I love working in sales. I see it as a form of art where you can help customers as well as challenge and develop yourself on a daily basis.
In 2001, I completed my Master’s Degree in Economic Sciences and since then, I have worked within so many industries: from sea freight to network marketing and pharmaceuticals.
For the past eight years I have worked at APSIS, a digital marketing software company. Now as the Regional Sales Director Finland at APSIS, I feel like I am where I belong: helping customers to develop their digital marketing activities.
Without sales activities, there would be no business! There may be some stereotypes about people in sales but luckily, they have never crossed my path. I have always had confidence in myself: I can do anything I set my mind to. I think having confidence in myself and my abilities has played a key role in this job – when I trust myself, it is easier for others to trust me as well.
Johanna Höglund, Regional Sales Director Finland at APSIS
Be brave, be diligent. I am constantly trying to learn and improve myself, and I am not scared of failures. I treat everyone the way I wish to be treated and I believe this is extremely important in sales.
To be honest, I think sales is easier than I thought. Surely, it requires being pro-active, creative and open-minded, it requires systematic work and, since we do need results, some competitiveness as well. Some of those qualities came natural to me – such as being diligent and competitive -, but a lot of I have just learned along the way.
By analyzing myself, I have been able to improve a positive mindset and also learn about why and how humans behave in general. Being systematic is the one of the biggest requirements for being successful: sales typically follow a certain pattern. To get forward in one’s career, I would encourage listening and following those who have already paved the way.
In short – women do have what it takes to be successful in B2B sales, because being good at your job has nothing to do with your gender! Here are some of my best thoughts and practises to share.
“In short – women do have what it takes to be successful in B2B sales, because being good at your job has nothing to do with your gender.”
What I have heard vs. What I think
“Women don’t have the attitude or drive that it takes”
– I can’t agree. Attitude is a decision – you can decide to push yourself and improve or stay in your comfort zone. This is a personal decision, not determined by gender. I suggest being humble in taking in learnings but being bold when setting goals. Your mind will help you find ways if you know where you are going. Anyone can practice this skill!
“Women like to be in the background and listen, sales people need to talk a lot!”
– Sales, in my opinion, is a discussion about meeting needs and goals and finding a suitable solution. Listen to understand, not to reply or overtalk the other party! Nobody is interested in a pitch unless it offers something interesting to the listener: a great talker is not necessarily a great conversationalist.
“Women are too empathetic!”
– Some of us are empathetic, yes – a great personality trait, if you ask me. In sales, you are always dealing with people that have feelings and who are facing challenges at work and in their personal life. Instead of B2B or B2C, I see sales as H2H, human-to-human activity. Treat and serve your customers like you would like to be treated and you will be able to reach the magic formula of Know, Like and Trust.
Overall, it takes courage and determination to work in sales. It goes beyond just sales tactics and KPI’s: reacting to changing needs, celebrating small victories, meeting people as humans instead of paychecks.
/ Johanna Höglund, Regional Sales Director Finland at APSIS