“As the US population diversifies, so must your sales teams,” concluded Vanessa Fabrizio, Market Impact Consultant at Forrester. “You need a diverse sales team to be customer-obsessed in 2021 and beyond. Respondents understand the importance of diversity, as 60% stated that diversity within their sales team has contributed to their teams’ success.”
While DEI received much attention in 2020, sales leaders view it as an ongoing initiative, with 82% stating racial or ethnic diversity will be equally or more important in two years. Additionally, 72% believe that DEI will be equally or more important across the business organization in two years.
Last September, Forrester Consulting surveyed 500 B2B sales leaders about their firms’ performance metrics and DEI practices (e.g., diversity in personnel, commitment to DEI training, and career advancement programs for underrepresented groups). Those with strong DEI programs outperformed lagging programs across a series of metrics:
- Sales Forecasts: Firms with strong programs expected 2021 revenue growth of 9% vs. 6% at lagging firms.
- Conversion Rates: Organizations with strong DEI practices had a 54% lead-to-opportunity conversion rate vs. 26% at laggards.
- Customer Satisfaction: Firms with strong programs saw a 24% increase in customer satisfaction scores vs. 17% at firms with weak programs.
“As buyers continue to demand a more personalized experience, successful companies will understand the increasing benefit of diversifying their teams to reflect the changing demographics of their target consumer,” said author and sales expert Jeff Davis.
“In 2022, sales leaders will monitor and track the diversity of their organization like any other metric or KPI,” separately predicted Outreach Global Innovation Evangelist Mary Shea. “With more weight and visibility on this business priority, sales leaders will embrace new and more creative channels to source talent, and they will create internal programs to nurture and foster their existing talent.”
Coincidentally, I am publishing this article on Martin Luther King Day at a time when voting rights are being restricted in many states. MLK stood for DEI, voting rights, freedom, economic opportunity, and economic justice. He was instrumental in pushing LBJ and Congress to pass the original Voting Rights Act which is now opposed by the Republican Party. It is time for Congress to renew the Voting Rights Act and at least pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
Senator Raphael Warnock, who preached from MLK’s pulpit at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, stated
“I have to tell you that the most important thing that we can do this Congress is to get voting rights done. Voting rights are a preservative of all other rights. They lay the ground for all of the other debates. And so to my Democratic colleagues, I say: while it is deeply unfortunate, it is more than apparent that it has been left to us to handle alone the task of safeguarding our democracy.
Sadly, many of our Republican friends have already cast their vote with voter suppression. And so the judgment of history is upon us. Future generations will ask, when the democracy was in a 911 state of emergency, what did you do to put the fire out? Did we rise to the moment or did we hide behind procedural rules?
“I believe that we Democrats can figure out how to get this done, even if that requires a change in the rules, which we established just last week that we can do when the issue is important enough.”Senator Rappael Warnock (December 14, 2021)
Democracy is not a given. Freedom expands or contracts based upon our willingness to accept others and afford them the same rights (and responsibilities) as others. It must be renewed each generation through teaching, activism, and voting.