New research suggests that the wider the range of ages and backgrounds in a sales team, the more buyers they attract and the more sales they make.
The research by global professional services company EY is documented in a Diversity & Inclusion white paper published today by the Association of Professional Sales (APS).
“This report clearly shows the value of diverse and inclusive sales teams. We believe that sellers who reflect their buyers are driving performance and profits," comments Claire Edmunds CEO of Clarify and leader of the APS community group on diversity and inclusion (D&I). The study undertaken by EY compares the performance of 22,000 account teams and reports a significant difference in performance between the teams that were diverse and those that were not. In the diverse teams, sales growth was on average 10% faster and profit margins were 6% higher. In another significant cost-saving for a company whose most valuable asset is its personnel, staff retention was up seven per cent in the inclusive teams.
“Making sure all our people’s voices are heard and valued not only helps attract and retain the best people, but also helps us deliver better approaches for our clients and our organisation,” says Michael Thompson, EY’s advisory accounts and business development leader for EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India, Africa).
But why does diversity help companies sell more? One reason is that people from “A wider variety of ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds, including both sexes and a range of age groups, will inevitably come up with a more imaginative range of solutions when they hit a problem,” says Claire Edmunds.
“Another reason is that today’s customers are so diverse, and prone to respond better to a salesperson they can identify with”, Edmunds adds. “Equally, the cultural match between seller and buyer is a predictor of sales success.”
The white paper titled, ‘Performance Leadership; How diverse and inclusive sales teams are seizing competitive advantage’ is the first in a series of reports produced by the APS to highlight how diverse and inclusive sales cultures can positively impact sales performance.
The Association of Professional Sales is the leading community for sales people. It is a not-for-profit organisation, reinvesting in the sales profession to build standards, trust and education.