A culturally diverse sales team is a distinct advantage that many organizations fail to recognize. It’s human nature for the hiring managers to employ people that are similar to them, and companies often fall into the trap of hiring people with similar backgrounds, experiences, and habits. This can hold back an organization and cause the company to miss opportunities. Harvard Business Review found that a team with a member who shares a client’s ethnicity is 152% likelier than another team to understand that client. Here are 5 reasons why your sales team and your bottom line will benefit from including diversity in your hiring strategy.
Cultural Diversity Helps Your Customer Relations
Communities can be very diverse, so it is important to mimic the potential diversity of your customer and prospect base in order to serve them well. Understanding potential customer’s needs and effectively communicating a solution to them is one thing, but connecting to the prospect on a personal level makes a sale much more likely. It’s human nature – people prefer to engage with those with similar backgrounds to them, and tend to relate to them more as well. If you can utilize a diverse sales team by having them working together to understand and connect to a client, you have a great competitive advantage in any market space. A culturally diverse sales team also has the potential for world-wide influence. If your company has international customers, this can aid in expanding your reach geographically.
Culturally Diverse Sales Teams Are More Innovative
Diversity breeds innovation, and innovation breeds success. In a culturally diverse team, each individual will think differently, based on their mindset, their upbringing, and past experiences. This environment will foster more diverse ideas and sales tactics that will boost your team, with people’s different strengths and weaknesses playing off of each other. In fact, a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) showed that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation. Diverse teams are primed for problem-solving, allowing team members to build off of each other’s different knowledge and skills to create the best solutions. To do this properly, a sales manager and recruiting team must have an understanding of the team’s current core strengths and weaknesses and recognize what types of personalities and background will add to the environment.
Culturally Diverse Sales Teams Attract Top Performers
For a diverse work environment to be successful, a company’s managers must stress tolerance and inclusion as its core values. People can tell when a company’s culture is inclusive and welcoming, and this not only attracts the right kind of people, but gives you a higher selection of candidates. The more candidates that feel they are a good fit or feel welcomed, the more top performers you will be able to choose from.
Diverse work environments will also attract millennials. Millennials are highly motivated by work fulfillment and environment and less motivated by compensation than other generations. They are also an advantage to have as technology becomes more ingrained in business operations.
How to Make Your Hiring Process Diversity Friendly
Work with hiring agencies – Agencies have a very wide and diverse pool of candidates that they are connected with, and are a great resource when hiring for diversity. Make sure that you tell them you are looking for diverse backgrounds and provide them with the proper material to hire diverse people. Although expensive, agencies can be well worth the cost.
Train your team – Teach your team interview techniques on how to screen candidates without bias. Create a structured approach to interviewing, have the team decide what qualities are necessary in a candidate to do the job well, and screen focusing on those qualities, instead of ethnicity or how similar they are to the interviewer.
Write the right job descriptions – Write your descriptions so that they truly describe what skills you are looking for without needless buzzwords or listing unnecessary skills as requirements. You do not want candidates that may still be qualified to disqualify themselves shortly after reading the description.
Have a diverse interview panel – Make sure that members of the interview panel have different backgrounds and experiences as well. Candidates are evaluating your company as much as you are evaluating them, so it’s best to practice what you preach!
A culturally diverse sales team has the potential to boost your team’s performance to the next level for a multitude of reasons. Not only does it foster an environment where people learn to work together, but it brings so many ideas and possibilities to a company that would never exist without a diverse way of thinking. Whether your team is just beginning to factor diversity into your business strategy, or you are looking to expand an already diverse team, this is a great way to gain a competitive advantage over companies similar to you. If you use it strategically, the connections a diverse team is capable of making can help propel your organization to success.
Want to learn more about how general team diversity affects sales performance? Check out this article!