Women in business development: story of “ A Bisinissgirl”

by | Feb 13, 2019

Women in business development are still not enough. Discover the story of Martina and her fight for more women in the field.

One of the things I love the most in business development, is the opportunity to network and meet so many interesting people from everywhere in the World.

That’s exactly what happened when I met Martina, this very energetic and motivated italian saleswoman during a conference in Thessaloniki.

We were both italian, and both working in the EdTech sector. Of course, it didn’t take us long to get to know each other. And a few drinks later, we found out we had a lot more in common than our origins.

Our love for our job, and mostly our clients, was what really brought us together. I’m very happy to introduce you Martina and tell you more about about her experience as a business developer.

 

Hi Martina, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

Hello! I am an Italian girl who found her professional happiness as an International Business Developer in the EdTech field. 

Since high school, I have spent many years studying foreign languages and going abroad to study and work. 

I thought I’d be a translator for my whole life, which is what my family and I had planned for myself. 

But this was all too distant from innovation and business for me. So when I had the opportunity to revolutionize my career, I did! 

I was offered a position in sales at DreamApply, an Estonian startup working on universities digitalization worldwide. Exactly what I was hoping for! 

Sales has now become my passion and it is what brought me closer to the Business Development mindset. 

 

We know you are a “bisinissgirl”, can you tell us more about it?

“A bisiniss girl” is a dear project to me, it was born for two main reasons. 

The first one is that, when I started my career in sales from scratch, I had very little to study at my disposal, almost no mentors to turn to. 

I struggled to find actionable information I could use to be successful in sales. I decided that, as soon as I managed to build at least my knowledge base in sales, I’d share it with anyone who would need it. 

The other reason is that the only information I found was very “male-dominated”. Guys are giving each other all kinds of support, but their style is definitely far from mine. 

Guys’ strengths and unconditioned biases are authority, trustworthiness, a reliable look. When they say something, you instinctively trust that is the truth. 

I felt that this way of talking to clients was too self-centered and had little interest in the client’s true needs and wishes. 

When you are so sure of what you are saying, you forget to listen to your interlocutor. 

The way I am actively helping people is to switch towards a more “female-dominated” relationship with clients. 

I love to listen, to let them speak their minds freely, to give suggestions as I would to my best friend, to guide them slowly towards the solution to their problems without imposing my own point of view.

 

How is your experience as a woman in sales?

As I said, I treasure sharing and I am a smiling kind of person. However, almost all the time I find myself at meetings where I’m the only woman sitting at the table. 

The men all connect to the same wavelength that I can catch but I cannot fully feel. “A bisiniss girl” is also a way, I hope, to inspire girls to take the business and sales career and bring their own girl assets in such world. 

We all need it.

 

What’s the one thing you consider the most important in your job?

I don’t like to say that the client is always right, but I strongly believe the client should always be the number one priority. 

What we do as Business Developers is to foster business growth, but this necessarily streams out of people’s growth. It’s about leading people towards success, towards happiness, by filling the gap between where they are right now and where they want to be. 

To me, this is the fundamental Business Development mindset – understanding what our partners want, what we want, and achieve success for all parties involved.

 

Many of us struggle to keep up with motivation. Do you have any tip?

My way to keep motivation high is by increasing sales!

In all seriousness though, what fills my heart with happiness is hearing and reading how people are happy to buy from us because they know they can finally achieve their goals.

Especially when they confess how they enjoyed the whole process because they felt heard, understood and appreciated. 

When I feel that I am not doing my best in helping our clients, I go back to my inbox and read these messages. 

On the other hand, when I want to pump myself up for the future, TED talks are amazing in sparking new fires and ideas!

 

What’s the most hilarious thing that happened to you in your job?

I must say that doing business internationally means dealing with cultures you can’t always understand. 

I will never forget a meeting in Turkey, where the most important stakeholder was a very conservative, old businessman. 

When we were introduced, I greeted him and stretched out my hand to shake his. He looked through me and went on to greet the next person, leaving my hand hanging in the air. 

All the people in the room smiled with embarrassment. I decided to make a silent joke out of it with the other women. 

For the whole meeting, whenever I would talk, it felt like not existing at all, I couldn’t believe it! The same happened when we parted. 

However, I understand where his behavior comes from – who is this little girl who thinks she’s at my same level? 

That’s why we need more of you, business girls!

 

Any exciting plans for the future?

I really look forward to exploring all the opportunities that I have in the business world, not only in business development. 

I really want to take the entrepreneurship road, which I have been preparing for a year and going to launch soon. 

Also, what really matters to me is the client management. I hate it when I am mistreated as a buyer and I wish I could fix all clients handlings in the world! 

I believe that dedicating yourself to client satisfaction is the number one strategy to grow in business. 

This is why I have just started offering trainings and concrete help to all companies that want a more sensitive perspective on how to handle clients correctly and make them feel special, while growing your income thanks to that.

Martina is very active on Instagram where she shares her stories and helpful tips! Don’t forget to follow her: abisinissgirl!

Author

Lucia Piseddu

Founder at The BD School

The thing I love the most in business development is its creative process. My job is to help people unleash their potential and become great at business development.

Are you ready to grow in business development?

 

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