ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: As SAVO's director of strategic consulting, Carla Lempera knows a thing or two about success, and there's always an opportunity for businesses to maximize progress.


What does the term “sales enablement” mean to you?

Carla Lempera: Companies need their sellers to make the most of every interaction with a prospective customer to result in new and continued business. To me, sales enablement is surrounding the sales team with what is required to do that. It is communicating the expectations of the sales team and being aware of whether or not your sales team is equipped to execute those expectations. It is providing the process, training, content, coaching, tools and resources to close any gaps proactively and in the context of a specific situation. Sales enablement is successful when every rep can confidently have a fluent dialogue with a customer.

How do you feel women specifically can benefit from various performance platforms in the workplace?

CL: These platforms consume [information and resources] at a pace and environment that is optimal for individual success. In corporate cultures where networking and interpersonal sharing is the mechanism for learning, performance platforms can prevent people from being excluded or prevented from having the best opportunity for success. The data collected and reporting available in performace platforms also removes a degree of subjectivity from results and allows for data-driven decisions.

Where do you feel sales executives and managers can improve when it comes to close the gender gap?

CL: To start, I’m elated to say that there is already evidence of improvement. Many more executives, buyers and decision makers are female, which changes the dynamic and challenges the [industry] norms. Progress is slow-moving, however, and there is always room for improvement.

I believe that there are three things any sales leader can begin doing today to improve:

  1. Listen to the machines. Embracing data and making standard resources available to everyone creates equal opportunity for everyone. If the data proves that someone is engaged in enablement, exceeding goals, driving revenue and getting the job done, suddenly his or her demographics have no relevance.
  2. Lead by example. The characteristics and behaviors set forth by leadership model the boundaries and expectations for the team.
  3. Exploit the reality. The truth is, there are gender differences, many of which are downright biological. [Women tend to be intuitive and nurturing.] Intuition is an incredibly beautiful and powerful thing, particularly when trying to ascertain buying signals, navigate uncertainty and build relationships. Additionally, there is a whole business around ”nurturing” leads. Certainly eliminating [inequality] is necessary, but that is not accomplished by stifling [differences which can be] the very things that breed success.

What is the single best piece of career advice you have recieved from a fellow woman in sales?

CL: To be fair, she is a CMO… but in business we are all in sales, aren’t we? Her astute advice is to ”always tip the table towards you.” By this she means that you should know what you are good at and insert your contribution according to your strengths as much as possible. While it is noble to develop new skills and improve on your weaknesses, your value and impact are highest when you can bring the thing you are personally best at.