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How to Best Evaluate Market Share

Mike Preuss - July 11, 2016

#Metrics & Data

How to best evaluate market share

There are few better ways to measure your business against competitors than by calculating market share.  Knowing how big your slice of the pie is helps keep founders and investors on the same page when it comes to tracking a product or services participation in the market. So how do you do it the right way?

1. Is now the right time for market share?

Depending on company size, investors may disregard market share as a progress indicator. Especially in the early days, this metric doesn’t matter if your company doesn’t have already own a significant percentage to track. Sizing your company up against the market leaders may be a fruitless exercise if you’re still in the process of rolling out a product. For founders and investors talking about a startup in its first few rounds of financing, now is likely not the time to worry about your share of the market.

2. Understand your Total Addressable Market (TAM)

You can’t measure your market share without first knowing the Total Addressable Market (TAM) you’re pursuing. It’s essential to conduct a thorough assessment of long and short-term market factors, as determining TAM can be a tricky exercise. But make the best estimate of the number of customers in your market, the different types of customers you’re targeting, how much they’ll pay, how you expect the market to grow and project revenue for 100% market penetration.

3. Measure market penetration

Now you’ve got a reasonable idea of how many total customers are there for the taking. How many are currently under contract? Treat the total number of customers like units and simply calculate your current client base percentage from the total number. For instance, if your SaaS company has an installed customer base of 200 in a TAM of 200,000, your market penetration is 1 percent.

4. Determine market share

How much are customers actually paying under each contract? In your TAM exercise, you’ve assessed your client’s propensity to pay, now determine how well that’s translated into contract value. Again, it’s a simple equation:  if you currently own $1,500,000 of a total sales volume of $150,000,000, 150,000/150,000,000 = 1 percent market share.

Now, your market share and market percentages won’t align if your contract value underperforms or exceeds projections. However, both data points will help underscore your evolving market share and provide insight.

5. Track over time

Growth or decline in market share or market penetration can be powerful communication tools for your business narrative. A sagging market share may expose a surge in competition, whether that’s revealed to be a battle over price or new challengers to the game. On the other hand, it’s hard to argue with a founder that’s showing steady growth when it comes to the company’s fight for market dominance. Keeping market share in your regular investor communication will be greatly useful once you’ve determined that your company has reached a significant percentage threshold.

 

 

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