What does your content need to do for you to know it's working?
The answer is different for most people, but I hate it when authors write fluff pieces about how you (the reader) can decide what's best for you. So here's what I think are important key performance indicators (KPI) for marketing a Saas product.
The metrics I measure
I don't care for vanity metrics. Vanity stats make me feel good or bad about my work, but it's not what I report on. Viewer count on a video, downloads on a podcast, and likes on a Tweet don't mean much.
Sales, monthly recurring revenue (MRR), and customer retention rates tell you how healthy your business is and it's important to link your content marketing activity back to these numbers when you can.
Your Saas quick ratio shows how reliably your company can "grow revenue given its current churn rate." Per Baremetrics, "[a]ll MRR growth is not created equal. The types of MRR that make up your MRR growth really do matter" and the Quick Ratio shows how healthy your growth is.
Here's the Quick Ratio formula:
Who picks the KPI?
Who should choose which metrics really matter? I work with the product manager, the sales team, and Execs to come up with metrics that matter. Here are some of those.
The people all the way at the top of your org often want to see revenue and cost numbers.
- How much money is coming in?
- How much money is going out to achieve the revenue we're getting?
Report on MRR and Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) so management can see growth they can measure against annual revenue targets.
Active users or active accounts are good indicators of the health of the business, too. You can measure active users Daily (DAU), Weekly (WAU), Monthly (MAU), etc. Pick a time period that makes most sense for your business.
Active users and active accounts is a good one for product managers, too. It's a nice ego boost if thousands of people are enjoying your product every day, but it also indicates whether or not product development is on the right path.
I also like to report on recent reviews and customer interactions like support enquiries and customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) so the product team can see how people are responding to the product.
Show me the money, baby! MRR and ARR are good for the sales team. If you have channel partners who sell your product for you or as part of a consulting package, it's good to record and report on which partners are moving product and selling licenses.
It can take years to build a strong relationship with partners, but once you've laid the groundwork and built a good relationship, they'll make one sale that forms the tiny snowball that starts to roll down hill. If you can help the sales team find the partners who will turn into the gigantic ball of snow at the bottom of the hill, they'll love you for it.
How to record and track your KPIs
It's hard to go into specifics here that would apply to more than a few people, but here's my general approach.
Profitwell was our revenue and churn reporting tool of choice. It makes it simple to see important numbers like revenue and customer retention.
I've used Sherlock, Intercom, Appcues and others to track in-app user engagement. I haven't found the right mix of tools to get a crystal clear view of user engagement yet, but these tools are each fun and interesting to use.
Databox and Google Data Studio make reporting and real-time data easy to review.
Bottom line: find tools that can tell you the important stats you need to grow your business. Knowing what your reporting must include before shopping will help you find the right tools and you'll avoid testing endless products.
Not covered here
Working in a bigger org means more teams, each with tighter focus. I used to track these metrics religiously, but since moving onto a team more focused on user acquisition than retention I've lost sight of them:
- Average Revenue per User (ARPU)
- Lifetime value (LTV)