Step 4. Prioritize Tasks

Introduction

Step 4 is the simplest step in the system, but could be the most challenging to implement given human nature and our reluctance to change. When the sales organization and its leaders switch gears toward a different sales strategy it may take some time, direction, and reinforcement to realize the behavioral changes necessary to execute the new strategy.

A sales person’s job is usually straight forward and the tasks and skills are fairly ubiquitous. Tasks such as making sales calls, scheduling sales meetings, gathering information, building customer relationships, and conducting sales presentations are a few examples of common sales activities. Sales people develop their routines and behavior patterns accordingly. All the more reason to review your priorities in the face of a changing sales strategy.

Objectives

  • To list all the tasks and activities performed by your sales people
  • To rank each task according to its impact on executing the sales strategy
  • To ensure sales people have the skills necessary to perform the most important skills

Duration

You should be able to complete Step 4 in less than an hour.

Materials

You will need pencil and paper or your preferred note taking method. Have a copy of your documented sales strategy close by for reference and focus. I have attached a worksheet for your convenience as well.

Directions

  1. LIst all of the tasks you expect from your sales people in the course of doing their jobs.
    • The purpose of listing as many tasks as possible it to take an inventory. You may discover redundancies, a missing task that should be added, lack of proficiency, or general confusion regarding expectations.
  2. Rank each task according to its impact on strategy execution.
    • You will also want to consider the top 5 work products you identified in Step 2. For example, if an Opportunity Analysis is your top high value work product then you’ll want to make sure the tasks necessary to produce one are at the top of your task list.
  3. Ensure that your sales people have the skills necessary to perform the tasks and activities required to execute your sales strategy.

Example

If your sales strategy focuses on profitability, your task priorities may focus on account penetration tactics. If your sales strategy is about developing new markets, you should prioritize prospecting activities and adding new contacts and accounts to your pipeline.

Accountability

Accountability for Step 4 falls primarily on you, the sales leader. It is up to you to clearly articulate your expectations regarding task prioritization and to monitor activities regularly because it is too easy to slip back into old habits to more comfortable tasks. Consistent communication is the key to success because this step really is about change management.

Evaluation Method

Evaluating your success for this step is fairly straight forward also. You will know you are successful when you see the results from task completion such as:

  • Opportunity analyses that are more complete and populated with more information
  • Presentations are more polished and impactful
  • Demonstrations are conducted with an agenda and purpose

In other words you should be able to observe improved skill, performance, and confidence.