[Note: This post first appeared as a guest post on the blog of Totango. In case you don't know Totango, it is a powerful analytics product which gives online services the information they need to increase user engagement, conversion and retention. If you're a SaaS company you should check it out. Thanks to Guy Nirpaz and his team for publishing my post, which I am republishing here.]
In talking to a pretty large number of SaaS entrepreneurs in the last few years I've observed that there's a considerable amount of uncertainty around metrics: Which KPIs are the most important ones, what's the right way to calculate churn, CACs, MRR and other key metrics, how can I estimate customer lifetime value – these and other questions come up all the time, and the answers aren’t always obvious.
I've tried to address some of these questions in a couple of blog posts:
- 9 Worst Practices in SaaS Metrics
- Excel template for cohort analyses in SaaS
- The 8th DO for SaaS startups - Stay on top of your KPIs
I also put together a template which I thought SaaS startups could find useful and which also makes it easier for us as a VC to communicate what KPIs we're looking for when we talk to SaaS entrepreneurs. Needless to say a template can only be a starting point, as every SaaS startup is different and needs to build its own, customized dashboard. Nonetheless it seems like the template, first published in April of this year, struck a chord with many SaaS founders and investors: The blog post got more than 60,000 page views (which I assume is quite a lot for a niche topic on a VC blog, at least if you’re not Fred Wilson :-) ) and I get requests for the Excel file every day.
In the meantime I’ve put some more work into the dashboard. You can download it here. (And if you like it, tweet it!)
Here’s how the charts look like with some sample data in it:
|Click for a larger version|
The main improvement of this version is that it now includes different pricing tiers and annual plans. This makes the spreadsheet considerably larger, but I feel it's necessary if you have multiple pricing tiers and contract lengths, and you can collapse a lot of the rows to get a concise view of the top KPIs.
I hope you find it useful! If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.