What are the six customer data points SaaS businesses should be tracking, and why are they so important?
Tracking customer metadata helps you identify opportunities to improve sales efficiency, expand revenue, and increase retention. These metadata, typically captured through CRM or user level analytic software, provide important customer insights so you can deploy sales and marketing efforts on the segments with the greatest return on investment. Here are six customer data points every SaaS CEO should be tracking:
Segmenting your customer base is immensely valuable to improve KPIs. Consider this example: After JMI Equity, a growth equity firm, invested in Arena Solutions, a cloud-based, all-in-one product development platform, they worked together on a deep segmentation exercise to improve KPIs. After this exercise, Arena Solutions used the data to reorient their sales strategy towards the target audience with the highest return on investment.
The result? According to Andrea Pitts, SVP of Global Sales at Arena Solutions, strategic reallocation of sales efforts helped them double their average sales price, reduce customer acquisition costs, and improve retention all in the first year (watch the full “Virtual Coffee”).
Segmentation data points provide key insights into your customer base. Size, industry, and geography are data points that are typically captured during onboarding or through periodic customer surveys. Knowing which segments yield the best ROI can help you focus your sales efforts and reduce churn.
1. Customer Size: Tracking your customers’ revenue and employee count gives you a sense of the customer’s size. This information will help you better define your target customer profile by indicating which cohorts generate the most revenue and have the highest retention.
2. Industry: When reviewing customers’ industry, you should understand what industries make up the bulk of your revenue. By redeploying sales efforts to these industries that make up the highest percentage of revenue and have the best retention, companies can improve sales efficiency.
Andrea Pitts discussed how adopting an industry segmentation approach to sales revealed they were selling to about 89 industries, yet 90% of revenue came from just 14 industries. After focusing their efforts on those 14 high-return industries, they saw tremendous results: “We surpassed our bookings targets, and we hit the gross retention target in one year. We had sales reps hitting their quotas consistently, even after raising quotas. The results were extreme, and it gets back to segmentation. Analyze that data.”
3. Geography: Data on location can tell you how sales efforts can be organized if you have a high concentration in a single region or have international customers. It is recommended to track the customer’s country and state. Areas of geographic concentration, such as a large number of customers in one region, suggest the need for a dedicated sales representative for that region.
Usage data points provide insights into which products, modules, or functionalities customers are using and how frequently they use them. These insights will help identify customers who are not using the product regularly, which is an early sign of churn. It also captures the company’s total whitespace opportunity or areas to upsell specific existing customers.
4. Active Users: The number of active users should be tracked daily or monthly. Daily tracking is optimal for identifying customers with a low or declining number of active users, suggesting a higher risk of churn. Recognizing high-risk customers early on will enable targeted intervention by sales and customer support teams to improve customer usage. Tracking this also identifies customers with a high number of active users. If your company has a per-seat pricing model, you can identify upselling opportunities for those customers nearing the allowable usage at their current price tier.
5. User Persona: Identifying your customers’ user personas is key to refining your target buyer profile and targeting your sales efforts. The best way to define these personas is by identifying the user’s pain points. From there, adjust the sales strategy to add role-based selling and focus on how you can add value to each persona.
Andrea Pitts discusses this concept: “If I am having a [sales] conversation with an engineer, I want to understand what their issues are. What I should concentrate on are those areas of value where we can help that engineer. If I am talking to the Manager, it’s similar, but a much different conversation. Managers have different things they are tasked with and measured on. Instead of understanding what they do in their job every day, understand what keeps them from doing their job. Make sure you can tie it back to the value you provide.”
In addition to adjusting the sales strategy, this data is helpful for product teams to identify any areas where the product may be lacking in functionality and release features applicable for these personas.
6. Products & Modules: Monthly tracking of user activity data, including modules, products, functionality, and frequency of use, provides ongoing feedback and insights into whitespace opportunities. If certain modules or products are being underutilized, you need to understand why. If your company prices on a per-module or per-product basis, this information is useful for account managers to farm existing customers and further expand their wallet share.
Further, a deeper analysis of retention and ARR growth on a per-product basis will reveal if a particular product has better retention or growth than others. This information will give insight into which product is driving topline growth and retention.
Tracking customer metadata is essential to understand your customer base. These data points provide valuable insights into ways you can improve sales efficiency, expand revenue, and increase retention. If you would like to discuss how these data points can help your SaaS business, don’t hesitate to reach out.