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Defining US Markets Bottom Up for B2B Start Ups
Defining and understanding your market in one week.
Devil is in the detail. In picking and defining a market in the US, you should size it bottom up as well as top down. Create your own calculations of market size vs. standard market reports, which are often generic and too broad. You gain a great understanding of the level of competitiveness in different niches before you invest.
There are too many resources on the web. So, I have listed the top four for a DIY bottom up sizing below. This is relevant for a B2B tech focused company entering the US Market. Anyone on your team can do it in less than a week with basic excel/data analysis skills and create multiple markets for discussion.
Sizing & Researching Your Markets
Owler lets you quickly build up competitive sets of companies and their revenues to size a total market and determine strengths of your new enemies and potential customers. Select any company, see revenues and those of their top ten competitors. Example on the above link is for Liberis, a fast growing top European fintech I work with, now in the US. You will often uncover many companies serving niches you didn’t even know existed and new customers you would not have found easily.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator lets you build detailed target markets by company type, location, no of employees, and importantly job role, incredibly quickly. It also allows you to look at a company’s size over time, both competitors and customers to pick up trends. This gives you a feel for market momentum. The US market(s) (50 states with their own rules and regulations) are made up of many niches that can be segmented several ways. You can also create buyer personas and Ideal Customer Profiles as part of your list builds.
Datanyze lets you review top competitors based on how many websites their technology is installed in. And what technologies your potential customers are using. The above example is one of our companies at Blenheim Chalcot, Fospha. This resource is mainly applicable to web-based technologies. But is also useful in selecting channel partners or ecosystems to place your own technology into. For example, you may notice Salesforce Pardot is challenging HubSpot and growing well with your target customer set. So you decide to concentrate on Salesforce Pardot customers and add your application to their app store rather than HubSpot.
Crunchbase lets you create lists of companies by size and industry. You get to also see their latest funding rounds and ownership. (When companies get funded, they grow and invest, so great time to sell them something!) Collect all the relevant information into a table and export it to excel.
Throw Everything in Tables and Chop Them Like a Salad!
Your going to collect the lists you created from all four resources above and throw them into data tables and chop them into different segments for analysis.
Take the list of companies you created in LinkedIn Sales Navigator and upload them to Datanyze to gain a free tech profile report here. Its a great way to understand your customers tech stack and understand what competitors and partners you will deal with.
Import your lists from all resources (Crunchbase, Owler, LinkedIn) into an excel, google sheet or Airtable. You can place them in multiple tables but make sure to keep company names consistent as this will be common across tables.
Tag companies as competitors, partners, or customers.
Use revenues from Owler (more comprehensive) & employee numbers from LinkedIn ( more accurate).
Include additional market segments from LinkedIn such as geography, head office, job title, size etc.
Make sure to include latest funding round amounts and dates, also add columns of the company names that invested.
Include the top 5 tech used by each of the companies on your target lists from Datanyze.
Remove duplicates and consolidate all your tables into a summary table. (Airtable makes this very easy).
You should now be able to analyze your data tables consolidated from Owler, Salesforce, Datanyze, & Crunchbase. You can review and define multiple markets by segmenting against competitors, customer types, funding rounds, partnerships, size, customer profiles etc. A great discussion document for a team to consider where to play and how they can win.
Now Review & Ask Good Questions!
Some example questions below will help a team come up with clear views on which markets are most attractive.
Which customers do our toughest competitors not have?
Which competitors are growing?
Which companies are using Shopify?
How many East Coast companies can we reach?
What size companies should we go after?
What type of companies have a [Chief Data officer] or other title we want to reach?
You can pair this bottom up analysis with a top down from https://wheretoplay.co/ . This latter tool helps you review your capabilities and adjacent markets too.