"Is outbound dying?" In short: Yes

"Is outbound dying?" In short: Yes

I know, ironic coming from me. We've built our entire business around helping organizations with their outbound motion.

But the data doesn't lie:

→ The avg. # of attempts per contact has nearly doubled from 7.3 in 2014 to 11.3 in 2022 (Bridge Group). And avg. # of quality conversations is down during that same period from 8 to 3.6.

→ Avg. cold email reply rate is ~1% (Clearbit). And those ain't all positive.

→ Avg. cold call pick-up rate is ~5% depending on the industry. Apple and Android will continue making ignoring and identifying unknown callers easier.

Cold calling has become a game only elite reps can succeed at.

❌ Pure cold outbound is dying a fast death

The mass blast approach. Sending thousands of unpersonalized cold emails. Making thousands of cold calls.

More emails are being sent to spam. And more calls are getting ignored and blocked.

Gone are the days of teams of SDRs making random cold calls into accounts who have no idea who your company is.

Outbound cannot be used to create demand. Let's not kid ourselves. SDR teams aren't going to be educating executives at scale

✅ "Inbound-ish" outreach is the present and the future

Adam Robinson brilliantly calls this "inbound-led outbound."

The concept is simple: create great thought leadership to attract prospective buyers into your ecosystem and create fans.

→ Webinars or lives
→ Articles or white papers (that don't suck)
→ Podcasts
→ Guides
→ Social content
→ In-person or virtual events

Use marketing to create demand. And outbound to proactively start conversations to capture it.

Gong has been using this playbook for the last 6+ years with tremendous success.

Pro tip: Partner up with non-competing heavy-hitters in your industry, create content together, share the leads.

✅ Intent/Signal-based outbound

This is where outbound sales teams should spend the majority of their time. Focus on a sliver of your TAM that's most likely to engage based on timing.

→ Previous customers who moved to another company
→ Newly hired or promoted execs
→ Following your company on LinkedIn
→ Tech stack
→ Mutual connections with board, c-suite, etc.
→ Previous champions in deals


Pure cold outbound is dying. Your revenue team needs to work much better together on the strategies above to compete in the next 2-3 years.