Guest Columnist and Strategic Partner of Kinsey Management
Diversity and inclusion are becoming pervasive, hot-button topics and sales organizations can’t afford to ignore them.
As conversations give way to action, leaders in academia, government, and the business sector are striving to implement diversity and inclusion policies that give everyone a fair shot to find success and contribute to organizations’ missions.
But what does “Diversity in Sales” really mean?
It isn’t as simple as having more people of color around the office. Instead, effective diversity and inclusivity policies aim to create a workforce that welcomes all walks of life. True diversity includes religion, gender, age, race, culture, and socioeconomic background.
So how are diversity and inclusion good for businesses?
The primary benefit of building an inclusive culture and strong workplace diversity is the range of perspectives gained. Workplaces with a lack of diversity and inclusion are more likely to struggle to develop innovative or unique solutions to business problems. Their shared backgrounds and similar mindsets lead them to approach issues from similar angles.
Conversely, organizations with members from all walks of life are more likely to approach revenue bottlenecks or supply-chain issues from various angles. As a result, they increase their odds of discovering an innovative solution that solves the issue at hand and provides an ongoing competitive edge in their market.
Three Crucial Reasons Why You Need to Build a Diverse Sales Team
1. Diverse Sales Organizations Perform Better
Companies with above-average diversity at the management level outpace organizations with poor diversity and inclusion practices by 19% in innovative revenue.
Innovation revenue is revenue from product or service enhancements or entirely new products or services that allow companies to expand their market share and increase profitability.
Diverse teams are simply more innovative, so it comes as no surprise that workplaces with inclusive cultures and workplace diversity at every level enjoy a leg-up when on performance.
2. Minorities and Women are Enjoying More Buying Power
As racial minorities and women increasingly wield significant economic clout, companies must move away from one-size-fits-all marketing, growth, and sales strategies that primarily target white and male consumers.
Having a diverse workforce helps manage introducing inclusivity to your business operations. And leaning on the various perspectives of women and cultural or racial minorities on your staff to shape inclusivity efforts offers dual benefits.
First, your organization can develop D&I policies and practices that align with individuals’ lived experiences. Secondly, sales organizations can reaffirm that they value their minority employees by proactively engaging and including them during this process.
3. A Diverse Clientele Demands Diverse Staff
Did you know sales teams with members that share a client’s ethnicity are 152% more likely to understand that client than another team? In addition, including women and minorities in sales leadership positions increases companies’ odds of developing marketing and sales strategies that connect with a diverse customer base.
In fact, studies show that without diverse sales leaders at the table, women’s ideas are 20% less likely than straight white men’s to receive support; people of color are 24% less likely, and members of the LGBTQ+ community are 21% less likely to be heard out when presenting a new or novel idea.
This can lead to companies suffering from serious tunnel vision when identifying and capitalizing on historically underserved markets.
How to Increase Sales Team Diversity and Inclusivity: Three Key Steps
1. Remove Your Biases from the Recruiting Process
During the recruitment and hiring process, unconscious biases can derail even the most well-intentioned diversity and inclusivity policies.
While implicit bias training and structured interview processes can help hiring managers recognize their biases and minimize their impact, unconscious biases still often slip through and result in stagnated D&I progress.
To eliminate biases and gain a significant edge on quality hires, consider using predictive analytics tools during the hiring process.
PerceptionPredict uses predictive analysis to create data-driven candidate profiles that empower companies to make the best possible hiring decisions while cutting personal biases out of the equation.
2. Be Candid About D&I Efforts and Open to Outside Help
Sharing your diversity and inclusivity goals both internally and as a part of recruitment efforts shows your organization is serious about cultivating an inclusive workplace.
It can also create opportunities to recruit outside help from experts in the diversity and inclusion space. Implementing D&I policies can be a complex process that involves addressing multiple structural and systemic issues that can interfere with increasing workforce diversity.
A diversity and inclusivity sponsor, mentor, or consultant can help guide your organization through this process with less stress, fewer missteps, and better results.
3. To Kickstart Your D&I Efforts, Go Back to College
Universities are fantastic recruitment pools for organizations interested in onboarding diverse talent.
Minority representation on college campuses has increased over 15% over the last 20 years, making it easier than ever for organizations to recruit talented and qualified team members from diverse backgrounds.
If your organization decides to step up your college recruitment efforts to boost diversity and inclusivity, consider bringing a few junior members along with your hiring manager or recruiters.
Having access to a team member college students can easily relate to and discuss the culture of your workplace can increase your organization’s credibility and improve on-campus recruiting success.
Build a Team of Diverse and Inclusive Sales Team with PerceptionPredict
Our unique Performance Fingerprints use predictive analytics to create data-driven candidate assessments that capture the ‘sales DNA’ of potential hires.
Besides providing sales organizations with unmatched insight into potential hires’ future performance and productivity, our Performance Fingerprints are entirely anonymized to eliminate biases that can kneecap the effectiveness of your recruitment and hiring efforts.
Learn more about how our cutting-edge predictive analysis can revolutionize your hiring process and make achieving diversity and inclusivity goals easier than ever before. Book a demo today.