There are many studies that have shown why implementing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative will help you make your number. DEI cannot be a short term initiative for a PR stunt. To really reap the benefits of DEI, integrate the strategy in your company’s values.

Traditionally, B2B sales teams are mostly dominated by men. Though female sales reps earn a base pay of 33% lower than male reps, women are still paid higher at a commission rate. In fact, in a study 86% of women achieved their set quota while men had only reached 76%. To look beyond a gender lens, an HBR study found that firms with more diversity are 45% likelier to report revenue growth from the previous year. Almost all studies that have found a strong correlation between diverse sales teams and a positive impact on revenue growth point to one key contributor: embracing and fostering innovation.


Fostering Innovation with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Not embracing innovation and outside-the-box thinking amongst your organization, let alone your sales team, will only hinder your bottom-line growth in a fast-paced business environment. If your sales team members are consistently approaching prospects and customers in a homogenous way, you and your team will not be able to embrace new strategies for different and ever-changing customers, and it will be increasingly harder to make your constantly growing number.


Keep in mind that diversity also does not stop at visible diversity with gender, ethnicity, age, and disability. It expands into so much more: sexual orientation, education, marital status, mental health, political beliefs, etc. Have you recently asked yourself if your organization and team embraces different kinds of diversity enough? Is your team trained on why diversity of thought benefits not just them but to the entire team?


Hiring a diverse team isn’t a magic wand to make your number. To truly reap all benefits of diverse thoughts from your team, it is an imperative for your culture to continuously embrace the idea by ensuring all team members feel included and have a sense of belonging as well as be given an equal platform to exercise different ways to problem-solve.


Not all diverse members of our community start in the same place; and to combat, the culture should embrace equity and inclusion in your team and company is key to carrying out the diverse benefits. Equity acknowledges that there is a commitment to address the imbalance and provide resources to provide equal opportunity for all. Inclusion embraces and welcomes the diverse identities within a given setting. Equity and inclusion are not a natural consequence of hiring a diverse talent pool and is something to dedicate time and resources to work on.


The Outside-In Case


Embracing a DEI strategy isn’t only to benefit your organization to make your number. There is also an outside-in perspective that acknowledges that building a diverse and inclusive team is a business imperative. Not only do B2C and B2B buyers tend to buy from people and teams like themselves, but the U.S. population continues to diversify and many companies are embrace DEI programs more than ever.


Some of the largest companies that have paved the way for consumer research and are preferred consumer brands including, General Motors, IBM, and Coca-Cola have spent millions of dollars embracing supplier diversity programs after understanding buyer trends and executing a moral obligation. They have paved the way to show how the programs can create even more economic opportunities and enhance their business.


DEI has also become a key criterion for sales-oriented job seekers when looking for a company to work for. A SalesLoft survey found a near-unanimous interest in sales talent to have a more representative workforce with more of a gender balance, LGBTQ representation, diversity of race, cultures, age, etc:


  • 91% would like to see more women in sales
  • 91% would like to see more racial diversity
  • 88% would like to see a greater generational diversity
  • 74% of salespeople and 69 percent of buyers would like to see more LGBTQ representation


Findings also suggest that younger jobseekers have shared that experiences of discrimination have resulted in them leaving their employer. With organizations placing a stronger emphasis on DEI, not only can you attract your sales talent but also boost retention. SBI’s benchmark on average ramp time to productivity is 10 months. All sales leaders know the pain when losing a strong A-player and being patient with ramping on new reps. 10 months of semi-productive months can really impact your probability of making your number.


How To Reap The Most Benefits of a DEI Strategy


A DEI strategy cannot be a check-the-box campaign for your company to have a publicity stunt. Diversity, equity, and inclusion will only really work if they’re embedded in values that are vicariously lived day-to-day. Many companies have tried implementing DEI as a “short-term” initiative, and they have seen the initiative fall flat since employees, clients, and partners won’t know which long-term values to embrace.


At SBI, employees are encouraged to live our six values and recognize others for doing so. Additionally, we are reviewed at the end of the year on how well we have activated and lived each of the following values in our day-to-day. DEI examples of the value are featured in italics.


  • Be Great – Striving for excellence in everything we do. We define what great looks like, that we hold ourselves accountable for achievement.
    • We define what great looks like and strive for excellence in building a strong and inclusive working environment where all SBIers and clients feel valued.
  • Own Your Development – Proactively evolve your expertise faster than the market.
    • Coach yourself on ways of how to gain a better understanding of unconscious bias and your blind spots.
  • Own The Outcome – You are comfortable being uncomfortable. You find the solution for both your teammates and clients.
    • Find the solution for your teammates by standing up for others if you encounter a hostile or microaggressive environment.
  • Inspire Others – Act with enthusiasm that motivates your clients and peers. Life and empower the team around you.
    • Empower the team around you by standing up for others and showing what “good” looks like when dealing with biased situations.
  • Embrace 1:1 – Invest in relationships that will pay dividends for decades. Clients and peers want to spend time with you. 
    • Invest in relationships by getting to know each other – beyond assumed stereotypes.
  • Build the Firm – We embrace teamwork and vulnerability to build something greater than ourselves. We are never afraid to ask for help.
    • Refer candidates in your network that might look like you or might not look like you.


At the end of the day, embracing a DEI strategy is not just a moral obligation, it is a business imperative. Partners, supply chains, customers, current and potential talent are increasingly embracing DEI and looking for it in their partners, businesses, and employers. Future-proof your business and make your number by implementing a DEI strategy into your culture.


If you are seeking to revamp your talent strategy to retain your top sales talent, give us a call or reach out to our Revenue Growth Help Desk. We are invested in helping you build your culture and make your number. You can also join our Inspire Others group on LinkedIn to connect with peers and share your own best practices for DEI.


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