There isn't an industry alive that doesn't include metrics in its performance analysis to understand how efficient their operation and marketing is. When software companies identify their key metrics it has an even greater sway on their performance. It highlights where things aren't running so well and what areas of sales, marketing and support need to up their game for stronger growth.
"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it!"
A quote that has been rinsed of its business meaning over and over, but for SaaS marketing strategy, it is a mantra that still holds true, albeit changed to:
"If you don't measure it, you won't improve it!"
We are all aware of some SaaS products that are so good they literally flew off the virtual shelves without much more than a fanfare like Trello, Spotify and Uber. Unfortunately, however, that is rarely the case for the software application industry and means planned investment to drive meaningful growth is as important as it gets.
In the short-term, due to expensive start up costs, early SaaS sales are necessary for rapid growth. This quite often means free trials, subscriptions and a swift conversion to sales. Marketing metrics are the data that allows marketers to evaluate their campaigns performance against their goals - and your inbound marketing needs to quickly identify which metrics are the key areas of focus, i.e., which ones are pointing towards market traction and of course bringing in revenue!
There are so many different metrics you can measure whether it be traffic, conversion, leads, contacts, qualified leads, referral and more! Having a closed loop reporting system, like Hubspots, allows you to save time and integrate all your efforts, whether they be good or bad into one centralised location.
The 5 Key Metrics SaaS Companies Should Measure
To get leads you need traffic, lots of it, although it's not the actual volume but the quality of traffic that counts! An important metric is how many qualified leads you’re attracting. You may have a huge influx of traffic to your site after running your first campaign, but if all this traffic and leads are not qualified, they may never result in a sale. You need to make sure you’re attracting your target audience, your buyer persona.
Your content needs to engage your buyer persona and be highly shareable too in order to attract the qualified leads that your targeted campaigns are enticing. Converting this audience through free trials and upping subscribers is what you're after, then it's about maintaining their interest and keeping them on board.
Leads should be quantified (segmented) based on your buyer personas. Their job title, industry and role are vital points of information in assessing their purchase potential. You can then streamline your content to maintain their attention and convert.
Analysing your qualified leads as opposed to total contacts, and then rates of qualified lead growth, can help you amend your campaign (content) and project growth figures alongside capital investment. If these numbers aren't increasing, change it.
Customer Acquisition Cost
With depleting start-up funds this metric is a key indicator of just how efficient your marketing performance really is. Customer Acquisition Cost will tell you exactly how much it has cost you to land a customer. This can include marketing team salaries, paid advertising costs, sales team salaries and more!
CAC is a number that reveals pretty clearly how long it will take your company to recoup whatever investment has been spent. Tracking this figure and its descent to a lower number might indicate how sustainable your business is, but moreover it tracks your increasingly effective marketing efforts to see how they're paying off!
If you are not tracking your revenues, then start now (or reconsider your position). Revenue is key to the sustainability of your business. Tracking your monthly recurring revenue, annual recurring revenue and revenue per customer will provide the bigger picture on where the money is coming in from, how frequently and from what.
Sales & Marketing Metrics
More detailed than just revenue and cost-analysis is analysing your SAAS marketing and sales figures in detail which can be effective ways to put your metrics into context.
The degree to which you can measure the success of your metrics can be almost impossible without some form of reporting software. Integrating your inbound and reporting platforms enables efficient closed-loop reporting and access to instant data. And helps with important decisions such as:
- Analysing what content works
- Which landing pages are most effective
- What CTAs work best
- Re Qualification of leads
Have you thought about how your customers are actually using your software? Is it exactly as you've designed and pitched it, or are they finding different uses for it you hadn't imagined?
How do your customers adopt your software to suit their needs? If you are not asking, your long term results can be reflected.
Tracking the usage of your software can help you open up potential new markets and you can design, create and launch campaigns and content highlighting this.
For instance, we found that many of our new clients had been using HubSpot, but only using it as a third party social media application and not as a fully integrated reporting system. We also know HubSpot have realised this and push additional content, campaigns and training in the right direction.
The metrics relevant to your software business might be slightly different from the next, and as such it is important to fully examine your own economic model and identify which are paramount, which are needed, which are useful and which don't matter.
Your key metrics will guide marketing and sales (and ultimately the profit you can expect to generate) over the short, mid and long term. Used alongside closed-loop reporting will help response time, marketing and content tactics to align with what engages your buyers to buy. It could mean hiring extra sales, investing in an inbound partner or reducing head counts. Metrics ultimately provide cost-effective knowledge to drive growth.