Women of VMware India Share Their Experience On A Career In Technology Sales
A new generation of women is at the forefront of sales, and they are redefining roles with their talent and innate leadership skills. Despite the growing efforts to bring gender equity in sales, women are still underrepresented in the sales industry.
According to a LinkedIn report, the percentage of women in Software sales is 31% and Hardware sales is 25%. The percentage of women graduates in STEM fields in India is higher than in other developed nations like the US, UK, Germany, and France.
Yet less than 20% of enterprise sales roles are held by women. What keeps women from advancing into leadership roles in sales? Let’s find out!
The new age of automation and technological advancement has made way for new job opportunities and avenues for women. How can women build a thriving career in technology sales? It's best learned from women who have had a long and interesting career in sales.
Meet Veena Chandrashekar, Director of Inside Sales at VMware India, who offers SHEROES users some great career advice and insights about enterprise and tech sales careers through the #WomenOfVMware campaign.
Inside Sales Leader - Veena Chandrashekar has over 18 years of experience in sales, technology consulting, and relationship management and focuses on mid-market customers at VMware.
Veena has driven multi-million-dollar revenue growth while providing visionary sales leadership in highly competitive markets. Before joining VMware India, Veena worked with organizations like HCL, Lenovo, and Dell.
#WomenOfVMware is a campaign to promote tech sales careers among women by demonstrating how these women leaders have shattered stereotypes along their journey and are excelling in what they do, which balancing other aspects of their lives.
In this article, we present her answers to questions posed by SHEROES users on enterprise sales and tech sales careers for women in India.
Women are hesitant to apply for sales jobs as it’s perceived to be a challenging and male-dominated profession. Another reason for the limited talent pool of women in sales is that women have less autonomy and more caregiving family responsibilities after their marriage.
The pandemic has further intensified work-life balance challenges for women. Since March 2020, 44% of women in technology have struggled to juggle work and family life.
That said, gender biases, primary caregiving responsibilities, socio-cultural norms have been key factors that have held women back from senior leadership roles or from building a thriving career.
According to an Avtar report, 48% of Indian women quit their careers midway for family reasons. Also, for most women, a tech sales career is an unknown career path, and the uncertainty makes women fear taking up sales as a profession.
Gender biases and gender disparity are also to blame for the low percentage of women tech sales representatives in India.
So, what is tech sales like and what does it involve?
The primary responsibility of a tech sales executive is to identify, build, and close opportunities with customers. The profession involves a lot of prospecting, research, cold-calling, and knowledge of your customers, their pain points, and the verticals they operate in to offer the best advice and solution.
In addition, one must be open to travel the length and breadth of the country to meet, interact, and onboard the customers. Believe me when I say that meeting your customers, understanding their business problems, and helping them solve them makes it all worth it.
Why do women excel in sales? And what makes it an excellent career choice for women?
Women in sales have outperformed their male colleagues, as per a study by Xactly. Sales is about understanding your customer, their business issues, and building long-term relationships.
These essential skills come naturally to women. Add to that discipline and hard work and you have your answer to why women thrive in sales.
The technology industry is dynamic and ever evolving. It gives you the opportunity to be a student for life. Over the last 18 years, there hasn’t been a day when I haven't learned.
With my current role, we are talking to potential customers across verticals and the length and breadth of the country. Add to that, I am working with an energetic team that keeps me on my toes.
One of the things that have worked for me, is finding a mentor early in my career. If you’re trying to get from point A to point B, look for a leader or mentor who has been through that and walked that path.
That way, you get the right guidance, confidence, and feedback that helps you. A mentorship is successful only if you have a strong relationship with your mentor and are willing to dedicate time to be mentored.
Navigating tech sales
Tech sales is a high-pressure, rewarding job in which you need to enjoy the work you do to keep going. Some quarters will seem promising, while others may feel like a failure.
Balancing work life is extremely important to stay mentally strong and pursuing hobbies beyond work will ensure you are able to balance your life. It is vital to stay connected to your peers in the industry or leaders who could act as great mentors to guide you through your career.
A big part of technology sales is being a team player, to celebrate and appreciate everything that anyone brings to the team, whether it’s your partners, customers, colleagues at work, or your technical team.
No job is a small job when it comes to turning around things for your customers. A good company culture that encourages, empowers, and helps you advance your career is crucial.
I admire how VMware India fosters a culture that celebrates you. VMware encourages every employee to bring their authentic self to work. As an organization, VMware celebrates the diversity of cultures, and this work culture influences your life in important ways.
How can you build a high-performance team?
1. Hire the right person for the job
Spend some time and make sure you hire a team where each person is customized for the roles they play and the outcome you’re expecting for the job.
2. Socialize the role and have smaller milestones for it
Every time you hit a milestone, make sure you’re celebrating with your team. Sales is a team sport.
3. You win only if your team wins
The team that laughs together wins together. So, make sure you spend a lot of time with your team and treat them as a part of your family.
To conclude, the only road to progress is overcoming biases and limiting beliefs that hold you back. If you believe you are ready for an exciting career in tech sales, then find out more about open roles at VMware India by visiting the website here.