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Do you believe this claim?

I was emailed a link to a training organization's site that made the following quote:
"The top 4% of all professional salespeople sell 96% of all goods & services."
- Harvard Business School
How credible do you believe that to be? I have not researched whether HBS is the true source of that statement. - by Ace Coldiron
I was emailed a link to a training organization's site that made the following quote:
"The top 4% of all professional salespeople sell 96% of all goods & services."
- Harvard Business School
How credible do you believe that to be? I have not researched whether HBS is the true source of that statement.
I think that they got the figures backwards... The top 4% might sell 96% more than the aforementioned 96%, but 4% of sales people don't sell anywhere near 96% of all things sold here in Hawaii. The top 4% in Aflac don't come anywhere near 96% of new business production.

It's the size of your sales force that matters in sales. Take our Property Casualty Business, for example, and looking at new business only, the top 4 sold two times the next 10 in premium volume. Is that a measure of sales? Or is it the number of bodies/clients that matter? It depends. The company wants bottom line. If one client does it, great... they don't seem to care. Me I do.

Frito Lay, and probably 980,000 other shelf products are sold by sales people who stock and deliver as well. The top 4% have actually NOTHING to do with cigarettes and beer, chips and dip, sashimi and miso soup... tires and belts, windshield washer, and s spark plugs.

In certain industries... like maybe real estate, jet planes, luxury boats, fast cars and loose women, the 4% might be the 96% sold when it comes to DOLLAR VALUES... but it'll never likely be in product volume.

In my opinion that is... :)

Aloha... :cool: - by rattus58
What definitions are being used: sales; all goods; all services; top 4%; 96% -- that's a fairly open ended and ambigious claim so because of that it's not credible.

Of course when these variables/terms are defined it could be true.

MitchM - by MitchM
Harvard has been the anchor of credibility for some very false claims.
  • According to ________, a study of Harvard graduates found that after two years, the 3 percent who had written goals achieved more financially than the other 97 percent combined!
  • Network Marketing has been taught at Harvard Business School.
There is no evidence that Harvard ever was involved in such studies. In the first example, some very well known and respected author/trainers have perpetuated that claim. The second example is of a misrepresentation that tens of thousands of people have been exposed to from reading MLM hype. Eventually the credible and respected leaders of that industry exposed the myth and condemned such false claims

I believe the claim which is the topic of this thread is both farfetched and lacks credibility. - by Ace Coldiron
I see and hear from sales trainers, authors and others involved with sales repeat the Pareto law that 80% of the sales are generated by 20% of sales professionals. I find those stats difficult to believe.
- by rich34232
I agree with Rich. I have previously worked for two Fortune 25 companies, and the revenue distribution curve never looked as the Harvard review alledgedly states. There's something missing here. - by David Mack
Looking at many weeks of our division sales goals listed by representative, I would have to say this statement is false. Additionally, neither does the Pareto Law stand true. There are those who obviously are not nearly skilled at selling and those whom are very skilled and developed their territories for the past 15 yrs. Going into my 3rd year now in my territory, I have done pretty good for myself but nowhere near where I want to be. - by johnwsnow
Harvard has been the anchor of credibility for some very false claims.
  • According to ________, a study of Harvard graduates found that after two years, the 3 percent who had written goals achieved more financially than the other 97 percent combined!
  • Network Marketing has been taught at Harvard Business School.
There is no evidence that Harvard ever was involved in such studies. In the first example, some very well known and respected author/trainers have perpetuated that claim. The second example is of a misrepresentation that tens of thousands of people have been exposed to from reading MLM hype. Eventually the credible and respected leaders of that industry exposed the myth and condemned such false claims

I believe the claim which is the topic of this thread is both farfetched and lacks credibility.

I am happy to see people like yourself, willing to take the time and help expose the misinformation, disinformation and lies by omission, that are being disseminated by those institutions demanding our trust.

Thank You thmbp2; - by John Voris
In 2000 McKinsey in their War of Talent survey observed that a sales "high achiever" delivers 67% more revenue than an "average achiever".

In the 2010 Dow Jones CSO survey they found that 20%of the sales force deliver 60% of the company's revenue.

IMO these figures vary from one survey to the next. The most important thing to learn from this is that there is always room for improvement. Whether you take the steps necessary to improve sales on the bottom 20% of the scale or on the highest end of the scale, the impact on the bottom line could be substantial. However, it stands to reason that when employing sales people, it is important to ensure that you select the best sales talent available in order to maximise your number of "high achievers". - by rensia0303
I started my career with Engineering industry, and Pareto Principle of 80:20 is extensively used successfully. Let's not take the values of 80 and 20 literally, but the figures are somewhere close to that, and vary from situation to situation. This has some statistical validity from plenty of real life situations.

For example, list down all your home expenses in a month, including every cent. You will see that about 20% of the items (like rent, high value provisions, gas, etc.) consumed 80% of your $ expenses. List all your sales in a year (if there's a statistically valid size of at least 30 clients), and sort them in descending order. About 20% clients would have contributed to 80% of sales (unless your sales is mainly retail).

About 80% of the population will reside in 20% area, whether you see nationally or locally.

Applying 80:20 Principle twice, you'll find that about 64% results (don't look at the exact numbers) come from 4% items. This is widely quoted in formal literature. Not 96% results from 4% items. This could be true in some esoteric specific situation, not commonly true.

Ganesan. - by ezynes
Once we decipher the authenticity of both the claim and the source, what's the next step? - by Gary A Boye
I believe that the ratio is even tighter, BUT it is all about how you interpret it.

I strongly believe that a very small percentage generate the interestand are the top producers, the rest enjoy the fruits of the "fallout" generated by the top 2%.

Ah.... the 'ol bell curve

Sutton Page - by SUTTONPAGE
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