The increasing burden and the continued suboptimal outcomes for patients with heart failure underlines the importance of continued research to develop novel therapeutics for this disorder. This can only be accomplished with successful translation of basic science discoveries into direct human application through effective clinical trial design and execution that results in a substantially improved clinical course and outcomes. In this respect, phase II clinical trials play a pivotal role in determining which of the multitude of potential basic science discoveries should move to the large and expansive registration trials in humans. A critical examination of the phase II trials in heart failure reveals multiple shortcomings in their concept, design, execution, and interpretation. To further a dialogue on the challenges and potential for improvement and the role of phase II trials in patients with heart failure, the Food and Drug Administration facilitated a meeting on October 17, 2016, represented by clinicians, researchers, industry members, and regulators. This document summarizes the discussion from this meeting and provides key recommendations for future directions.