Published: October 28th, 2016

Filling your calendar is important. But what are you busy filling it with? We all know a lot of people who are really busy all the time, but some are uber successful, and some are broke. This blog could easily go 10,000 words on this topic, but I’ll keep it short and sweet.

If you are in IT sales, what activity brings in the most success and revenue?

The 80/20 rule

If you know me well, you are surprised that it took me four blogs before I mentioned the 80/20 rule.

Let’s rely on this over-used but under-utilized theory (aka the Pareto Principle) first ‘invented’ by the Italian/French Economist Vilfredo Pareto 1848–1923. Originally, it was used to describe land ownership (20 per cent of the population owned 80 per cent of the land). Later, the concept was extrapolated into other areas such as division of wealth and even healthcare i.e. 20 per cent of the population utilize 80 per cent of the healthcare resources.

The concept is that your greatest results may only derive from one or two functions that you perform. All your tasks at work can be broken down into two categories: Trivial Tasks and Vital Tasks.

Unfortunately, many people go through life spending major effort on minor things; and vice versa.

The key then is identifying which of your functions delivers YOUR greatest results and spend as much time as possible focused there.

Major vs. Minor tasks

The list below identifies 25 typical IT sales activities a sales rep or owner may be asked to partake in during the course of their week. I have highlighted the 5 that make you the most money and lead to success.

  • Sales/staff meetings
  • Issue resolution meetings
  • Order placing
  • ‘Doing’ email
  • Planning your day/week
  • Cold and warm calls
  • Customer installations
  • Schedule deliveries
  • Meeting with existing customers/ QBRs
  • Networking events
  • Revenue opportunity/discovery meetings
  • Helping coworkers
  • Technical issues
  • Preparing quotes
  • Billing issues
  • Product Training
  • Sales training
  • Process training
  • Customer rollouts/onboarding
  • Reviews with staff
  • Attending trade shows
  • Presenting quotes
  • One on ones with managers
  • Personal grooming/buying business clothes
  • Trolling LinkedIn

My last blog talked about Hunters vs. Farmers… see the correlation?

Often, when we speak about the 80/20 rule in sales, it is that 20 per cent of our customers bring in 80 per cent of the revenue. Well similarly, 20 per cent of your activity brings in 80 per cent of your results. But what if you rid yourself of the 80 per cent of the Trivial/Minor tasks? Your results could increase exponentially because you are now only performing Vital/Major tasks.


Take my list of 25, and replicate it. Add more tasks that you are asked to perform on any given day. Now, think of the 5 most critical tasks to your success, and book 5 meetings in your calendar next week. And the week after that, aim for 6. And the week after that, aim for 7, and so on. Learn to say no to the others. Have the guts to do it for a year, and let’s see how different your sales are.

Are you not in sales, but are reading my blog? Think of the 3 most critical tasks to your success, and do more of that, and less of the other stuff. Learn to just say “no.”

It’s time to make it rain. Stir the pot.