I think that many of us have "known" that having a diverse, equitable, inclusive (DEI) sales team is far better for business, but great to see that Forrester, have research that backs this up is fantastic, you can get the research here.  Plus it's great that LinkedIn supports it as well, their information is here.

For me the logic flows like this, we live in a diverse world and therefore our sales team must reflect that.  Our team at DLA Ignite is not perfect, but having a DEI team is always something we have fought for and I use the word "fought" as we often have to battle for really great talent.  (If you are interested in joining us, contact me).

I'm a 56 year old, white male and some people will buy from me and some people won't. I was told only recently that we wouldn't be getting the business because the 25 year old SDRs don't want to be told what to do by a 56 year person.  After all, what could I know about social media.  (I'm just writing my third book on it if you wanted to know. :) ).  It makes commercial sense of have as much diversity as you can.  Let's dive into what Forrester and LinkedIn say:-


Forester says

As the population diversifies, so must your sales teams.

Diverse sales teams have better sales outcomes.

But what does that mean?

"1. Customers expect brands to evolve. 

According to Forrester’s research, 55% of US consumers would rather buy from a brand that reflects the customer’s personality.  Your organization must represent your diverse customer base to meet this demand.

2. Sales leaders attribute diversity with success

Sixty percent of respondents stated that diversity within their sales team has contributed to their teams’ success.

3. Diversity is not a phase. 

Eighty-two percent of respondents predict that the racial or ethnic diversity of their sales team will be equally or more important in the next two years.

This is not just a sales phenomenon; 72% of respondents believe that DEI will play a role in business decisions in the next two years."

Forrester show this pictorially like this

Diverse sales teams have better sales outcomes

A. Higher forecasts.

Leading sales organizations expect their team’s revenue to increase 9% from fiscal year 2020 to fiscal year 2021. In comparison, lagging sales teams expect a 6% increase.

B. Higher conversion rates.

Forrester’s study found that sales teams with leading DEI practices have an average lead-to-opportunity conversion rate of 54%, whereas sales teams with lagging DEI practices are at 26%. In that same vein, leaders’ opportunity-to-customer conversion rate is 24%, while laggers’ is 19%. Conversion rates indicate the effectiveness of a sales team: Sales teams with higher conversion rates tend to have better customer relationships and higher revenue.

C. Higher sales attainment.

Leading sales teams have reached 43% sales attainment for the 2021 calendar year; in comparison, lagging sales teams have reached 31%. Leaders are also more consistently closing deals compared to laggers. Our data found that leaders’ current closedwon rate is roughly $4 million more than laggers'.

D. Higher customer satisfaction.

In the past year, sales organizations with leading DEI practices have reported a 24% increase in customer satisfaction scores. In comparison, sales organization with lagging DEI practices reported an increase of 17%.

What should a business be doing in terms of DEI in sales?

  • Intentionally invest in inclusive organizational practices
  • Leverage listening programs to uncover gaps and opportunities for both customers and employees.
  • Training is a good start, but mature organizations do more.
  • Continue pushing the conversation forward, even if you don’t have all the answers.

Going to finish with some advice from LinkedIn

Most importantly, commit to creating a diverse, inclusive culture where all people feel comfortable. Whether you are a sales leader that manages a team of 10,000 or a salesperson who is focused on hitting quota, everyone has a role to play.