The 80/20 rule in sales, sometimes called the Pareto Principle, has been around forever. It’s a formula stating that 80% of sales are made by 20% of sales reps, and it sometimes seems as immutable as a law of physics.
Sales managers and business leaders try to move the ratio with training, but up to 87% of training content is forgotten within a few weeks. Coaching is no solution either. Sales managers typically spend 5% of their time coaching, rather than the expected 50%.
Some sales managers try to hire their way to greater productivity, but replacing salespeople is a costly proposition. Companies can spend up to $97,000 to replace a team member, and the learning curve is steep: Most new hires take about 10 months to become effective.
Sales managers try all these strategies and more to break free of the 80/20 rule. But, eventually, as if responding to the pull of gravity, sales performance reverts to 80/20 or a number close to it.
The good news is a new technology is emerging with the power to flip the script on the 80/20 rule: artificial intelligence (AI). AI is already improving sales operations by automating tedious tasks like updating the CRM system giving reps more time to focus on sales. But AI is capable of so much more. Here are three ways AI is poised to fundamentally transform the 80/20 rule in sales.