If you are a woman and have been told by a manager or leader in your company to consider a sales (or sales leadership) role but feel that you are not 100% qualified, I’m suggesting you APPLY ANYWAY. If you are looking at roles at another company in sales or sales leadership and you don’t match 100%, apply anyway.
Yes, apply anyway.
For three reasons.
- Companies write a job description hoping for “the perfect” person that meets all 100% of their criteria. Men tend to apply when they meet 60% and women won’t tend to apply unless they meet all 100%. The women top sales leaders I’ve met and work with WANT you to know that you don’t need to meet all of the criteria to apply for a position! Step up and see what happens.
- A job listing doesn’t rule the hiring process. Women often act like it does. If someone encourages you to apply for an internal role, find out more – see what the upside is of applying and what, if any, downside. Most likely it will be a good exercise in learning more about your champions (or lack of) and you will learn something about yourself.
- There is no downside in a sales role to ask to step up and handle more responsibility. SDRs (Sales Development Reps) and BDRs (Business Development Reps) do it all the time, looking to become AE’s (Account Execs). Know what the basics are to do the role – and then go for it – apply.
Don’t think that women are not applying for lack of confidence, either.
Women Leadership expert Tara Mohr didn’t believe the often-quoted HP Study and did her own research. Turns out that most women don’t want to waste their time or energy applying for something they don’t think they will get.
Sales is an admirable profession.
We need great women in sales roles – especially sales leadership.
If you like the idea of a business growing because you are out there helping to solve buyers’ issues through the exchange of your company’s products / services for dollars, you should really think about a sales role.
Lori Richardson is President of Women Sales Pros and is working to see more women in sales and sales leadership in companies where there are male-majority sales teams. She is also Founder and CEO of Score More Sales.