Women in sales in India have experienced noteworthy transformations in recent times, representing a surge in female representation as well as in sales leadership roles. Despite these encouraging developments, achieving genuine gender balance in the field remains an ongoing endeavour. According to a study by LinkedIn, women make up 19% of the sales workforce in India, yet they occupy only 13% of sales leadership positions.
The launch of the WinS (Women in Sales) initiative in partnership with LinkedIn is a significant stride to establish a supportive community for women in sales. This collaboration between WinS and LinkedIn aims to cultivate a more inclusive and diverse sales network that harnesses the considerable talent and potential of women in this domain.
The WinS Season 2 by People Konnect & LinkedIn will showcase innovative approaches to fostering inclusivity in employers in building gender-diverse sales teams. Aditya Birla Group, as the Title Sponsor, and Brookfield Properties, as the Awards Partner, underscore their commitment to advancing gender diversity in sales.
Anjali Gulati, Founder & CEO of People Konnect, articulates the vision behind the program, stating, "In our 15 years of hiring, we've noticed a leaky pipeline in women talent, especially in sales. The business case for having women in key customer-facing roles is undeniable, yet we all struggle to find them. WinS is our initiative to tackle this aspirational deficit, showcasing the rewarding aspects of sales careers, inspiring young talent to choose it, and collaborating with forward-thinking organisations to set up an ecosystem that ensures their success."
The conclave is designed to offer various learning opportunities, including insights from business heads, keynotes, and awards to celebrate the success stories of women across organisations. Each segment at WinS Conclave has been thoughtfully curated to address challenges and growth areas from different perspectives.
The first panel, ‘The Missing Presence of Women in Sales,’ will delve into the core issue of underrepresentation, featuring speakers like Pankaj Gupta - CBO, Godrej Capital; Pallavi Agarwal - CEO (Direct to Customer), Airtel; Rahul Jain - President & Head - Nuvama Wealth; Nimisha Das - Senior Director HR, Kellanova. The discussion aims to dispel perceptions that deter women from joining this profession. There is a body of work happening across organisations, and the senior management is aggressively driving this agenda.
“At Godrej Capital, we're deeply committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion across all our divisions, including the sales team. Our ‘SHE Rises’ program and other initiatives celebrate the achievements of our women workforce and address their unique challenges. We consciously hire with a focus on inclusivity and bridging the gender gap, offering women-centric benefits that solve major challenges and pain points of women in sales,” says Pankaj Gupta.
Nimisha Das also reiterates that a stronger representation of women in sales is a strategic necessity. “For us at Kellanova, diversity is not an organisational requirement but a business imperative. As a company with market leading breakfast cereal brands that cater to families and communicate mostly with mothers, we believe having a diverse sales team who understand their largest shopper perspectives, needs and challenges better, makes them more successful in the marketplace,” feels Nimisha.
The second plenary session will focus on business leaders to ‘Build Strategies for a Thriving Community of Women in Sales’ featuring panel members Kamlesh Dangi - Group Head HR, Incred and Ruchee Anand - Senior Director, Talent & Learning Solutions at LinkedIn, and will be moderated by Pritha Dubey – Managing Partner & Chief Mentor, Success Vitamins.
Kamlesh Dangi explains how Incred has gradually changed the gender mix in their sales team. ”Though for us, as of now, it can be termed as small wins, we do have multiple women in leadership positions in different parts of our organisation. In fact, our top-performing salesperson in personal loans across the country is a woman. This helps us showcase role models within the organisation and encourages more women to try out sales as a career.”
Ruchee Anand emphasises LinkedIn's commitment to building a community where women in sales can develop their skills further. “At LinkedIn, we are enabling women to own and grow their careers and flourish in their professional journeys. We know there's a lot of untapped talent among India's working women. Our focus is on building a community where women already in sales can develop their skills further and where women from different fields can bring their talents to the world of sales. This deliberate cross-pollination of knowledge, skills, and capabilities has cultivated a thriving community of women in sales at LinkedIn. In fact, our sincere belief is that our sales community offers them the confidence and capability to explore non-linear career paths that work best for them even in the long run.”
The WinS Season 2 will feature a galore of awards, challenges and interesting conversations to engage you.
The ‘In the Spotlight’ segment will highlight inclusive brands sharing stories on building stronger sales teams with more women. “At PepsiCo, our business success is fully attributed to high-performing and inclusive teams that value diverse perspectives and take everyone along. Hence, we continue to attract more women in a traditionally male-dominant function like sales. Our flagship programs are one of the biggest strategic enablers to building a strong talent pipeline for uninterrupted business delivery,” says Pavitra Singh – CHRO, PepsiCo.
Addressing challenges in the entry pipeline, the WinS Sell-a-Thon, part of the campus connect program, is targeted at college campuses to encourage women to choose sales as a career path. The Campus Connect program will help the girls build the necessary skills to enter the workforce. Purba Bhattacharya – COO of People Konnect, discusses the future of WinS, stating, "We are working towards the Women in Sales initiative as not just a step towards diversity but an investment in building a robust and diverse talent pipeline. By building a community for women in sales, we are shaping a self-sustainable cohort that will attract and inspire younger talent towards a successful career."
The program aims to tap into the untapped potential of graduate and postgraduate women in tier 2/3//4 cities entering the workforce, providing a gateway to sales job opportunities and creating the much-needed talent infusion at the entry-level. The winners of the pilot batch of Sell-a-thon will be announced at the conclave. Arvind Usretay, Commercial Leader - India & South Asia, Mercer, talks about his experience of being a Jury member, “The WinS initiative will bring in fresh and competent talent into the ‘sales’ workforce. It’s a great opportunity for this segment of talent that sometimes goes unnoticed. I had the privilege of seeing some very exciting and incredibly talented young women in action as part of their final presentations. Their approach was fresh, and clearly, they had worked really hard.”
The WinS Awards celebrates the successes of women in sales, acknowledging their impactful contributions. Garima Mishra, Head of Human Resources, India & Middle East at Brookfield Properties, emphasises the transformative power of empowering women in sales for innovation and success. “Empower a woman in sales, and you ignite a spark that fuels not just transactions but transformations. Championing women in sales is not just a mere step towards diversity; it is an investment towards innovation and success. Embracing the unique perspectives and abilities of women amplifies our collective strength, fostering a sales force that is not only inclusive but dynamically positioned for sustained growth and excellence. By coming together and building a community for women in sales, we are building sales for the future- a future that is bold, diverse, and unapologetically empowered.”
WinS distinguished jury members Bani Saluja, Vice President of Marketing at American Express; Ruchita Taneja Aggarwal, Director of New Business Sales and Country Head for OneAcquisitions at Google; and Abhai Singh, Head of Sales Solutions for India at LinkedIn, have evaluated the nominees' based on their initiatives and practices. The nominees have shown initiative and made exceptional contributions in the field of sales.
The WinS – Season 2 conclave is on February 7, 2024, at JW Marriott, Juhu.
Register here to participate in the WinS conclave.
For more details on the conclave, visit the website.
To know more, please reach out to People Konnect - email@example.com, +918928602617
(People Konnect is an HR Services firm specialising in Executive Search, DEI Consulting, Talent Management practices and Corporate Gifting.)