As a sales manager, you, of course, want to believe your team feels supported and treated fairly. Unfortunately, the majority of sales respondents (65.2%) in our recent report, The State of the Sales Industry ‘Boys Club’ in 2019, believe there’s a ‘boys club’ mentality in the sales industry.
Your team’s ability to rise above the boys club mentality and squash gender barriers will determine their individual and collaborative success. Beyond that, focusing on overcoming gender stereotypes in the workplace improves team morale, productivity, and employee satisfaction.
While both male and female sales respondents say they’re working to break down gender inequality, they can’t do it all on their own. They need the help of leaders like you to facilitate and provide ample opportunity to destroy the existence of any gender barriers in sales.
Here’s how you can help destroy the boys club in medical sales:
Build stronger relationships with all genders
The boys club impacts relationships throughout your team in various ways. While the majority of our respondents (64.4%) say they feel supported by leaders of both genders, females who believe their gender negatively impacts their career feel most supported by leaders of the same gender (58.9%).
On the other hand, 59% of female respondents who say their career is positively impacted by their gender feel most supported by both leaders. So no matter your gender, it’s critical you work to build genuine, trusting relationships with male and female medical sales reps.
Start by setting expectations. What do you expect from all sales team members? Also, what can all sales team members expect from you?
Use these expectations as groundwork for outreach to ensure that those who don’t feel supported still have an opportunity to build a relationship with you. For example, if you’re committed to checking in with individual team members once a week, keep that promise and offer your support in helping them evolve in their careers.
Set up dynamic mentorships
Our report found that leaders, like yourself, aren’t the only ones assisting in breaking through gender barriers. In fact, both female sales reps (35%) and male sales reps (26%) say they develop strong support relations with peers of the opposite gender to break through gender bias barriers.
But once again, how sales employees view relationships with peers depends on how they perceive gender impacts their careers. As a result, it’s your job as a manager to facilitate guided mentorship programs.
Align peer mentorships to break down gender barrier walls. Focus on placing employees with mentors who can support their development. If possible, alternate mentors to ensure your team has the opportunity to work with peers of both genders. Nurture this forward-thinking development by checking in frequently to see how the relationship is impacting both the mentor and mentee.
Create more inclusive social engagements
Naturally, you likely click with some medical sales team members on a personal level more than others. Regardless, though, it’s critical to create events and activities that appeal to your team as a whole. Considering what the majority of your staff will enjoy helps end the issue of excluding men or women from important social engagements.
Gather the entire team and brainstorm collectively. Accommodate those who have caregiving responsibilities at home by discussing when everyone is most available. Then, sit down with a list of potential activities and ask the team to vote on a scale of one to five which they’d most enjoy.
Crush misconceptions through better transparency
Hearsay and rumor mills destroy any chances you have at breaking through gender barriers. They create tension in the workplace that’s often irreparable and impairs trust between colleagues and leaders.
Concerns regarding gender inequality, such as pay scales and promotions, are especially at risk. Be fully transparent about salary, commissions, bonuses, and promotions to put rumors to bed.
Discuss why those who received promotions were offered the role. If someone expresses concern that bias was involved in the decision-making process, pull them aside to allow them to open up further about their fears.