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Outbound Selling

Avoid These 8 Common Outbound Sales Failures at All Costs

Failures in outbound sales are common, but some are worse than others.

Outbound selling is a tough job filled with constant rejection and objections. Even with amazing sales skills, it’s rare for a salesperson to generate more outbound wins than losses.

To ensure consistent success with an outbound sales program, it takes discipline and the right preparation to prevent silly mistakes from ruining good opportunities.

If you’re looking to improve your outbound prospecting performance, then you should try avoiding these 8 common outbound sales failures at all costs.

Failure #1 – Valueless Outbound Interactions

Buyers rarely enjoy spending time with a salesperson, even if they’re in-market or searching for a solution that reps can provide. To go through any sale takes time and energy.

When a prospect feels like they’re not getting any value from you, they aren’t as incentivized to continue forward in the sales process.

A sales mistake reps often make is asking for time and pushing for the next steps without considering the value they’re providing to prospects.

To maximize the chances of starting a conversation and winning a deal, you should find ways to generate value for buyers and create meaningful experiences that can influence the sale.

Failure #2 – Poor Outbound Targeting & Sales Data

Outbound selling takes time. Before you ever get to a conversation, you need a strategy, outreach process, messaging, and access to targeted lists of prospects.

When you make the mistake of broad sales targeting, you risk reaching out to companies or prospects that aren’t a good fit for your solution.

With bad or out-of-date data, it’s easy to waste time talking with the wrong people, using inaccurate contact information, or being irrelevant with sales intelligence that’s incorrect.

Good data quality is essential for making an outbound sales process efficient. Otherwise, you risk getting constantly stuck in spreadsheets trying to correct information.

Failure #3 – Wasting Too Much Time on Research

Preparation is a critical component to successful outbound sales. Targeting should make sense for your business, prospects should be the right people, and messaging should be relevant.

While it’s important to prepare for a conversation, a common outbound sales mistake to avoid is spending too much time on the research process.

No value gets generated until you have a meaningful sales conversation with a prospect. You could do research, qualify, and find personalization for a person that never connects with you.

A Long Hallway with Piles of Books In Book Shelves on Both Sides

Not only does too much research make sales prospecting more time-consuming, but it can also greatly increase the costs of generating outbound leads.

There is a balance between preparation and productivity in outbound, which is why it’s important to have a solid strategy for making outbound successful and sustainable for your situation.

Failure #4 – Not Staying Top-of-Mind with Outbound Prospects

Prospects are usually always busy, which can make it difficult to capture and maintain attention.

There is an endless number of reasons why a prospect might ignore outbound outreach. However, getting ghosted once doesn’t mean you should give up after the first attempt.

In addition, most prospects won’t be immediately ready for an outbound sales conversation when you first connect.

Unfortunately, many reps make the mistake of conducting sales outreach with only a few touches over a short time period.

While this may be time-efficient, it also decreases the chances of connecting with prospects.

Without persistence in your sales prospecting, you risk losing out on good opportunities with qualified prospects that simply missed your initial outreach.

It can often take several sales touches before a prospect decides to connect with a salesperson. This highlights the importance of multi-step outreach and good follow-ups.

Failure #5 – Repetitive & Undifferentiated Outbound Sales Messaging

Buyers get inundated with sales outreach on a regular basis, which can make it nearly impossible to respond to every salesperson looking for a conversation.

Outbound outreach is competitive: salespeople across different industries are constantly reaching out to win the limited time of your prospects.

With overwhelming volumes of endless outreach, prospects must learn how to identify which salespeople are worth the time and which should be ignored.

Prospects have limited time to spend with salespeople, so they often dismiss a majority of the outreach they receive without ever interacting with it.

A Lightbulb with a Crack and Smoke Rising as It Burns Out

When you make the mistake of using irrelevant, repetitive, or undifferentiated sales messaging, it risks blending in with the sea of other outreach that buyers receive.

To rise above the crowd and capture more attention, you should strive to use relevant and creative messaging that clearly differentiates your brand.

Failure #6 – Selling Before Discovery & Qualification

Not every company will be a good fit for your solution and not all prospects will be the right choice to contact for a conversation.

Qualification is an important part of any outbound program because salespeople need the ability to evaluate whether an opportunity is worth pursuing and prioritize their sales pipeline.

Unfortunately, it’s a common failure for reps to rush the sales process and not gather the information necessary to understand a company’s situation clearly.

Without good discovery and qualification, it’s easy to waste time on bad fits that wouldn’t be good customers or lose a sale by missing critical information needed to close the deal.

Selling takes careful targeting, methodical planning, and a robust process to guide qualified buyers into becoming customers. Don’t forget the discovery and qualification process!

Failure #7 – No Control Over Deal Momentum & Sales Cycles

Timing is an important factor in any sale. Even if a buyer is qualified, they won’t necessarily be in-market for your solution when you first connect.

Salespeople are responsible for staying on a prospect’s radar and guiding them through the sales process to an eventual close.

A common sales failure for reps is letting the momentum of a deal fade away by not consistently engaging with prospects through every stage of the sale.

Especially with outbound, it’s critical to maintain control over a deal from beginning to end. Otherwise, you risk creating longer sales cycles or losing your ability to influence the sale.

Failure #8 – Not Consistently Outbound Prospecting

Deals take time to close, which means new conversations you create today will become the sales opportunities of the future.

The time it takes for a qualified opportunity to convert into a paying customer is often unpredictable and difficult to control, especially for outbound sales.

Many salespeople run into pitfalls consistently hitting quota because of failures in building sales pipeline quarter after quarter.

Two Empty Coffee Cups with One on its Side

With a lack of new opportunities coming through the door, it’s easy to get stuck waiting for existing deals to close while frantically searching for ways to make up for the lost time.

To make outbound sales successful over time, it’s important to do prospecting consistently so you can maintain a healthy sales pipeline of opportunities to close month-over-month.


Outbound selling is rough, awkward, and can often be uncomfortable for everyone involved.

Prospects often have a negative perception of salespeople because of bad past experiences, which makes it harder for today’s reps to succeed.

Silly mistakes can make it harder for everyone in sales.

By avoiding these 8 common outbound sales mistakes, you can rise above the crowd of other sellers and generate consistent performance with outbound selling.

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