SaaS Marketing

Decoding SaaS Churn Rates: Benchmarks, Tips & Trends 2024

Toni Koraza
May 20, 2024
Decoding SaaS Churn Rates: Benchmarks, Tips & Trends 2024

In the SaaS industry, keeping customers is just as crucial as acquiring them. 

That's where the SaaS churn rate comes in. It's the data point that reveals how many customers cancel your service. Ignoring it can lead to dwindling revenue and stunted growth. 

But fret not! This article explores average churn rates across industries, the factors influencing them in B2B SaaS, and the different ways to calculate this key SaaS metric

Best of all, we'll reveal the five golden strategies to slash churn.

Let's dive in!

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What We'll Cover:

What is the Average SaaS Churn Rate?

Imagine a leaky bucket – that's how a SaaS business works. Customers subscribe, but some inevitably unsubscribe over time. The average SaaS churn rate measures how much this "leak" hurts your business. It's the percentage of customers who cancel their subscriptions within a specific period, usually a month or a year. 

For example, a 5% monthly churn rate means you lose 5% of your subscribers monthly.

SaaS churn rates can vary quite a bit depending on the industry. Here's a breakdown of some averages to give you an idea:

SaaS Churn Rates across industries

It's important to remember these are only averages. Your specific churn rate will depend on your business model, target audience, and customer success strategies.

Larger SaaS companies often target enterprise clients with annual contracts. These contracts lock in customers and require more effort to switch, leading to lower churn. Smaller companies targeting smaller clients with monthly plans see higher churn as switching is easier. Contract length impacts retention because a year-long commitment creates a hurdle for unhappy customers to overcome compared to canceling a monthly plan.

Factors Impacting B2B SaaS Churn Rate

Understanding the factors influencing B2B SaaS churn rates is essential for developing strategies to keep customers engaged and on board. 

This section will delve into the key elements that can impact churn. This knowledge will empower you to refine your approach and foster long-lasting customer relationships.

Factors Impacting B2B SaaS Churn Rate

Tailoring Strategies for B2B SaaS

B2B SaaS (Business-to-Business) operates in a distinct landscape compared to B2C (Business-to-Consumer) SaaS due to the complex nature of B2B relationships and the higher stakes involved. 

Here are some critical nuances of B2B SaaS and how they affect churn:

  1. Longer sales cycles require more resources, making churn costly.
  2. Longer contract terms mean renewal satisfaction is crucial to prevent churn.
  3. Customization and integration increase switching costs; unmet promises can lead to dissatisfaction.
  4. Proactive customer support is vital in meeting complex needs and reducing churn.
  5. Monitoring user adoption is critical; low usage signals dissatisfaction and increases churn risk.
  6. Value proposition alignment is crucial; failing to meet evolving needs increases churn.

With the challenges facing the B2B SaaS industry, it is essential to develop strategies.

Strategies for B2B SaaS business models. Examples like ICP, Value based pricing and more

HubSpot develops B2B SaaS strategies to engage with customers before they become dissatisfied. HubSpot uses automated email campaigns, in-app messaging, and personalized outreach to address customer concerns, gather feedback, and offer assistance, reducing churn by addressing issues before they escalate.

Complexity of Contract Lengths

Contract length plays a surprising role in B2B SaaS customer retention. 

Longer-term contracts (2+ years) tend to have lower churn rates, locking customers in and creating a predictable revenue stream. However, this commitment can backfire if customers outgrow your solution or become dissatisfied. 

Shorter-term contracts (monthly/yearly) attract risk-averse clients and allow them to easily switch if they are unhappy. However, you might lose recurring revenue.

Here's how to navigate this complexity:

  • Know your customer: Early-stage companies with low-cost solutions thrive on month-to-month contracts, fostering trust and agility. Complex, enterprise-level solutions often benefit from more extended contracts to justify implementation costs.
  • Focus on value, not lock-in: Don't rely solely on contract length to retain customers. To keep them engaged, provide exceptional service, continuous product updates, and explicit value demonstrations.
  • Offer flexibility: Consider tiered contracts with different lengths and pricing options. This caters to diverse customer needs and comfort levels.

Find the balance that fits your product and target market. Consider offering tiered options with varying features and lengths to cater to different client preferences.

Industry-Specific Approaches to B2B Churn

Reducing churn requires understanding your industry's quirks. A marketing automation platform for restaurants might see churn due to seasonal business, whereas a project management tool for construction might face churn when projects wrap up.  

Here's a look at how different industries tackle churn:

  • Telecom and Streaming Services: These industries heavily rely on data analysis. They use fancy algorithms to predict who might churn based on usage patterns. They might offer targeted discounts or exclusive content to keep you on board.
  • Subscription Boxes and Fitness Gyms: These businesses focus on personal engagement. They might survey to understand your needs or offer incentives for continued membership, like a free smoothie at the gym.
  • Banks and Financial Services: Here, the focus is often on building loyalty. They might offer rewards programs or waive fees for high-value customers to make switching providers less appealing.
  • Retail and e-commerce: These industries prioritize convenience. To keep customers coming back for more, they might offer features like easy returns, one-click purchases, or loyalty programs with personalized recommendations.

Remember, churn management is all about understanding why customers leave and taking steps to prevent it. The strategies differ based on the industry and what keeps their customers happy.

How to Calculate Churn Rates

Cancellations happen when a customer actively ends their subscription or service. Non-renewals occur when a subscription period ends, and the customer chooses not to continue. Both contribute to a leaky customer bucket, reducing your overall customer base and conversion rate.

Here's a step-by-step process to calculate your churn rate:

  1. Define your period: Choose a specific month, quarter, or year timeframe. Consistency is vital for tracking trends.
  2. Identify churn: Count the number of customers you lost within the chosen period due to cancellations and non-renewals.
  3. Starting customer base: Determine the total number of customers you had at the beginning of your chosen timeframe.
  4. Calculate the percentage: Divide the number of churned customers (#2) by the starting customer base (#3).
  5. Express as a percentage: Multiply the result from step #4 by 100 to get your churn rate as a percentage.

For example, if you started a month with 1,000 customers and lost 50 due to cancellations and non-renewals, your churn rate would be (50 / 1,000) * 100 = 5%.

By understanding and monitoring customer churn, you can plug the leaks in your customer bucket and focus on strategies to retain valuable customers and fuel sustainable business growth.

Types of Churn Rates 

Churn is the bane of any subscription business. But within this category lies a hidden culprit: involuntary and voluntary churn. 

Let's break down the two and see what makes them such distinct challenges for SaaS companies.

Voluntary Churn: Strategies for Customer Satisfaction

There are many reasons for voluntary churn - your product could be more practical, it's too complex to use, or a competitor offers a better deal. Sometimes, customers may not need your service anymore. 

The key is to understand why they're leaving so you can improve and win them (or future customers) back.

These are some of the strategies that you can use to improve your customer satisfaction and reduce voluntary churn:

  • Become a mind reader (almost): Gather feedback through surveys and track usage to identify frustrated customers.
  • Be a superhero: Proactively reach out to at-risk customers, address their concerns, and offer solutions before they hit cancel.
  • Make them feel special: Personalize communication and offer to show you care about their unique needs.
  • Continuously improve: Use customer feedback to constantly upgrade your product or service, ensuring it delivers real value. Remember, a happy customer is a loyal customer!

FitSprint, a fitness app, saw concerns about voluntary churn. Digging in, they discovered new users felt overwhelmed. A targeted onboarding series with short workout routines and personalized coaching was implemented. Additionally, in-app challenges and a supportive community fostered engagement.  Churn rates dropped 15%, proving that focusing on user experience from the start can turn cancellations into committed athletes.

Involuntary Churn: Optimizing Service and Engagement

Unlike unhappy customers (voluntary churn), these folks might still value your service. In these cases, they may be an example of involuntary churn. Common culprits are expired credit cards (plastic gets old!), insufficient funds (oops!), or even accidental account closure. 

Customer feedback is crucial for determining what needs improvement in their services. Once you have chosen the cause, implement these strategies to enhance your services.

  • To keep customers who want to stay, prevent service hiccups.  
  • Proactively update expired cards and offer flexible payment options.
  •  Streamline your billing process for easy understanding. 
  • Don't let technical glitches be the reason they leave. 
  • Anticipate and address common issues and offer clear communication during outages. 

By addressing involuntary churn’s causes and implementing these strategies, you can turn the tide on involuntary churn. A happy customer who unintentionally stops paying is a customer worth saving.

4 Ways to Reduce SaaS Churn

Customer churn is the silent killer of SaaS businesses. Every customer you lose represents lost revenue and a missed opportunity for long-term growth. 

Let's discuss the best strategies to reduce churn rates for good. 

1. Understanding Churn Triggers

When customers stop their relationship with a company or service, customer churn can be triggered by various factors that signal dissatisfaction or changing needs. 

  • Weak customer marketing
  • Poor onboarding
  • Customer organization change
  • Poor customer service
  • Overselling
  • Product underperform
  • Ineffective relationship building

So, how do you monitor and respond to these triggers? Here are some practical steps:

These steps can create a system that detects and addresses churn triggers early. By understanding your customer's needs and addressing potential pain points, you can build lasting relationships that fuel your business growth.

2. Onboarding and Customer Success for Retention

Onboarding and customer success play pivotal roles in keeping customers happy and loyal. Effective onboarding ensures customers understand how to use a product or service, reducing frustration and increasing satisfaction. It sets the stage for a positive customer experience from the get-go.

The key to keeping customers happy? Keep them winning!

  • Onboard them flawlessly, setting clear expectations.
  • Proactive support anticipates issues before they arise.
  • Regularly gather feedback and use it to improve their experience.
  • Reward loyalty with programs that incentivize continued business.
  • Surprise and delight with unexpected perks.

Focusing on customer success throughout their journey builds trust and loyalty, turning one-time buyers into long-term fans.

3. Personalizing Offers to Reduce Churn

Reducing churn is about more than keeping customers happy. Generic offers fall flat, and frustrated customers churn. Personalized offers, however, can be a game-changer, impacting churn reduction. Here's why:

  • Relevance breeds value
  • Increased engagement
  • Proactive solutions

Now, how do you personalize offers?

By implementing personalized offers, you move beyond generic marketing and create a win-win situation. Customers feel valued, and businesses experience reduced churn and increased customer lifetime value.

4. Leveraging Predictive Analytics for Churn Prevention

Imagine your customer's experience as a journey. Every interaction they have with your business, from browsing your website to interacting with customer service, is a touchpoint. Gathering feedback at each touchpoint allows you to see the journey through their eyes, pinpointing areas for improvement and exceeding expectations.

With this insight, you can uncover hidden pain points, gain a holistic view and prioritize.

Now that you've gathered this valuable data, how do you mine the gold?

Once you've identified areas for improvement based on user feedback, it's time to take action. Businesses can identify pain points, prioritize improvements, and create a more satisfying customer journey by gathering and analyzing feedback from various touchpoints. 

Remember to adopt a transparent approach. Communicating these changes strengthens the bond with your users and positions your business for long-term success.

Elevate Your Strategy

 In the SaaS landscape, understanding churn rates is crucial. 

With a focus on customer success, SaaS companies can transform churn into a springboard for sustainable growth.

Ready to revolutionize your churn management and propel your SaaS business to new heights? Implement the proven strategies discussed in this article in collaboration with MADX Digital. With our expertise and tailored approach, we'll help you navigate the complex landscape of churn rates.

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