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March 29, 2019

Reporting the Right KPIs Is Essential to SaaS Startup Customer Success


Sooner or later, every software as a service (SaaS) startup realizes that one of the biggest challenges to SaaS success is the need to please three distinct audiences simultaneously: buyers, decision makers, and end users. Each of these three groups have very different goals for your product, and you must be mindful of each of them as you approach customer success.

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In this post, we’re focusing on reporting back to your customers. Which metrics do you highlight, and how do you make your reports relevant to your customers? Most importantly, what are the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each of the groups you are serving? What can you send them in your feedback that will motivate them to become champions for your product? Understanding which metrics matter most to each group--and how to report them effectively—can literally make or break a SaaS company.

Let’s begin by discussing what not to do. In terms of KPIs, more isn’t better. One of the biggest mistakes SaaS startups can make is dumping a mess of data upon a user. It’s easy to get caught up in measuring everything and assuming that a customer will find some use for it, but the truth is, the vast majority of your customers aren’t interested in all the minutia. Instead, they want to answer a simple question: “Was it worth it?”

Find the most direct benefit that your product delivers, and hit your customer over the head with it. For users, this often revolves around a feel-good metric. How did your product make their week simpler, easier, or more fun?

For instance, I’m an avid user of Grammarly. Every week, I get an email letting me know how many mistakes I’ve made, and where I rank among all Grammarly users. This is both extremely useful in seeing the direct effects of improving my writing and giving me a benchmark against which I can compare myself. Each week, I want to land in the top 20%, and as Grammarly calls me out, I start to reinforce good habits and improve. It’s simple but addictive.

For the decision makers, this usually comes down to a simple equation of time or money saved. What’s the best way that you can measure performance through your product, and how can you relate that back to an improved bottom line for your customer? What is the single metric you can employ to drive home your value proposition?

At Sorcero, we are building out our platform to track metrics for both users and decision-makers. For the decision-makers, we are going straight to the bottom line, figuring out a rough metric of the dollar value for each question answered, in order to deliver a weekly report on the total time saved and savings delivered.


For users, we are tracking how their interactions help their fellow employees. Every time they use our product, it gets smarter, and every time they ask a unique question and create an answer, they help their co-workers down the line. In addition to a time-saved metric, we will also show how they have helped co-workers make their own workflow simpler, easier, and faster. By directly connecting the desired outcome to simple, identifiable metrics, you can help make your product addictive and ensure long-term customer success.

Remember, long-term success in SaaS depends on happy customers and nothing makes customers happier and ensures continued success) than concrete evidence of ROI.

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Sean Smith
Sean Smith Sean is VP of Marketing at Sorcero


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