Here's some education for the men who think women aren't suitable for sales. The only reason women actually might not be doing better is the bias taught by patriarchy.
Here’s some education for the men who think women in sales are a misfit. The only reason women actually might not be doing better is the bias taught by patriarchy.
Since my MBA days, I was very keen on working in the field of sales and marketing. I pursued and majored in the same. Though, even during those days people around me were very sceptical and scared, saying that sales is not a field for women. I used to hear stuff like, “It requires you to roam in the sun and get yourself tanned”, “you would need to tackle a lot of men”. And these statements were coming not just from my male counterparts, but also from a few other female counterparts.
However, staying firm on my choice, I completed my MBA in Sales and Marketing. I also got recruited by an MNC as a sales trainee. I was on cloud nine! I thought this was it. I crossed the hurdles of being into the field of sales, by securing a job in an MNC which according to their principles believed in giving chances to women as well.
And this made me think, does this sort of stereotyping really exist? The ones my friends and faculty used to talk about?
The first few weeks were like the honeymoon period for me, everyone seemed very sweet and approachable. I felt very much comfortable working with them. But, I hadn’t let my guard down.
After 3 months of working with them, the manager’s behaviour and way of communication started to change. There was also a male colleague from my college who had joined along with me. And eventually, all the essential and important tasks started to get delegated to him. I used to ask for work, the reply used to be generally, “You can help *Ash (using a different name for the story) with the delegated work”.
The work I was getting was of scheduling meetings or sometimes excel data filing, and I started to feel neglected and avoided.
Slowly things changed completely, all the others in my team were male. Slowly I realised that if I required their assistance for anything, they would dodge the request stating various reasons, but when my male colleague Ash asked for the same, there seemed to be no delay.
This got me thinking, “Am I being deliberately ignored?” It had become a problem because often my work would go pending because of my dependency on them.
Things went from worse to worst, when my mentor and my manager started to pressure me to getting things done, while having no help in areas where help was needed. It was not the pressure that affected me, but the way I was being treated. Their way of communication was as though I was not fit for the role. Their constant words started to affect my confidence in delivering the work assigned to me. And if there was any delay from the client-side, I would be held responsible. Even after providing them with valid proof for the delay.
This was the day, I realised why people always said, Sales and Marketing is a field not for women. But I felt there was more than just these stereotypical thoughts. While I know we are much more than these stereotypes, it’s always important to talk numbers. As numbers are the only language people in sales understand!
So buckle up ladies, for some amazing facts and numbers to prove your worth in sales. When someone ‘assumes’ you can’t do it, smash these numbers at them!
Apart from these, there are qualitative factors that place women in a better position as sales personnel.
We all get caught up in the talks around the unconscious bias that women are not fit for sales and marketing. Later, this thought gets absorbed inside us and we actually start thinking we are not better at it. While studies and analysis are proof that we are better!
The lesson I learnt is, to trust in my own abilities and always speak up to the higher officials regarding anything you feel is inappropriate. Remember, things won’t change until we voice it and fight for it. As this is a patriarchal society, it gets more important to vouch for credibility in our work and the qualities we possess rather than accepting their truth.
I hope this becomes an eye-opener for all the women working in the field of sales and marketing (as it was for me), as well as for the men who don’t cooperate or discriminate against us. We are better than how we are perceived. And the time is now, to change it!
Image source: a still from the film Hichki
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