March 24, 2022

D.E.I in Sales

D.E.I in Sales

In today’s episode of ‘Sales Samurai’ podcast, host Sam Capra, who helps marketing leaders in the retail space go beyond the sale/transaction, talks with guest Ashleigh Early, founder of the ‘Other Sales Coaching Consultant’, and the host of the ‘Other Side of Sale’. They talk about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in Sales. Discussing challenges facing sales professionals with different ethnicity, religious background, race, caste, color, and gender and how as a Sales Leader we can address these things.

Episode Highlights

  • 01:44 – Ashleigh shares, her career is building and rebuilding sales teams, and as a part of that she had the joy and pain of working at a lot of different start-ups in the tech space.
  • 03:05 – The other side of sales as a podcast and as a blog came into being because of her original co-founder who has since left because she's doing other amazing things.
  • 06:50 - We want to make sure that we are equipped as a business to address the total addressable market. 
  • 08:02 - We need to make sure we've got diverse opinions so that the people who are doing the work get paid properly, and they're included in the decision-making processes. 
  • 10:23 - We need to keep educating ourselves, and this isn't just a black history month or a women's history month thing or Martin Luther King Day. This needs to be a conscious, concerted, and consistent effort at every level. 
  • 12:34 – Ashleigh mentions, there was a study that was done she forget who but they found that almost 50% of women leave tack within 10 years.
  • 14:30 – Ashleigh points out, some elements are never going to be acceptable, that we're never going to be able to fix, but that we can support the people who are in those situations when they come up. 
  • 21:07 – Ashleigh highlights, Madison Butler and Tara Irani, both women of color and LGBTQ, are very open about their experiences and are now helping smaller and medium businesses. 
  • 23:44 – Sam highlights, demographics of sales professionals 3.0. 
  • 24: 36 – Ashleigh states that if you have to scroll more than twice before you see a person of color, you need to go add a bunch more people of color. 
  • 26:58 – Exposing to these other cultures even a little bit makes a big difference just to understand the world is different.
  • 28:39 - It's an understanding that there’s not just the cultural difference on a racial or gender level but there’s an economic level too.
  • 32:06 – If you do D.E.I. wrong, it's illegal, so, it's also making sure you understand the legal ramifications of having a sexist hiring process.
  • 34:00 –You can authentically hire a team that is all white, that's the truth. That's not necessarily a bad thing unless you're telling yourself that the team is also diverse.
  • 36:34 - If you cut experience requirements in half, you're going to immediately get a more diverse applicant pool period, says Ashleigh.
  • 42:45 - When you're losing diverse talent, you're losing incredible essential talent period.
  • 45:05 – Ashleigh points out members of the LGBTQ community are 21% more likely to experience discrimination than any other group. Seven out of 10 women have experienced discrimination at work, versus three out of 10 Men.

 Three Key Points

  1. Sometimes the world isn't fair and that sucks, but at least we're here to support you and we're ready to show you how we're going to try and fix things that we can't control.
  2. You need to just look at what you're requiring. Do you need 20 years' experience or do you just need some experience? Do you want a sales leader who is only in it for the money? Think through what you need versus what's nice to have and ideal to have.
  3. The first step to start down this path is, to clean up your LinkedIn feed. You can just Google less of this stuff like black sales pros, women sales pros, Asian American sales pros, etc. These lists exist afterward, go follow everyone on it. The second step intentionally exposes yourself to groups that you have not had exposure to.

Tweetable Quotes

  • “In late 2019 I was laid off unexpectedly and in a bit of frustration after that was my fourth layoff in two years just over two years….”- Ashleigh Early
  • “How can we expect to sell to anyone who put in front of us if we're not surrounded by people who look different than us?” – Ashleigh Early
  • “It's really hard to say, hey, we want to hire diverse candidates. Oh, but we're not getting diverse applicants. And that can happen for a ton of different reasons.” – Ashleigh Early
  • “The processes and the programs should be impartial, fair and provide equal possible outcomes.” – Sam Capra
  • “I think a big part of that is because the policies suck and if you want to have kids, you pretty much have to end in the first 10 to 15 years of your career in most cases.” – Ashleigh Early
  • “If you want a VP of sales that has at least 20 years of VP sales experience and you want to prioritize diversity candidates, good luck.” – Ashleigh Early
  • “There's a lot that can be done. It is in your control.” – Ashleigh Early
  • “I cannot tell you how often I've been asked about Maternity leave policies for by companies I work for because I was just one of the highest-ranking limits in the company.’ – Ashleigh Early
  • “If you have to scroll more than twice or maybe more than three or four times before you see LGBTQ is really hard to do. Right because that's no one's business.’ - Ashleigh Early
  • “I would say, at least a third of like the top like 50 Best reps I know at least a third if not half did not come from an economically secure childhood.” – Ashleigh Early
  • “If you are a frontline sales rep, you don't have a lot of power to influence. It sucks, but it's true.’ – Ashleigh Early
  • “You want to get more women in leadership than just buy your half of sales leadership and hire women. That is not the answer.” – Ashleigh Early
  • “Statistically, the woman of color has overcome more obstacles than anyone else in that group.” – Ashleigh Early
  • “It’s frustrating that 84% of salespeople have witnessed or experienced discrimination or harassment and it's infuriating.” – Ashleigh Early

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Speaker 0    00:00:01    Coming to you from Orlando, Florida, Orlando, Florida, and streaming around the world around the world. You're not tuned in to the sales samurai podcast. The only B2B sales podcast, providing unfiltered unapologetic views and tactics directly from the sales trenches. Here's your host, Sam Capra.  
Speaker 1    00:00:30    Welcome to another episode of the sale samurai. Thanks for listening. Uh, before we begin, do us a favor, take a moment to subscribe and download on today's show. We're going to be discussing D I and sales, and that means diversity equity and inclusion. This is a big talking point. I have an amazing guest for you guys today has asked you early the founder of the other sales coach and consultant, and the host of the other side of sales is with us today. Ashley, thanks for being on the show.  
Speaker 2    00:00:58    Thanks for having me. It's not always easy to have these conversations, but they're really important.  
Speaker 1    00:01:03    No, it is. You know what? I gotta be really transparent and upfront. I mean like this is something that this might be bad to say. I think we do a good job in our organization about, but I don't know if it's ever really been like a focal point at any higher level, which maybe good, maybe bad. Maybe, maybe this doesn't need to be, but maybe it does. So I really want to kind of get into it with you around how people are tackling this, your thoughts around DEI and the progress we're making and areas we're not making that should be making. So I'm really excited to have you, but before we tackle that, tell the audience a little bit about yourself. I know you're all over LinkedIn, but tell us a little bit about yourself.  
Speaker 2    00:01:41    Yeah, so I'm in a nutshell, basically I've built my career building and rebuilding sales teams. And as a part of that, I've had the joy and the pain of working at a lot of different startups in the tech space. I've worked at two different unicorns. I've worked at companies that have been acquired. I've worked at companies that have been dissolved. You name it, I've been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. And sometimes that meant hitting my quota. And sometimes I met my quota hitting me in late 2019. I was laid off unexpectedly and in a fit of frustration basically after that was my fourth layoff in two years, just over two years, I basically was like, screw it. I'm not giving another company control over my income. And I said, I'll go .  
Speaker 2    00:02:27    So January 19th, 2021, Ashley early, the other sales coach was born. And then the world went to, and it's been a crazy ride. And throughout all of that, um, has been this kind of fantastic journey with the other side of sales, which is it, which is a podcast and blogs gonna be relaunching shortly focused on the idea of helping to make B2B sales truly inclusive so everyone can thrive. And 20 20, 20 21 was kind of this perfect storm of all the work that I had been doing for 10 years, basically suddenly becoming very in because of some really horrible things happening in the world, which is a very strange position to be in, to put it bluntly. But other side of sales as a podcast and as a blog really came into being, because my original co-founder who has since left because she's doing other amazing things and basically just doesn't have time.  
Speaker 2    00:03:18    Casey Jones. She and I were talking about kind of just gabbing basically about, you know, kind of what it's like in startups and tech and stuff like that. We were both asked to be a part of one of these endless lists, which I have a very love, hate relationship with lists right now on LinkedIn or blogs and stuff like that. Sure. They serve a purpose. They can be great, but they can also be really annoying. In this case case, they were both asked to participate in a project that was according to the enrollment website, a hundred sales leaders and every single person they listed on that website. It was, oh gosh, I think I remember the exact steps. I think it was, it was like a hundred people and there were like four women and two people of color. And Casey and I were both asked to do it separately.  
Speaker 2    00:04:04    And Casey immediately outright was like, Nope, not participating. That's not good enough. Right. And I said, yes, initially. And then I read that I backed out because I was just very excited to be invited to do something. But what it really comes down to is we as a part of that experience and then going and being like, Hey, well, we'll make our own list. We're like, wait a minute. Where are all the podcasts with women or that have people of color or that don't look like they belong in as a Wolf of wall street extra. Whereas I love corporate pro as much as the next girl do not get me wrong. Satire is an art form, but not everyone sells like that. Not everyone should sell like that because our buyers don't look like that. And how can we expect to sell to anyone you put in front of us, if we're not surrounded by people who look different than us.  
Speaker 2    00:04:49    And so that's where kind of other side of sales was born out of. And we're still doing that to this day. Um, we are taken a three-pronged approach between the blog, the podcast and doing some research. I was really hoping by the time we'd record this, that we would have access to our 20, 21 results. Sadly we don't yet, but these are hard conversations to have. And what makes them really tricky and why I'm probably going to keep doing this for another decade or two is because of exactly what you said. It's so hard to say, I don't know how to do this. It's so hard to say, I don't know if I'm prioritizing this enough or right. And there's no right answer. There's only, I hate to say it like this, but there's only wrong answers and the wrong answers to not do anything or pretend that these aren't, that this isn't a problem we need to deal with as a profession. Right. So I'm always excited to have these conversations, even if it means pissing some occasionally  
Speaker 1    00:05:39    No. And you know what, I'm the very first one to at least try and own, Hey, I'm always curious at the barometer, you know, we want to get into this. I don't want to go too far down the rabbit hole initially, but it's hard for me. I've been reading up on it a little bit, try and understand kind of, I don't to say criteria, that's not the right terminology, but how to approach it? Like, what are the, like, how should you approach it? How should you start? How should get the ball moving? How should you keep going down the path? Because, and I don't want to ask you this because if I'm not mistaken, like as I've been reading through it, couple of things, they call it unit dementia. Like they call it a common pitfalls. People would become unidimensional framework where they become, Hey, we're going to focus on this group, but that's actually not productive either. We're  
Speaker 2    00:06:26    Going to go hire women. Right.  
Speaker 1    00:06:30    That's a fine line. Right. So tell me, understand a little bit, just give us a little context on DDI, just the thought process, what it is, the definition, however you think is the best way to explain it. Actually,  
Speaker 2    00:06:40    Honestly, the best way I think to think about DEI is honestly to look at the numbers. Okay, good. If you look at the world as a whole, just look at all the people in the world up seven, eight, whatever. I don't even know how many, how big the world is. I've lost track of how many billions we are. That's embarrassing. But if you look at that as like our total addressable market, right, we want to make sure that we are equipped as a business to address the total addressable market. And not just today, but in 10 years and 20 years in 30 years, that's sustainable business practices. If you're going to look at the dress, the total addressable market, and then you look at your company and your company does not accurately reflect the total addressable market in terms of skills, in terms of background of experience, in terms of every vector you can think of from like traditional DEI vectors, around age, race, gender, sexual orientation, life, experience, education, stuff like that, as well as skills, like I said, it was skills across every factor, whether it's sales or engineering or accounting legal, the fact of the matter is the more thought diversity you have, the more tools you have in your toolkit to address whatever the market is going to throw at you period.  
Speaker 2    00:07:56    So DEI is not a check box. It's not a, you know, thing that's nice to have on social media. It's a sound business strategy because by making sure you've got diverse opinions, you've got equity so that the people who are doing the work get paid properly and they're included in the decision-making processes. That's literally how you're going to survive business in the 21st century period. Now that said how that's done is nuanced and very, very, very tricky. And it's nuanced and very, very tricky because quite bluntly, our society has been sexist, ageist, racist, misogynistic, uh, neuro non neuro-diverse, anyone who doesn't operate generally bluntly like a white middle-class man tends not to get. Basically, I love that there's a video that's gone viral. A bunch of you have seen this exercise a million times where they line up 20 kids on a starting line and then say, okay, we're going to run a hundred yards.  
Speaker 2    00:08:51    And whoever gets to the a hundred yard line first gets a thousand dollars. Woo. Everyone's excited to get the money. Okay. If you have had, you have never gone hungry, take a step forward. Okay. If you have both, your parents are still married, take a step forward. If you have never been instructed by your parents, what to do. If you get pulled over by the police, step forward, you have a series of things, some of which are in their control, but a lot of which aren't 90% of which are sure. And what ends up happening is you've got people who are, three-quarters the way to the finish line. By the time they say go, and you've got people at the back who don't right, that's the way our society functions. So from a DEI perspective, it's really hard to say, Hey, we want to hire diverse candidates.  
Speaker 2    00:09:30    Oh, but we're not getting diverse applicants. And that could happen for a ton of different reasons. And there's tons of reasons why diverse applicants don't stay diverse employees. There's tons of reasons why they attrit, right? Whether because it's conscious or unconscious, there's a lot of different layers that we've got address as a society, but we don't address them by pretending they don't exist. Or by pretending they're too big to tackle. We address it by saying, this is a problem. Understand I am a part of the problem, right? And I'm going to do everything I can to minimize my impact, to minimize the damage that I can do and to improve the positive impact. And step one, Sam honestly, is what you just said. I've been reading that honest to God. That is step one. Just if everyone just did a little bit of time and just did some reading, try to do some self-education.  
Speaker 2    00:10:16    We saw a ton of this in, you know, mid 2020 with black lives matter. But all of a sudden everyone's reading, everyone's reading, everyone's watching all the documentaries, right. And that's great. I'm really glad it's now 2022. We need to keep having these conversations. You know, we need to keep pushing these things and keep educating ourselves. And this isn't just a black history month thing. This isn't just a women's history month thing. This isn't just a Martin Luther king day, right? This needs to be a conscious, concerted, consistent effort, every level. And this makes it sound like it's a ton of work and it is, but this is something that can be done in five minutes spurts. If you just take those five minutes, ideally every day. But if not every day, like set a goal, right. And just educate and go from there  
Speaker 1    00:11:03    Really seen. And we're going to as well, I was hoping to have the number from your research, but you know, one of the things you did point out to me, it was a 20, 20 kind of state of sales. If you will. I think it was. And I'm going to put this in our show notes because I think this is a great document as well. It was the 2020 state of sales survey. So we're going to, I'm going to be referencing that from a statistics standpoint here and there throughout the podcast. And I'll put a link to it, but there's a couple things that really jumped out to me, but I was kind of breaking down DEI just from a definition standpoint. Cause I'm, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, Ash. I mean, I gotta, it's gotta be really handed to me for me to understand.  
Speaker 1    00:11:39    Things really seemed to resonate with me was the equity piece. And what I mean by that is the processes and the programs should be impartial fair and provide equal possible outcomes. Right? It's not focusing on, like you were saying women or Asian descent or age or whatever. It's the processes that are in place should be equal and fair. That anyone that comes to our organization, they're set up for success. We're not putting an obstacle in front of them. I think sometimes that gets lost in the conversation around diversity because it does become, Hey, we don't have enough women. We don't have enough, whatever. Well, if you have the right processes in place, shouldn't that in itself help correct that. Or am I off base there? Ashley?  
Speaker 2    00:12:25    No. And this is the word gets that this is where it gets really fun and hard because on the surface, yes, that does a lot. I can't overstate how much that does now is a ton. Yeah. Having mat leave policies that are based off of OTE, not off of salary. What I think personally, that's kind of a little, kind of a mini crusade I'm working on right now. I think that would really help with the attrition among women in sales. There was a study that was done. I think it was by Gardner. I forget who, but they found that something like 50% of women leave tech within 10 years, really. Wow. And that's, that's all tech, but that includes sales. That includes marketing operations, includes engineering. And I think a big part of that is because now these policy suck. And if you want to have kids, you pretty much have to done in the first 10 to 15 years of her career in most cases.  
Speaker 2    00:13:12    So that's a really big thing that for example, sales organizations can do to help make it easier to stay and not have to choose that. But at the same time, there are things that make this really hard for sales teams, because it's not just your internal culture, external culture. I was talking with another sales coach. I know who has a client who's based in New York. He's an enterprise sales rep for a fortune 50 company. Um, he's been in the industry for 30 years and he's working with my friend. This coach really specializes in high-level sales talent. And he was talking, he kind of just opened up what it's like to be a, a black sales rep. And this is in New York city. So this is at a pretty, they say the deep south or anything like that. And this is in a, this was in a, an industry I'm trying to not automize it a little bit, but this is an industry that is reasonably modern.  
Speaker 2    00:14:01    And the sales rep talked about how he still to this day in 2020 will walk into a room and he will have to justify why he is there because the people normally market judging based on the color of his skin. And he, he inherently is going to have to do that. He said he did, he faces it at least weekly. This still happens. And how is that sales rep supposed to perform at the same level as his white male colleague? Right. And how do we as sales leaders take that into account when we're setting photos, we can't, that is an absolutely impossible situation. It's ridiculous that we're, that we're in that situation. But like these are the situations we have to be talking about. So while we want to control what we can control, we also have to acknowledge, there are elements that are never going to be acceptable, that we're never going to be able to fix, but that we can support the people who are in those situations when they come up.  
Speaker 2    00:14:51    So enabling putting policies in place that allow reps to ask for help and say, Hey, I think this account is potentially racist, potentially sexist. And that would basically either allow for another team to come in. And the quota is the company just double pays, or there are a million different things that we could do to try and get creative around this. Instead of shouldering all on reps, who, a portions, who reps, who are, who are members of minority groups, but it is a lot structural, but that's a lot also just acknowledging, Hey, sometimes the world isn't fair and that sucks, but at least we're here to support you and we're ready to show you how we're going to at least try and fix things that we can't control. Right.  
Speaker 1    00:15:31    But I think it's a good point in that specific scenario you walk through. I think that's a, that's a great highlight of a real challenge that obviously reps are facing right of the third ethnicity, religious background, whatever the case might be and acknowledging it as the first step, right. If there's a challenge, there should be an open line of communication that, Hey, I am running into this, Mr. Boss, C-level organism. I think that in itself, that open line of communication is the first step. I think there are things that we can do to obviously address it and minimize in help. But I'm curious because those situations is there ever a tipping point like that because there's going to be some situations like, Hey, we run really. We only have two sales, right? Like there are situations where we can't, I don't want to say cater. That's not the right terminology, but there are going to be situations where it's just not going to be feasible, practical, whatever the term might be. How do you get your arms around that actually?  
Speaker 2    00:16:30    Yeah. So this is the question of, oh, well we have very specific job requirements and sure the talent pool is sufficiently small, that it's subject to something. Um, there's a concept called survivorship bias. Um, and survivorship bias is basically the idea that the longer, the more experience you require, the more likely it is that people who are members of minority groups will fall out just because society sucks. There's a lot more nuance to the science behind this. I really encourage, if you're interested, go read up on survivorship bias, they will explain that a lot better than I will.  
Speaker 1    00:17:04    So it asks you, so it's essentially a way of essentially just kind of weeding out from the, I mean, it's a weeding out mechanism if you will, right?  
Speaker 2    00:17:10    Yeah. So like, for example, think of it this way. If you want to hire, and we see this all the time with the VP of sales position, if you want a VP of sales that has at least 20 years of VP sales experience, and you want to make sure that is, and you want that to be, you want to prioritize diversity candidates, good luck. There are not the number of women. And the number of people of color who were running sales organizations 20 years ago is minimal at best. And the competition for them is fantastic to the point where they're probably not going to go work for your company, unless you happen to know them. And they're like investigated, right? It comes down to the patent, whether you're, if you that the more extreme your requirements, basically the whiter and Maler your talent pool is going to look.  
Speaker 2    00:17:55    So there's a lot that can be done there. And there's a lot of work it's become, we see this at a lower level with the question around like, should SDRs have a college education. They shouldn't for the record wholeheartedly, I'm a proponent of higher education. I think everyone should have access to higher education, but people don't have access to higher education. So the more you require good again, you're going to skew white. You're going to skew male, except you are going to get in the United States. At least actually you're going to skew a little more Asian American and Indian American, which is great because it's not quite as wide as it used to be, but it's still going to skew male, right? Despite the fact that there are not more women entering colleges today than there have been at any point, there actually more women entering college than there are men entering college.  
Speaker 2    00:18:38    At this point in the United States, yay. Still got a few years. The true level of women in college is high. That's the trick. So the graduation rate, I think is still a little more even, but we see the same thing where there's kind of this survivorship bias, where by requiring these very specific things, you actually limit your applicant pool and di diversify it. So step one is just look at what you're requiring and do you really need it? Do you really, 20 years experience, or do you just need some experience? Why do you need it? Because you need someone who's done it before. Why would someone who's done it before? Go do the exact same job again? What are they going to get out of it beyond money? Do you really want a sales leader? Who's only in it for the money, think through what you actually need versus what's a nice to have ideal to have.  
Speaker 2    00:19:22    And I would even say, this is one of the downsides of our, the VC system. Venture capital system is most venture capitalists, prefer companies and business models that run well-known plays. We see this all the time. You go into a company like where I'm at at company where a spin sales, where a Sandler, where this, where that we said that all the time, that a lot of that comes from people who they have a system and they like running that system because it's familiar. And that's just about adjusting, right? There's a lot of sense in that. However, that does skew to older ways of thinking and older ways of hiring training, ramping, retaining. So really challenging yourself if you're in a leadership role around, okay, what is really necessary and what isn't, and then working with your recruiters around, how are we sourcing? How much of this is just posting on LinkedIn?  
Speaker 2    00:20:15    How much of this is, are we partnering with groups that are promoting diversity, black girls code out in tech? Um, there there's hundreds of groups, are we partnering with them? Are we putting our money where our mouth is and doing sponsored posts with them, with these groups that are trying to bring people into the industry? Uh, sales for the culture is amazing. There's a lot of other great groups, women in sales. I can't list them all, but like, there are like, I'll tell you this. The last time I had to hire for a enterprise sales role, I had, I think, 15 K allocated for promoting the job rec all of that went to diversity groups by promoting with them. And we got to kill a list of that. We got to kill her bunch of applicants and they're doing great. So there's a lot that can be done and is in your control.  
Speaker 2    00:20:58    But it all starts with is this really necessary? And what can we do differently than what we've done before? And the other thing I'll say is you mentioned earlier, like you're a really small company, it's there specific things you need. Sometimes those things are absolutely valid and you really do need them. That's okay. This is a process. This is a decades long journey. We are not going to get there overnight. The point is to be asking the questions and having the conversations. I also, I have to shout out if you're not following Madison, uh, Butler, she is the blue hair and unicorn. I love her. She is all over LinkedIn, but she, and, uh, also tar for Ronnie, who is also all over late to she's great. She's a hashtag, not the HR lady, but those are two ladies, both women of color, both LGBTQ, but who are very open about their experiences.  
Speaker 2    00:21:44    They're very raw about their experiences and are now turning those into businesses, helping smaller and medium businesses answer these questions. So I'm not an expert here. I'm really not. I'm passionate amateur trying to make a difference, but if you're a small company and you're like, okay, well, wait a minute. We'll be looking at this goal, hire an expert. It's worth it to just to get the gut, check on it and having a safe space to ask all the stupid questions. Cause they're not stupid. And these are women and there are, I'm sure there are hundreds of other professionals like them who have done all the work and can answer all the questions. And it takes the pressure off the people who may already be on staff, just because they work for you does not mean they are experts in this stuff either. And does not mean they want to help you solve it.  
Speaker 2    00:22:30    It's not their job just because they are of this minority. I cannot tell you how many times I've been asked. I've mentioned mat leave. I do not have kids. I'm not planning on having kids anytime soon. Not that that's anybody's business. I cannot tell you how often I have been asked about mat leave policies for, by companies I work for, because I was just one of the highest ranking limit in the company, right? So by 25, I had companies asking me about what I thought about mat leave policies. It's 10 years later, and now I'm trying to help it a little bit better, but like that's ridiculous.  
Speaker 0    00:23:02    You're listening to the sales samurai podcast. We'll be right back after this break  
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Speaker 1    00:23:40    Right. Without a doubt. So, and kind of what gives me kind of some of this pause because, you know, looking at the numb, I went back to the study. So yeah, as I mentioned to you guys, uh, the 20, 20 state of sales survey, so these are the things that kinda jumped out at me. It was just unbelievable. So demographics, I know, you know, this probably by heart demographics of sales professionals, 3.0, it was 505 responses. But the biggest thing that jumped out at me of that 67%, 67.2 are male, 69.1, Caucasian and 92.6% identified as straight. Like that's not like that. I mean, those are drastic numbers. Like that is so far skewed. Like that's pretty hard to kind of get your arms around and that can almost be like a daunting task, right? I mean, that's kind of the thought process. I feel most people fall into is like, how do we even start down this path and kind of, is it first doing a self assessment of the business? Like, how would you recommend someone say, like you said, five minutes a day, whatever it is, how do you start down the path in your estimation of  
Speaker 2    00:24:48    We will clean up your LinkedIn feed, look at your LinkedIn feed. If you have to scroll more than twice before you see a person of color, you need to go add a bunch more people of color. If you have to scroll more than twice, without seeing at least 30 to 40% women, you need to add a bunch more women. If you have to scroll more than twice or maybe more than three or four times before you see LGBTQ is really hard to do, right? Because that's no one's business. Sure. But you need to make sure that you're aware of things. So following there are, there are lists of people who are out in sales and out in tech. Um, some people I know who are out and I've spoken about their experiences. We did a panel, um, selling while LGBTQ awhile ago. One of my co-hosts on other side of sales, it actually two of my coughs on the other side of sales, identify as LGBTQ, but make sure you add people who are out as well to your feed.  
Speaker 2    00:25:40    So you can be aware of what's going on. And when they choose to share you, you can listen. So one is clean up your LinkedIn feed. You can just Google lists of this stuff like black sales pros, women sales pros, Asian-Americans sales pros. They're there. These lists exist everywhere. Just go follow everyone on it. Second step, I think is intentionally expose yourself to groups that you have not had exposure to. So that might mean attending an event, hosted by sales for the culture. Maybe the event is for black sales pros and you're white go to it. Anyway, you might, you're not going with the intent of learning how to sell maybe, but you should hear what that experience is like, how they're talking, just expose yourself literally to the culture and come, come to it. Not from a place of I'm here to have you instruct me, but from my, I am just here to listen, right?  
Speaker 2    00:26:29    And I'm going to take whatever you're willing to give me. And that's it. And use that to drive further discussions and further conversations, right? Just start doing that. I would also suggest in like private stuff, reading blogs books, I really, it was books over blogs. There are tons of reading lists that you can go find. New York times had a great reading list. They've put out in 2020. That was fantastic, but also expose yourself to culture and to media as well. So looking for, if you, it doesn't have to be any, it can be fun stuff like something as simple as if you, this is totally cliche, but something as simple as if you don't have a lot of experience around the LGBTQ community, you'll watch a couple episodes of RuPaul's drag race. It's going to blow your mind. You're going to be super confused, but just expose yourself to these other cultures.  
Speaker 2    00:27:17    Even a little bit makes a big difference just to understand the world is different. Another thing I'd encourage people to do, it's often overlooked is economic disparity. It's very easy. If you grew up economically secure, right to overlook the worldview that comes with not coming from an economically secure background. And there are, I would say at least a third of like the top 50 best reps. I know at least a third, if not half did not come from an economically secure childhood. And that can be, that can result with some interesting behavior, which I'm sure they would admit, and it's not bad, but it is different. And if you grew up middle-class, if you grew up, upper-class right, that's going to look hella. And if you don't know that you're going to miss incredible talent, we had Jenny Anderson on our podcast. Recently she talked about sales and entrepreneurship and her journey out of Appalachia.  
Speaker 2    00:28:19    And what incredible opportunity this is that came because someone saw her and gave her a shot and was able to see through the gaps to see the potential. And we miss a lot of that because we're so geared to look for college graduates, well-spoken who write well and present and stuff like that. Or we're wired to promote people who understand how to promote themselves. How are people supposed to know how to navigate a corporate ladder when their parents never did? When they never saw anyone do it? The only time they've ever seen anyone navigate a corporate ladder was on mad men. So it's understanding not just the cultural differences on a racial or gender level. It's an economic level too.  
Speaker 1    00:29:04    Yeah. I think that's a fair, what kind of resonated with me there? There's a number of things that resonated with me. I love the fact that you said, Hey, less than just get exposure to the cultures that you, like you said, if there's an African-American sales conference that, Hey, still go with not a question of trying to be taught how to be, you know, how to sell it's just to be aware of, of the use case. I mean, just the conversations that are being had and the challenge that they're facing, just to understand it. One thing I would probably throw in a, I know this is probably very, you know, this is, it's an expectation it's table stakes is there's gotta be a better way of communication internally. Like, like just open lines of communication when you are having issues or you feel that there's an issue or you feel there's something that's bubbling up that you can communicate in. You're actually being heard now how being heard me. I mean, there's a lot of different ways people would, would take that, but right. I mean, there's gotta be that and there's that. And I hate to say this, but that doesn't shouldn't, or doesn't always have to be fed through HR right. There should be other outlets for that. Correct. Ashley.  
Speaker 2    00:30:05    Oh no. It needs to be to sale. It needs to be a groundswell, right? So it needs to come from everyone all the time. And that, that sounds like a big like, oh my God, that's crazy that, that nobody could do it. Right. It's something as simple as for example, a few years ago, I just started mentioning this and people got really excited about it. Um, a few years ago I basically started making a table stakes when I started interviewing for jobs that I said, I, I'm not going to work for a company that doesn't offer trans health benefits. The good news is in most states, that's required. It's a no brainer, but there are companies that they're like, oh, we don't offer that. I'm like, okay, well I can't, unless you're willing to add it to your benefits, I'm not interested. I have no need of these things, but asking the question, it's now coming from someone else, coming from someone external, and now it's logged in their ATS.  
Speaker 2    00:30:52    Someone declined to move forward because we didn't have a benefit that they wanted enough people do that. It hurts them. They start adding these things. So there's things you can do at every level. It really does come down to how much power and influence you have. If you are a frontline sales rep, you don't have a lot of power to influence. It sucks, but it's true. So it's asking and it's something that's asking something as simple as asking your boss, Hey, do we have a DEI plan? Have you done anything in the past six months to educate yourself and managers not taking those questions personally and taking that as a challenge going, you know what? I haven't hold me accountable. I'm going to come up with a plan. I'll get back to you and do it. If you are a leader, if you are a manager, then it comes from building this up into the processes, both within the team and with hiring and with promotion planning.  
Speaker 2    00:31:43    If you're a leader at a company, this absolutely needs to be a topic of conversation. At least I would say at least quarterly, if not monthly, in terms of you have this baked into the culture, how you do that, there's a ton of different ways to do it. It depends on your business, your industry, a lot of different things. And again, that's where I'm like, and there are experts who deserve to be paid to do this because this is complex and there are legal ramifications to it because that's the thing, DEI. Isn't just something that you do makes you more business. If you do DEI wrong, it's illegal. So it's also making sure you understand the legal ramifications of having a sexist hiring process, because there are,  
Speaker 1    00:32:20    It was funny, not funny, but you know, what kind of catches kind of sparks? You know, this kind of the debate in my head is in my network. I've heard, Hey, we're a 15 person operation. We're a small startup and we got 10 women, five men. We're actually, we're leading the charge. We're doing good. Like, that's like, is there a point where you're actually doing like, should there be more African women, but they're all white. Like at what point do you kind of look at and start saying, okay, where does the grant granularity get to before you start saying, Hey, I'm on the right path or I'm doing it or I've succeeded. Have you ever really even succeeded? I guess that's the first question.  
Speaker 2    00:32:56    Yeah. So this is my thing to tell him, tell him to show me a company that says they've mastered diverse. Now show you a company that's blowing smoke up your home. It's very V we don't know really when it comes to this point, a fortune 500 fortune 100 company can throw a bunch of resources at this end, basically mandate diversity across every definable vector at every level, that's a part of their business model. That's why we're seeing a lot of DEI efforts. We're learning from these major companies that are leading the charge. And I appreciate them. I wish they'd done it 30 years ago. We're getting there, right? That said, when you're at a small company, it's more about having the discussions and having the conversation and setting yourself up for long-term success. I said, this is a marathon. This is not a sprint. If your team is very white right now, okay, make it a point, put a page in your website and says, this is our DUI policy.  
Speaker 2    00:33:43    This is what we're doing to change things we believe on promoting and setting people up for success. Here's what we're doing to make sure our hiring processes are fair. Here's what we're doing to make sure our benefits are competitive. We trust that over time. This is going to lead to, and if we come back to this page in 10 years, you will see a truly diverse team. You can authentically healthfully, hire a team that is all white. That sucks, but that's the truth. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, unless you're telling yourself that team is also diverse. If you say this team is not diverse, but it's the best team for us right now. That's not. I would challenge you on that because you should be challenged on that because the world is, has X, billion individuals. Really the best you can come up with is a team of 10.  
Speaker 2    00:34:27    And I'm on teams like that right now. And we're having these discussions and it's a really narrow balancing act to have. But what scares me is when we stop having the conversations, that's the problem. As long as you're aware, you're actively working. You're putting your money where your mouth is. You're putting your time where your mouth is. I choose to believe that when you listen to the science, when you listened to the experts you put in the work, you will see the results, but you will not see them overnight because the answer to this stuff is not just to, like, you hear a lot of reactors say, oh, well, you know, you want to get more women in leadership than just fire. Half of the sales leadership and hire women. That is not the answer, right? One that's stupid business. And two, you're going to end up promoting women who are not ready to take those roles, not enable them properly.  
Speaker 2    00:35:14    And you're setting them up to fail by pissing everyone off. But you fired all their favorite bosses. That's going to do nothing, but make those women look terrible, trash their careers and make it harder for every other woman that comes after them. It has to be organic. That means it takes time, which sucks. And there are things we can do to accelerate the process with mentoring, with training, with looking at those hiring requirements going, is this really the right person? Is this requirement really necessary? Does this requirement limit our hiring pool? It's just, it's challenging everything that you think you know about what is needed to be successful in sales, and then try again and then challenge yourself again and then try again  
Speaker 1    00:35:52    Without, so it's a constant, it's a constant process, right? I mean there's no, Hey, I've, I've done it. It's done check the box, move on. Like, this is a constant ebb and flow, but what resonated with what you've said? And you've said this a couple of times is what really jumped out at me was like just the whole kind of the weeding out process that maybe you're not even intentionally like the 20 year I'm looking at for 20 years. Like, those are things that you can never like challenge yourself. Well, why don't we use some more 20 years experience like that are like, those things are something you can immediately implement and challenge yourself on which inherently would change the dynamic of the applicant pool just based on the requirements that you've set. Right? Yeah.  
Speaker 2    00:36:32    I actually have immediately. It just immediately, it generally, if you cut experience requirements in half, you're going to immediately get a more diverse applicant pool period. If you hire based off of skill, instead you get an even more diverse applicant pool. It all comes down to what's really necessary. So like, for example, I have this conversation a lot when it comes to the college education question, it's like, oh, we're going to college graduate. Why? Oh, we need someone who has effective communication knows how to time management is. Well-spoken like, okay, great. What if I find somebody who can do that at 18? Would you hire them? Well, I don't know. Then there's a maturity thing. Okay. So they also need to have a certain, would you say business acumen? Okay. Didn't have maturity in business. Okay, great. Let's put this wreck against this record and larger companies you can literally do is you can bake it off.  
Speaker 2    00:37:21    You'll get more diverse applicants to the one that's skill-based and you'll probably get better ones because you'll get people who are trying to improve their lives, not just get a job. And beyond that, you're going to get people understand exactly what they're walking into versus people who were told they needed to go get a sales job or who are checking a box and stuff like that. So it's not that you can't get bad applicants. I got one of the most touchy, LinkedIn fights I ever got into was somebody posted a job rec. And they said, we're only hiring ex military or college grads right now because we need hunters who are organized and know how to take direction. I'm like, you know what? That's a really, I like that. You want hunters who were organized to take direction. And I posted in the comments. I was like, man, you know, I really appreciate these lines.  
Speaker 2    00:38:12    I wish you guys would drop the requirements for the college education because that's going to skew. College is going to skew. White military is also going to skew a little white. It's going to, it's definitely heavily male. Now hire veterans. How're veterans hire veterans. Holy cow. Why are we not all hiring veterans more? It's ridiculous point decide. I just called it out. I was just like, Hey, you know, those two things are going to skew your applicant pool. If you want the candidates possible, just lead with, we want hunters who are organized and know how to take direction. Well, I'll just do that. CEO blew up my inbox about how his co-founders a person of color and they're majority women. And yet under that, and I don't know anything. And how dare I call him out? I was like, whoa, okay. That's a bummer because you missed the point completely.  
Speaker 2    00:38:57    I'm not saying you're not diverse. I'm not saying that I'm saying, Hey, those requirements are going to limit your applicant pool a bit. Have you thought about changing it? And that's it, but that's the whole conversation. It's no, I hadn't thought of that, but you know what? We still want to keep it that way. Right? Fine. No big deal. But it's interesting that it highlights why this is so difficult as you can unconsciously do things that you think are helping, but maybe aren't necessarily, or at least your it's always important. Even if you're doing things that aren't necessarily the best thing to do, you need to know how they could be perceived and how they could skew. That's. The biggest thing is at least if you have to have a requirement that is five, 10 years of experience, something like that, no, that's going to skew male. That's going to skew white. I know that. So I can counter it with intentionally sourcing in other areas or something like that. It's the same way we deal with deal forecasting. It's okay. I know I'm strong here, here, and here, but my champion isn't very reliably answering his phone. So I'm going to counter that by making sure that he responds really well by getting him on slack or getting him on some other thing.  
Speaker 1    00:40:01    Is it ever smart? And, and this is my, and it's not a loaded question, but I've heard this before. I've heard it from HR professional. Like, is it ever smart business practices when it comes to DEI almost require, Hey, the next candidate has to be woman Asian. Like that's not like, right. That can't,  
Speaker 2    00:40:20    That's a legal thing that I, I know enough to know. I can't touch that. I do suggest that, especially if you were in a hiring position that work with your HR work with legal, make sure you're aware of your rules, right? That like literally that's rule number one. That's actually one of the things I tell entry-level hiring managers all the time is even if your company doesn't teach you the rules, learn the rules. There are rules about asking where people live, who they live with, how they're getting to work. Obviously, you know, you can't ask if they're planning on having kids yet, I've been asked that in interviews five or six times, it's a tricky thing, but you have to force yourself to learn the rules and admit when you don't understand, admit when you don't know back way. So when it comes to like, can you legally say, Hey, the next person we hire for this role has made woman I 99% sure that that is illegal.  
Speaker 2    00:41:11    That said, talk to your counsel, talk to everyone else and keep in mind that while that may be illegal, if you look at three resumes, one resumes of a woman of color. One resume is of a white woman. One resume is of a black man say four resumes and one resumes of, uh, a white man. You got two women, two men. If you look at the life experience of those four people taking reasonable assumptions and stereotypes, which is never a good thing to do, but just for the purposes of our exercise and they all have the exact same quota attainment, the exact same amount of experience, the exact education level, all things created equal. Statistically, the woman of color has overcome more obstacles than anyone else in that group. They just have. It's a fact. So if you're looking at four people, it's basically handicapping. It's like, let's just look at the life experience of people and take that into account.  
Speaker 1    00:42:11    I, I think that's the biggest point that maybe I approached the question the wrong way, but required versus I think the better approach is let's just have a conversation, Hey, you have five applicants versus mandating or saying, Hey, you have  
Speaker 2    00:42:23    Exactly. Yeah, that's a big, the moment mandates happened. That's a problem. But having a conversation, when am I getting the best applicants possible? Right. And then looking at, is there a point in the process where those applicants suddenly become less diverse what's happening there, that's driving that. And is that something that is legal and healthy for the company or are we shooting ourselves in the foot? And we don't even realize it because that's where this comes down to is when you're losing diverse talent, you're losing incredible essential talent period. And why would any company lose out, want to lose out on talent?  
Speaker 1    00:42:59    Yep. Makes sense. So last question I have for you, cause I know I want to wrap it up. I know you're on the other side of the globe there. My, one of the big things that, you know, as I've kind of talked through this and try to go down this path more and more is as you look at this, is there any like just big misconceptions that when you're talking to people about, is there just so many, is there just one or two things that you hear universally that is just either fundamentally wrong or it's just fundamentally the wrong thought pro like just those types of things that when you hear it, you're like, okay, here it is. This is what's coming next.  
Speaker 2    00:43:30    No, there are no equipments. However, there are one of the things I talked a lot about the past six months, especially is picking your battles. And there are certain things that I have learned that if I here, I am not going to convince this person. And so I won't try. So one of the ones that is a big kind of dead ringer is like not worth it, right? Recent one is we're a family at work. That to me is code for, I will expect you to work long hours and do whatever I tell you. Unquestioningly good intent, but it's been, it's been perverted and stuff like that. From a DEI perspective. The phrase I hear a lot is, oh, we'd love to hire diverse, diverse talent, but they never apply. It's like you haven't done anything to look at why they're not applying. That is just, you're putting it exclusively on consistently maligned groups to come to you and figure out how to work for you for Siggy ownership of I want good talent.  
Speaker 2    00:44:24    So I'm going to go find it. You're not interested in actual change. You want it to give it to you on a silver platter and that's not how this journey is going to work. So I'm going to go find someone who understands that one misconception I will call out. I think there are far more allies than there are racists. There are far more people who are willing, who are open, maybe who aren't trying as hard as I would like, but who do understand? This is an important thing. They just don't prioritize it or they don't know how to. So I'm very hopeful for the future. There's a lot that's going really well while it's really frustrating that 84% of salespeople have witnessed or experienced discrimination or harassment. And it's infuriating. How many, you know, the eight out of 10 black sales reps have experienced discrimination on the job and all these other kind of horrible stats that we figured out that, um, like sexual orientation, minority.  
Speaker 2    00:45:15    So members of the LGBTQ community are 21% more likely to experience discrimination than any other group that seven out of 10 women have experienced discrimination at work versus three out of 10 men. Like these are all really depressing, but at the same time we're talking about it. We're acknowledging it. We have leadership that is hiring consultants and trying to figure things out. I am. One of my favorite words is shot in Florida, which is a, it's a German word that doesn't have an English translation, but it basically means the joy you feel at someone else's displeasure or discomfort. I am feeling all the shot in Florida about the CEO's being raked over the coals for how he handled that layoff. Like we're starting to expect better from our leaders and we're insisting on it. And that makes me very hopeful for the future and that's happening because there are more people asking hard questions, admitting, I don't know, and asking for help behind the scenes, then we realize otherwise these things would not be happening.  
Speaker 1    00:46:12    Yeah. Makes sense. Because social  
Speaker 2    00:46:14    Media is not enough to shame anyone into doing anything these days  
Speaker 1    00:46:17    Without a doubt. So we're going to segue, we're going to transition, but to how do people get to know more about you, Ashley? I know you got the study coming out the research, which should, when should that be finalized when people can start seeing that from you  
Speaker 2    00:46:31    Sure. To go to, if you just go to sales, you can actually enter your email to get emailed a copy of the census. When it's released, we rebranded the state of sales to be the sales census, because some other major companies run a state of sales report and I would like to eventually get their sponsorship money someday. So we rebranded. Um, so we're now the sales census.  
Speaker 1    00:46:50    I think I know exactly those companies, so yeah, exactly.  
Speaker 2    00:46:54    But sales, You can enter your email to get to be alerted when that report is live. I am hoping to have it up early February. We're still figuring out we're working with four major universities in the United States to get those results. So I'm hoping to get some, like some previews of their peer reviewed research and stuff like that in there, but, um, some pretty exciting stuff as a smaller sample size this year, which was disappointing, but these stats are still important and it's important to get the tracking information as well. So, um, one of the things you can do, when you subscribe, you'll also be notified of future research opportunities to participate in that participation is so important, whether you are a white male or a woman of color, every sort of experience is really important. Participate in research, whether it's with us, whether it's with the sales education foundation, any other group is doing research into this area.  
Speaker 2    00:47:39    Please, please, please, please, please. The hardest thing we have when it comes to research is just getting people to participate. So signing up for that alert, get you on our list, and then hopefully we'll get you on other lists as well, to participate and help get us better data. So we can start having data driven conversations about this stuff going forward. So that's the best way to learn anything more about the podcast, go to other side of That's got all our episodes, new episodes, every other Thursday learn more by myself and my other co-hosts and all the amazing guests that we have on this. Fantastic.  
Speaker 1    00:48:07    Hey, we're going to put all that in the show notes. I highly recommend following Ashley's. She does some fantastic content on LinkedIn. Ashley, sincerely appreciate you. Coming on. I enjoyed the conversation is obviously a challenging conversation to have, but I enjoyed the candid dialogue we had around the,  
Speaker 2    00:48:24    I appreciate you having me in creating the space for the conversation. And if anyone has any questions or wants to reach out, I know stupid questions, no silly ones. I'm always happy to point in the right direction. Thank you.  
Speaker 0    00:48:36    Thank you for listening to the sales samurai podcast with your host, Sam Capra. Be sure you subscribe to our podcast and visit sales  dot IO and join the conversation. Access show notes and discover bonus content.  

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Ashleigh Early

CEO, The Other Side of Sales