How to Measure Growth Marketing Success in SaaS: The Maze, The Metrics, and The Miracles

Let’s leap into the world of SaaS growth marketing measurement! I’ve discovered that measuring growth marketing success isn’t like following a simple breadcrumb trail. Nope, it’s more akin to navigating a sprawling, topsy-turvy labyrinth. You’ll find metrics hiding around every corner, waiting to jump out and yell, “Surprise! You’re on the right track… or are you?” But fear not; let’s equip ourselves with the best survival tools.

The Maze: Why It’s Trickier Than You Think 

The world of SaaS is a funhouse of metrics, each clamouring for attention and claiming to be the ‘one true metric.’ This isn’t a Game of Thrones episode; there’s room for more than one ruler here. The challenge, however, lies in understanding which metrics matter and how they all intertwine.

Let’s take the tale of Shopify as an example. Their big break wasn’t when they hit a million users or even ten million. It was when they realised that focusing on Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) was their golden goose, not just the number of storefronts. It wasn’t about how many people were using the platform but about the overall business done through the platform. Understanding this changed their growth trajectory forever, and the rest, as we say, is e-commerce history.

Metrics That Matter: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Now that we’ve identified the maze, let’s discuss the signposts. Remember, it’s not about one metric to rule them all. It’s about several metrics, each playing its part in the grand orchestra of growth. Let’s look at some maestro metrics:

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

The Rolling Stones once said, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” Well, in the world of SaaS, it’s more like, “I can’t get any traction without MRR.” This metric is critical in understanding your steady income stream. MRR is the crystal ball that gives you a peek into future revenue based on your current subscribers.

Dropbox is an excellent example here. They knew that freemium was their foot in the door, but the transition to premium plans fed their MRR and sustained growth.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is the price you pay to convince a potential customer to buy your product or service. Picture it like this: it’s what you spend on a fancy lunch to woo your big client. CAC is crucial because it tells you how much you spend to get each new customer. You want to know if the juice is worth the squeeze.

Take Slack, for instance. Their CAC decreased when they shifted to a word-of-mouth, virality-driven model. Each new customer brought in several more, reducing costs and giving them the needed growth curve.

Lifetime Value (LTV)

Lifetime Value (LTV) is the net profit you make from a customer throughout their relationship with your company. It’s like knowing how many contracts you’ll get from your client in the future. And, no surprise here, you want the number of contracts (read: revenue) to be higher than the fancy lunch you paid for (read: CAC).

A stellar example is Adobe shifting to a subscription-based model, effectively increasing their LTV and providing them with a reliable, recurring revenue stream. 

Churn Rate

Think of Churn as the party pooper of SaaS metrics. It’s the percentage of customers who stop using your product over a given period. A high churn rate is like having guests leave your party early—a warning sign they’re not having a good time. 

Zoom, during the early days of the pandemic, experienced a negative churn rate. People weren’t just staying; they were inviting friends, thus expanding accounts and proving that the Zoom party was a hit.

The Miracles: Aligning Metrics with Business Goals

Your metrics should reflect your SaaS business goals. Let’s say your business goal is expansion. You’re looking at an Adobe-style play, hoping to increase the lifetime value (LTV) of your customers by upselling and cross-selling. Or, like Dropbox, you’re more focused on increasing your MRR.

Your metrics aren’t just a bunch of numbers; they’re the narrative of your business. They tell you where you’ve been, where you’re going, and how fast you’re getting there.

Navigating the labyrinth of SaaS growth marketing measurement can be challenging. Remember, it’s not about finding the ‘one true metric.’ It’s about understanding the interplay between different metrics and how they align with your business goals.

Grab your compass (data), put on your adventuring hat (analysis), and step bravely into the maze. Growth stories are waiting to be told. And share your adventures in the comments. I love great success stories, even more so when data back it!

Photo by Ben Mathis Seibel on Unsplash


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