Intro Month 1: Decide on Your Flight-Path Month 2: SaaS Metrics To Help Track Progress Month 3: Engage Your Thrusters with Content and Advertising Month 4: Four Essential Advertising Metrics for SaaS Companies Month 5: Advanced Revenue Tracking and Fine-Tuning Analytics for SaaS Growth Month 6: Lost in Space—How to Keep Your SaaS Company Productive Month 7: Stopping the Fuel Leaks—How to Slow SaaS Cancellations Conclusion: Fuel Management—Onwards and Onwards Towards Your Goal
Month 2: SaaS Metrics To Help Track Progress

Month 2: SaaS Metrics To Help Track Progress

By Andy Chan

So, once you’ve selected your big goal you can work backwards and pick small things that will help you reach that bright, new horizon.

Here are some sample metrics that will help you refine and track your progress.

Our big goal

The First Goal

The First Goal: Acquire rocket.

Let’s say our fictional SaaS company wants to grow from 3,000 to 5,000 paying subscribers in seven months.

Those customers will not drop from the sky.

We will need to do four basic things.

Acquisition: help prospects find us and consider our product as a solution.

Activation: turn those visitors or leads generated from our acquisition tactics into free trials, loyal blog readers, email subscribers, and interested leads in the pipeline.

Retention: for those blog readers not ready to buy yet, we need to keep them as potential customers down the road, we need the free trial users to actually log in and use the product, we need those strangers that we worked so hard to engage in acquisition and activation to start developing loyalty to us.

Revenue: leads need to give us their credit card, free trials need to convert, blog readers need to become customers.

We’ve stolen this framework from Dave McClure, start-up philosopher and growth expert. Dave’s framework, however, is more suited to large consumer start-ups, so we’ve tweaked it to fit our clients. Read more here.

Pick tactics for each phase

Next, we need to decide what we will do for each phase.

Here is how we would do this for our fictional SaaS company.

Sample acquisition tactics:

Sample activation tactics:

Sample retention tactics:

Sample revenue tactics:

Now, pick metrics to measure your tactics

Strategy is how you will reach a goal. It’s your navigation computer.

Tactics are your fuel. They propel you forward. But they need to be used wisely. Without strategy, you’ll move but not necessarily in a straight direction.

Metrics help to make sure tactics are working in the short term, propelling you towards your final goal.

A metric doesn’t lie. So if you aren’t hitting it, either your strategy is ineffective or you are chasing the wrong tactics.

Let’s move through some sample metrics. All of these relate to our overall goal.

Sample acquisition metrics:

Pick around three. For example, our fictional SaaS company would choose the metrics below. If we hit these metrics, we will increase the places and channels that prospects discover our product.

So we would first select our metrics. Then at the end of seven months, we want to know if we hit those metrics.

Sample activation metrics:

Pick three. Our fictional SaaS company would choose these, which would help take prospects from discovering our company to moving towards leads.

Sample retention metrics:

Next pick 2-3 retention metrics. For example, we’d pick the following, making sure that we were nudging prospects toward a conversion event.

Sample revenue metrics:

Finally, pick metrics that tie back to revenue. Remember, these are marketing metrics. So if you have a revenue or business metric that you are trying to reach (like 10K in new monthly revenue), you’ll have to work backwards to figure out how many new customers and sign-ups you’d need to achieve that goal.

Our fictional company chooses:

Checking the Metrics

In a decor budget pinch, metrics also make great wallpaper for the boardroom.

Post your metrics in a public place

You’ve selected your metrics. Now, you need to stick to them. We recommend placing them on a screen in your team meeting room or somewhere visible.

Here is what our fictional SaaS company selected:

Our big goal—to the stars and beyond . . .

Our Acquisition Metrics

Our Activation Metrics

Our Retention Metrics

Our Revenue Metrics

You’ve selected your goals, tactics, and metrics. Now get creative.

You know where you want to go.

Now, you need to get creative and start experimenting with different initiatives that will help you reach your short-term metrics and long-term goal.

Our clients generally try to do everything all at once. Get press coverage, create a video, convert more free trials, improve SEO, run paid search, and on an on.

Take a breath. Put some fuel in the engines. And take off to your first goal.

We would break down some measurable milestones for each month.

Here is a sample of different tasks we’d assign to the marketing team.

Month 1: Get this ship off the ground!

Month 1 – Acquisition tactics to complete:

Month 1- Activation tactics to complete:

Month 1 – Retention tactics to complete:

Month 1 – revenue tactics to complete:

End of month check-up . . .

At the end of the month, we’d check in with our metrics. Does it look like those tactics are producing an effect? Any lessons learned? Are these the right tactics? Test, measure, and get better.

Your turn . . .

We will leave it up to you to build the rest of the months. The key is that at the end of the month you can say “did we meet our goals?”

Nothing feels better than setting a goal and reaching it.

Onwards and upwards.

Further reading:

Startup Metrics for Pirates: AARRR!!


Want great resources to your inbox every now and then? Join our mailing list.