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South: APS study focuses value of full diversity in a sales team

By Dan Teuton
16 May 2016

The first Diversity and Inclusion White Paper, based on research by the global professional-services company EY and published by the Association of Professional Sales (APS), suggests that the wider the range of ages and backgrounds in a sales team, the more buyers they will attract and the more sales they will make.

The study undertaken by EY compares the performance of 22,000 account teams and reports that in the diverse teams, sales growth was on average 10% faster and profit margins 6% higher than in teams which were not diverse.

Claire Edmunds, CEO of Clarify and leader of the APS community group on diversity and inclusion, explained: “One reason why diversity helps companies sell more is that people from a wider variety of ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds, including both sexes and a range of age groups, will inevitably come up with a more imaginative range of solutions when they hit a problem.”

She added: “Another reason is that today’s customers are so diverse, and prone to respond better to a salesperson they can identify with.”

The most valuable asset of a company is its personnel, and staff retention was also up 7% in the inclusive teams, which represents a significant saving in cost.

Michael Thompson, EY’s advisory accounts-and-business-development leader for EMEIA, commented: “Making sure all our people’s voices are heard and valued helps not only to attract but to retain the best people.” 

The white paper, entitled Performance Leadership; How diverse and inclusive sales teams are seizing competitive advantage, is the first in a series of reports produced by the APS which will be aimed at highlighting how diverse and inclusive sales cultures can positively impact on sales performance.

Read the report in full here.

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