The Sales Evolution: Critical Changes in Selling—and What to Do About It


By Caryn Kopp, Chief Door Opener®, Kopp Consulting, LLC, a proud Sponsor of the 2024 WPO Entrepreneurial Excellence Forum

In the ever-evolving landscape of sales, where old strategies falter and new approaches emerge, one thing is clear: the game has changed. The dynamics of prospect relationships, buyer behavior, and information gathering have shifted fundamentally, posing a crucial question to companies, leaders, and sellers alike: How do you level up your sales process, keeping ahead of the changes so revenue doesn’t suffer, and you achieve maximum results for the time spent developing new business? In the latter half of 2023, these changes reached a crescendo, leaving many scrambling to meet sales targets amidst mounting frustration and, in some cases, panic. Yet, amidst this turmoil lies an opportunity. The sales evolution means not just more knocking on the same old doors, but opening the doors that matter to your business. 

Here are two key sales truths you need to know—and two new plays to evolve your sales.

Sales Truth #1:  Not every decision-maker who has a problem to solve will spend time and money to solve it. Economic uncertainty and an election year mean more buyers are delaying decisions (i.e. sitting on proposals), elongating the sales cycle and causing companies to work harder to achieve sales goals.

What you need to do:

Use a new approach to targeting to find buyers who are spending. Simply having an ideal customer profile (ICP) is no longer enough to pinpoint the right prospects. One strategy we use for our Door Opener® clients is hyper-targeting and then proactively reaching out to specifically selected prospects. Our targeting analysis goes beyond common filters such as the size of the company, level of decision-maker, and industry to include criteria like which prospects are more likely to feel urgency, who will find you to be an obvious solution, and what kind of prospects will willingly pay what you want to charge for your products and services. For more information on hyper-targeting, How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle by Choosing More Strategic Targets.

Companies that continue to target too wide will find themselves wasting time on prospects who are slow to progress through the sales cycle. Hyper-targeting also helps companies who are flush with business. Having more clients than you can handle means it’s even more important to be choosy about which prospects receive your attention. This is an opportune time to swim upstream to bigger deals and higher-level decision-makers as well as pursue new markets. Some companies who are busy with business push off developing new business for a time when they have more time. This unfortunately can cause unnecessary peaks and valleys in revenue creation which affects cash flow. Keep the top of your sales funnel healthy with new opportunities, even if it means hiring additional internal resources or engaging the help of the right outsourced appointment-setting company. 

Sales Truth #2:  Decision makers today (especially executives) say “yes” to meetings sooner when they are approached with value-based, highly personalized communication versus non-value-based approaches and one-way communication (i.e. email or LinkedIn, without phone calls). Sellers focused on “activity” but not the quality of their activity or whether what they said or wrote achieved the desired outcome will lose to those who invest the time to do it right. Decision makers now also prefer interacting with subject matter experts earlier in the sales process, again, because it brings them more value.

What you need to do:

Follow this formula: Language + Delivery = Outcome

Language. What you say and write to prospects, (sales messaging not marketing messaging) needs to be so compelling it moves prospects from one place in their thinking to the next. If your sales messaging doesn’t do this reliably, it’s time to learn how to create superior sales messaging. Help your prospects say “yes” by using language that creates a meaningful gap between you and other solutions. Articulating why you are different is irrelevant in sales. Conveying why you are of more value than other solutions is meaningful. Here’s a short video on how to create meaningful gaps with words (Render Your Competition Irrelevant in 3 Sentences). It’s been my experience that the person with the best words wins. 

Delivery. Those who rely on email and LinkedIn alone when communicating with buyers will lose to those who also call and have conversations. Our data shows that more initial meetings are secured as a result of speaking with prospects, even though email and personalized LinkedIn is an important part of the outreach mix. If the person on your team tasked with landing initial meetings is uncomfortable calling, doesn’t do it well or can’t find the time, you can outsource this part of sales to professional business developers who will do this right and who will do it for you (Outsourcing Door Opening - What you NEED to know to get it right). 

Outcome: If you are not speaking with your prospects and providing meaningful value, someone else (like your competitors) will.

New sales strategies and ways of engaging prospects require new metrics to confirm you are on the right track. A few of the Sales Effectiveness™ metrics we recommend include % of first meetings that go to 2nd meetings (Getting 99.9% of Your First Meetings to Result in Second Meetings), % of closed deals that are the right deals, and % of selling time spent on revenue generating activities versus non-revenue generating activities.

For more information on how to apply these strategies in your business or how Door Opening can help your business thrive, contact us at


About the Author

CARYN KOPP is the Chief Door Opener and Managing Director of Kopp Consulting, whose Door Opener® Service lands executive-level prospect meetings for their clients. Kopp Consulting has been opening prospect doors for clients for 25 years, is a 3x Inc 5000 winner, and has been named Sales Outsourcing Provider of the Year. Caryn is a 14-year member of WPO, an EO member, is on the Enterprising Women Advisory Board, and also received the Enterprising Women of the Year Award along with the Top 20 in 20 Years. Her book, Biz Dev Done Right is an Amazon bestseller and she is also the author of The Path to The Cash!® The Words You NEED to Bypass Those Darned Prospect Objections. Reach Caryn at