Do Women and Men Sell Differently?

Chorus.ai has been an avid supporter of having more women in sales roles. We now regularly host women in sales meetups (in Boston last month, sign up for the next one in the San Francisco Bay Area) and were also recently a sponsor at the Utah Women in Sales Rise Up conference.

 

As a Conversation Intelligence platform, Chorus stores and analyzes millions of sales calls. So wherever we go, people ask us - what do male and female reps do differently? Are any one of them better?


Most of these questions stem from irresponsibly written content available on the internet. Some of them suggest that women fail to follow the basic tenets of selling and YET manage to win deals more frequently than men. Data in these articles suggest women sales reps listen less and talk more than men while also interrupting prospects much more often.

 

So before Roy, our CEO, took to the stage at the Rise Up conference, we decided to look into this data set as well.

 

We wanted to ensure we could tell the females sales reps and leaders in Utah if there were indeed any differences in selling styles.

 

We looked at a data set of more than 100,000 calls from our top 10 fastest growing customers ($15M ARR and more).

 

What Does The Rep Demographic Look Like?

Among the reps in the set we analyzed, only 32% were women. So an overwhelming 2/3rds of the sales reps were men. As sales leaders, we need to dig deeper into why that’s the case. Is it that there aren’t enough talented female sales reps available? Or is it some inherent bias when we hire people for our teams?

 

We did something interesting then. We identified the average win rate for all sales reps in these companies and identified the reps who had above average win rates.

 

And guess what? 40% of top sales reps were women.

 

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Who Wins More?

In our data set, women.

 

The average win rate for women was a whole 9% points higher than their male counterparts. A 33% win rate is a great win rate in most businesses.

 

This shows really well on the skills of the women reps in Chorus’ data set. They’re clearly doing something well.

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And it’s not just the higher win rate. Their average deal sizes were also $5K higher than the male rep’s deals. Depending on your business’ ACV, that can be a pretty meaningful difference as well.

 

Do Women Reps Sell Differently?

What’s the secret behind their performance? The hypothesis is that they must be doing something much better by courtesy of their gender. Metrics from the Chorus conversation intelligence platform does not really support a big gender-based difference.

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Yes, there are some differences at the highest level - they seem to ask fewer questions and their monologues are shorter, which means they encourage the prospect to engage in a conversation rather than quiz them.

 

But are the differences significant enough to be controlling influences on your win rates? We think not.

 

In a male-dominated sales world, women probably hone their skills more and work harder in order to win deals, get promoted, and even keep their position. So even though their selling style isn’t statistically different than men (based on top conversation metrics), their results tend to be better.

 

For companies that are looking at expanding their sales teams:

  1. Let’s hire a more balanced sales team.

  2. Dig deeper into what our top reps (across genders) are doing better than others (E.g. How Top Reps Run Product Demos).

  3. Spread desirable behavior across the team (to everyone) with measurable enablement programs.


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