Blog March 22, 2023

Discover How to Supercharge Your Sales Performance with the Proven 80/20 Pareto Principle

The Sales Collective is always on the lookout for innovative approaches to boost sales performance via sales training. One powerful strategy that has revolutionized the sales world is The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 Rule). This principle can be applied to numerous aspects of sales, including account planning, territory management, and time ownership. By leveraging the 80/20 Rule, you can optimize your sales efforts and maximize your revenue potential.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the Pareto Principle and how it can be applied to various aspects of sales to drive impressive results. If you’re a sales professional looking to elevate your game, keep reading and learn how to harness the power of the 80/20 Rule.

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The Pareto Principle: A Brief Overview

The Pareto Principle is a concept introduced by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1906. The principle states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In sales, this translates to the idea that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients or actions.

By understanding and applying the 80/20 Rule, sales professionals with sales training can identify the most lucrative accounts, prioritize their time and resources, and ultimately, drive more sales. Let’s dive into how this powerful principle can be applied to account planning, territory management, and time ownership.

  1. Account Planning: Focus on the top 20% of your client base

One of the most effective ways to apply the 80/20 Rule in sales is by focusing on account planning. 

By identifying and nurturing the top 20% of your clients that generate 80% of your revenue, you can significantly increase your sales performance. This is an area many salespeople miss. If you believe it takes about the same amount of time to close to a small account as a medium one, and a medium one as a large one, spraying and praying across your book can get you into lots of time-consuming opportunities that don’t lead to as much as a focused approach. Also, sales cycles take significantly longer in non-ICP accounts vs. ICP accounts. This is why isolating your book to ICP accounts with proper planning will ultimately lead to much better results.

Here are some steps of the sales training to effectively apply the 80/20 Rule in account planning for current clients:

1. Identify your top 20% clients: Analyze your sales data to pinpoint the top 20% of your clients that contribute to 80% of your revenue. Look for patterns in their industries, company sizes, and other demographic factors. Become an expert on the problems they face and how your solution is uniquely capable of solving them. Look for gaps in their product set with you or territories where they exist that you haven’t deployed in. 

2. Develop tailored strategies: Create customized sales strategies for your top 20% clients, focusing on their unique needs, preferences, and pain points. By delivering personalized solutions, you’ll foster stronger relationships and drive more sales. Reps that own these accounts should know everything about them, have strong account plans, and meet with all levels regularly to ensure maximum impact but also find additional ways to help.

3. Allocate resources efficiently: Dedicate more time and resources to nurturing and expanding your relationships with your top 20% of clients. This may include assigning your best sales reps to these accounts, providing exclusive offers, or offering additional support. Things like regular quarterly business reviews with all key stakeholders are a must. These are some of the best times to present what is working and offer ideas for additional areas of impact.

Pareto Principle

Territory Management: Maximize Your 80/20 Potential

The 80/20 Rule can also be applied to account selection to maximize territory management to improve focus on top accounts that will drive the most revenue. Using this sales training and by focusing on the top 20% of accounts inside your territories you can allocate your resources more efficiently and drive higher sales.

Here’s how to apply the 80/20 Rule in territory management:

1. Analyze your sales data: Examine your sales data to determine which accounts inside your territories have the highest level of potential profit. Consider factors such as average deal size, customer lifetime value, and market potential. Look for common threads in industries, company sizes, trigger events, etc. You can then use this to build your ICP to run “look a like” campaigns to get into more accounts like those.

2. Prioritize high-potential accounts: Focus your sales efforts on the top 20% of accounts that have the highest revenue potential. Allocate more resources to these areas, such as sales reps, marketing support, and budget. Things like gifting campaigns, targeting/retargeting of advertising, and higher levels of personalized campaigns should all be utilized when going after top-tier targets.

3. Continuously monitor and adjust: Regularly track account penetration inside the top 20% of your territories. If you see reps not getting into these accounts, or not progressing inside of them, there should be an added layer of support. Maybe we need to apply more resources, different strategies, or added focus to properly gain access and progress deals. These should be on the radar of executives, front-line leaders, and salespeople with the knowledge that these are the areas we need to focus on and win. 

Time Ownership: Apply the 80/20 Rule to Boost Productivity

Time is a salesperson’s most valuable asset. By applying the 80/20 Rule to time ownership (not time management), you can prioritize your activities more effectively, focus on high-value tasks, and ultimately, increase your sales performance.

Here’s how to use the 80/20 rule in time ownership:

1. Identify high-impact activities: Analyze your daily tasks and determine which activities contribute most to your sales success. These high-impact activities typically include prospecting, nurturing relationships with key clients, strong research, and taking actions that lead to progressing opportunities to close.

2. Prioritize your top 20% of activities: Focus 80% of your time and effort on the top 20% of activities that generate the most revenue. By concentrating on high-impact tasks, you can maximize your productivity and drive more sales. This is why we build Daily 100s for our clients. It allows them to track and focus on the most important activities daily.

3. Delegate or eliminate low-impact tasks: Assess the remaining 80% of activities that contribute to only 20% of your revenue. Delegate or outsource tasks that can be handled by someone else, and eliminate tasks that provide little to no value.

4. Schedule your day for maximum efficiency: Organize your workday to optimize productivity, dedicating prime hours to high-impact activities. Use time-blocking techniques to allocate blocks of time for specific tasks and minimize distractions. Another next-level time ownership skill is energy management. If you are a morning person, do the hardest, biggest, most important tasks first. If you are a night person, you may want to save those for when you have peak energy as they will get executed the best. Also, understand activities that give you energy and take energy away, and stack them accordingly. Don’t do five things in a row that take energy away from you, that would be a bad day. Instead, do something that takes energy followed by something that gives you energy. This concept of energy stacking helps you stay productive longer.

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The Pareto Principle can quickly transform your sales performance when applied strategically to account planning, territory management, and time ownership. By focusing on the top 20% of clients, territories, and activities that generate 80% of your revenue, you can optimize your efforts, allocate resources more efficiently, and ultimately, achieve higher sales success.

We encourage you to embrace the 80/20 Rule and incorporate it into your daily sales practices. By doing so, you’ll unlock new levels of efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability in your sales career.

At The Sales Collective, our team of experts has a wealth of knowledge and decades of experience helping companies of all types and sizes become more effective. Many of our clients have seen dramatic increases in revenue, win rates, and profitability, and we’d be happy to share more if and when the time is right. If you’d like more information, please visit us at: