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How to Map Out Your Addressable Universe

Very often you are tasked with identifying ‘ the best’, ‘the most valuable’, or ‘the biggest’ client opportunity. But what is ‘the best’ opportunity? This could be many things: the biggest company, companies you already have a relationship with, the company with the biggest revenue, the company most in need of your services.

The best way to go about quantifying which opportunities are ‘the best’ is to create an ‘addressable universe’. The addressable universe document outlines your entire target market and includes various levels of additional information.

By having your entire target universe in one place, you are always prepared to shift priorities if the criteria for what makes ‘the best’ opportunity changes from month to month. It should also help see the relative size of opportunities out there.

Here are the steps I take when preparing an addressable universe.

1: Find who you already know.

This should always be your starting point. Go into your CRM system - the biggest opportunities should already be there, in theory. Look at other internal sources as well: invite lists, email newsletters, one-to-one correspondence.

2: Discover new opportunities.

There are still companies out there that you haven’t identified. Do any of the companies you’ve identified have sister companies? Look at market trends - any start-ups or new ventures that could use your services?

3: Liaise with internal experts.

You’re surrounded by people who combined have decades’ worth of experience. Talk to them. They will be able to give you context such as which companies are not compatible, or which companies are further down the purchase funnel and need that extra push to convert. An addressable universe is only useful if you understand it from your company’s context. They are all unique.

4: Gather company information.

It’s important to flesh out what you know about these companies. Annual sales, headquarters, regions served, and other spending patterns are all factors which could be useful in identifying ‘the best’ opportunities.

5: Identify key contacts.

A company name is not sufficient for an addressable universe. You need to personalise your universe. Who do you want to reach at the company? Sales, product development, or marketing contact? Identify your contact so you are always prepared to reach out when the time is right. It’s also possible to flesh these profiles out with information found on LinkedIn and other digital sources. The aim is to move beyond personas and talk about people.

Following these steps ensures that you and your sales team are aware of all the opportunities and the relative importance of them in any given time. However, just as your company priorities change, so do your prospects’. Acquisitions, key contacts departing and reductions in budget are just some of the disruptions that could occur. Stay agile by revisiting these steps regularly to optimise your addressable universe.

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