Sales failure stories are all too common. I’ve experienced my fair share of them, and I’m sure you have too. But why do they happen? And how can you avoid them?

In this article, I’ll be diving into sales failure stories to uncover the root causes and offer practical advice on avoiding them. Trust me – you don’t want to miss out on my insights!

#RevSummit17 Speakers Share Their Sales Failure stories

The #REVSUMMIT17 event was a great opportunity for sales and marketing professionals to network and learn from each other. The event provided many learning opportunities and allowed for growth.

Although their hard-hitting advice can make it easy to forget, the biggest winners often have the biggest failures.

We reached out to #RevSummit17 speakers and asked them to tell us about their worst sales or marketing failures. Read on to learn what not to do to avoid failures!

I once had one quarter where I did not come close to hitting my sales goal. What I realized was that my lack of understanding of late-stage opportunities was to blame.

I focused on my longest-standing, most-discussed, but least-promising deals. These were the “tire-kickers”.

What I learned from this experience is that I should be more selective with the types of questions that I pose during the sales process. By doing this, I can better determine which account have the greatest need for my product and are most likely to move forward with it.

What I focused on at the end of the quarter was moving forward.

Richard Harris – I Changed My Elevator To Be More Humanly Humorous

I used to have an elevator pitch that was more light-hearted and humorous. However, I found out that this approach wasn’t effective in formal business settings.

I had about 4 deals that I thought were great go cold.

I made the switch and my pipeline started growing again.

Sangram Vajre

The biggest epic fail for me was when people didn’t respond to my emails. I learned that it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to them instead.

Emails and other forms of communication are passive, while a phone call or face-to-face conversation is active.

How to Get to the Table With Anybody

When I was 22, I had a sales call to Pittsburgh with the Chief Financial Officer of the Bank of New York. Founded in 1869, the bank was at the time the largest public bank in the United States.

I was providing a service that allowed publicly traded companies to communicate their quarterly earnings to investors through webcasts. This provided investors with transparency into the company’s performance.

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a major company told me to “get out” of his office when I proposed an idea to him. He didn’t think the idea was legal, but it turns out he was wrong.

I felt embarrassed, shocked and ashamed when I left the office. I think Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer would have been envious of my red ears.

What made this sales call such a great learning experience was that we were able to learn from our mistakes and use that knowledge to win Mellon Bank’s business.

What I learned from this experience is that anyone can land a meeting with a high-level executive, no matter their age or level of experience. All it takes is persistence, hard work, creativity, and the ability to relate your value proposition to the challenges that exec is facing.

What it took to land the account was being persistent and coming up with creative solutions to their challenges, as well as having the guts to sell them on your value proposition.

I learned that you can get to the table with anyone, even if you don’t win every deal.

No matter how important, busy, or high and mighty your target audience might seem, if you have a strong ROI you can convince them to take the time to hear your story.


Matt Heinz – I Didn’t Win the Business

A few years ago, I found myself in a meeting with a potential client that I was completely unprepared for. I couldn’t remember who would be in the room and was hoping that I could wing it.

I was surprised to learn that I had already met with the company a few months ago. Although I took notes during that meeting, I had forgotten most of the details. So, I started reciting the same initial thoughts on their sales and marketing efforts that they had probably already heard. Needless to say, I didn’t win the business.

It would be easy to chalk my poor performance up to too many meetings and not enough prep time, but that would be unacceptable. Suffice it to say, I didn’t win the business.

I start my day by reviewing the schedule for upcoming meetings. This helps me to be prepared with key information about attendees, any relevant history, and necessary documents or information for the meeting.


Sales failure to success stories

Mark Cuban

Mark is a well-known face in entrepreneurship and investment, thanks to his role as Shark Tank’s host. But it wasn’t easy sailing to financial success. Mark started his career as a door-to-door garbage bag salesman, trying to make ends work.

He held various odd jobs throughout his life to pay his bills. He was able to make his first million when he founded a computer consulting company. He saw an opportunity to make his first gig into a web broadcasting business that would eventually earn him his first billion. He bought the majority ownership of Dallas Mavericks basketball and turned them into a highly successful NBA team.8

Motivational Sales Story Lesson: Never lose sight of your goals and keep the hustle going. Why do you try to do everything possible to succeed?

Mark is known for being hardworking and always looking to make more money. Imagine where you want to go in your life. You can achieve your life goals by not losing sight of why you are working so hard.

Walt Disney

It’s impossible to think about Disney without thinking of the magic it brings to the world. Sometimes even the most amazing things can have their setbacks. Walt was one the most famous failures in history. According to The Wisdom of Oz at 22 years old, he was fired by his newspaper editor for “lack of imagination and no good ideas”

After being fired, he bought Laugh-O-Gram which was his first animation studio. It eventually went bankrupt. He set out for Los Angeles with only $40 and realized that Hollywood didn’t have any animation studios.

The creation of Mickey Mouse was the result. The Disney Company today is valued at $95.79 billion. It has won numerous awards. Walt’s legacy lives on, despite his death in 1966.

This famous fail teaches us that even though you have failed in your life, you can still make a great creation.

Steve Jobs

Some of the greatest successes in history have been achieved by being fired. After an argument with his Apple board of directors, Jobs was fired from the company that he founded. He claimed that his firing enabled him to enter a creative phase, which led to the acquisition of Pixar animation studio.

Jobs was hired back by Apple in 1997. Jobs would go on to invent some the most important technologies at Apple, including the iPod, Macbook and iPad, power adapter and the iPhone. In 2006, Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 Billion.

Jobs’ net worth was estimated to be $10.2 billion when he died in 2011. This is not bad for someone who was fired from his company.

His famous failure shows that even though you may fail, sometimes it is a good thing to learn new skills and gain new experiences. It also shows that you don’t have to go in the opposite direction just because you’re moving in a different direction.

Sir James Dyson

James is one the greatest inventors of our time. He wanted to invent a vacuum design that didn’t require bags. This was something that no one thought of doing at the time. He created 5,126 vacuum designs before he finally succeeded in creating a vacuum that works. He tried to sell his vacuum to manufacturers, but was turned down.

2017 saw Dyson make over $1.03 trillion USD in profits. Sir James? He is comfortably on the billionaire’s list, with a net worth exceeding $10 billion USD.

Famous failures such as this one prove that constant creation is the key to success. You can create new designs every day, which will help you become more innovative, valuable, and useful in the marketplace. You’ll learn more if you keep trying new things.


If you’re looking to avoid sales failure, then be sure to heed the advice in this article. By understanding the root causes of sales failures and taking steps to prevent them, you can set yourself up for success. So don’t wait – put these insights from these sales failure stories into action today and see how they can help your business grow!

Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

We have over 60,000 monthly readers that would love to see it! Contact us and let's discuss your ideas!

Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
This post was generated for LeadFuze and attributed to Justin McGill, the Founder of LeadFuze.