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How Vilfredo Pareto Might Be Limiting Your Sales Team

Vilfredo Pareto

Somewhere around 1906, economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of its citizens.  Sometime later he noted that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the pods.   Thus, the well-known 80/20 rule was born.  During his career he studied this as it relates to distribution of wealth and income. As a side note, his work was very controversial during the rise of Fascism

In the 1940s, Management Consultant Joseph Juran applied this principle to business. “80% of our revenue comes from 20% of our customers” and so on.

Today it is primarily a “given” that 80% of the sales come from 20% of the salespeople. A debate crops up from time to time regarding the best use of a sales manager’s efforts.  Should he nurture the top 20%, the middle 60% or the bottom 20%.  Several schools of thought exist as to the best answer.

Here’s the rub.  Many people consider the 80/20 rule as a truth.  It may be a truth but it most assuredly is not an absolute truth.

The best example of truth Vs. absolute truth I have heard is this:  Read the rest of this entry