On the eighteenth episode of The Insiders podcast, hosts Richard Lane and Simon Hazeldine sat down with Jason Harvey, VP of Solution Sales EMEA at Zebra Technologies. 

After 14 years of serving in the British Army doing telecommunications, Jason was poised to enter the sales industry; excelling in technical roles at Cisco, Symbol Technologies and Motorola Solutions, before transitioning to commercial sales leadership with a specialism in solution selling at Zebra Technologies. 

From creating a culture of innovation and trust, to perfecting your vertical messaging and embracing losses as much as wins, Jason lays the out the framework for businesses to excel in solution selling. 

Build a culture of innovation  

According to Jason, creating a culture of innovation and trust is the key to making a smooth transition from product selling into solution selling. Having experienced this first-hand at Zebra Technologies, Jason notes that this shift can be challenging for salespeople, and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.  

Jason believes that a fear of failure can really hold salespeople back, and so coaching them to overcome this fear is crucial. If they do fail, that is an indication that more upskilling needs to take place to get them aligned with their customer journey, needs and business goals. It starts with providing a safe environment for sales reps to take the leap into solution selling, and allowing them the space to not always get it right: 

“You need to create a safe environment for the product sellers as they transition into solution selling; you need to upskill them, make sure they are aligned with the customer journey and dedicating their time and energy to the right areas. If they fail – that’s okay, you can provide them with the security blanket of more training and enablement.”  

Jason states that it is all about leveraging and upskilling the talent you already have and not deserting them for solution selling experts. 

Get your vertical messaging right 

Jason notes that there has also been a shift in buyer behaviour: the majority of prospects have migrated online to conduct self-led research as opposed to speaking to a salesperson. Because of this, implementing the right vertical messaging is crucial.  

Getting this messaging right starts with dedicated sales and marketing teams sharing a solid understanding of the market and buyer personas that you are trying to engage.  

You should also have data that provides insight into what messaging has worked prior. Once you have this information, you need to make sure that your messaging is clear: 

“You have to make sure that your value proposition and messaging are succinct, otherwise you will lose a customer. If it’s too complex, you’ll be very unlikely to get inbound calls.” 

Learn to embrace failure and mistakes 

It’s a given that celebrating the wins is a big part of sales, but Jason claims that many companies miss the opportunity to learn from their losses and mistakes.  

Losing can often be a taboo topic to broach in sales teams, but allowing your salespeople the freedom to make mistakes can be an invaluable learning experience. This links back to Jason’s advice of creating a safe environment and implementing sales enablement to help your sales team to achieve more success: 

“Everybody loves talking about the wins and the successes, but you truly learn the most from your losses and this makes you think: Why did we lose? What did we do differently? What can we change going forward? If anything, you want to work more on your losses than your wins.” 

Get in touch to see how durhamlane can help you to overcome your B2B sales challenges, and to hear more thought leadership in sales and marketing listen to The Insiders podcast. 

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