WSP?
Girls Club is a powerhouse in the movement to see more women in sales leadership roles, and to change the face of sales as a whole.
#GirlsClub is a comprehensive 6-month program built to get more women in front-line sales management and leadership.
But this isn’t just any training. They only do this twice a year, and they only accept 100 determined women at a time. This is to ensure that every woman who goes through their program gets the one-on-one coaching and mentoring that they need to succeed.
They are all about helping women in sales gain confidence to take that crucial next step to apply for higher positions. They do that through training, mentoring, and an amazing community of authentic leaders.
Authenticity is very much the name of their game. They want you to know what being a woman sales leader really looks like, and what it really takes.
In their network, you don’t see the cover-of-Forbes side of these amazing leaders, you see the real them. They share the mistakes they make, the challenges they face, and how they overcome them.
We spoke with Lauren Bailey, the founder of #GirlsClub to see what she had to say.
SH: Why did you start #GirlsClub?
Lauren: I started #GirlsClub because I looked around and noticed the number of women in leadership had been flat for far too long, over a decade. So, I decided I wanted to help change the face of sales.
I looked into the why, and I found that one of the things holding women back was their own lack of confidence. I found that women wouldn’t apply for a job until they felt 100% ready and qualified, whereas their male counterparts would apply or ask for a promotion when they were only 60% ready.
Women were missing vital opportunities because of a lack of confidence to take the plunge early, to bet on themselves. So I started #GirlsClub to address this.
SH: How is #GirlsClub helping women now?
Lauren: We work with women who are ready to move up now — either potential reps or women already in a leadership role looking to move up 1–2 levels in their organization.
We do this with an intensive 6-month course taught in 3 parts.
- We give you the tactical frontline skills that you need. The nitty-gritty of how to do your job as a sales manager and leader.
- We then pair you with a mentor who is focused on your personal growth. They are completely focused on helping your career move forward, wherever that takes you.
- Lastly, we focus on confidence building. We don’t want you to miss those important opportunities because you don’t feel ready.
It’s an intense 6 months, but at the end of it, we know you’ll have what it takes to earn your spot on the top.
Eventually, we also want to provide training for companies, as well, to help them be more inclusive.
We want people and companies to wear our logo like a badge of honor. We want our logo to be a sign that says, This is a safe place where you will get a fair shake and equal pay.
SH: What is unique about #GirlsClub?
Lauren: Apart from our course, I honestly I think we have one of the greatest communities to help women grow in their field.
We have hundreds of mentors, both men and women, ready to do whatever it takes to help the women in #GirlsClub.
We’re all about authenticity and being honest about the struggles that badass women in sales have, and our mentors live that authenticity. They share their F-ups, their worries, and are just real people.
Getting more women into management is all about community.
How can you be a part of #GirlsClub?
If you’re interested in being a part of #GirlsClub check out this video from Lauren.
The National Association of Women Sales Professionals is focused on helping women develop their skills by connecting them with over 14,000 other women in a powerful sales network.
They are focused on changing the male-dominated world of B2B and B2C sales by bringing the top women in sales together to change the way sales training is done, as well as the way we think about sales in general.
This group is pioneering new approaches and strategies for everyone to sell to their strengths. They’re also working directly with companies to help them increase their gender diversity.
NAWSP believes there is power in numbers, and they invite everyone, no matter your gender or color, to join them on a path that celebrates our differences and utilizes our different strengths to make the sales world better.
We spoke with their founder Cynthia Barnes to see what she had to say.
SH: What made you start NAWSP?
Cynthia: I founded NAWSP in 2016 after looking around at the male-dominated sales world and the male-focused training that is pervasive in the sales world, and asking myself, Is there a better way?
I reached the top of my field using these male-focused methods, but it wasn’t easy. It made me think, How much better could it be if we included training and strategies that utilize the strengths that women bring to the table, namely, authenticity, empathy, and relationship building?
We’re not wanting to throw out the traditional method, but I think there is a lot to be gained from adding to it.
I’ve heard a lot of people say if it’s not broke don’t fix it, but I think if it’s not perfect, then keep working.
SH: How is NAWSP helping women now?
Cynthia: There are 4 pillars to shrinking the gender gap.
- Attracting more women to pursue jobs in sales
- Hiring more women
- Developing those women’s skills
- Retaining those women and helping them develop into leadership roles
Right now, we primarily focus on helping women in sales develop their unique skills, but we also work on those other pillars. For instance, we partner with companies like Toyota to help them hire more women and get more women into leadership roles.
But like I mentioned, our main focus is on changing the way sales is taught and helping women develop their unique skills. Different is not wrong, and we think we can do better by being more inclusive and trying new things.
We have chapters around the nation, interactive events and webinars, networking events, and even an app to help facilitate networking and mentorship in our network.
Next year, in 2020, we’re actually going to be starting an annual conference, so be looking for that!
SH: What is unique about NAWSP?
Cynthia: We want people to know that we don’t stop with championing for gender equality, we believe that no matter your background, you have a unique toolset you bring to the sales world.
We are currently the most ethnically diverse women’s sales group with 29% of their membership being African American, 15% Hispanic, 2% Asian, and 11% who self-identified as Other.
We are very proud of this, and it’s something we are continuing to foster and grow in our community. Our whole message is about authenticity and using the unique strengths you bring to the table.
Sales is for everyone.
How can you be a part of NAWSP?
If you want to be a part of their network, check out NAWSP here. Keep an eye out for their first annual conference next year in 2020.
Women in Sales
Women In Sales is all about providing resources to grow the next generation of women sales leaders.
Their goal is to make sure every woman has the resources and training she needs to excel in her career. And to that end, they operate under a push-pull mentality. They band together to push members of their community higher, while those already in leadership help to pull others up after them through mentoring, training, and networking.
They have an amazing online library of resource videos covering every aspect of sales and leadership.
They also run quarterly leadership events across the United States, gathering some of the brightest minds in sales and management all under one roof with the same goal: to help women learn, grow, and succeed.
We spoke with one of the founders, who is also the current president, Alex Adamson, to learn more.
SH: What made you start WIS?
Alex: WIS grew out of a passion project at CloserIQ. Jordan Wan (CEO of CloserIQ) met me, and we immediately connected on shared frustrations with the lack of diversity and resources for women in sales organizations.
While diversity in the workplace is a much larger problem, women in the sales profession are an underserved demographic with huge potential for improvement. Our hope is that the positive impact we create in our profession can be a catalyst to broader improvements in the workplace throughout companies.
SH: How is WIS helping women now?
Alex: Since 2017, we’ve hosted quarterly events throughout the country with the help of our strategic partners and sponsors, such as SalesLoft, Segment and Datadog. Each quarterly event draws a curated audience of 150+ sales professionals, managers, and executives from the fastest growing companies in the world.
We believe that by curating these online and offline resources, women will be able to meet and interact with others who they would otherwise potentially never meet or know.
SH: What is unique about WIS?
Alex: We provide a two-pronged approach in reversing industry trends around women in sales, particularly at the executive level.
First, we provide individuals a safe forum to share knowledge, find mentors, and inspire them to take control of their careers. Secondly, we provide organizations (even startups!) a solution to build an inclusive and engaged employee base.
We will finish 2019 with an active presence in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, and London. We will be live in Atlanta, LA, Austin, Denver, Seattle, Toronto, and Dublin by the end of 2020. So, if you’re nearby, look us up!
How can you be a part of WIS?
You can see what WIS is doing and where their next event will be on their site here!
Utah Women in Sales
Founded in 2018, Utah Women in Sales strives to connect the industry of working professionals in Utah through events, workshops, podcasts, and materials to help you succeed.
They host several events each year to facilitate training and opportunities to connect and network for women in Utah.
Their community has exploded, and they are constantly working to expand their reach and effect on the next generation of women sales leaders.
But don’t take our word for it, meet their team and hear what they have to say about UWIS.
We also spoke with Rebekah Brewer to learn a little more about them.
SH: What made you start UWIS?
Rebekah: Utah Women in Sales started due to a personal need of mine to create a community of women in sales, local to Utah.
We had no idea how receptive the community would be to this organization. Our first event had over 300 women attend, and from there, the community has continued to grow.
SH: How is UWIS helping women now?
Rebekah: We are an organization focused on serving women who are in sales or are interested in pursuing a career in sales. We provide opportunities for women to connect, learn about new opportunities, network with sales professionals, and gain skills that will be valuable in the workplace.
Utah Women in Sales helps individuals become more innovative, ambitious, and well-connected. We provide a collaborative community where you will be educated, empowered, and supported.
How can you be a part of UWIS?
Women in Revenue
Women in Revenue is a fast-growing group focused on mentorship.
They aim to empower female leaders (and aspiring female leaders) with mentorship, support, and networking opportunities.
They are primarily focused on the tech industry but have women in their group from marketing and other revenue-generating backgrounds as well.
Women in Revenue meets quarterly — and even invites men to join them — because they believe equality should go both ways. But their focus is on helping women grow.
They have an annual survey of the State of Women in Revenue to keep them focused on the mission. They also have a fantastic network and an amazing mentorship program.
Together these women are changing the way sales looks in their corner of the country.
SH: What made you start WIR?
WIR: Women in Revenue was born out of the passion of our founding board members to make a difference for the current and next generation of female leaders. Our mission is to provide mentorship, education, and networking opportunities to advance women’s careers.
We saw a real need to address the support systems, diversity, and equality in the boardroom and C-suite that will allow women the equal opportunity to elevate their careers.
SH: How is WIR helping women now?
WIR: We have a growing mentorship program with over 700 members in only 8 months, and generous sponsors. We have been overwhelmed with the positive response and growth of this group.
Our vision is to be a catalyst for change and see our efforts result in more women on those executive team pages, more women having an equal voice at the boardroom table, and more stories of successful mentorships that have had lifelong-lasting effects on their careers and lifestyles.
We hope you can join us, network, support, and contribute to WomenInRevenue.org.
How can you be a part of WIR?
If you’re interested in joining their fast-growing community, or support them in some way, check out their site here.
Gals and SALS
This is the only group that is not public-facing, but I thought it was important to add because I believe every company should have a program like this. Gals and SALS is a group at Outreach created by one of their SDRs, Cari Olson, and the head recruiter for the SDR team, Mandie Manning.
They created a group where the women on the SDR team could gather once per month, and have a nice evening together where they celebrate each other’s success and push one another to grow.
But the club quickly grew to be a company-wide group that included just about every woman in the company — from every branch (HR to analytics) and from every level (interns to Outreach’s executives).
They pair a fun outing, like a happy hour painting class, with training, inviting amazing guest speakers to join them and share their insights and knowledge with the group.
It’s truly an empowering group of fun and learning.
We spoke with Brooke Bachesta to learn more.
SH: What made you, Mandie, and Cari start Gals and SALS?
Brooke: We started this group in September of 2018, back when the SDR team was overwhelmingly comprised of men. While this isn’t news for SaaS sales, as it’s a highly male-dominated space, the SDR team at Outreach wanted to make strides to improve the gender diversity amongst the team.
Upon hiring a cohort that included three women, Gals & SALs was born out of an effort to retain the women they had on the team by providing social events and happy hours that met their needs.
SH: How is Gals and SALS helping women now?
Brooke: The organization has now grown from a small club of SDRs to a company-wide, sales-centric crew with a focus on professional development and cross-team support.
Nearly every quarter, we host events for all women of sales, marketing, ops, and success to gather, learn from, and mingle with executive-level guest speakers who are paving the way for women in sales.
SH: What is unique about Gals and SALS?
Brooke: In the past, we’ve done fun things like paint and sips, pottery painting, and terrarium building. We’ve had featured speakers from our board, executives in the area, and other high-performing Seattle women in sales.
This month, we’ll be hosting a collaborative team-painting activity over happy hour, and we’ll be bringing in a local CMO to share her experiences with our team.
How can you be a part of Gals and SALS?
If you want to start a group like Gals and SALS at your company, link up with Brooke Bachesta on LinkedIn. She will be more than happy to answer any questions you have, and she’ll help you however she can.
What Can You Do?
Every woman involved in these amazing organizations ran into the same problems, saw the same inequality, and decided to do something about it.
If you’ve been paying attention, four words should be burned into your mind by now: Networking, Mentoring, Growth, and Community.
Pretty much every Women in Sales & Revenue organization on this list uses these four levers to elevate women in the sales world.
While all four words sum up what these organizations are about, the last one is probably the most important: community.
Because community is the key. It brings lonely voices together to show that while women may still be a minority in sales, they are not alone, and their power is anything but minor.
However, just knowing other women are there won’t get you all the way, so that community must be focused on building one another up with mentoring, teaching, and networking.
The power of these groups comes from the close-knit, cooperative community that these amazing women have put together.
All of these organizations, through different methods and ideas, are working towards the same goal, and together they are changing the face of sales.
So get involved. Join a group near you, or start one at your own company! If you need help, reach out. You’ll be amazed at how welcoming and inclusive these women are.
Speaking of community, if you know of any other organizations or resources that should be on our list, Tweet it to us!
Also published on Medium.