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    7 Important Business Metrics for SaaS Companies to Track Growth

    Business Metrics for SaaS Companies
    Business Metrics for SaaS Companies

    Growing any business from scratch is difficult, but scaling up a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company is especially tough. To make a SaaS company successful, one cannot just change their software delivery model to the web and expect it to work. It requires thoughtful & data-driven decision-making in marketing, sales, and service operations. For that purpose, there’s an abbreviation that is commonly used: KPI (Key Performance Indicators). In simple words, it means– the most important metrics for tracking your business. It is important that one carefully selects the key metrics to measure the success of their business.

    Rather than having a big list of different matrices, I advised many experts that limiting yourself to a few key metrics makes it easier to keep proper track of how your business is progressing. It also makes it a lot easier to get the insights that will help the business grow. On the contrary, a long list of metrics makes it difficult to focus on the most important trends/best practices and act on them. So, in the beginning, it’s better to limit the metrics with a focus on the most critical ones.

    Below are seven essential KPIs every SaaS company should track:

    Unique Website Visitors

    Unique website visitors refer to the number of distinct people who visit the website over a particular period of time (generally a month). If a person is visiting the site multiple times with the same device and browser, it will be counted as the same unique visitor. 

    This metric helps determine the following:

    • It helps in identifying potential customers
    • It shows the size of the audience
    • Measures the impact of overall marketing efforts
    • Growth in unique visitors measures the website’s accessibility and the content’s ability to reach the target audience.
    • It also shows how these visitors are landing on the website —whether through organic search, social media, referrals, email, direct traffic, or paid media efforts.

    Unique website visitors are measured both by Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics but since Google Analytics is free, most SaaS companies use it. Other tools like HubSpot and its alternatives are also available.

    Leads

    Leads can be broken down into 3 major subcategories:

    A lead typically lies on the very top of the funnel. Leads are the probable customers who have just started to do the research about the product. They have just identified their problem and are looking for a solution. By leveraging the power of lead scoring software and understanding the decision moments that your sales team needs to focus on, you can effectively optimize your lead scoring system and utilize AI capabilities to enhance customer engagement, ultimately leading to closing more deals.

    An MQL is a lead that has taken a step further and has shown interest in the product or service by visiting the website pages (like case studies or pricing page) a number of times and can be considered as a potential customer.

    An SQL is a lead that is deemed to be an ideal sales candidate as it has demonstrated readiness to buy, by requesting a free demo and subsequently a proposal for your product.

    Lead to Customer Rate

    The ratio of the total number of monthly customers and sales-qualified leads is called the lead-to-customer rate. This specific number helps to measure how many qualified leads are converted into customers in that particular month. If we observe this number over a period of time, it shows the improvement the decline in the number of customers getting converted from the SQL and can also answer questions like:

    • What percentage of free trial sign-ups end up buying the product?
    • What is the percentage of prospects who requested a demo buy?

    Churn Rate

    Churn is one of the most important metrics for any SaaS company, which is either in terms of revenue or in terms of customers. It shows how much business one is losing during a certain time period. As such, every business experience certain amount of churn, but when the churn rate is high, it could indicate that the business is in trouble.

    Churn is reported generally on a monthly basis. It is the ratio of the total number of customers you lost in the month and the number of customers the business had at the beginning of the month. For instance, if the business/customer lost in a particular month is 5 and the number of customers the business had in the beginning, was 100, the customer churn rate is 5%.

    Customer Lifetime Value

    Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is an estimate of the average gross revenue that a customer will generate before they churn (cancel).

    This basic formula for LTV is commonly accepted as a useful starting point for estimating the LTV of SaaS customers. However, it’s only a rough estimate and doesn’t properly account for Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) expansion & contraction.

    It is the Annual Revenue per Account (ARPA) divided by Customer Churn rate. ARPA is total revenue/total number of customers. Here, Average Revenue Per Account, we are focussing only on subscription revenue, for instance,

    Revenue generated in last month – $1,000,000
    Total Number of customers – 1000
    Then ARPA = ($1,000,000/1000) = $1000
    Say churn rate is 10%
    Then LTV = $1000/ (.10) = $10,000

    Importance of Customer LTV is primarily to apply a limit to business’s Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) i.e. if the business is spending more on acquisition than it can anticipate earning from the customer in revenue, then that business may face a harsh time.

    Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

    Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is defined as the cost to acquire a customer, which means the resources that a business allocates (financial or otherwise) in order to acquire an additional customer. It includes every single effort necessary to introduce your products and services to potential customers, and then convince them to buy and become active customers.

    Some common sales & marketing expenses are paid advertisement, sales, and marketing staff salaries, CRM development, and marketing automation software licenses, events, sponsorships, gifts to customers, content production, social media and website maintenance and more.

    Add all of the Sales & Marketing expenses and divide it by the number of customers acquired on a given period. 

    For instance:

    CAC = Total sales & marketing expenses / number of new customers

    If the sales & marketing spend is $1,000 for a particular month and the customers acquired are 5, then the CAC will be $1000/5, which is $200. This means $200 is spent to bring in each new customer.

    LTV: CAC Ratio

    To track your LTV to Customer Acquisition Cost ratio, look at your Customer Acquisition Cost. Check how much on average are you spending to acquire a user in a single metric? SaaS companies can use this number to measure the health of marketing programs, so they can invest in programs that work well or drive when campaigns aren’t working well.

    According to Dave Kellog (kellblog.com), “if your LTV/CAC ratio isn’t 3.0 or higher, you could be spending too much on customer acquisition.”

    Conclusion

    Along with the Sales & Marketing data, these metrics should be monitored on a regular basis and it is important that businesses not only measure them but answer the questions as to how far or how near are they from their everyday business goals as well as the corporate vision.

    Nema Buch
    Nema Buch
    Nema Buch is a Research & Marketing professional, also writes for Scalefusion on Enterprise Mobility trends, SaaS, and different Industry Verticals.

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