How to Calculate TAM, SAM, SOM for Strategic B2B Growth

The Team at Sona
Here's what we'll cover in this article

Have you ever invested heavily in a new market segment, only to be disappointed by the results? Or perhaps a product feature you thought would be perfect for a specific industry didn't gain the traction you anticipated? These experiences highlight the importance of accurate market analysis in the ever-changing world of B2B.

This is where market sizing comes in as your strategic guide. By understanding the true size and potential of a market, you can make data-driven decisions about where to focus resources, product expansion, and how best to maximize your investments.

At the core of market sizing are the interconnected metrics of Total Addressable Market (TAM), Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM), and Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM). Think of them as a roadmap, taking you from the broadest market potential (TAM), down to your target market (SAM), and down further to the realistic, achievable market share for your business (SOM).

In this blog, we'll break down TAM, SAM, and SOM in an easy-to-understand way. Our goal is to give you a step-by-step guide for calculating these metrics, complete with practical examples. Understanding these concepts will empower you to make confident, strategic decisions for B2B growth.

Market Sizing: The Foundation of Data-Driven B2B Growth

Understanding the size and potential of your market is crucial for any business, but it's especially vital in the B2B space where investments are significant and the sales cycles can be complex. Here's how proper market sizing can profoundly impact your business strategy and operational efficiency:

  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Market sizing replaces guesswork with insights, empowering you to make informed choices about resource allocation, investments, and overall strategy.
  • Focused Targeting: By pinpointing the most promising market segments, you can tailor marketing and sales efforts for maximum impact.
  • Realistic Expectations: An accurate understanding of your achievable market share helps you set attainable goals and measure progress effectively.
  • Investor Confidence: Demonstrating a thorough grasp of your market potential builds investor confidence and increases the attractiveness of your company.
  • Competitive Advantage: Knowing how big the market is and your company's position within it can help you leverage your strengths and capitalize on competitors' weaknesses.

Now that we've explored the powerful benefits of market sizing for B2B success, let's delve into the first metric, TAM. Understanding your TAM provides the foundation for calculating the specific market segments you can realistically reach and conquer.

TAM: Your Market Opportunity at a Glance

Diagram showing Total Addressable Market (TAM), highlighting the maximum potential revenue if a business captured 100% of the market.

What is Total Addressable Market (TAM)?

Imagine capturing 100% of your market with zero competition. This ideal scenario is the theoretical idea behind the Total Addressable Market (TAM)–the ultimate revenue potential if your business monopolized the market. This concept serves as the full demand potential for your products or services.

For B2B companies, understanding TAM is essential for strategic planning. It provides a macro-level view of market potential, guiding investment decisions, resource allocation, and product development. TAM analysis reveals opportunities for businesses to identify and prioritize potential markets, set realistic revenue goals, and gauge long-term growth opportunities.

Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating TAM

There are two main methodologies for calculating TAM:

  • Top-down approach: Provides a broad market overview, using industry data.
  • Bottom-up approach: Focuses on achievable targets, using specific customer data.

Each has its merits, and a savvy approach often involves leveraging both to cross-validate the market potential.

TAM - Top-Down Approach

  1. Identify the Total Market Size: Start by determining the overall revenue generated by the entire market, sourced from industry reports (such as Gartner, Forrester, or International Data Corporation) and market analyses.
  2. Segment the Relevant Market: Determine what percentage of the total market that pertains to your business based on factors like demographics, geography, or customer type.
  3. Calculate TAM: Multiply the total market size by your relevant market segment percentage to estimate your TAM.

TAM - Bottom-Up Approach

  1. Quantify Potential Customers: Estimate how many potential customers could  purchase your product or service.
  2. Determine Average Revenue: Calculate the expected average revenue per customer, based on your pricing strategy.
  3. Calculate TAM: Multiply the number of potential customers by the average revenue per customer to determine your TAM.

TAM Success: Key Takeaways

  • Validate Your Business Idea: TAM provides a broad view of the market's maximum potential, helping to substantiate your business idea and the market's overall appeal.
  • Prioritize Your Strategic Efforts: Use industry reports, market research, and third-party analyses to enhance your understanding of market size, growth rates, and competitive dynamics, which aids in strategizing market entry.
  • Understand TAM's Limitations: Be aware that TAM is a hypothetical value. It serves as a starting point for further market sizing calculations, not a prediction of your achievable revenue.

SAM: Focusing Your Marketing For Real Results

Diagram showing Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM), representing the portion of the TAM that a business can realistically reach with its products or services.

What is Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM)?

Ready to transition from broad market potential to the segments where your efforts will have the greatest impact? That's where the Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM) becomes essential. SAM narrows down your TAM to the market segments that your product or service can actually serve with with your current sales team, distribution channels, and geographic reach.

Understanding the Difference Between SAM and TAM

While TAM provides an overview of the full market potential, SAM focuses on the segments that are realistically accessible based on your business model. This distinction is crucial—it ensures your strategies are aligned with feasible opportunities and current market limitations.

ICP + SAM = Targeted Marketing Success

Defining your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) helps identify the most promising market segments within your SAM. This alignment benefits sales and marketing efforts in several ways:

  • Enhanced Team Alignment: A unified ICP promotes collaboration and goal achievement by aligning sales and marketing teams around a shared vision of the ideal customer. In fact, 71% of companies that regularly exceed their revenue and lead goals use ICPs as a key part of their sales and marketing processes.
  • Targeted Outreach: By focusing on high-potential leads within your SAM, your marketing efforts can achieve higher engagement rates, better conversion, and a distinct competitive advantage. Companies leveraging customer insights like these see an 85% sales growth advantage over their peers.
  • Improved Conversion Rates: Communicating directly to your ICP's needs increases lead conversion and customer acquisition rates. According to Hubspot, organizations with a strong ICP achieve 68% higher account win rates.
  • Optimized Ad Spend: Targeted advertising based on your ICP maximizes your marketing return on investment (ROI). Companies employing this strategy see an average of 30% more revenue generated from their marketing efforts.

To learn more about tailoring your marketing to these high-value accounts, check out our blog, The Essential Guide to Account-Based Marketing: Empower Your Go-To-Market Team for Success.

Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating SAM

Calculating your SAM pinpoints the most promising portion of the TAM, allowing you to focus resources on high-potential opportunities. Like TAM, there are two main approaches to calculate SAM:

SAM - Top-Down Approach

  1. Identify Your TAM: Start with your previously calculated TAM as the basis for determining your SAM.
  2. Segment Your Market:  Analyze the TAM further by identifying factors that match your ICP, such as industry, geography, company size, specific needs and budget.
  3. Calculate SAM: Multiply your TAM by the percentage of the target segment.

SAM - Bottom-Up Approach

  1. Define your ICP: Start with a clearly outlined ICP for the most accurate SAM calculation. Define this ICP using factors like industry, company size, pain points, and budget.
  2. Estimate Target Customers: Use various data sources such as market research, sales data, industry directories, or insights from customer interactions (e.g., common pain points mentioned during sales calls) to estimate the initial number of potential customers within the market.
  3. Refine Target Customers Based on ICP: Refine the initially estimated customer count by applying the specific criteria of your ICP. Analyze how many of these potential customers actually meet the detailed characteristics defined in your ICP. This refined number represents the more highly targeted segment of the market that your SAM calculation will focus on.
  4. Calculate SAM: Multiply the number of target customers that align with your ICP by the average revenue expected per customer.

Analyzing Both Approaches

By applying both the top-down and bottom-up approaches to calculate SAM, businesses can gain a comprehensive understanding of their accessible marketand can cross-check their results for greater accuracy. This empowers them to tailor their strategies and focus on the most relevant and reachable segments.

SAM Success: Key Takeaways

  • Identify Your Sweet Spot: SAM represents the portion of the TAM that aligns with your business' capabilities, ICP, and geographic reach, highlighting the most viable areas for market entry.
  • Focus Your Resources: Focusing on identified segments within your SAM maximizes both the impact and efficiency of your marketing and sales efforts.
  • Drive Strategic Growth: Integrating your ICP with your SAM transforms your market analysis into an actionable strategy. This targeted approach drives growth within your most promising market segments.

SOM: Your Achievable Market Share for Realistic Growth

Venn diagram illustrating the narrowing focus from the broadest market potential (TAM), to the target market (SAM), and finally, the realistically achievable market share (SOM).

What is Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM)? 

After identifying your SAM, it's time to determine the portion you can realistically capture by calculating your Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM). SOM represents the specific share of the SAM that your business can realistically secure, considering practical limitations within the SAM, such as established competitors, resource constraints, and evolving customer needs.

Calculating SOM is crucial for setting attainable goals and developing data-driven strategies. It acknowledges the constraints that may affect your reach within the SAM.

Step-By-Step Guide to Calculating SOM

Calculating your SOM pinpoints the realistic portion of the market your business can expect to capture. This involves understanding your company's capabilities and its competitive environment. Here’s how you can approach the calculation from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective:

SOM - Top-Down Approach

  1. Identify Your SAM: Start with your previously calculated SAM as the basis for determining your SOM.
  2. Determine Desired Market Share Percentage: Estimate the percentage of the SAM you aim to capture. This should be based on realistic assessments of your market position, competitive advantages, and potential limitations.
  3. Calculate SOM: Multiply your SAM by the desired market share percentage to estimate your SOM. This figure represents the part of the market you can realistically plan to serve in the foreseeable future.

SOM - Bottom-Up Approach

  1. Estimate the Number of Potential Customers: Based on your ICP, estimate how many customers within your SAM are likely to purchase your product or service. This estimation considers your sales and marketing reach, conversion and churn rates, the competitive landscape, and other factors that might influence customer acquisition.
  2. Calculate Average Revenue per Customer: Determine the average revenue you expect from each customer. Consider your pricing model and any variations for different customer segments or product tiers.
  3. Calculate SOM: Multiply the number of potential customers by the average revenue per customer to get your SOM. This calculation provides a granular view of your obtainable market, grounded in direct customer data and revenue projections.

Analyzing Both Approaches

Both top-down and bottom-up approaches offer valuable insights into your SOM, but each has a different starting point. The top-down method provides a macro-level estimate based on your desired market share aspirations. In contrast, the bottom-up approach gives a more granular, customer-focused projection.

By comparing the results from both methods, you gain a comprehensive understanding of your business's potential market reach and set realistic growth targets.

SOM Success: Key Takeaways

  • Set Realistic Growth Goals: SOM represents the achievable market share within your SAM. This data is essential for setting realistic expectations for revenue growth and market penetration.
  • Prioritize Investments: Understanding your SOM helps you make informed decisions about where to allocate resources, invest in marketing, or expand your sales team.
  • Inform Pricing Strategy: Your SOM, along with competitive analysis, provides valuable insights for developing pricing models that maximize both profitability and market share.
  • Focus for Success: By targeting your efforts towards the segment defined by your SOM, you can drive sustainable growth and increase market share within the competitive B2B landscape.

Leveraging Intent Data to Refine SAM and SOM

Intent data can significantly refine your approach to calculating SAM and SOM by revealing which segments of the market are most engaged with your product categories. To enhance your targeting strategies by understanding potential customer behaviors, check out our blog, The Essential Guide to Intent Data: Leveraging Signals to Increase Revenue.

The Art of Potential: Calculating TAM, SAM, SOM for Amplify

Phew! Congrats on making it this far. We know those concepts were a lot to digest – but hang in there, because this is where it all starts to come together. Let's make things a bit more relatable with a practical example – this time, featuring a hypothetical B2B company called "Amplify."

Amplify offers a cloud-based social media management platform designed specifically for enterprise marketing teams looking to streamline and optimize their social presence. To gain a complete understanding of their market potential, Amplify will utilize both top-down and bottom-up approaches to calculate TAM, SAM, and SOM.

Calculating TAM for Amplify: Charting the Extent of Opportunity

With so many enterprise teams worldwide struggling to manage their social presence effectively, how does Amplify determine where to focus its sales and marketing efforts? Calculating its Total Addressable Market (TAM) is a crucial first step in identifying the full scope of its potential. This calculation shapes the company's business strategies, informing decisions like setting sales targets, allocating marketing budgets, and prioritizing product features tailored to the most promising market segments. However, it’s important to remember that TAM offers a broad view of potential, not a guarantee of immediate sales.

Top-Down Approach for TAM

A top-down analysis starts broad, assessing the total market size before focusing on Amplify's position within it. For Amplify, finding the total market size means looking at the global enterprise software market for social media management, which, according to recent industry reports that Amplify consulted, stands at $10 billion.

Amplify targets enterprise-level businesses (1000+ employees), a segment estimated to represent roughly 15% of this overall market. Enterprises ooften struggles with ensuring consistent brand messaging and effective collaboration across widespread teams, which are challenges Amplify's platform directly addresses.The table below shows the calculation.

Table showing Total Addressable Market (TAM) calculation using the the top-down approach.

This figure represents the broad revenue potential from all enterprise teams globally, assuming they all choose Amplify's platform.

Bottom-Up Approach for TAM

The bottom-up analysis builds the TAM estimate from specific data points close to Amplify's operations. If research reveals an estimated 50,000 enterprise-level businesses in the global market, and Amplify projects an average annual revenue of $20,000 per enterprise customer, the calculation is as follows:

Table showing Total Addressable Market (TAM) calculation using the the bottom-up approach.

This figure represents the total annual revenue potential for Amplify if every identified enterprise-level business becomes a customer.

Understanding TAM: Two Perspectives

The difference in the TAM between the top-down and bottom-up methods highlights the variation in market perspective. The top-down approach offers a broader, more optimistic market potential, while the bottom-up approach provides a more detailed and perhaps more realistic market insight based on direct customer and pricing data.

Both are useful for understanding different facets of market potential and can guide strategic decisions in targeting market segments and allocating marketing resources. Balancing these figures helps Amplify navigate between long-term strategy and short-term objectives.

Calculating SAM for Amplify: Sharpening the Focus

Now let's look at the Serviceable Available Market (SAM) for Amplify. This represents the portion the TAM that Ampligy can realistically serve given its current capabilities and go-to-market strategy. This focused figure is essential for operational planning, specifically targeting marketing efforts and customizing product offerings to meet the needs of this segment.

Top-Down Approach for SAM

The top-down method for calculating SAM starts with the TAM derived from the top-down approach and then narrows it down to the segment of that market that Amplify can realistically capture. As calculated previously, the TAM for Amplify using the top-down method is approximately $1.5 billion. Amplify targets a specific market segment within this broad TAM, which includes large enterprises that require sophisticated tools to manage their global social media strategies. Market research indicates that this segment accounts for about 20% of the broader enterprise market (TAM).

By applying these parameters, Amplify's SAM using the top-down approach is calculated as:

Table showing Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM) calculation using the the top-down approach.

This figure reflects the part of the market that Amplify aims to capture with its cloud-based platform, tailored to meet the sophisticated requirements of enterprises that need tools to manage their global social media strategies.

Bottom-Up Approach for SAM

The bottom-up approach for determining Amplify's SAM provides a granular perspective on their market potential, focusing on real-world customer interactions and industry trends.

By analyzing various data sources including industry type, company size, and specific challenges, Amplify estimates that approximately 30% of the 50,000 global enterprises fit their refined target segment, resulting in an initial pool of 15,000 potential customers. This determination is based on detailed market analysis, including industry reports, competitor positioning, and direct feedback from sales and marketing teams.

To further define their most promising potential customers, Amplify then considers how well these potential customers align with their ICP. They determine that roughly 50% of these large enterprises, specifically those struggling with brand consistency across multiple social accounts in diverse global markets, are the ideal fit. This results in 7500 potential customers (15,000 x 50% = 7500 businesses).

The following calculation details how Amplify applies the bottom-up approach to determine its SAM, assuming the same average annual revenue per customer as identified in the TAM calculation ($20,000):

Table showing Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM) calculation using the the bottom-up approach.

This calculation aims to estimate the potential annual revenue that these 7,500 enterprises could generate, assuming each becomes a customer within the year.

Understanding SAM: Two Perspectives

Amplify's strategic planning incorporates both the ambitious $300 million top-down SOM and the more grounded $150 million bottom-up SOM. This dual perspective ensures that Amplify is prepared for both expansive growth and realistic sales achievements.

Calculating SOM for Amplify: Targeting the Attainable

Now that Amplify knows its SAM, how much can it realistically achieve? Calculating the Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) will provide the answer.

Understanding what Amplify can realistically achieve in the market is crucial, given the competitive nature of the industry. SOM focuses on the realistic market share Amplify can capture considering both market competition and internal capabilities.

Top-Down Approach for SOM

Using the top-down approach, Amplify starts with its SAM and applies a desired market share percentage to forecast the obtainable market. This method provides an estimate based on industry averages and overall market dynamics.

Amplify faces stiff competition from both established players and niche solutions specializing in specific social media platforms. By leveraging unique product features and an experienced team, Amplify aims to secure a 10% market share within their SAM, which was previous calculated as $300 million. This target is aligned with strategic business objectives and reflects an ambitious yet attainable vision for Amplify's market share.

The table below details the calculation of the SOM using the top-down approach.

Table showing Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) calculation using the the top-down approach.

This figure reflects an ambitious yet attainable vision for Amplify's market share, considering broader market trends and its competitive positioning.

Bottom-Up Approach for SOM

Transitioning from the theoretical to the tangible, the bottom-up approach to SOM provides a realistic view of Amplify's achievable market share based on its ICP and direct sales capabilities. It focuses on customers they have the resources to reach, are most likely to convert, and can retain over time. This approach considers factors like the competitive landscape, marketing capabilities, conversion rates, and potential churn.

After evaluating these factors, Amplify estimates that it can realistically convert 10% of its ICP-aligned enterprises (which the SAM analysis identified as 7500 target customers). This conversion belief is based on Amplify's strong track record with similar clients and recent investments in its sales team. This equates to approximately 750 potential customers. Keeping consistent with previous calculations, we maintain the same average annual revenue per customer, which is $20,000. The SOM, using a bottom-up approach, is calculated as follows:

Table showing Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) calculation using the the bottom-up approach.

This estimate is based on a realistic assessment of the number of target customers Amplify can convert and successfully serve within the next fiscal year, taking into account its current sales effectiveness and market reach.

Understanding SOM: Balancing Perspectives

Both approaches to calculating SOM provide valuable insights for Amplify. The top-down estimate ($30 million) offers a broad view of potential market success, while the bottom-up estimate ($15 million) presents a more focused and perhaps conservative view, heavily reliant on current customer engagement and conversion metrics. These estimates help Amplify align its strategic goals with realistic market opportunities. Regularly updating both SOM estimates is essential as market conditions and their own capabilities evolve.

TAM SAM SOM: Summary of Calculations

The table below provides a clear summary of Amplify's market potential, detailing TAM, SAM, and SOM calculations. With these insights, Amplify is well-positioned to fully realize its potential within the dynamic enterprise social media management market.

Table showing Amplify's market size calculations, including Total Addressable Market (TAM), Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM), and Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM), with figures for each calculation provided using both top-down and bottom-up analysis.

Key Takeaways from Amplify's Calculations

Here are the key strategic lessons we can learn from Amplify's market sizing approach:

  • Data-Driven Strategy: By calculating TAM, SAM, and SOM, Amplify gains a clear picture of its market potential, allowing them to make informed decisions about resource allocation, investment, and overall strategy.
  • Prioritizing Market Segments: The SAM calculation helps Amplify focus on the most promising segment – large enterprises with a global social presence - maximizing the impact of their marketing and sales efforts.
  • Realistic Growth Expectations: The SOM analysis, especially the bottom-up approach, provides Amplify with a realistic understanding of their achievable market share. This allows them to set attainable goals and accurately measure progress.

Remember, these calculations aren't just theoretical exercises. They represent a foundational roadmap for Amplify's strategic planning. Every decision, from budgeting to marketing campaigns, should align with the company's potential to capture and grow within its target market.

Conclusion: Master Market Sizing, Maximize Your Growth

That was a lot to take in, but investing the time to understand these frameworks is crucial for strategizing and driving growth in your B2B endeavors.

Think of TAM, SAM, and SOM as your roadmap to success. They offer a clear path from broad market potential down to the specific segments where you can make the greatest impact. This understanding empowers you to:

  • Make Informed Decisions: Replace guesswork with insights, guiding your resource allocation, investment choices, and overarching strategy.
  • Maximize Efforts: Focus your marketing and sales outreach on high-potential segments for the best possible results.
  • Track Meaningful Metrics: Establish achievable goals, accurately measure progress, and refine your approach based on real-world market data.

Market sizing gives you the confidence to make strategic moves within the ever-changing B2B landscape. Whether you want to strengthen your marketing, optimize resources, or gain a competitive edge, these techniques are essential tools for driving lasting success.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about market sizing? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

How does understanding TAM, SAM and SOM benefit a new e-commerce business?

Understanding TAM, SAM, and SOM provides a framework to identify the total market demand, target the right customers, and set realistic growth expectations. This insight is invaluable for crafting a focused business strategy, optimizing marketing plans, and demonstrating potential to investors. For instance, if TAM analysis reveals a growing market for eco-friendly products, a new e-commerce business can tailor its offerings to meet this demand.

How do I determine market size for my local e-commerce business?

To calculate market size for your local e-commerce business, start with market research tools that provide dynamic market insights and historical data. Focus on specific market segments and potential new customers within your local area to estimate the market size based on annual revenue potential. This approach ensures your calculation aligns with the unique characteristics of your local market.

How does determining market size help me set realistic goals for my new company's first year's market share?

Calculating your SOM provides a data-driven estimate of the achievable market share. This allows you to set realistic growth goals for your first year, avoiding overly optimistic projections that could jeopardize your long-term success.

How can I use TAM, SAM, and SOM to convince investors?

Investors want to see evidence of a clear market opportunity. By demonstrating that you've thoroughly analyzed your TAM, SAM, and SOM, you show that your business plan is based on data-driven insights, not just assumptions. This increases investor confidence in your company's potential.

How can historical data and financial reports help forecast a new company's maximum market value?

Historical data and financial reports provide a basis for analyzing market trends, understanding industry cycles, and identifying growth patterns. While this information alone cannot directly predict a new company's maximum market value, it offers valuable insights into potential growth trajectories and market opportunities that can inform valuation estimates.

Sona: Your Key to Data-Driven B2B Growth

Ready to turn market potential into revenue? The Sona Growth Platform helps go-to-market teams to identify, assess, and prioritize leads to ensure they fit their ICP. Leverage first-party data to maximize your market share, and prioritize your efforts to maximize ROI using our robust segmentation tools.

Don't leave growth up to chance – unlock the full power of your data with Sona. Contact us today for a personalized demo!

Talk to a Revenue Growth Expert

Schedule a FREE call to see how Sona can help you to grow your revenue and transform your business.