As of Monday we started a women in sales group here at HubSpot. We have a women's at HubSpot group but decided as women in sales that we needed our own group to help lead women ahead in their careers here at HubSpot. We are really excited about what we are going to do here so I wanted to give some advice as to what I see work with our group here at HubSpot. We have only had our first session for women in sales here at our company but as we have more I will share what we do and what we learn. Hopefully it will help other companies create similar groups we we can spotlight women in sales and what they are doing to help women succeed and move further in their careers, specifically in sales.
What was our first session all about?
We called together a one hour meeting of the women in sales in HubSpot. We invited everyone at HubSpot in sales who was a women. All ages, all sizes, all experiences, everyone. Just anyone who had anything to do with selling.
The first session was a panel where there were four of us on the panel who would talk about what we have learned about sales at HubSpot (and outside of HubSpot) as well as career progression. This would in turn cause questions in the group and help us spur some conversation to help all the women in the room get something out of the discussion.
What was the premise of the panel?
We started by getting the four women in the panel to create 1 slide each in a powerpoint we would base the panel off of. Each slide had to do with what we have seen help us in our sales careers (so far) here at HubSpot. We are all of different ages, different skill levels and different career levels here at HubSpot. Three of the people on the panel were and are managers. I was the only person who is still a sales rep. Dannie, a manager who know works out in SF was moderating the panel.
What did we learn?
We started the program by explaining why we were all there. We all gathered close by and made it less formal than formal. We needed everyone to feel comfortable sharing, not just the panelists. I think this is super important to help everyone feel comfortable in sharing what we have learned or what we want to learn as we keep progressing in our careers in sales whether at HubSpot or not at HubSpot.
Why are we doing this in general?
There are so many amazing women in sales at our company. I would assume there are awesome women in other departments too but I think that it is important to spotlight and get together groups who have things in common and who experience certain things together everyday. That sense of commonality can cause something great. Most women feel more comfortable talking to other women. To get people to feel open and comfortable to talk about real issues you need to get them among their own people. By excluding men it is not because we think we are better or have a disadvantage compared to men. It is because we all have something in common. We are women and women have that in common. It is that simple. I don't think being a woman is better or more helpful to me in my career than if I was a man. I think it does mean that we have more work to do to get women to the top. If you look around at your company and see more men at jobs that you would want than women then you need to create a women in "X" group at your company too.
Why??!?!?! Though, no really WHY are you doing this and why should other companies jump on the band wagon?
Women have only been in business for so long. Probably since the 80s. We need to get more women in business. The fact is men have been doing "business like roles" for years and years and years...That is not good enough for me and if it is not good enough for you then stand up and do something about it. Create a group of women in each part of business you have at your company and get people to share thoughts, ideas, lessons.
How should you do this?
Create a group email list of all people in your department and create a standing meeting one time a month where you get together.
Start with something small like a panel and ideas will spring from there.
Put a drinks/dinner on the calendar that happens every month after that one hour slot where you have the internal session. This will cause everyone to know that this happens once a month. They will look forward to it and people will get to know each other outside of just the internal women's session.
Don't be a mean girl...
Get everyone involved.
Ask a friend to come and tell them why it is important.
Don't be embarrassed. You will feel really great after you start doing something great like this.
Here are a couple of great things that our women in sales had to say about what they have learned here at HubSpot as a woman in sales:
Brooke Freedman, who started at HubSpot out of media sales and came to us as a sales person. Then later lead our non profit and education sales group had this to say:
- If you are't uncomfortable it is probably too easy.
- Build goodwill everywhere you go, you will need it later on.
- Be OK with detours, be grateful for failures.
- Be firm, but kind. There is real power in that balance.
Here is what I said at the panel that you should know as a woman in sales: