Note from Guy Nirpaz, Totango CEO:
Helping SaaS companies figure out the key metrics that matter is something we at Totango consider part of our mission. Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Christoph, benefit from his advice as a startup founder, and exchange ideas on the best dashboard and KPIs to build. I am very excited to have Christoph do this guest post on the Totango blog. There are so many specific factors that come into play for each SaaS startup, but here’s a template that I find to be a very useful foundation. Christoph, thanks for sharing your knowledge on the topic with Totango readers.
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 the following blog posts:
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 and I’m happy to publish the new and improved version here on the Totango blog.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.