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Selling in Color

Mar 2, 2021

There are many black women in sales and despite the challenges, they keep on moving forward to have success. Tune in as today’s guest, Cynthia Barnes, speaks of the challenges affecting black women in sales. 

Cynthia Barnes is the founder and CEO of the National Association of Women Sales Professionals. It’s a member-based organization of women who sell B2B services in a male-dominated industry such as SAAS (Software as a Service), tech, cloud, and others. The organization provides two things to its members: access to laser-focused companies on achieving parity for women in sales and training created by women for women to reach the top 1%. 

Women’s participation in sales

  • Anytime there’s an underrepresented population, there will always be challenges that are specific to them and vice-versa. 
  • When women are working from home, they aren’t only employees. They are also mothers and wives. They juggle three or more different roles all at the same time. 
  • These women are doing a good job of making sure that they’re staying balanced, but that comes at a price. Sometimes at the expense of their mental health. 
  • When women give so much to their company, to their husbands, and their kids, they have nothing left for themselves. 
  • Cynthia emphasizes the thought that you can’t pour from an empty cup. You always need to fill the cup to be a rockstar at work, home, and with the kids. 
  • Organizations can make a difference in ensuring that their employees are appropriately compensated and given the work-life balance they need. 
  • When sales members are well taken care of and they’re engaged, their output greatly improves. The money organizations put into their employee care is an investment. 
  • The expression, ‘Happy wife, happy life,’ is also applicable at work. If women in sales are happy, engaged, supported, and heard, they’ll be able to perform better. As it is, women already outsell men by 5%. With that support system at work, women can do so much more. 

Challenges women face in sales

  • Sales leaders who did not grow up with a diverse background will less likely prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion because it’s only thought to get more revenue, not an actual idea where they feel and see tangible results. 
  •  With the racial and systemic bias in the previous year, many companies wanted to get women in sales. They wanted not only black women but also the other underrepresented minorities. 
  • The problem is that there are no programs in place to elevate women in sales. They only attract them but they do not make an effort to retain them. 
  • There are still no organizational changes that make the women feel respected, welcomed, and represented. 
  • When it comes to bringing in more diversity to the table, all you often see is a team of leaders who are all men. 
  • Women are leaving the workforce because they can’t be a wife, a mother, and a teacher at the same time. 
  • It’s about creating a culture of belonging. Women should have a voice at the table, not just a seat. They need to be heard and to be treated fairly. 

Breaking the barriers

  • There should be more women in leadership roles. 
  • As a leader of an organization for women in sales, part of Cynthia’s responsibility is to empower women to have the right mindset, get the right verbiage, and build awareness around microaggressions. 
  • Women shouldn’t sit idly waiting for the opportunities that they’ve already earned. 
  • Women should be the change that they want to see. 

“Challenges Affecting Black Women in Sales?” episode resources

Connect with Cynthia Barnes on LinkedIn. You can also check out their official site here

Speak with Donald directly for more sales talks. Reach him via these channels: LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook about any sales concerns. 

This episode is brought to you in part by Skipio. 

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Audio provided by Free SFX. Other songs used in the episodes are as follows: The Organ Grinder, written by Bradley Jay Hill, performed by Bright Seed and Produced by Brightseed and Hill.