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In 1965, the futurist, Alvin Toffler wrote, "The acceleration of change in our time is, itself, an elemental force. The accelerative thrust has personal and psychological, as well as sociological consequences . . . unless man quickly learns to control the rate of change in his personal affairs as well as in society at large, we are doomed to a massive adaptational breakdown.

In 2005, Ray Kurzweil, another futurist, wrote a book titled The Singularity Is Near. It is a book about artificial intelligence. He wrote, “Before the middle of this century, the growth rates of our technology which–will be indistinguishable from ourselves—will be so steep as to appear essentially vertical. From a strictly mathematical perspective, the growth rates will still be finite, but so extreme that the changes they bring about will appear to rupture the fabric of human history.”

Are we here yet? If it isn’t, it sure feels like it. We may be in the middle of the “massive adaptational breakdown” now, and we are heading toward a chilling “rupture of the fabric of human history.”

Here, we describe the current state of the ACDC environment. ACDC stands for accelerating, constant, disruptive change. Yet, most people go about their business without recognizing or acknowledging that the future is here. I will limit our conversation here to the confluence of forces changing B2B sales. And the best place to start is by looking at buyer behavior, which has always been at the heart of the evolution of sales. Here are the most relevant changes in B2B buying:

  • Buyers are researching on their own. Once, in-person sales calls were the only way buyers and decision-makers could learn about a company’s products and services. Today, your website must address the contact’s needs. It can seem more difficult to book a first meeting, so it’s important to give buyers the information they need when they are looking for it.
  • Buyers reject the legacy sales approaches. This change is in some part due to your contact reading your website. It’s a waste of their time to set up a meeting so you can read it to them in PowerPoint form.
  • 72 percent of buyers seek a "salesperson-free sales experience." This indicates that sales reps cannot create value for their prospective clients. Most sales leaders and sales managers are oblivious to this and what it means for their results.
  • Buyers are reluctant to buy because they are uncertain. Salespeople have been taught and trained to believe they need to rely on their company and their solution as ways to convince buyers to do business with them. What they seem unable to do is to create the certainty that buyers need to make decisions in an uncertain environment. Few recognize this, but enterprise-level sellers are experiencing it now.
  • Buyers need consensus to make change. This change makes the sales conversation nonlinear, with people jumping in and out of meetings, making it difficult to help clients align people on change.
  • Buyers experience buyer’s remorse. Part of this buyer’s remorse is that buyers are not spending time with salespeople who could better educate them about the decision they are pursuing. Poor salespeople cannot help their prospects make a good decision.

The Current Environment

The following elements contribute to the ACDC environment:


  • Crippling uncertainty
  • Runaway inflation
  • A war in Europe
  • A rising threat from the east
  • Recessionary pressure
  • Increase in interest rates and tight credit
  • Labor shortages and record low unemployment
  • Divisive politics and a debt ceiling crisis

Why so glum, friend? It could be worse.

Sales Leaders’ Challenges

The ACDC environment also presents leaders with new challenges. To name a few:


  • Uncertainty: Here we are in empathy with our buyers. It is difficult to know what to do when things change faster than we can process.
  • Reaching sales goals with recessionary pressure. We may not be in a recession, but the Fed has created so much bad sentiment it causes companies to push initiatives, making it hard to win deals.
  • The need for more opportunities. When companies hold on to their power, opportunities are rare for salespeople. But there is another side to more opportunities that goes unaddressed.
  • Low win rates. The reason sales leaders want their teams to create more opportunities is because they win so few. Increasing win rates should be the highest priority in this environment, as each opportunity is precious.
  • Non-opportunities. Try this exercise: Open your pipeline and search for every “opportunity” that has had a first meeting without a second meeting. You are safe to remove these non-opportunities from your pipeline. You now have a better idea of what you really have in your pipeline.
  • Salespeople unable to lead their clients: We call this approach being One-Up, the ability to lead the client. Look around and count the number of your salespeople that can lead the client and know that matches the exact number of salespeople who can create value for your prospective clients.

Demand will fall off a cliff, as 76 million Baby Boomers retire with no generation coming close to matching their population or, likely, their wealth. The glut of companies all doing the same thing will find those who cannot create real differentiated value will find their business in the ash bin of history, and a need for fewer salespeople.

Mostly Solvable Problems

These problems are mostly solvable, except for the increasing rate of change and the rupturing of the fabric of human history. While we can’t force buyers to give up researching on their own or avoiding salespeople, we can change how we engage with our prospective clients in a way that creates value, improving their sales experience. This is how sales evolve and improve.

As leaders, we can start to adjust to this environment by helping our teams with methodologies, strategies, and tactics that will improve sales results and ensure sales organizations reach their goals. By making sales your number-one initiative, you increase your win rates, you yield more opportunities and the net new revenue that leads to growth.

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Sales 2023
Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 7, 2023

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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