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Understanding the Priority Matrix in Sales Planning

Understanding the Priority Matrix in Sales Planning

Many organizations and sales representatives lose valuable time due to the common interruptions and distractions that exist in today’s fast-paced, information-driven world. Have you identified the specific tasks and high priority items for each individual involved in a sales or customer service role? That’s where the priority matrix comes in.

What is the Priority Matrix?

In some of the X5 sales and service training programs, we reference the priority matrix. This helps participants spot important and urgent tasks vs. unimportant and non-urgent tasks. It also enables individuals to quickly find those critical areas of focus for weekly scheduling.

Ultimately, it helps cut distractions and interruptions that can be costly to an organization’s productivity.

In a world where multitasking is almost as natural as breathing, it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re constantly working on something, but never really making any progress. As a leader, this can be particularly frustrating when your team is struggling to be productive.

But the truth is, without prioritizing certain tasks, it’s tough to effectively cross things off your list. And when it comes to workplace productivity, multitasking can be a killer. Instead, prioritizing key tasks can make a world of difference.

This is why the priority matrix could be your new best friend!

The Four Areas of the Priority Matrix

The priority matrix is divided into four areas. Within each of these areas, individuals are encouraged to identify the priority level of each task they may have. This allows them to know exactly which tasks need immediate attention and which tasks can wait.

Take a look at the four areas of the priority matrix below to give you more insight into how these areas affect your own organization:

Area #1: High Importance and High Urgency

This is the red zone! These items must be solved immediately and efficiently. Urgent customer issues and sales proposals with an upcoming deadline fit well within this category. As these items arise, priorities in the other three areas will take a back seat.

(Speaking of urgent customer issues, take a look at this post next: 4 Ways Difficult Customers Are an Asset to Your Business)

Area #2: High Importance and Low Urgency

Although it’s not necessary to complete these immediately, these sales and service-related tasks are critical to continued success and growth. Continued sales and servicing existing customers keep your organization in business.

This category includes carving out time for continued business development activity or prospecting.

Area #3: Low Importance and High Urgency

We encourage individuals to try and limit time in this area. What may seem highly urgent to some may not be important to your sales goals or to the health of the organization. Common workplace distractions and interruptions fit well within this category.

(Don’t miss this post next if you’re eager to learn more about the importance of weekly planning and productivity)

Area #4: Low Importance and Low Urgency

Consider this area as your “stop doing” list! Any activity that fits within this category is not providing you or the organization value. Time lost in this category due to common distractions is costly to the growth of the individual and the organization.

Next Steps

Ready to learn more about managing your team and boosting productivity all at once? We can help! The X5 team of coaches will guide, teach, and mentor your leadership team, managers or supervisors. Click here to learn more about our coaching services.

Did you enjoy reading about the priority matrix? Here are three more posts to read next: 

This post was first published in 2015 but it was updated in 2021 just for you.

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