Defining Your Total Addressable Market

Demand Creation ‌• January 4, 2013

lead tracking software

One of the first, and most important things, we do with our customers is work to define their Total Addressable Market (TAM): the accounts that make up the desired audience.

Although this sounds incredibly simple and obvious, many fall down on actually defining and leveraging the right TAM (leading to lots of finger-pointing between the marketing and technology groups about the database). It’s important to go beyond typical attributes (companies who might want to buy what you sell and a handful of key titles) to flesh out the exact titles, departments, and roles of influencers and decision makers; analyze where your competition is targeting its messaging; and subsequently laying out various messaging tracks accordingly. Without defining the TAM, it’s almost impossible to accurately assess if you have the right data–or determine what additional data you need to purchase to fill critical gaps.

To define your Total Addressable Market, you will want to ask yourself:

  • What titles are likely to have a pain I can solve?
    • Who are the Economic Decision Makers?
    • Who are the Technical Buyers?
    • Who are the End Users?
  • When looking beyond the contact to the entire account, where do I find the right accounts that need what I have?
    • What industries do I want to target?
    • What geographies do I want to go after?
    • How big are my ideal accounts?
    • What attributes does an account need to have? (A certain fleet size? Remote workforce of 100+ employees?)

Answering these questions will prepare you to accurately assess the current state of your data (either through a lot of spreadsheet madness or a third party resource). Ever heard the phrase “Junk in, Junk out”? This is where the rubber will meet the road and you’ll be able to determine if you have what you need. The sad truth for any marketer is that if your data doesn’t match your TAM (i.e., the people your sales reps want to ultimately talk to), you’ll spend a lot of time and money on the wrong people.

In a future blog post I will discuss why addressing the Total Addressable Market is important and how you can fully leverage it.

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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