Are there differences in selling to women vs. men in the B2B sales process?
That was the question we set out to discover.
My husband and I are avid remodelers, which means I’ve spent a lot (A LOT) of time at Home Depot and Lowe’s over the last 15 years. I remember clearly, during those Saturday afternoons walking up and down aisles looking for just the right tile, how much I preferred shopping at Lowe’s to Home Depot.
My husband thought I was crazy – they were essentially the same store to him! But I insisted they weren’t. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew I found the experience at Lowe’s more enjoyable. Turns out, I wasn’t crazy.
In the early 2000s, Lowe’s made a concerted effort to attract more female shoppers with wider aisles, brighter lighting, more big-ticket items on lower shelves, cleaner bathrooms, and more how-to clinics. Why? Because research shows that women make 80% of all home improvement decisions.
“But that’s the B2C space,” you might be thinking. “In B2B sales, isn’t it all the same? Buyers make decisions the same way – the price, the functionality, the value they get back, and the recommendations from their peers.”
If that’s the mentality you’ve adopted as a salesperson, it might be time to rethink.
In partnership with leading sales linguist Steve W. Martin, ZoomInfo surveyed 350+ B2B buyers, and we put this question to the test: Are there differences selling B2B solutions to women and men?
In fact, there are some significant differences.
Both Men and Women Prefer Email to Cold Calls
Here’s a finding that might affect your sales outreach: Both men and women prefer email to cold calls, but men are 50% more likely than women to pick up your cold call.
Who prefers a phone call?
- 36% of men
- 23% of women
Who prefers an email?
- 63% of women
- 38% of men
Who prefers a LinkedIn message?
- 21% of men
- 12% of women
A small percentage (5% of men, 2% of women) prefer an old-fashioned letter.
Pro Tip: Having a direct phone number and email address for your prospect is really, really important; without this information, you’re significantly less likely to catch the buyer’s attention. And despite the “cold-calling is dead” debate, the combined effect of a cold-call and email remains the most effective outreach method.
Download our full study to see:
- who cares about pricing discounts
- who’s more politically oriented
- who’s more open to new upstart vendors
- and more!
Note: We did this study before our acquisition and ZoomInfo re-brand.
Final Thoughts on Gender Differences in B2B Sales
Of course gender is certainly not the only factor – or even the biggest factor – at play for effective sales personalization. This research isn’t meant to characterize all men and women.
However, as the differences show – and personal experience probably supports – men and women buyers are perceived in different ways due to their gender. Stereotypes exist. We think it’s important to question personal assumptions: they’re often wrong, and it costs money when they are.