Define Your Priorities

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify the importance of having both efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Determine your high-value activities.

Be a Productive Seller

Sellers today are consistently challenged with not enough time and too many things to do. But how to best be productive? That varies. The approach that works for one rep may not be the best approach for another. 

With the right perspective on productivity, you can determine what works for you. 

Effectiveness vs. Efficiency

Being effective sounds like a good thing, but the challenge is that effectiveness on its own does not have time limits. Being efficient also sounds like a good thing, but you can be efficient while doing the wrong things. Laura Stack, CEO of The Productivity Pro, and author of Doing the Right Things Right, makes the case for needing efficient effectiveness, which is important for sales leaders and reps who are looking to succeed. To bring efficient effectiveness to your work, you must start by figuring out your high-value activities. 

What Are High-Value Activities?

High-value activities are those that give you the greatest return on the time and energy you invest. They vary depending on where you are in your career and what goals you’ve set. For example, if you want to move rapidly up the office ladder, you can volunteer to take on more high-visibility projects. If you’re happiest in one place, deepening and broadening your specialty can work best for you. Determining which activities have a higher value for you is an important step in ensuring you're efficient and effective.

Find the High-Value Activities

As a sales rep, there are many demands on your time, but not all activities are equal. Trying to complete every possible activity can end up putting you in a position where you don’t make your numbers. Stack recommends you start by looking at the big picture. Here’s how to do that: 

  1. Make a list of your daily tasks and determine which ones profit you and your team the most. These activities are your high-value activities (HVAs). Often these tasks are tougher and require thought or creativity.
  2. Identify which HVAs can yield multiple positive results and prioritize those. These activities can include cultivating business relationships, networking, product development, or even writing blog posts or creating videos. It all depends on your situation and which activities give you the best return.
  3. Pick which HVA you’d do if you were able to only do one. Then put this answer at the top of your priority list. Ask yourself the same question about the remaining tasks until you have three to six items on your list, prioritized in order of value.
  4. Review the list again to determine which ones need your expertise and your expertise alone. Ask yourself, based on experience, relationships, or branding, which tasks are the ones that only you can do?

Try to get your list down to no more than three highly-productive HVAs. You can add others to fill out your workday, but these few are your high-value activities. Once you’ve discovered and refined your HVAs, organize your work life around them.


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