In 1906, an Italian economist, Pareto, calculated that 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of the Italian population. He found this was a common distribution, that came to be known as the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 Rule, that states that most results (80%) are determined by a small number of causes (20%).

In sales, more often than not, about 80% of a sales team’s sales will come from 20% of their total customers.

80/20 rule sales

It is highly likely that most of your sales are being generated from 20% of your customers. In order to take advantage of this statistic, you need to work out who these great customers are. You can look at a view of your ‘won deals’ on your CRM to see which contacts and accounts appear the most – the first step is to identify the your top customers.

Find more quality leads

When you gather data of your top 20% customers, start looking for trends and characteristics – this is the type of lead you should be contacting in order to generate more sales from high-revenue customers. For example, you may find most of your customers are focused in a particular city or region, are of an older or younger age-range, and are mostly male or female. This data will help you prioritize your leads, and target more leads that will qualify.

You can use analytics to identify your top 20% customers. If you have a software or application, look at who has entered the platform both recently and frequently. Measure CTRs from your marketing campaigns and website visits. This data will show you which customers are the most engaged with your services.

top 20% customers

Spend more time with your best customers

Since only about one in five of your customers is producing lots of sales for your company, it is not a good idea to split your attention and efforts equally across all customers. Instead of trying to squeeze top results out of every customer, focus on the top 20%. If you consistently follow up on these customers, send them emails on their birthdays and during the holidays, and update them on special offers, you will maintain and potentially multiply your company’s most important sales.

Top performing salespeople have a higher number of top customers than the average 20%. The key is to use the 80/20 rule in order to beat it – identifying your top 20% of customers is the first step to getting more high-sales customers. This shows you which of your existing customers you should pay more attention to, and what type of leads you should be contacting.


Written by

Gina Walker

I am a Londoner, UCL graduate, and speaker of 4 languages. My passion for marketing, sales, and overall customer success comes from a love of communication and building relationships.


  1. Makes complete sense and a principle that caries over into many other aspects of one’s life.

  2. Great article Gina. 80:20 rule is applicable in most of the cases. In current world also 80% wealth is owned by 20% people

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