<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=577820730604200&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Uncertainty and the Age of Decision Making

Discover how to thrive in the unpredictable terrain of modern sales by mastering decision making.

Some time ago, sales was in the age of the legacy approach. Sales leaders and sales managers put their faith in the idea that clients would need salespeople to explain “why us” in order to make a deal. It worked well enough at the time.

Not too much later, the next sales era emerged, and the linear sales process dominated. Sales leaders and sales managers believed that their teams would succeed by following certain steps in a certain order. The truth about this era found good reps winning and others continuing to lose.

What followed was the age of the solution. Sales leaders, sales managers, and product folks placed their faith in their solutions, with many sales organizations believing the solution alone would win the client.

Without any pronouncement or fanfare, we have slipped into the age of decision making. The era started some time ago. Let’s mark the date as the start of the 21st century, which is now in its third decade. Let’s use September 11, 2001, as the date the world totally changed, and we with it. The certainty of the past gave way to the uncertainty that still plagues us today. The ensuing wars and fears of terrorism kept us on unstable footing, and other aspects of daily life grew uncertain. Add a global financial meltdown in 2007, a global pandemic in 2020, and runaway inflation that continues, with nothing to suggest it will wane soon.

Making Strategic Decisions in Sales: A Critical First Attempt

While this is nothing new, every decision maker is doing their best to make a rare, strategic, and important decision right on the first attempt. Not only will getting the decision wrong cause the company to fail their clients or customers, but it may also have an impact on the decision maker’s future in their company.

You have never had a contact or their team ask you nicely to execute the legacy approach and answer “Why Us?” Nor have you had a prospective client tell you that they prefer a linear sales process. If you have been paying attention to your clients since the beginning of the 21st century, you will notice that they don’t seem all fired up by your solution because they are interested in getting their decisions right.

If you are waiting for the age of uncertainty to end, know that AI is simply a large language model (a play thing), and the artificial general intelligence (AGI) that is right around the corner will create even greater uncertainty and shake the world.

Training for the Decision-Making Era in Sales

You have been taught and trained with sales methodologies developed decades in the past, all of which were designed for that time. From the legacy “why us,” to the linear sales process, to the solution as the value, to the client and now, the age of decision making. Sales leaders and sales managers who wonder why their teams struggle need to know that when things change for buyers, sales organizations need to evolve with them or suffer the consequences of not providing the experience buyers and their task force teams need and expect.

You have not had any B2B sales training that prepared you for this era of decision making. Without a significant change to how you and your sales teams sell, most will find selling more difficult. These poor outcomes are the result of selling using methods from decades ago. Until you improve your sales methodologies and the new, effective sales strategies, you may find reaching your goals more challenging than it was in the past.

How to Succeed in the Age of Sales Decision Making

If you want to succeed in the age of decision making, you will need to be client centric enough to understand that they are trying to make the best decision for their company and their future results. This is less about your solution, as your contact will likely believe it is on par with what your competitor offers.

Instead of the older conversations, you will need to do more work to enable your contacts to learn what they need to know to be able to make the right decision. Instead of pitching your solution, you will need to explain the many variables that may threaten your clients’ future results should they fail to understand the different factors and the implications for the client.

Your discovery approach must change, as your contacts are trying to discover what they need to know to succeed. Your questions now need to provide your clients with a higher-resolution lens through which to view their decisions. Even though you believe you need velocity, any attempt to speed up a decision is almost certain to lose the client in a day and time when your contacts are uncertain. Now, you must create the certainty and the confidence they need to move forward with their change initiative.

Conclusion: Embracing Decision Making in Sales Strategies

We have left the age of the solution and are now deep into the age of decision making. The reason so many sales organizations are having trouble winning is because most of them use approaches that are at odds with the uncertainty that requires something different.

Recently, I have seen a number of clients asking for a presentation, which they hope will give them certainty that they will succeed. They are trying to get the information they believe they need, but the truth is that they need greater insight in their decision making.

Before you leave this article, try to identify in which era your sales approach was born. Identifying its age can help you start to develop your sales team. If you are a salesperson, it can help you understand what you need to ensure your contacts make the right decision and see the results they need.


Sales 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on April 29, 2024

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

ai-cold-calling-video-sidebar-offer-1 Sales-Accelerator-Virtual-Event-Bundle-ad-square
salescall-planner-ebook-v3-1-cover (1)

Are You Ready To Solve Your Sales Challenges?


Hi, I’m Anthony. I help sales teams make the changes needed to create more opportunities & crush their sales targets. What we’re doing right now is working, even in this challenging economy. Would you like some help?

Solve for Sales

Join my Weekly Newsletter for Sales Tips

Join 100,000+ sales professionals in my weekly newsletter and get my Guide to Becoming a Sales Hustler eBook for FREE!