6 Compelling Reasons to Diversify Your Sales Team

Successful sales leaders understand that what makes their team successful today won’t always cut it tomorrow. The landscape is ever-changing with disruptions to our sales methodologies, new industry trends, and innovative technology that disrupts the way we buy and sell. But when it comes down to it, your team starts and ends with the people. No cadence, dashboard feature, or case study can replace the human touch. At least not yet.

An American Sociologist Martin Ruef, who observed the social and business relations of 766 graduates of the Stanford Business School, found that entrepreneurs with the most diverse groups of friends scored three times higher on metrics of innovation, proving that embracing diverse ideas drives innovation. From my personal experience and that of others, here are six compelling reasons to diversify your sales team. 1

1. Debunk groupthink with fresh perspective.

Whether we’d like to admit it or not, all of our teams experience a level of groupthink. This hive mind thinks a certain way, addresses problems similarly, and shares information well. Whether by design or organically, we become comfortable with our processes, unable to fully zoom out and effectively miss an opportunity to identify a better way. The value of fresh perspective can’t be overstated enough.

“Often, the way to get unstuck isn’t to change whatever it is you’re looking at—but instead to change how you’re looking at it." 2

2. Don’t snooze on the introverts.

Puns are fun. According to a study from 1998, introverts make up 50.7% of the United States population, just edging out extroverts as a majority. 3 By limiting your talent pool to just the seemingly confident shark-types, you’re cutting your talent pool in half! Instead, look at introverts with a proven track record as a new tool on your team.

Listening is a trademark of being introverted, these people are accustomed to listening in order to understand rather than pitching and going in for the hard sell.

3. Sales is increasingly international - your team should be too.

People like feeling as if the companies they partner with have representation of all races and creeds. “A study by the Harvard Business Review found that a team with a member who shares a client’s ethnicity is 152% more likely to understand that client than another team.” 4

The more diverse a sales force the more directly they can relate to the needs of the people to whom they are selling.

4. Higher returns are tied to diversity.

“Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.” 5

While it shouldn't take a positive ROI to prove the case for diversity, having data behind a proposal helps to solidify a greater push for diverse hiring and inclusive internal practices.

5. Diverse senior management attracts and retains top talent.

65% of millennials with a diverse senior management team survey stated that their organizations are strong at attracting and retaining the people it needs compared to only 40% of those surveyed with a non-diverse organization. 6

The makeup of your senior leadership team can be just as important as your sales team. Employees want to feel represented by having an advocate in their corner.

6. A shift in impact is an opportunity for your company.

Millennials see business leaders having a more positive impact on them and the world around them than religious or political leaders. 7

Diversity on a sales team is no one person’s concern. An agile, modern sales team stays in discovery mode learning from those around them. Investing in diversity of thought, experience, and perspective has proven time and time again to have positive business impacts, and who knows...you just might learn a thing or two along the way.

Jon Knott | Head of Learning and Development, ShipBob

 
 
  1. https://news.stanford.edu/news/2004/january21/innovate-121.html
  2. https://99u.adobe.com/articles/52479/you-dont-need-new-ideas-you-need-a-new-perspective

  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyatarr/2017/09/12/heres-how-ambitious-introverts-are-negotiating-secret-weapons/#2c77b171703b

  4. https://hbr.org/2013/12/how-diversity-can-drive-innovation

  5. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters

  6. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/at/Documents/human-capital/at-deloitte-millennial-survey-2018.pdf

  7. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/at/Documents/human-capital/at-deloitte-millennial-survey-2018.pdf

Jon Knott