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About This Episode
We’re so very proud to observe Women’s History Month by sharing some of the best insights by female sales leaders who are elevating the sales profession.
Celebrate with us by listening to these selections from 5 of our standout guests (and check out their full episodes for more excellence).
Today on Sales Engagement, you’ll hear from:
- Heidi Cadwallader, Director of Customer Care & Inside Sales at VWR
- Jerice O’Malley, Head of Sales at Amplify Consulting Partners
- Rebecca Croucher, SVP, Head of North America Marketing & Sales Enablement at manpowergroup
- Elizabeth Niemczyk, Head of Sales and Business Development at Extend
- Lauren Bailey, Founder and President at Factor 8
P.S. This is part one of a two part series. So stay tuned for part two.
Let’s dive in!
Heidi Cadwallader on Feedback
Heidi: Feedback is critical to the development of a team. If you’re going through change, not developing feedback isn’t necessary up and across the organization. I’ve had harsh feedback to myself, I’ve had feedback where I was too forward with information up the chain with people, and I’ve had feedback from associates coming to me
What I’ve learned is that you have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, if you want to grow. And along with doing that is you’re going to stumble, and just be gracious about it and accept it. Say, Great, this is a learning experience. Because success isn’t about what you’ve done, right? It’s about what you’ve learned from doing wrong, and how you correct that and you grow with it.
One thing I started to do with my managers, especially during COVID, is I’ll just be honest with them and say, “Okay, I’m going to be critical of you right now, I’m going to give you some feedback. But it’s because I see a growth point here. And I want to help you grow through this. And here’s where I think you could go with it.” And then we embrace it that way, it’s different than, you’re doing this wrong and that wrong, because it’s not wrong. It’s just how do we take what you’re doing. And we pivoted to get you on a growth path or to get you to that next level.
Jerice O’Malley on Networking
Jerice: Recently, I found out about an amazing company called SP Academy. And part of their mission is to help reduce barriers into entry level sales roles. Their focus market is minorities and women. And I had the opportunity to meet incredible people, I think probably 10 or 11, folks that I’ve been able to mentor, but the four that stick out to me, Olivia, Sarah, Alex, and Katie — these women are just ready to kick ass in this world. Being able to believe in them and seeing them lift up their spirits, when someone in a leadership role takes the time to talk to them, it’s so empowering.
Others out there, find someone that is in an entry level role, and just give them some of your time. It’s incredible for both parties. Maybe they just want someone to chat with or maybe they want to know, how did you get there? That’s when the beauty behind these relationships comes to fruition.
For your own personal self growth, find a mentor. How do I find a mentor? You don’t always have to say, Hey, stranger, will you be my mentor? Because that can be kind of uncomfortable. But I think it just truly starts with a conversation. Anybody who I view as a mentor, it started with me, saying, “Hey, I have a question. Here’s the thing that’s happening at work. I need your advice. You seem like you’ve done it before. Can you talk me through it?” That just blossomed into “Okay, now I’m asking questions. Hey, do you mind if I do this every month? Or do you mind if we stay in touch?” Then an awesome relationship is grown.
Rebecca Croucher on Team Success
Rebecca: I have a team of eight sales reps right now. And they’re senior level salespeople, but personality wise, they’re all different. Some of them, you know, don’t need any reassurance at all; they know they’re really good. And then some are really good, but they just might need a little bit more guidance on, believe in yourself.
It’s all psychology, what we’re doing here in sales, because I would break it down to what everybody needed from a sales perspective to really optimize their performance. When you see somebody that has talent, and all they need is a boost of self esteem and somebody that believes in them, it can turn somebody around really quickly. I’ve had a few people over the years that were on my sales teams that were not at the top of the list from a ranking perspective, but giving them a boost on their self esteem, I have had many people become multi time winners at winner’s circle. So I love doing that. If you’re in tune with what people need mentally, you can really optimize performance.
I like to dig in and figure out, what’s the optimal environment for this person, whether the account alignment wasn’t the fit for them, maybe it was an industry alignment. When you focus on why are they not successful, it’s really pretty easy to figure out why and then quickly flip them into either a different account structure or even a different role to save them and what they’re doing and help them optimize their performance.
Elizabeth Niemczyk on Transparency
Elizabeth: This is something I’m so passionate about. It’s honestly transparency and having a direct conversation. My team knows that at the end of the day, I’m a huge supporter of mistakes. And I want them to come to me as soon as they make a mistake if they think it’s a big one or a small one. Because I want to be able to support them and also help them through it.
As a leader, you need to check your ego at the door. You need to flip flop the entire chain as I’m on the bottom, they’re at the top. And they’re telling me what obstacles they need me to take away from them. I need to be there kind of moving the boulders so that they have a clear path to walk on. That all stems from transparency and accountability.
I’ve been told that sometimes I’m a tough manager, but there’s specific things that they know that I expect from them. But they also expect a lot from me. And we’re super honest with one another about feedback. And hey, Elizabeth, you promised me this, I’m still waiting on that, because I’m gonna do the same to them. I don’t like being known as someone’s boss, because at the end of the day, it’s a partnership. We’re here to push and challenge one another. If I’m not pulling them up with me, I’m not doing my job. We have to keep each other accountable on both sides, because it’s not a one way street.
Lauren Bailey on Allyship
Lauren: Tip number one, you do have to check your job descriptions. If you’re listing 20 things, you’re probably not going to get many women. So you need to look at what is most critical, and shave the rest away. I know we all have been taught to say ideal candidate, but you will not get diverse applicants, if you don’t pare it down. Because we sit on our hands, remember, until we have 10 out of 10.
The second thing you can do is check the language. So this one was shocking to me, sales is a competitive sport. Top producers are competitive. Well, that language will also shun some women. When you can tone down the warlike language, and build up some of the relationship building language and customer care language. women feel a little bit more comfortable with it.
Here’s another thing that shocked me. Women today, our millennial workforce, they check the website. They literally go look at the pictures of your leadership. And when they don’t see diversity, they don’t apply. If you don’t have women or diversity at the top, the first thing you can do is just take down the pictures. The second thing you can do is fix that, right.
The biggest difference you can make is learning that women are waiting to be asked. We vote with our employment. We will rather leave when we’re not asked [to fill a role], than raise our hand and put our name out there when we don’t feel 100% ready. So that’s what you can do is go and tap a few shoulders. Look at your superstar women and say, “I think you’d be great at leadership. Have you ever thought about applying for the next level?” Best case scenario, you just changed somebody’s life.