Lori Richardson is a veteran B2B sales expert. She is a Revenue Growth Strategist, speaker, author, #WomenInSales Champ since 2001 at Score More Sales, a Sales Coach at Harvard Business School and hosts the podcast: Women in Sales for Women Sales Pros. (Our former guest Reesa Hinks is a fan and introduced us to the podcast!)
Take the half hour to listen to this podcast for tangible immediate actions to take to learn about how to widen your pipeline and diversify your sales team. You can and should tune in wherever you listen to podcasts including Spotify, Apple, or here.
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Tell us about your new book She Sells!
She Sells is “designed for managers and company leaders to attract, promote and retain great women in B2B sales. This is the book for, mostly men, because sales and businesses are still predominantly run by men and lead by men. These are the people that want more inclusive sales teams.” She Sells was written for those who want to hire more diverse teams, but they need help on how to get the pipeline of diverse applicants and to encourage them to apply.
The book provides tips and strategies that will help you get more candidates and more great sellers.
She Sells isn’t for women?
Nope! But it might be validating. Lori suggests women handing a copy over to sales leaders and managers if you want to make change happen.
What made you decide to write She Sells?
Lori has been fielding questions for years on how to employ and empower more women in sales. In 2015 she walked into a room full of managers of a company that she was consulting with. Out of 80 managers only 4 were women. “It was a boy’s club. I was appalled when I walked into the room to see them all together. I just wondered if this is the 80s? Because this is what happened in the 80s. It got me to start thinking about what hasn’t changed and what has changed and why. We know women can do very well at sales and very well as leaders. It’s not about gender it is about skillset.”
Why should companies care about gender parity and diversity in sales teams?
“When companies add women to an all-male team in leadership, revenue and profits go up. The same would be true if it was all female and you added men. You need different points of view. You need different skills. We ramp up differently. We onboard differently. We solve issues differently. We are typically not the great risktaker, but we do other things collaboratively. Some studies from places like Gong demonstrate that women are stronger in selling. That’s not my point. My point is if women are good, just as good, why aren’t half the teams women. I don’t want it all. I just want half.”
How has the field of sales changed?
Collaboration is “in fashion now” in sales. Sales didn’t used to be collaborative. “It used to be kill or be killed. Or survival of the fittest. Lots of war words were used in terms of how to deal with your prospects, clients and competitors. Now you need to be collaborative. You need empathy. This is what women do. These are the skills that we bring. We can infuse them in a team with our male counterparts. They can learn a lot from us.” Lori admits that there are great male allies who embody empathy and these skillsets and characteristics as well.
“The bro culture is changing.”
How do you widen the pipeline?
- Look among the other departments in your company. You may be overlooking solid talent that is already under your roof.
- Look at other candidates from others service areas like retail.
- Make the extra effort to encourage people to apply. Assure candidates that you will help onboard them and set them up for success.
“I’m not here to change minds. I’m here to support those who want to make change.”
How has sales in tech changed?
Everything used to be new and exciting. Now there are so many apps out there. It is more challenging, and you need to distinguish your product.
How do you prove yourself in sales?
“The proof is in the pudding. Perfect overtime. It’s not a science. It’s not art. It’s both.” Lori has onboarded over 1,000 SDRs. Lori affirms that you can’t simply teach it. People need to absorb, experience and learn.
How do you hire the right person?
Lori recommends using tools before hiring because not everyone is coachable. There are certain skills that are necessary. Mostly, however, Lori believes that the will and want to sell is critical.
How are you feeling about this recession?
Lori has been through a few in her career. She feels that this one is different. People are still hiring. Some companies had over-hired. “This is more of a course correction than a recession. I feel hopeful now. Companies are hiring. Those who aren’t are being reevaluated. It was almost too good for a while. They were throwing jobs like candy.”
When it comes to diversity, the last ones hired were the first ones fired. Since companies cared about diversity only in recent years, women and minorities have been more heavily hit by the recession.
What should someone do to grow professionally?
Have a wide variety of knowledge. You want to learn from all types of fields and people. Be open to new things and get out of your comfort zone.
Buy She Sells! If you purchase 50 copies, Lori will speak to your team!
Two takeaways from your book for listeners?
- Always rely on women from your team for their perspectives on an ongoing basis.
- Look around your company for potential women for your sales team. Also look at universities and speak to students about trying out and considering sales.
Want to build a strong team and collaborate smoothly and easily with your colleagues? Get started as a beloved beta user! You and your colleagues will have free access for at least one year, and we will send you some swag!
Looking for more to listen to? Join Menachem Pritzker and Sharon Weiss-Greenberg, hard core Collabrians, as we drink coffee and learn from collaborative leaders in sales, customer success and account management.
Ready to get started? Customer Café by Collabria: Sales Collaboration Tips for Pros is available wherever you listen to podcasts.