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Selling SaaS: One Woman’s Journey to Success in Sales

Mar 14, 2024
2 min read

In the spirit of International Women's Month, we are shining a spotlight on one of our exceptional women in sales, Karen Allinder, Xactly's Director of Global Sales Productivity. In a candid and insightful conversation, I spoke with Karen about her experiences in the sales field. Read on to learn valuable insights and strategies for success in navigating and thriving in a predominantly male-dominated field.

A Journey in Sales: Empathy, Connection, and Balance

Karen's path in the world of sales is a testament to her drive to make a difference in people's lives by helping solve their problems. With a career in B2B sales, specifically in the dynamic world of technology, she brought a fresh perspective to sales strategies. In her journey, Karen realized the power of empathetic communication as a key pillar in building strong connections with clients, fostering trust, and nurturing long-term relationships.

As Karen aptly puts it, a sales career offers a unique opportunity for women seeking a balance in their lives. The flexibility it provides allows for personal fulfillment alongside professional success. Throughout her career, Karen held on to an impactful statement made by a past manager, "I won't count your short days if you don't count your long ones." This reminder has played a profound role in shaping her approach to finding balance and driving achievement.

Overcoming Challenges in a Male-Dominated Field

Navigating a male-dominated field, Karen's journey in sales has not been without its fair share of challenges. As a way to avoid biases and stereotypes, Karen's advice to fellow women is clear - proactively overcome them. By having confidence in her expertise, consistently proving her value, and maintaining assertiveness she has been able to confront these obstacles head-on.

Keys to success

By thinking outside the box and challenging conventional thinking, she has been able to create innovative solutions that have aided in her achievements. But perhaps what truly sets her apart is her willingness to embrace risks, citing that women who are creative and willing to take risks can separate themselves and attain success.

The Power of Diversity in Sales Teams

Karen highlighted the significance of diversity within Sales teams. Through her experiences, she has witnessed the positive impact that a mixture of perspectives, experiences, and skills can have on team dynamics. The presence of women in sales enriches collaboration, encourages innovative problem-solving, and fosters creativity. Karen firmly believes that a diverse team leads to better outcomes and deeper client engagement.

Empowering Women in Sales

For any woman considering a career in sales, Karen has this advice: “Sales is a meritocracy”—it’s not just about being a good seller, it’s about knowing the business. Find a mentor. Be successful. Then be a mentor and pay it forward.” What gives her the most pride and happiness is when an ex-colleague reaches out and says her mentorship helped make them successful. Karen’s words said it best “It’s not about the money, the check is cashed!”

For Karen, equally important to mentorship is promoting a supportive work culture that values and respects women. Recognizing and celebrating the achievements of women and encouraging open dialogue and participation are key steps toward creating an inclusive sales environment.

Through Karen’s experiences, we have witnessed the strength, resilience, and creativity that women bring to the sales industry. By celebrating the successes of women in sales and fostering an inclusive environment that supports their growth, we can pave the way for a future where women continue to thrive and make lasting contributions to the sales field.

  • Human Resources
  • Culture
  • Sales Coaching and Motivation
Kelly Arellano, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Xactly
Kelly Arellano
Senior Content Marketing Manager

Kelly has over 10 years of marketing experience in demand generation and content marketing. She was born and raised in the Bay Area and enjoys sports, going to the beach, golfing, lifting weights, and playing with her three littles.