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5 Lessons Learned from a SaaS Metrics Roundtable (PDX)

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Guest blog by Scott Krager, CEO of

My SEO software startup recently attended the “Measuring and Improving SaaS Metrics” event in sunny Portland, Oregon where Totango co-founder, Omer Gotlieb, joined a group of Portland startups for some roundtable sharing on SaaS best practices. It was a blast of an event, and I ended up with some great takeaways for my own SaaS startup.

#1. The first 3 days are key to converting trials

All the evidence (and common sense) shows that customers contacted within the first 3 days of a software trial are more likely to convert to paid users. For us that means at least for our higher end plans, I need to get on the phone and connect with new trials.

Lucky for me I love talking about SEO and the phone doesn’t scare me. For us we know our number one conversion activity is getting customers to track more keywords in their account.

#2. Inactive customers cancel

Again, not shocking but with Totango it’s incredibly easy for me to spot our customers who haven’t been active in the past 30 days. I’m not sure how we are going to reach out to them yet, but we need to re-engage them somehow so they don’t become high-risk cancellation accounts.

I think for us that means we need to be releasing a feature of value to these customers at least once a month so we give them a reason to login and re-engage with the software.

#3. Don’t send dumb emails

No one likes an email on day 29 of a trial asking for the sale when you haven’t been using the product at all. We don’t send “dumb” emails like this anymore, but we don’t really send “smart” emails yet either. With Totango you can export customer segments (for example those logging in for the 3rd time in a trial for example) to any e-mail marketing program and send that segment tailored content.

#4. Don’t try and optimize the first sale

This was an interesting take-away. Don’t try to get a $2,000/month sale right off the bat if you could get a customer to start at $100. It’s always easier to move an existing customer up the price ladder than only offer a premium level for them to start at.

I think we do this pretty well at SERPs. We have plans that start at $18/month, so it’s easy to get started. But we see many users move up to higher plan levels that started at a the cheap plan level.

#5. Build the brand

Credit Card Trial Filters from SERPS.comFor a startup like mine that has no brand yet, it’s important to keep building the brand. For us that means creating interesting blog posts, speaking at industry events, and creating software that SEOs love.

Those we’re my 5 quick takeaways from the SaaS round-table. I also setup some new account filters so I can easily contact new trials within that 3 days window as well as check on the health of our trials as they get close to converting to paid subscribers (we require a credit card to setup a trial).


Omer Gotlieb

Omer Gotlieb, Co-Founder and VP of Business Development of Totango, has been recognized as a top influencer and mentor in the customer success space. As the SVP of Business Development, he is taking Totango to the next level. He speaks frequently at Customer Success events, both locally and internationally, sharing valuable insights and experiences. Prior to Totango, he was the VP of Product at MTS, Director of Client Services at AtHoc, and other customer-facing roles at Addwise and Netvision. His specialities include churn management, business intelligence, and performance management.

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