By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

It’s time for more than just New Years Resolutions.  In January (this year and moving forward) here are ten recommended focus areas to set up a hugely successful new year.

Past year postmortem

Take time to pull together your team and post-mortem last year.  Document it, and start storing those post-mortem summaries somewhere that they can be revisited on a regular basis.  Good postmortems are part review, part constructive criticism, part brainstorm.  Use this as a foundation and jumping-off point for the new year of marketing strategy and execution.

Professional development goals

Be selfish for a moment.  What do you want to learn this year?  What skills do you want to gain and how will you get them?  What do you want to learn and where will you find it?

Sales kick-off

You should attend.  You should participate.  You should present.  The more integrated you are into your sales team’s annual kick-off meetings, the more likely you are perceived as and acting/operating as a cohesive, integrated unit.

Martech audit

I highly recommend doing a marketing technology audit more frequently than every 12 months, especially given how quickly things change.  But January is a good time to look at what you have, what you need, what you no longer need, what’s redundant, etc.

Calendar discipline

Take time to proactively schedule yourself to maximize your productivity.  Block time during your most productive times of the day to get stuff done.  Cancel or change meetings that no longer are necessary.  Beg out of meetings you don’t need to attend.  Too often your calendar rules where you need to be and what you do.  Be smarter than that.

Refresh customer insights & personas

Hopefully you have established personas for your business already.  At least annually, and why not in January, refresh those profiles.  What new insights or trends are impacting how you think about your target audience?  Are there new, prominent members of the buying committee?

Establish daily networking habits

Spend time every day connecting with contacts new and old.  Look at your calendar from yesterday and ensure you’re connected with those folks on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  Say “Happy Birthday” to people.  Constantly build value with your growing network of contacts.  That network is your most important professional asset.

Process & automation audit

What have you been doing manually that needs to be automated?  What’s being done inconsistently that now needs a documented process?  Even if it’s not automated, a checklist can ensure certain initiatives (webinar execution, lead follow-up, etc.) are done consistently and successfully as you grow and scale.

Content audit

Look at your target audience/personas and the key stages of their buyer’s journeys.  What content is missing?  Where do you need to commit to fill holes to help prospects move more consistently and effectively/efficiently through the sales process?  This should include blog content, sales content, PR and more.

Find balance

Whatever this means for you – taking your nights and weekends back, taking an actual lunch break every time, getting in a vigorous workout before work, whatever.  Be proactive at taking time for yourself.  Your productivity, stress level and well being will thank you for it.