Guest post by Anthony Byrne from Product2Market.
Lead Generation is a valuable service to a variety of businesses, providing large and small companies alike not only with sales leads but with relevant and beneficial data to their company. The tech industry in particular sees the value in companies such as Product2Market, a leading Irish Sales Development Company. We met with Yvonne O’ Connor, Product2Market’s leading lady to discuss the challenges women face in such a male dominated industry.
Yvonne has quickly worked her way up the career ladder with three promotions in the three years since she joined ‘Product2Market.’ Starting out as a Team Lead she has just recently been promoted to Director of Operations. Being in the Tech Sales Industry for the last five years and already climbing to the top meant that Yvonne has confronted any challenges she has met head on.
‘At first in this industry I did feel as though I had to be more aggressive to make people sit up and listen. That was a challenge, but I soon separated my work from my gender. I am good at what I do regardless. We have a pretty gender balanced team here in Product2Market compared to some others in the industry, however we tend to seek out women candidates as we realise their worth. It’s ironic really that Tech Sales tends to be a boys club, as with no offence to my male colleagues, I think women can be naturally better in roles like this. We are known for our multitasking abilities and are generally more empathic, which is a huge advantage in this game. ‘
Lack of confidence in the workplace is a claim that is notorious with women and Yvonne has seen first-hand that they tend to be less confident than their male counterparts within the professional landscape. However, it is obvious that Yvonne is bursting with confidence in her abilities and has grown since joining her current company saying it is something you can overcome with a supportive team and Mentor around you.
‘Confidence would be a large part of it. Tech Sales/Lead Generation is as much about rejection as it is success. Women tend to feel it’s a cut throat business and worry they don’t have what it takes to ask people for sales. It is a challenging dynamic, no matter what your gender however if you come to it with the right attitude it is where the biggest and best opportunities are. That mistrust in yourself can be easily combated with the right team and manager behind you.’
As someone who trains and manages a number of Sales teams at Product2Market Yvonne recommends that believing in your abilities and learning from mistakes, whether male or female is the best advice she can give you.
‘You have to just do it, and believe that you can do it. I have been leading most of the training initiatives for some time now here at Product2Market and the main thing that gets in peoples way is talking themselves out of it. Whether it’s a sale or a promotion you have to trust you’re capable. I mean yes, you will make mistakes but they will improve your work, you will learn from them’
Yvonne admits she doesn’t regret much as regretting a mistake is like regretting a valuable lesson learned.
‘I know it may sound arrogant to some but I don’t think if given the chance I would do anything differently. All I have done, the right and wrong turns have lead me path to I am on now, so really I don’t see the value is wasting time regretting the wrong decisions I made in the past. Looking back from my perspective now, every challenge I encountered was an opportunity to better myself, to learn, to adapt and ultimately grow stronger.’
Often we see that when someone’s career elevates so do stress levels but Yvonne is positive about her future and the future of the Industry.
‘I am absolutely positive about the future, don’t get me wrong I am also realistic. I know that with my promotion and continued career growth there will be obstacles, worries and difficult decisions not only at a much quicker pace but also a higher level, but I am ready for that. I just see it as another chance to discover new skills and master the ones I have further. As for working within the Tech Sales Industry itself, I think it’s a massive growth area and Product2Market is very well positioned to be a leader in the space.’