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Believe it or not, the year is quickly coming to a close. Being the busy small business owner that you are, chances are you still have a few tasks left on your 2015 New Year’s resolution list that you have yet to check off.

There’s no need to worry, however, as there are a number of things you can do to close out the year strong.  Below are four small business goals you can achieve before ringing in the New Year:

1. Use a New Marketing Channel

Change up your marketing strategy by trying one or two new marketing channels. For example, you might want to consider video marketing or branching out to another social media channel. Before you take on a new marketing channel, however, do some market research to determine if it even makes sense for your company. After all, you don’t want to lose money and there’s no point in pursuing an additional social channel or creating a few short videos if your target audience won’t engage with you.   

2. Implement CRM

Have you been putting off implementing CRM software because you’re scared that you’ll experience too much downtime or that you’ll get pushback from your sales team? CRM is a great tool to help manage pipeline. There are many versions of CRM that are specially designed for small businesses (Hoover’s editor Diane Ramirez discusses nine small business-friendly CRM solutions here), and they don’t cost a fortune. Having your sales team use CRM will free up their time spent trying to manage contacts and find opportunities.

3. Clean Your Marketing Database

When was the last time that you cleansed your marketing database? Data decays at a rapid pace. In fact, our research shows that 96% of email addresses and contact data within customer files and CRMs are inaccurate, and CRM degradation approaches 2% per month. If it’s been over six to eight months, then chances are the business contacts in your database are inaccurate. Make a point to cleanse your database before the year is up to ensure that you’re not wasting time trying to communicate with Mickey Mouse and Abraham Lincoln.(Hoover’s free Data Health Scan can help with that.)

4. Align Marketing and Sales

While completely aligning your sales and marketing team is a lofty goal, there are several things you can do to get the ball rolling. Start by creating shared definitions; for example, create a solid definition of what constitutes as a lead. Once you’ve done that, move onto developing service level agreements (SLAs) that clearly define what tasks each department is responsible for completing. Next, put a meeting on the calendar for once a month or once a quarter, so both teams can get together to air their grievances and discuss ways in which they can improve marketing and sales strategies.

Let’s face it; you’re a busy person who’s juggling a million different tasks all at once. To ensure that you end the year out strong and hit your bottom line goals, consider implementing one or two of the marketing strategies above. These strategies are fairly easy and cost effective to integrate into your existing strategy, so don’t make any excuses.

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