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With 20 million sales people and over 4 million sales managers, sales is the second fastest growing job category in the US. Twenty-five percent of all US sales reps are women, yet 90 percent of sales leadership positions are held by men. Why does the ceiling seem to be not just glass, but concrete, for women in the sales function?
Despite the facts—Fortune 500 companies with the best records of promoting women tend to be the most profitable; those with the highest representation of women on their management team show higher return on equity and total return to shareholders; and those with more women on the board show a higher profit margin—women are still scarce in the senior-most ranks of US organizations. Why?
Although the research for this book focused on female chief sales executives, the findings apply across all functions. Beyond the glass ceiling question, we discovered that the bigger question is: How do we ensure a strong next generation of women who will be prepared to fill the leadership roles a generation of Baby Boomer women are beginning to vacate? The book presents the real-life stories of women who fought the hard battles on the sales field and rose to the highest sales executive positions in their companies. The lessons they learned are essential for anyone, female or male, who sells, hires a sales team, directs a sales organization, or leads a company.
For anyone establishing mentoring, coaching or leadership development programs, these executives give practical recommendations. Never before has it been so critical to marshal all 100 percent of the human resources available in the work force. Never has it been so critical to pass on the tribal knowledge acquired by the bold and successful female sales executives who have broken through the proverbial “glass ceiling.”