SaaS Metrics & Benchmarks
Nick Franklin is the Founder and CEO of ChartMogul, a leading SaaS Metrics Reporting, and Subscription Analytics Platform. Nick worked for five years at ZenDesk, where he led both Europe and then Asia-Pacific before founding ChartMogul eight years ago. With 2,500 B2B SaaS companies as customers, Nick's insights around how companies use metrics to inform decision-making are unmatched. Nick's perspective is that during the earliest days of a B2B SaaS company's evolution, the importance of being able to track metrics begins. An example early on is how pricing and packaging impact customer acquisition and growth. Another example Nick highlighted is if a founder is considering raising external funds, having a grasp on the key financial performance metrics is critical to gaining investor confidence. Nick highlighted the importance of providing access to company performance metrics to all employees is critical to creating a metrics-centric culture. When I asked Nick "why companies do not provide performance metrics transparency to their employees?", Nick shared that many of their customers simply say they prefer to keep company financial information "on a need-to-know basis". Nick could not explain why that is beyond history and an old-fashioned mentality. Nick responded that they wanted to ensure that even the earliest-stage companies could develop a metrics culture, and use ChartMogul as that infrastructure. That is why ChartMogul provides a free version of its platform to companies with less than $10,000 MRR. Over fifty percent of their customers are paying customers up to $100M ARR. Some companies decide to use a metrics and subscription analytics platform in preparation for an impending financing event, which begged the question of what are the top metrics investors want to see a founder truly understand. Nick highlighted early customer retention, revenue and product engagement growth, and eventually dollar-based customer retention and expansion. Double clicking on the "engagement" measurement, what are the common metrics to measure? How many users, how many times do they log into/use the platform on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, and then almost always there is a product-specific "North Star Metric" such as messages, API calls, documents sent, etc... During our discussion on "engagement", I asked Nick what the aha moment, often referred to as the "activation point" is for ChartMogul. He shared that integrating into a subscription management platform is the first activation point, but more importantly the "high-value activation point" is when the user gains insight or perspective on a metric that was not previously available, understood, or even considered as a critical business metric. If you are evaluating how best to capture, calculate, publish and use metrics to inform your B2B SaaS journey and decisions, this conversation with Nick is a great listen.