Understanding the dynamics of metrics like Conversion Rate and Churn can make or break a SaaS business, so it’s crucial to track them properly.
Back in 2013 one of Geckoboard’s investors – Christoph Janz – wrote an excellent blog post that explains the need for a dashboard. It also includes a free Excel template for early-stage SaaS companies like yours to help you master KPI reporting. Read the post, and download Christoph's free SaaS KPI Excel template here.
We used the key metrics in Christoph’s template to create this dashboard. It’s designed to make it easy for a small team to understand the health of a SaaS business, without having to dig into a database or other reports.
This example dashboard is powered by a copy of Christoph’s SaaS KPI template which has been saved on Dropbox as an Excel file. By storing the file in this way, specific members of your team can access and update the file with fresh numbers. And, because it’s hosted in the Cloud rather than your own PC, Geckoboard can authorize securely with your storage and pull data into your dashboard.
To the top left of the dashboard, there’s an overview of MRR activity for the year to date. This clearly displays MRR changes from month to month, and gives everyone in the team a rough indication of how the company is growing over time. It also means that everyone is up to speed with company progress before we call out particularly good or bad months in our regular all-hands meetings.
Below MRR activity is a line chart showing New Signups and New Customers per month. Again, these are useful indicators of growth, and essential for spotting changes at the top of the funnel that might affect MRR.
Another important visualization is Month on Month Growth, broken down to show growth in Site Visitors, Signups, Customers, and MRR. This, along with Average Revenue Per Account (ARPA), and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), lets anyone in the business quickly understand what’s helping (and hindering) growth month to month.
To round off the dashboard, there’s a visualization of our cash position. Whilst this level of transparency might not be for every business, we’ve chosen to make it visible to the whole team as ultimately at an early-stage startup there’s always a risk of running out of cash. Displaying it on a dashboard means nobody is in the dark about where the company is at. And it creates a sense of urgency like nothing else.
As a SaaS business, there’s no shortage of metrics you could be monitoring, but which metrics should you be paying attention to?
Every SaaS product and business is different, and truly useful metrics may only be found after months, perhaps years of iteration.
But we’ve found Christoph’s thinking a great place to start, so this dashboard is based on his template.