The goal of digital marketing strategies in SaaS companies remains the same as in any other type of company: attract new customers, convince them that you’re the right fit for their needs, and make them stay with you as long as possible.
But e-commerce, hospitality, and SaaS industries will each use a different set of metrics to measure the success of their marketing strategies. In SaaS companies, the focus in marketing will be on lead acquisition, lead nurturing, user engagement, retention, and turning customers into lifetime ambassadors of your software.
Here are ten key performance indicators (KPIs) that are especially suited to the SaaS industry and which will be of great value to your marketing dashboards. Use them to adjust and fine-tune your marketing strategies at every stage of your customer acquisition funnel. We offer three categories of KPIs that are especially valuable for SaaS-based businesses:
- Lead acquisition KPIs
- User engagement KPIs
- Financial KPIs
Lead Acquisition Metrics
It is marketing’s job to constantly feed the sales team with new and qualified leads. That means keeping your website SEO optimized, managing your PPC bidding strategy, purchasing leads from tiers organizations like Software Advice and TechnologyAdvice, and promoting your webinars and downloadable assets to keep leads flowing into your sales pipeline. The following four KPIs can help you measure the performance of your acquisition strategy:
#1: Total New Leads
It’s important to keep an eye on the total number of new leads that are generated each day. If you notice a significant drop in that number, obviously something is wrong. It could come from a problem with your signup process, from forms that are not working, or if your ad campaigns stopped. whatever the reason, it needs to be fixed.
On the other hand, if you see a huge increase in your daily number of leads, you want to identify the channel or campaign where it originated. Try to discover the reason that the spike occurred so you can take steps to replicate your success in the future.
To help accelerate and facilitate the process, you can break down the total number of leads by category:
- Organic – from organic, direct, referral, and social media traffic
- PPC – Pay-per-click leads from your search, video, or display ad campaigns
- PPL – Pay-per-lead leads from Software Advice, TechnologyAdvice, and other PPL programs
#2: Conversion Rate by Channel
Measuring just the volume of leads per category doesn’t give you enough data to help you draw conclusions about your marketing strategy performance. To understand the type of content your prospects respond to, you need to compare the number of leads to the volume of visitors per channel.
Keep in mind that the average conversion rate for the SaaS industry varies depending on the channel.
SEO leads have a 14.6% conversion rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% conversion rate.according to Eric Siu for Search Engine Journal.
#3: New Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are all the leads coming from your inbound activities such as webinars and white papers plus your website’s contact forms and demo requests.
These prospects are a bit different from those you get through organic or PPL channels. By submitting a contact form or a booking a demo, they have demonstrated additional interest in your content or your product and have shown that they are willing to get in touch with your sales team directly. They are more likely to become paying customers.
If you’re engaging in co-marketing activities with integration partners, it could be interesting to measure the number of MQLs generated by activity. You will see which integration is appealing to your prospects and will most likely convert.
User Engagement Metrics
Engagement metrics are a must-have in any SaaS marketing dashboards. They give you key insights on how your customers use your platform. With the metrics listed here, you will be able to identify what needs to be improved in your onboarding process, know if your users take full advantage of your platform, and see how much your top features are being used.
#4: Active users
While “active users” are usually considered to be those that have logged in, we like to define it as those users who have logged in and completed a series of interactions that are valuable to them or that have reached the desired outcome within a certain timeframe. Since by itself, logging in doesn’t necessarily bring any value to your users, we don’t find it enough of a determinant.
Here’s why this is a helpful way to go:
Let’s say you’re a SaaS project management platform. For you, it will make more sense to track the number of projects created, the number of completed tasks, or even the number of connections to other platforms that have been created by your users than to just consider the number of people who have logged in. It gives you much more insight into your user engagement practices, and you can leverage that data to work for you.
Why do you need to include Active Users metrics in your SaaS marketing dashboard?
By monitoring your total number of active users, you will be able to answer three important questions:
- Have you attracted the right prospects?
Is your app actually helping them solve business issues? If so, they value it.
- Are your onboarding and in-app customer experience successful?
The onboarding stage is a key step in the user journey as you introduce the key features of your app. Find out if it is working for them.
- Do your users go further than your basic features?
If not, you need to entice them to take more advantage of your app capabilities.
#5: Product Engagement Score
Product engagement is usually done by some sort of scoring mechanism that measures the number of times a user or an account has used a feature or completed an action.
Here’s an example of a Product Engagement score:
If you’re selling a SaaS CRM application, low importance event can be assigned to “has created a new contact” or “has added a note to a contact” while high-value events might be “has used conditions in an automated workflow” or “has created a triggered drip campaign.”
The first two events bring little real value to your user while the last two can significantly improve their productivity, and hopefully, their conversion rate.
Why do you need to include the Product Engagement Score in your SaaS marketing dashboard?
Measuring your product engagement score by account or by user will help you determine if your product is perceived as valuable to your users and customers. If they are happy with your product, there’s a great chance that they will stick with you longer and become a brand ambassador. On the other hand, if you discover low product engagement on a key account, it can become a churn threat that will hurt your business.
#6: Customer Adoption
Customer adoption is the percentage of key features that a user has used within a specific timeframe.
The customer adoption is a great metric to complete the product engagement metric. It gives you more information about the depth of your users or accounts’ engagement.
“For example, if you have ten important features, and one of your accounts has used two of them in the past month, that account would have a 30-day adoption rate of 20%. But another account whose users used eight of those features would have a 30-day adoption rate of 80%.”via Sherlock.com
Why do you need to include Customer Adoption metrics in your SaaS marketing dashboard?
Monitoring your Customer Adoption numbers will give you key insights into how your customers are actually using your app. A low adoption rate means that your customers have a focused usage of your application and might be missing out on the value of the full product. You might want to invest in helping them see what some of your other features can do for them.
Your financial metrics are, of course, an essential part of your SaaS marketing dashboard, measuring the cost-efficiency of all of your marketing efforts. They include:
- Cost per Lead (CPL)
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
- Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
#7: Cost per Lead (CPL)
Calculating Cost per Lead is pretty straight-forward:
CPL = Amount spent to acquire new leads ÷ the number of leads acquired.
Measuring your Cost Per Lead by acquisition channel will help you understand which campaign is the most efficient.
Let’s say you’re running ads on Google, Bing, and LinkedIn:
|Google Ads||Bing Ads||LinkedIn Ads|
|# of leads||28||25||15|
|Cost per lead||$89||$60||$60|
Even if Google ads brought you more leads, Bing and LinkedIn seem to be the better channels to reach your prospects since they have lower CPL and are more cost-efficient than Google.
#8: Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
CAC = Amount spent to acquire new customers the number of customers acquired
To evaluate how efficient your customer acquisition tactics are, you can calculate your Customer Acquisition Cost and compare it to your new MRR (monthly recurring revenue).
MRR = MRR (previous month) + Net MRR (current month)
Let’s say you’re spending $2,500 in PPC campaigns every month, and they generate an average of 5 customers monthly. In this case, your CAC is $500, but these customers are paying an average of $50/month. That means that these customers will need to stay 10 months with you to break even.
“The sooner you recover CAC, the better it is for your business. If it will take you too long to recover a low-value customer, there is a chance that the customer will churn before the recovery will take place and you will face a loss.”via Klickering
#9: Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI)
The ROMI metric is a variation of the Marketing ROI. It includes operating costs, discounts, shipping costs, resources, and time. Here’s how to calculate your Return on Marketing Investment:
ROMI = (Revenue – all operating costs and discounts) ÷ Customer acquisition costs (resources, ads, shipping, tools, staff, etc.) x100
Calculating your ROMI per channel gives you valuable insights about where you should spend your marketing dollars. You can measure your ROMI for your lead acquisition tactics, for your loyalty programs, or for events with your existing customers. In the latter case, you would compare your investments against additional revenue and upsells generated.
#10: Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
Providing you with a metric of the value of your relationship with your customers, your Customer Lifetime Value is critical to measuring the performance of your SaaS marketing strategy.
By measuring CLTV in relation to customer acquisition costs (CAC), it also becomes possible for companies to measure ROI for every new customer that can help in estimating sales and marketing budgets.”says Abhi Jadhav
Let’s say your customer signs up for a 2-year contract with a monthly payment of $200, this CLTV of this particular customer is worth $4,800.
By clearly estimating your CLTV, marketing teams can focus more on targeting qualified leads that can be more easily acquired at the lowest costs.
By leveraging the crucial metrics of lead acquisition, user engagement, and financials in their marketing dashboards, SaaS companies can get powerful insights about the performance of their marketing strategies.
Lead and customer acquisition metrics show where the best prospects are coming from and where the acquisition budget should be spent.
User engagement KPIs provide valuable information about users’ behavior and reveal opportunities to upsell or feed the product roadmap.
Financial metrics are absolutely essential to SaaS marketing dashboards as they prove the effectiveness of a business’ whole marketing efforts, from acquisition to customer retention.
If you want to monitor your marketing KPIs with automated, interactive dashboards, ClicData can help you. Connect and centralize data from your ads, social media, Google Analytics, and your application in ClicData to get a deeper picture of performance across the board. Get your marketing dashboards up and running by the end of the day.