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IWD 2024: Why women are increasingly on the front foot when it comes to sales and cricket
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

Cricket is not just a game. It's my passion, and it's my life. It all started within the family, where I used to watch cricket with my dad when I was young. The love for the game got so intense that as a teenager I dreamed of marrying a cricketer.

Life went on, and my passion for cricket stayed.
As it was destined, I married a corporate cricketer and into a family of cricket lovers.

I accompany my husband to all corporate cricket matches, and those become opportunities to network with the C-suite while cheering for the teams. Quite an experience sharing the joy of the sport with CEOs and CIOs. Our kids also developed an interest when they were little.

In fact, when I see my daughter out on the pitch, it's like seeing the younger version of myself. As I watch her excel at a sport she also adores, it reaffirms something that I believe to be true. Once you taste the thrill of something, it stays with you for life.

To me, there is a strong synergy between cricket and sales. Both demand dedication and require teamwork. You cannot win without these qualities.

Cricket and Sales – a Winning Partnership

Cricket, as a sport, requires undying commitment and an open mind to perpetual learning. The strategy that helped you in one season may not work for you in the next. Even if you win the tournament, you are expected to outperform the next time. You need to rethink team tactics and player strategy. The same applies to sales as well. It does not matter if you smash your sales targets or outperform in one financial quarter. The new quarter is for you to start again from scratch. Conditions change. The opposition and goals change. You're expected to outperform your previous achievement and scale new heights.

As hard as that is, it can be even more challenging for women. As we mark International Women's Day, many people still think women shouldn't play cricket. Some also believe that sales is not a profession for women.

I carry my love for cricket no matter what, and I am living proof that women can succeed in sales and contribute much more. As a nine-time President's Cup Winner, part of my role today is to mentor other women in a highly competitive field.

Passion, Persistence and Patience are Keys to Success
I like to share a framework that was drummed into me at the start of my career - the three 'Ps'.

The first is 'Passion'. It can transform a sales pitch into a compelling story and a deal into a sustained engagement. Then comes 'Persistence'. In other words, you must be committed. Driven. And if things get tough, you need to pick yourself up and start again. 

And the third is 'Patience'. For in sales, patience isn't just a virtue but a driving force. In other words, building relationships, closing deals, and constructing a robust, sustainable sales career takes time. The passion and persistence could also make you impatient. You need to remember that big achievements take time, and patience is crucial in the process. 

Curiously, 'passion', 'persistence' and 'patience' are three qualities that every cricketer needs as well. A passion for the game, persistence when things aren't going your way, and patience to build a big score or take that final wicket. Most importantly, you need to balance all three to strike deals and excel in negotiations.

Women Are Not Just Scoring Boundaries, They're Breaking Them Too

When I think of the giant strides that women have taken in the world of business and work, it reminds me of similar progress shown by women cricketers. 

India played the first women's Test match in 1976, followed by a One Day International in 1978. Yet, it took many more years for the Women's team to be fully accepted in the country. As a country of cricket lovers, we have the skills and potential to take on the world - only if we create opportunities for young female cricketers to flourish and succeed. 

That's why Confluent's sponsorship of the Mumbai Indians in the Women's Premier League (WPL) is pivotal. It is a golden opportunity to change mindsets and improve opportunities for women. It also aligns perfectly with Confluent's vision to provide everyone with a platform to excel — be that in sports, technology, or sales. Currently, we may only have five teams playing the WPL, but the acceptance is growing with the recognition from BCCI, cricket fans and associations. The change is happening in both the fields. 

To me, this is the real spirit of Nari Shakti — which means 'women empowerment' with an emphasis on placing skill over gender. It also intends to create platforms and opportunities for women to believe in and pursue their dreams. That applies wherever you look - be it a successful career in sales and technology or on the pitch.