SaaS Reporting: Why SaaS Reports are Important and the 6 Metrics You'll Need
Mar 19 2020
There is no shortage of companies offering business intelligence for SaaS companies. There is also no doubt that your SaaS business will not survive without quality analytics from trusted data sources aiding you in your key decision-making processes. Simply using an Excel spreadsheet will not cut it in today's hyper-competitive market when your competitors are making use of more sophisticated analytics. But unless you know which metrics you need and what to do with them once you've got them, the best reporting in the world will not be much more useful than that Excel sheet.
If you know how to act on key metrics, then SaaS reporting will allow you to foster significant growth in your business and exceed your expectations. That only works; however, if those metrics are reliable and readily available. If your reporting software is not providing reliable statistics or is providing you with a sea of statistics that are not actionable or easy to understand, then you will be leaving money on the table.
Without SaaS reporting, you don't know where your business stands
SaaS reporting allows you to take a detailed and measurable look at your company's cash flow situation. By understanding how to read and respond to key metrics, you'll be able to take control over that situation. Without that information, you are essentially running blind and can't be sure of which step is the correct one to make. Accurate SaaS reporting will answer some important questions about your business, such as:
Has your revenue increased?
Revenue is clearly the most important metric, but understanding your revenue flow involves more than just looking to see if it is up or down. Every business has seasonal revenue fluctuations. Good reporting software will let you know when a drop in revenue is out of the ordinary and needs attention. Similarly, large increases in revenue may provide you with insights as to how to keep that growth going.
Which users are converting?
Understanding your target audience is key to reaching out to the right groups of potential customers. Your SaaS metrics should give you some idea where your customers are coming from, and which segment of your users converts well. With that information, you'll be able to more effectively target the right segment of the population in the places they are most likely to find you.
When are customers churning?
It is possible that some aspect of your customer journey is providing a sticking point and causing a needlessly high churn rate. With the proper tools, you'll be able to identify these weak spots in your pipeline and address them before you lose more customers.
Are customers happy with your products?
As with all businesses, customer feedback is crucial to the success of a SaaS product. In fact, because you rely on customers continuing to pay you month after month, it is even more important that they are satisfied with the service that they are paying for. For this reason, it should not only be easy for customers to provide you with feedback, but you should actively solicit and respond to that feedback often.
Data doesn't mean much if it isn't actionable
As you can see, many of the questions we've talked about are fairly common and well reported on a superficial level. These statistics alone aren't enough though, you need a reporting tool that will dig deeper and give you actionable insights. It isn't enough to know whether revenue is up or down, you need to know why it is. Knowing where your customers came from is great and a vital first step. It doesn't position you for significant growth until there is enough data to also tell you who those customers are and how to best appeal to them. Your SaaS reporting software could give you hundreds of variables, but if it isn't giving you the right ones, with clear ways to capitalize on them, then you are just wasting your money.
Get the SaaS metrics you need
With all of the metrics that SaaS reporting tools offer, how do you know which ones are the ones you need to pay attention to? How do you take these important statistics and turn them into actions that will grow the size of your business? Let's take a look at six of the most important KPIs.
Your average revenue per user is considered by some to be a meaningless statistic. It's true that there are deeper statistics that will provide you greater insight, but ARPU is a great metric for measuring the general health of your business. You can see more about ARPU and how you can use it to fuel growth in a previous blog post.
Your conversion rate is the ratio of people who visit your site versus the people who become paying customers. This metric is important for calculating how many visitors you need on your site in order to hit specific revenue goals. It is also vital in determining whether your sales funnel needs improvement and measuring the success of your tweaks to it.
Your churn rate is the percentage of customers you lose in a given time frame. A high churn rate can be a symptom of many problems, so it's important to keep an eye on it. A high churn rate can highlight an issue with your customer retention strategy. This could be prices that are too high, software that is difficult to learn, or any number of problems. As you begin to narrow down and address the problem, your churn rate will be a guide for measuring your success and failures. For more on churn rate, check out this blog post.
MRR and ARR
Like ARPU, your monthly recurring revenue and annual recurring revenue (MRR and ARR) are another set of important metrics about the general health of your company. Also, like your ARPU, a deeper look at them can provide some insights that go beyond general financial health. We go in-depth about MRR and ARR here.
Customer acquisition cost refers to how much you must spend in order to acquire a customer. It is the total cost of your marketing and sales expenses divided by the number of new users you signed up. This, along with LTV, is an important metric in determining your pricing strategy. You must make more per customer than it costs to acquire them.
The lifetime value of a customer refers to the total amount of money that a customer will spend with you from the time they sign up to the time they cancel it. The customer lifetime value should be at least five or six times higher than the cost of acquiring that customer. Regular re-evaluation of your pricing strategy and tweaks to it informed by these two metrics, especially in the early phases of your business, will help maximize growth.
Real-time data, exactly when you need it
The world isn't going to stop and wait for your reports to be updated. You need real-time access to key data points that impact the health of your company. This will allow you to get ahead of problems before they become bigger and ensure that all of your financial decisions are made using the latest data. ProfitWell Metrics update in real-time so you never have to wait for the data you need.
With apps available on both iOS and Android, you'll never have to worry about being away from a computer and unable to access reports when you need them. Our metrics aren't just available in real-time, they are available any time, and everywhere you are for the ultimate in self-service reporting.
Grow your business through accurate reporting
Let's recap what we've learned. We covered which KPIs are important to keep track of, and learned a little bit about how they can help you make important business decisions for your company. When the data provided to you is accurate and in real-time, you'll be able to take clear actions that drive your company forward.
It's hard to make decisions about the future. ProfitWell Metrics will give you the tools that you need to forecast your revenue growth and customer acquisitions. We provide you with accurate data so you can be confident when making those crucial decisions.
Find profitable customer segments
With data enriched by Clearbit and Full Contact, we are able to give you a closer look at who your end-users are and what market segments they belong to. You're able to segment the data to understand what and who is driving or detracting from your subscription growth.
Improve your marketing efforts
Beyond finding the best customer segments to market to, ProfitWell Metrics will give you key data points that will allow you to gauge the success of both your inbound and outbound marketing strategies. By maximizing your marketing efforts, you'll be able to convert even more of those key customer segments that you discovered. You may even find a few other profitable segments that were just waiting to be tapped into.
Metrics like CAC and LTV are significant when it comes to your pricing strategy And with ProfitWell's accurate reporting, you're able to dig deep into the trends from new customers, existing customers, upgrades, downgrades, and churn.
Start using SaaS reporting to drive growth
Proper growth requires understanding about how your prospects become customers and connecting that data through the entire customer lifecycle. It can be overwhelming to track it all, but with ProfitWell Metrics you can. We're here to help. Providing all of your subscription reporting in one place—for free—so you can take action and grow your business.
By Patrick Campbell
Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.