Episode Sixty-Three

The Business Case for a Diverse Workforce

Guest: Shaan Hathiramani, founder and CEO at Flockjay

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About This Episode


Diversity.

So many people are craving it in their organizations today, but it seems like so few people are actually addressing or talking about it, for fear of offending someone or saying the wrong thing.

We all agree that we need diverse workforces. It’s clear from an ethical, moral, and social justice standpoint why hiring a diverse workforce is important. Nobody wants to work in a place where everybody looks, thinks, talks, and acts exactly like them.

And more importantly, nobody wants to buy from a place like that either.

But beyond the ethical and moral benefits of a diverse workforce, what if there were business benefits too? What if hiring a diverse sales team actually meant that you’d be making more sales, and bringing in more revenue?

Shaan Hathiramani, CEO at Flockjay, was a guest on the Sales Engagement Podcast recently, and his team at Flockjay are doing some incredible things in the diversity hiring space, and he was kind enough to chat with us about the business benefits of hiring a diverse team, tips for sales managers, and how to integrate those new hires into your existing team.

Diversity Isn’t Just A Box to Check

So what exactly is diversity? According to Shaan, diverse hiring doesn’t just mean checking a box. It means creating an organization and processes that select from all different walks of life to amplify the success of the sales team.

Shaan Hathiramani diverse hiring flockjay

In other words, a diverse sales team may just get you a better relationship with your customers. But how?

Benefit from Diversity

There are certain jobs where diverse hiring doesn’t actually make much sense. If your only job is to go outside and cut down trees, then your success is measured by how many trees you can cut down. Diversity isn’t going to play a huge role in that. You’re going to want the strongest and most experienced tree chopper.

But if your job is a non-routine, cognitive process, like sales, a diverse workforce is exactly what your team needs. If one person has a set of skills that include high-velocity selling, and another has a set of skills as a thought leader, then together, they’re going to be far more effective than a cookie-cutter group of individuals with the same exact skills and experience.

Because sales in nonlinear, meaning you don’t have to learn A to get to B, B to get to C, and so on, you bring all your skills to the table and piece them together with the skills of your colleagues to form an incredibly effective organization.

But How Do I Make Sure It Goes Well?

As a sales manager, how do you make sure that you’re truly hiring a diverse sales team, and not just filling quotas or assembling a team of drones?

Think to yourself, “Who is my customer, and how can they benefit from me hiring a team with different backgrounds, experiences, and walks of life?” Maybe someone doesn’t have the most experience, but they’re very familiar with a certain part of the country where you have a lot of customers.

Think about the language in your job descriptions. Phrases like “hustling,” or “the ultimate closer,” might make sense to you, but could turn off a potential rockstar employee that isn’t yet bought into the culture. They may be the spark that you need to see things from a different perspective, but you’ll never know if you’re forcing them to drink the kool-aid before they’re even on board.

They’re Here. Now What?

But how do you go about making sure that all of those diverse voices on your team are equally integrated into the company? Into the vision of the team? Into the mission statement of the organization?

Start where you are. Amplify the voices that are already in your sales teams.

Pick a different person for each sales meeting, and allow them to bring their own stories to the table. Listen to their experiences, opinions, and perspectives, and then figure out how you can learn from those.  When your team sees people like them being given a platform, they’ll begin to believe in themselves.

Shaan Hathiramani Diverse Hiring Flockjay 2

Then with every new hire you bring on board, do the same.

So What?

Diversity isn’t a box to check. It’s not a talking point, or a marketing gimmick, or a good PR move. It’s not something that you do because everybody else is doing it and you’re afraid of being left behind.

Studies have shown that diverse teams in cognitive tasks like sales do fifteen percent better when gender diversity is embraced, and thirty-five percent better when both gender and racial diversity is addressed and embraced.

There is clearly a business case for diversity. So go back to your leadership, and take a good hard look at the way you’re hiring.

Does something need to change?

This post is based on a podcast interview with Shaan Hathiramani from Flockjay. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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