Women in sales are taking the world by storm. Who better to learn from than a female sales exec who has built her career in enterprise tech sales and successfully navigated the barriers many women face in the workplace today. Meet Seema Tailor, Senior Enterprise Account Executive at SAVO who has a fresh perspective on gender balance in sales and without even trying to, demonstrates that being a rock star in your career is something that should be worn as a badge of honor!
Read on to see what Seema has to say about how to succeed in enterprise sales as a woman.
Q: What was your very first sales job?
My very first sales job was working for a storage technology company right out of college. I started out as an assistant on one of the top performing sales teams, and three months later I was still there because I was doing such a good job. I had always wanted to go into Marketing, and the company gave me that opportunity to try it out, but I couldn’t help but miss the challenges and the crazy excitement of being on the sales floor. So, I knew I had to get back into the action! I was then offered an opportunity to come back to sales as an Inside Rep. That was over 20 years ago…and the rest is history!
Q: Who (or what) has been most influential to you in your sales career?
I would have to say one of the most influential forces in my career has been my mother. She is an exceptionally strong woman who graduated college at the top of her class from a school of 300 boys and 6 girls during a time where women didn’t have the opportunity to go to college or have careers outside the home. After we had relocated to the States in the 80’s, she opened her own nursing home business and was extremely successful until she retired. She took a huge risk later in life and reaped the rewards. I learned an incredible work ethic and fearlessness from her… and realized that I could achieve any of my goals and dreams.
Q: Who (or what) has made you successful in your sales career?
I would have to say that a few of the most important things in my career have been my genuine interest, desire, and passion for making my customers successful. I have always strived to help them improve their organizations and careers with technology solutions and the consulting I provide in a highly ethical manner which I believe has added to my successful career in sales as well. There were also a few incredible managers, executives, and mentors who helped make my sales career fruitful, and I have aspired to be as successful as they were and continue to be.
Q: What are the top 3 lessons you’ve learned in your career that have made you a faster, better, smarter seller?
1.) Listen to others, whether they are your prospects, customers, or colleagues. Having a good understanding of where others are coming from and their perspectives will help you align your collective goals quicker and more accurately.
2.) Be fearless and don’t be afraid to take risks. The higher the risk, the bigger the reward!
3.) Be Persistent and consistent. Selling is a process, and success is not always immediate or easy. However, if you put in the hard work needed, have targeted goals and a sincere passion for winning, you will be rewarded… oh, and having Teflon skin helps!
Q: What would you say is the number one trait of a good sales leader?
I believe the number one trait of a good sales leader is to lead by example and be willing to share your knowledge and experience with others in a clear, concise, and transparent manner. Good sales leaders employ their experiences to determine strategic direction and coach team members individually based on their specific needs and interests. Most importantly, they know how to keep the team on track and focused on winning all the time,despite adversity.
Q: Are women adequately represented in the sales force?
No, I do not believe women are adequately represented in the sales force, but I do see this changing. There are significantly more women in the Sales force now than when I first started 20 years ago, and many of them are outperforming their male colleagues.
Q: How do you think we can get more women to see sales as a real career?
I view Sales as one of the most rewarding and fun careers out there, which I never expected after being on track to go to law school. I’m also pretty sure not many women think of going into Sales, but it’s a great fit for many because it aligns so well to a woman’s instincts and natural / innate desire to help. I think women need to learn that Sales is about helping people make improvements in specific areas of their lives based on what you are selling. Pick something you enjoy selling and it won’t even seem like work as you’ll be passionate about sharing information while helping people. The best part is, the harder and smarter you work, the more you can be financially rewarded, which can be addictive!
Q: What is the biggest piece of advice that you would give to someone navigating his or her career in sales?
I would say if you enjoy a competitive, ever-changing and exciting environment, where you have a play to win attitude, a career in Sales may be for you. Just pick an area or service you are passionate about and create some achievable goals for yourself. Don’t let people tell you that things can’t be done, because in Sales, the sky is the limit if you’re willing to work hard and enjoy the thrill of winning!
If you want to read more about sales success, see what SAVO’s director of strategic consulting, Carla Lempera has to say.
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