Business Bridge Supplier Toolkit

Market Research to Identify Opportunities

Researched and written for Business Bridge by Strategic Insights Inc. | Thursday, March 14, 2024

As a small business owner, you put a lot of effort into creating products or services to meet client needs. Identifying which clients to reach out to requires you to know your target market inside out. This also means you can pitch your offerings as the best solution to these clients for their changing business needs. For example, a common comment from buyers to potential suppliers is, “We wish your proposal had addressed how your solution would enhance our IT integration process after our recent merger with XYZ company.”

Market data arms you with the vital intelligence needed to target the right client markets, size up the fit of opportunities and position your offering as a solution to their current needs.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the benefits of leveraging market research and how to get started. The Business Bridge Supplier Tool Kit article “How To Assess the Priorities of Large Companies” provides additional insights on using market intelligence to target corporations for sales opportunities.


Six ways market research can help your business

Here are six ways that market research can help your business:

1. Segmenting, targeting and positioning (STP)

Market research can help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) focus on the right market segment, target the right corporations and position their services in the most optimal manner. The foundation of a good marketing strategy—segmenting the market, targeting the right buyers and positioning your offerings with the value proposition most appealing to the targeted buyers—is also referred to by corporations as a “go-to-market strategy.”

For example, if your company specializes in building e-commerce sites for corporations, knowing which corporations are going to be revamping their e-commerce sites in the next few years, their current suppliers and their budget will be very valuable information as part of the STP process for your services.

2. Sizing up market potential

After the STP process, it is important to determine overall market potential from a resource-allocation planning standpoint for SMBs. Market research can help with market-potential sizing in four areas:

  • Total market size: Quantified estimation of potential buyers for your services

  • Market adoption rate: Percentage likely to buy your type of offering

  • Share of wallet: Percentage of client’s total spending per year spent with SMBs

  • Expected timespan: The time taken by the targeted buyer group to adopt a new offering

Multiplying these variables yields market-sizing projections. For example:

1 million total target clients x 25% adoption rate x $2,000 average contract value x 5-year duration = $2.5 billion Total Addressable Market (TAM)

Two types of sources can help you gauge the market and client needs:

  • Existing published research: Industry trends data, analyst projections and spending predictions are accessible from a variety of online sources. Industry trends reports from major accounting and management consulting firms like Accenture and McKinsey can be very helpful. While some of these reports are free, some require purchase. University libraries are a great resource for accessing this information free of cost. Regional business organizations and the supplier support network of major corporations could also provide snapshots of some of this information.

  • Proprietary research: Another option is to commission surveys, interviews and focus groups with your targeted corporation to learn about their projected areas of spending for the kinds of services you offer. You could send out a short Survey Monkey survey or have an informal focus group type of discussion with potential clients to learn about their buying preferences and projected budgets, or even work with the GREATER MSP Partnership’s Business Bridge coalition to identify areas of future spending by major corporations headquartered in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul region.

3. Defining your target market

Within the total addressable market, market research helps answer key questions to help narrow the focus to the type of corporations that:

  • Face the problem you solve

  • Value the solutions you offer

  • Are willing to buy your offering

Grouping target clients into buyer personas based on demographics, behaviors, values and other attributes is called segmentation.

Common attributes for segmentation include:

  • Firm-specific information: Industry in which it operates, size and location

  • Roles: Decision-makers, end users and influencers

  • Needs and pain points: Priorities and desired outcomes

Personas represent hypothetical groups matching target segments. However, real client conversations remain essential to test and refine these assumptions.

4. Understanding the competitive landscape

Gauging competitor positioning sheds light on potential opportunities to differentiate your company from competitors. Look at competitors to see their:

  • Product and service portfolio

  • Marketing messaging

  • Reputation and traction

  • Business model

  • Revenue streams

  • Partnerships

  • Cost structure

While larger companies often dominate market share, openings frequently exist. New technologies, evolving buyer needs and shifting economics can disrupt established players if you align the right solutions to emerging priorities.

5. Crafting compelling messaging

Armed with market insights, a well-crafted message that compels your target groups entails:

  • Highlighting known buyer needs: What outcomes do they care most about?

  • Conveying essential benefits: How precisely does your solution deliver these outcomes?

  • Differentiating strengths: What’s distinct about your approach vs alternatives?

  • Showcasing documented outcomes: What evidence demonstrates your effectiveness?

6. Approaching prospects

Reaching out to potential buyers takes finesse. Market research can arm you with unique and much-needed insights into:

  • Understand the prospect’s situation before initial contact.

  • Personalize your pitch and tie your solution to their specific needs.

  • Gain rapid rapport with your contacts at the prospect company because of your well-informed solution.



By understanding the value of market research and using it effectively, you can size up your true market potential, target your perfect client and craft messages to sell effectively, all of which can accelerate the success of your business.

Further Reading:

  1. Taylor, Kara. “A Successful Product Launch Starts With The Right Marketing Research.” Forbes, 7 Jun. 2022,

  2. Armitage, Shauna. “4 Essential Questions Your Market Research Should Always Answer.” Entrepreneur, 20 Mar. 2023,

Full toolkit bibliography.


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