General SaaS

SaaS Benchmarks: Key Metrics for Success in Software as a Service

Perry Steward
February 29, 2024
SaaS Benchmarks: Key Metrics for Success in Software as a Service

In the competitive SaaS world, data is the key to unlocking an advantage in the market. 

But which key performance metrics (KPIs) matter most?

As a SaaS SEO agency, we’ve spent hundreds of hours studying these metrics. In this guide, we'll help you understand customer retention, lifetime value, and acquisition cost. We'll compare your performance with industry standards and help you make data-driven decisions to improve outcomes. 

Ready to elevate your SaaS business? Let's dive in!

Two people working on laptops connected to a cloud labeled “SaaS,” illustrating the concept of Software as a Service

What We'll Cover:

What is Benchmarking in SaaS?

Benchmarking in SaaS is the process of checking how well a company performs. It's a detailed overview of a company's performance against industry standards (i.e., benchmarks) and competitors.

In its simplest terms, benchmarking works like this. First, a SaaS company identifies the key performance indicators (KPIs) it wants to measure. Then, it compares them to industry standards before analyzing the gaps.

SaaS companies use various SaaS metrics to:

  • Gauge their effectiveness and position in the market
  • Understand the effectiveness and the position of their competitors
  • Pinpoint areas for improvement and optimization. 

Companies can improve their performance by studying the metrics, including customer acquisition cost, churn rates, and revenue growth. These practical insights help SaaS businesses adjust strategies for better results. 

team of professionals and data visualization board in the background illustrating various charts and notes

Why Do SaaS Benchmarks Matter?

SaaS benchmarks matter because they show how well a company is doing. They're crucial for success because they give clear signs of performance.

By looking at these benchmarks, companies can make smart choices, plan strategies, and grow their business. With benchmarks, companies understand where to improve and what areas to focus on. They're the key to making good decisions and setting a clear path for the future.

So, for SaaS companies aiming to thrive, benchmarks guide them to success.

A person presenting a growth chart on a screen displaying a world map, illustrating global data analysis and increase

What are the Key Metrics for Success?

There are several key metrics that show if a SaaS business is doing well. In this section, we'll look at different types of numbers and see why they matter in the world of SaaS.

For a deeper understanding, explore more insights on SaaS metrics here

Customer Acquisition Metrics

Checking customer acquisition metrics can help gauge marketing and sales success and whether your strategies are converting leads into customers. 

a large magnet emerging from a smartphone, attracting a diverse group of people towards it illustrating customer acquisition

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is the total expense a SaaS company incurs to get a new customer. CAC highlights the financial efficiency of customer acquisition efforts.

CAC shows how much it costs to get a new customer. First, add up all the money spent on marketing and sales. Then, divide that total by the number of new customers you got in a certain time. 

Total acquisition costs 


Number of acquired customers

A lower CAC suggests efficient spending, while a higher one may impact profitability; understanding and improving CAC is paramount to building a successful SaaS business. This means ensuring that every new customer you get adds value to your overall profits.

 the calculation of Customer Acquisition Cost dividing sales and marketing expenses by the number of new customers acquired

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

CLV is the total money a SaaS company expects to make from a customer throughout the entire time using the service. It helps plan for the long term by looking at customer loyalty and value, not immediate sales.

Understanding CLV helps SaaS businesses plan how to get new customers, use resources wisely, and make customers happy. If CLV is high, it means customers are sticking around, which is great for a SaaS company's long-term success.

Understanding and improving CLV builds strong relationships with customers and boosts profitability.

customer lifetime value bar graph

Customer Churn Rate

Customer Churn Rate is the number of customers who stop using a SaaS service over a set period. It's a key metric for assessing customer retention.

A high churn rate raises red flags, impacting customer satisfaction and revenue. To measure attrition, divide the number of lost customers by the total number at the start. If you can reduce churn (customers leaving), you’ll have a steady income and be more successful. 

So, it's important to focus on making customers happy and keeping them around for a long time. 

Customer Churn Rate Calculation

Conversion Rate

Conversion Rate is the percentage of people who take a desired action, like making a purchase or signing up, out of the total number of visitors. It displays how effectively a company's marketing efforts turn visitors into customers.

When there's a higher conversion rate, it means more successful customer acquisitions. It's crucial in sales and marketing because it indicates how well strategies are working to persuade people to take action. Conversion Rate helps measure the success of campaigns and strategies.

Monitoring and improving conversion rates helps businesses sell more, get qualified leads, make better ads, and earn more money. It's a key metric for evaluating and improving our sales and marketing processes.

growth in conversion rate

Customer Acquisition Funnel Analysis

The customer acquisition funnel shows the steps a customer goes through before buying something. It looks like a funnel with different stages, such as: 

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion

Analyzing this funnel is crucial for optimizing the customer acquisition process.

Examining each step helps businesses find problems, improve plans, and make customers happier. Understanding where people stop helps us identify areas for improvement. This, in turn, enhances the experience from learning about a product to making a purchase. 

This approach helps businesses work better, keep marketing costs, boost sales, and succeed in getting new customers in a challenging market.

Customer Acquisition Funnel Analysis

Financial Metrics

The financial health and stability of a SaaS company are paramount for success. Financial metrics are vital tools for gauging the profitability and sustainability of a business.

These metrics help the company understand its financial situation and can be used to guide decisions for long-term growth in the competitive SaaS industry. These metrics make sure the company has a strong foundation.

Financial Metrics

Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)

Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) is the total predictable income a SaaS company expects from subscriptions in a year. It's fundamental because it provides a clear picture of the company's recurring revenue.

ARR supports the financial stability of the business. For SaaS companies, it's essential because it shows how much revenue they can rely on each year.

This metric helps them plan for investments, measure growth, and assess the health of their subscription business model. ARR is a key indicator of financial health and stability, guiding strategic decisions for long-term success.

Annual Recurring Revenue Calculation

Gross and Net Revenue

Gross Revenue is all the money you make, and Net Revenue is what you have left after taking away all the costs. 

Gross Revenue shows how much money a company makes from sales, giving a clear picture of its selling ability. So, Net Revenue accounts for operational costs, offering a more accurate measure of profitability.

Gross Revenue shows how well a company is selling, and Net Revenue tells us the real financial health. For SaaS companies to do well in the long run, they need to use both metrics to make smart and profitable decisions.

Gross and Net Revenue

Churn and Expansion Revenue

Churn measures how many customers or money a business loses in a certain time. To find this number, you divide the number of lost customers by the total number at the start. It helps businesses see how well they're keeping customers. 

Expansion revenue is the extra money you make from current customers. This happens through upsells, cross-sells, or increasing their existing subscription. To find this data point, take the total expansion revenue and subtract any lost revenue from down-sells. It shows how much your existing customers can help your business grow. 

Four people carrying various items, entering a building through an open door

Burn Rate and Runway Analysis

Burn Rate: Burn Rate is the rate at which a company spends its money each month. It's important because it shows how quickly a company uses its cash. A high burn rate can lead to financial trouble, while a low one means more sustainability.

Runway Analysis: Runway Analysis calculates how long a company can keep operating with its current cash reserves. It's crucial because it helps predict when the company might run out of money. By knowing their runway, companies can plan, make adjustments, and ensure they have enough funds to keep going.

left picture showing burn rate and right picture showing runway analysis

Operational Metrics

Operational metrics help make things efficient and help provide users with a good experience. These metrics offer important information about how things are going internally.

They assist in decision-making, enhancing performance, and streamlining processes, ultimately boosting the success of a SaaS business.

Operational Metrics

Server Uptime and Downtime

Server Uptime and Downtime metrics are the bedrock of SaaS product reliability. Keeping servers running all the time is super important, as it guarantees customers can always use the services without any interruptions. These metrics measure the percentage of time servers are operational versus experiencing downtime.

A robust server uptime delivers a seamless user experience, instilling trust and satisfaction. Downtime can lead to disruptions, impacting user trust and satisfaction.

Server Uptime and Downtime

Response Time and Latency

Response Time and Latency metrics are crucial for a SaaS application's performance and user experience. They directly affect how satisfied users are and how they perceive the product's speed and responsiveness.

Response Time measures how quickly the application reacts to user actions, while latency indicates any delays in data transmission.

If Response Time and Latency are high, users may become displeased with slow loading times and unresponsive features. When Response Time and Latency are lower, users have a better time using the product – making them happier and more satisfied.

Keep an eye on and improve these things to ensure users stay interested and experience a product that works well.

Response Time and Latency Metrics

Incident and Issue Resolution Time

Timely incident and issue resolution are essential for keeping SaaS customers happy. Why? Because quick and effective resolution builds trust and loyalty.

When problems are fixed fast, customers feel valued and satisfied. Conversely, delays can frustrate customers and make them lose trust in the service.

Timely resolution is like providing a safety net for customers. It assures them that their concerns are taken seriously and will be addressed promptly.

In the competitive world of SaaS, maintaining trust and loyalty through swift issue resolution keeps happy customers and sustains long-term customer success, too.

Incident and Issue Resolution Time

Infrastructure and Resource Utilization

Efficient Infrastructure and Resource Utilization are essential for cost savings and operational efficiency in a SaaS business. When resources like servers and software are used effectively, it means spending less money and getting more done.

Underutilized or poorly managed resources can lead to unnecessary expenses. For example, if a server is not running at full capacity, it's like paying for a bigger space than needed. Efficient utilization ensures that resources are maximized, reducing wastage and optimizing productivity.

For SaaS businesses, efficient resource management is critical to staying lean, agile, and profitable.

Infrastructure and Resource Utilization

Support Ticket Volume and Resolution

Support Ticket Volume measures how many customer issues are raised, while resolution tracks how quickly and effectively those issues are solved. 

These metrics directly show the effectiveness of customer support.

If there are lots of tickets, but they're resolved swiftly, your support system is performing well. When support resolves issues promptly, users feel heard and valued, improving their experience.

Conversely, a high volume but slow resolution indicates areas for improvement. By monitoring these metrics, companies ensure they're meeting user needs promptly and efficiently, fostering satisfaction and loyalty among their user base.

An Illustration of Support Ticket Volume and Resolution Metrics

Growth Metrics

Growth metrics are crucial for tracking how a SaaS company grows and changes over time. They help measure how much users are involved and how well the company is reaching new markets.

By looking at these metrics, companies can see if they're getting more users and getting into new places. It's like seeing how well the company is doing in growing and expanding its reach.

An Illustration of Growth Metrics

Monthly Active Users (MAU)

MAU is the number of users actively engaging with a SaaS product within a month. It tracks user engagement over a specific timeframe.

This metric shows how many users find value in the product regularly. If more people use it over time, it's good for the SaaS company. But if fewer people use it, the company might need strategies to keep users interested. 

This simple metric helps us see how popular a product is and how connected users are.

Daily Active Users (DAU)

DAU is a key metric providing a granular view of a SaaS product's day-to-day user engagement. Unlike MAU, which counts monthly interactions, DAU tracks daily involvement. 

It's like checking how many friends attend a daily workout class. This metric is crucial for short-term activity measurement and assessing real-time application health. 

For a SaaS company, a high DAU indicates consistent and immediate user involvement, while a drop may signal issues. DAU tells us how popular the product is each day and how much users are interacting with it. It's like being able to check the heartbeat of the product.

An Illustration of Daily Active Users Metrics

User Engagement Metrics

User engagement metrics, including session duration, click-through rates, and feature adoption, are important data points that need monitoring. User engagement acts as a guide, showing how users interact with the product – with these insights, you can take steps to retain and grow a SaaS user base.

  • Session duration is monitoring how long users stay on your SaaS platform.
  • Click-through rates show how often people click on links or buttons in your software,  indicating interest levels.
  • Feature adoption measures how many users try out new features. More adoption means users find value in those features.

It's important to grasp these metrics to create plans that keep users engaged in the SaaS world. This helps build a lively and strong user community. 

An Illustration of User Engagement Metrics

Virality Coefficient

The Virality Coefficient is like a popularity meter for your SaaS product. Simply, it measures how likely your product is to go viral – spreading it far and wide. If the coefficient is above 1, that means every user is bringing in more than one new user, fueling rapid growth. 

High Virality Coefficient means more users are contributing to the product's growth by inviting others. If each user brings in two friends, and those friends bring in two more each, it creates a snowball effect. Your product is growing fast because your users are making it happen.

So, keep an eye on that Virality Coefficient. It directly indicates the number of users who love and promote your product, making it more popular.

An Illustration of Virality Coefficient

Market Expansion and Penetration Metrics

Market Expansion metrics measure how much a SaaS company grows its reach into new areas. It's like measuring the company's success in entering unfamiliar markets. 

Penetration metrics measure how well a company is doing in its current markets. It's like checking how much it's growing in the areas it's already known for.

When a SaaS company's Expansion metrics are strong, it shows they are successfully reaching new markets and growing. These metrics are key indicators of the company's overall reach and market growth. Meanwhile, robust Penetration metrics showcase the depth of acceptance in current markets.

Both metrics form a picture of the company's success and continuous expansion.

Market Expansion and Penetration Metrics

Get to Know Your Metrics 

The best SaaS companies don’t rely on blind luck and gut feeling; they meticulously track every important metric and use the data to refine their business strategies. 

Monitoring vital SaaS benchmarks is crucial for business success. At the very minimum, you should be

  • Focusing on customer satisfaction by tracking acquisition cost (CAC), lifetime value (CLV), and churn rate.
  • Keep an eye on finances with metrics like annual recurring revenue and gross/net revenue.
  • Ensuring smooth operations and quick support.
  • Growing with active users and virality coefficient.
  • Striking a balance between expansion and retention.

Utilizing these tips can improve your metric monitoring and set yourself up for SaaS excellence. If you need more help or guidance on engaging and converting your audience, contact MADX Digital to learn how we can boost your success.

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