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About This Episode
You look around the room of sales leaders and realize you’re *still* the only woman.
It can’t go on like this.
Recently on Sales Engagement, I had a chance to speak with Jerice O’Malley, Head of Sales at Amplify, about how she achieved sales leadership success and helps raise other women to sales leadership roles.
“Life is short,” Jerice said. “Take the opportunities when you see them.”
Let’s dive in!
Onboarding & networking during a pandemic
Jerice has been at her new role for a few weeks now. Despite all the uncertainties of COVID-19, she decided to seize the amazing opportunity in front of her.
“Let me find some courage inside to leave a company and join a new one and start my new path,” she said.
That determination has helped propel her into sales leadership, a space still predominantly male.
Quick story: Jerice reached out to me on LinkedIn because we were connected but didn’t actually know each other. We just hung out, no pitch, and had an amazing conversation.
Here’s Jerice’s take on pandemic networking:
- LinkedIn is her source for understanding companies
- People are open to chatting when you reach out
- It’s fulfilling to meet the people you’re connected with, whether it grows into an opportunity or not
The journey to sales leadership
“Every company I’ve worked with, I’ve been the minority,” Jerice said. “I take a look to the left and right and seldom see another female. Sales is still a white man’s job.”
Despite being used to working in the boys’ club, Jerice doesn’t want to stay there.
To bring other women into sales leadership, we first need women in entry level sales roles to get noticed and feel empowered to make the leap into leadership.
D&I initiatives matter.
“If you don’t have any programs in place or people that look like you or act like you, you’re going to lose them,” Jerice said.
The responsibility lies with the leadership to attract and keep excellent female employees.
And the responsibility also lies with other women not to threaten, intimidate, or act territorial. “When you see another woman, be inviting. Be inclusive. Don’t think about them as your competition,” Jerice said — especially if they belong to your company.
“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,” Jerice said.
If women don’t help each other, the absence of women in sales leadership will simply continue.
Mentorship & relationship
Jerice challenged female sales leaders to get out of their scarcity mindset and realize there are enough opportunities to go around.
She credited Angela and Colleen, coworkers at a past company, who set her the example of building relationships with “competitors.” They were her allies because of their willingness to sustain a long-term relationship, not just give her a couple of pointers then ignore her.
We could also call them mentors.
“As a leader, watching and helping people develop is why we all got into this gig,” Jerice said. Not only is the role of leadership to develop others in their career path, but others’ success is a leader’s reward.
Jerice named Brooke as someone whose success she is so proud to watch. Jerice has seen Brooke get promoted to inside market development rep and become a trusted advisor for reps. “She has so much intel on how the business and the company works. It’s just been so fun to see her excel, and I can’t wait to see her continue to do well,” she said.
This is how we cultivate more women in sales leadership: find a mentor, be a mentor.
Mentorship starts with conversation. Could you answer my question? eventually becomes Could we do this every month?
Great sources for networking
- #GirlsClub is a mentorship program for female sales leaders
- Kiva is a nonprofit focused on micro lending
- SV Academy helps reduce barriers to tech sales roles
- And LinkedIn, obviously
Here’s Jerice’s parting challenge:
Don’t make your decision simply because we’re females… that’s not it. But be more open minded, and help level out the playing field. For instance, the products were pretty similar, so I went with the woman on this one because she gave amazing customer service. That’s what we should all strive for.
Connect with Jerice on LinkedIn.