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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.

Graph showing statistics of selling to women vs. men. Same as written.

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.

Learn about sales prospecting

About the author

Katie Bullard

Katie Bullard was the president and chief growth officer of DiscoverOrg, which acquired ZoomInfo in 2019.

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B2B marketing, growth, sales and more.


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