New Year or New Job: Five Keys to a Successful 100-Day Plan


By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

Some version of this question I hear quite often: “If you had 100 days, how would you impact our business?”

Great question whether you’re hiring a consultant or new employee, or if you are, in fact, that employee starting a new role.

And even if you’re just starting a new year fresh, here are some recommendations that might help.

  1. Listen and learn first

No matter how much knowledge and experience you bring with you, others have been there before in the new job or environment.  Focus a significant chunk of time up front to listening and learning.  Keep track of initial ideas, instincts and impressions – just be cautious about sharing them too quickly or broadly until you have more context and let those ideas marinate a bit.

  1. Focus initially on the river that’s already flowing

Before introducing brand-new concepts or initiatives, take a look at what’s already happening.  Is the sales team already making phone calls?  Does the Web site already have traffic?  Are there campaigns already in the field?

Anything that’s already happening is like a river – it’s flowing every day already.  Where can you make that river more efficient?  Where can you improve process or efficiency or yield before the river starts flowing with greater volume?

  1. Design and get commitment to building the foundation

Its highly unlikely you will be successful if you only focus on quick-win implementations, growth hacking tactics and short-term programs. Take time up front to determine, design and develop the foundational elements that will drive success for your marketing efforts for months, quarters even years to come.

This includes detailed, documented ideal customer profiles, buying committee and buying journey definitions, sales and marketing roles and responsibilities and more.  It also includes required time, resources and even stages of implementation.

In some organizations this work can be frustrating because it doesn’t immediately yield tangible impact, but I guarantee it will improve results and effectiveness of all outbound work moving forward.

  1. Work in phases or sprints to manage both expectations and rapid progress

Don’t expect that your big ideas are automatically going to generate big results.  Every experienced marketer knows it takes lots of little things often to create and sustain progress.

Use your up-front discovery work to develop an informed plan that operates and delivers in phases.  This will make expectation-setting and resource management far easier and more successful as well.

  1. Overcommunicate updates & adjustments

This doesn’t mean to bury your constituents with words and charts, but it does mean to increase frequency with short, often-bulleted communication.  Make it clear where you are in your journey, be clear about achievements, set-backs and adjustments.

That’s right, own and communicate the set-backs and failed-tests.  It’ll show those around you that you’re learning, adapting, not afraid of failure, and making the right kind of progress.

For those who have seen, executed or managed 100-day plans, I’d love to hear your best (and worst!) practices here as well.