One of the most significant factors contributing to a sales program's success is knowing your total addressable market (TAM). You can have the most compelling messaging in the world and the best sales team on the planet, but it will be tough to succeed if you are talking to the wrong individuals at the right accounts or the right individuals at the wrong accounts.
ML’s CEO, Lara Triozzi, is often asked how long sales emails should be and what subject lines get the best results. She responds that none of that matters if you are not putting your message in front of the right audience. Here are some tips to help you do that.
How to Build the Best Total Addressable Market
Tip #1: Review Your Ideal Client Profile, Buyer Personas, and Value Proposition
When was the last time you reviewed these foundational sales and marketing tools? If you answered, "I don't remember," or "What are those?" we encourage you to make this a priority. We coach all our clients to invest in the time and resources to build the right TAM.
What is an Ideal Client Profile?
An ICP defines the companies with the most need and appetite for your products or services.
What is a Buyer Persona?
Your buyer persona defines the individual roles within your target accounts who are likely to be the decision-makers or key influencers who will drive buying decisions related to your offering.
What is a Value Proposition?
Your Value Proposition summarizes as succinctly as possible what challenges or pains your offering resolves for your ICP and Buyer Personas. Bonus points if it also contains key differentiators explaining why you are better than the competition.
Tip #2: Invest in the Right Data Source to Identify your Prospective TAM
There are many sources of data available on the market. Some are broad and can pull information for a large variety of industries, personas, and geographies. On the other hand, if your market is very niche, there may be a more specialized source that will get you closer to the right targets. Spend time identifying the best source for your specific needs and budget.
Be aware that no source is 100% accurate. Our 20+ years of experience have shown that even the best list sources are only about 70% correct on average. No data source can be 100% complete for many reasons, including people moving, retiring, or changing roles.
That’s why, at this stage, we refer to this as a Prospective TAM.
Tip #3: The Secret to the Best TAM Ever: Invest in a Validation Process
Once you've identified your prospective TAM, you need to validate the contacts to turn that initial list into a sales advantage. When helping clients build out their prospect lists, we apply extra focus at the top of the lead funnel by using a team of seasoned Market Research Specialists to do outbound calling into the target accounts to verify decision-makers. This is an extra step that significantly improves future outcomes and has the added benefit of starting to warm up the lead list and create awareness. Most inside sales teams or other lead generation firms don't put the same emphasis on this part of the process. It is one of the ways we start to create trust by ensuring we are targeting the right people so that our outreach is relevant. And we know from years of analyzing historical data that verifying the decision-makers is a critical first step to maximizing the long-term ROI on the overall prospecting effort.
Many sales professionals assume that pulling a list from a reliable source is all that is required. However, once we share our knowledge about list validation (and the fact that 30% of any list is likely bad data) and explain how that will hinder the overall sales effort, they begin to see the value in taking that extra step to verify decision-makers.
This is especially true if your product or service requires a complex sales cycle. These cycles are often longer and require engagement with multiple stakeholders, including senior executives and the C-suite. The extra effort spent upfront to confirm you are targeting the right people at the right organizations will result in a more strategic approach with better outcomes.
We recommend that this validation process include outreach by phone. Then follow those outbound calls with a sequence of emails to push content to your verified contacts. This will ensure you get your message to the right buyers faster and warm up your audience.
Our TAM Playbook Provides Best Practices Tips and Stories to Help You Succeed
We can't emphasize enough your TAM's importance to your success, especially the validation component.
Our Playbook shares our advice and best practices from 20+ years of experience in B2B prospecting to help set you up for success. We hope you find it useful.
If you have any questions about outbound selling or feedback about the Playbook, reach out to any member of the ML team or leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading!