As technology companies work towards bolstering their revenue, market presence and customer loyalty, thinking more broadly about the team you want to build is as important as hiring the best sales executive. According to Hult University research, companies are 35% more likely to have financial returns above the national industry median when they have diverse teams. Data has shown that a diverse team brings new ways of thinking and unique skills to the table. According to Glassdoor surveyresults, 67% of job hunters indicate diversity plays a key role in their desire to join a company. Additionally, a 2016 quantitative analysis completed by Morgan Stanleydetermined that higher levels of gender diversity in corporate settings can lead to productivity gains, better decision-making, and better returns with lower volatility. Whether it be gender or race, a physical handicap, or sexual orientation, diversity translates into productivity within your sales organization. So, why must companies diversify and how do you achieve it?
When Salesforce.com appointed its first ever Chief Equality Officer(CEO), they stepped the competition up a notch and dove head first into racial equality. The company ultimately wants to represent all facets of society and believesthat a diverse company is a more compelling, more creative, and a more innovative company. The intention of adding a position such as CEO was to foster new perspectives at the company and ensure that no voices were marginalized. All businesses should take note from this company and look long and hard at the composition of their team. Does everyone essentially look the same? If so, it’s time to help close the gender and racial gap and introduce diversity. Eventually, your sales team will contain cohesive, dynamic individuals who demonstrate excellent capabilities of relating to customer needs.
Put simply, diverse teams are smarter. They have enhanced creativity, a better ability to innovate, and are more likely to use consistent objectivity, while taking the time to examine and reexamine facts. According to Harvard Business School Professor Roy Y.J. Chua, “The more your network includes individuals from different cultural backgrounds, the more you will be creatively stimulated by different ideas and perspectives.” To put that into context with a sales team, this means problem solving, overcoming objections, and better storytelling.
The companies that sustain over the long haul are the ones who are most creative and innovative. Creativity is key to sales since the salesperson’s job is to help clients imagine a world where their company runs better (using your company’s technology, of course). Having a creative salesforce also means finding new avenues for lead generation, understanding prospects’ needs better, and creating internal processes that streamline customer acquisition.
Diversifying your company does not just affect your business, it can affect the entire community and promote cultural sensitivity. It can also work to help develop longer lasting relationships with potential clients. A recent Hult University article highlighted the impact diversity can have on your team’s local knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and ability to build lasting relationships with potential clients. When you stop and think about it, market knowledge and relationships are the foundation upon which sales are built. As diversity on your tech team grows, so does its network of influence.
Having a diverse team of individuals will lend itself as an excellent recruitment tool and continually attract a superior workforce. This is why an additional group of Tech corporations and startups have been vocal about closing the gap with diversity. In 2016 alone – 32 tech companies, including Airbnb, Spotify, Intel, Pinterest, and Lyft, have signed a pledge to make their workforce more representative and diverse. In 2017 250 companies marched in the pride parade – all to find great talent and build the best teams.
Acceptance and inclusivity might be the biggest benefit of hiring for diversity, and not just on your sales team but throughout the company. Diversity works beyond just bringing in new clients, but makes your company a better place to work. It’s more exciting, challenging, and interesting every day. While diversity has other added benefits, building a supportive office culture must be the greatest.
Employee satisfaction is directly tied to the company culture and is a strong driver of ROI. On a practical level, improving your company’s culture and ethos means lower turnover on your team—especially in the salesforce where turnover is typically high. More important, hiring a diverse team makes your company a more equitable place to be, and that should be reason enough to make it a priority.
Diversity yields positive outcomes. With an array of talent, team members work together, each capitalizing on their differences and unique skill sets, ultimately leading the way to increased sales revenue and more customers. One thing is for sure, there will be grave consequences if you fail to make diversity a priority. But don’t worry, it’s never too late to develop and leverage your workplace diversity strategies and gain the competitive advantage in your industry.