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Metrics That Matter

The 7 Most Important Go-to-Market Metrics in SaaS

Published on July 1, 2021, Last Updated on April 14, 2024
Steve Groccia

Head of Customer Operations

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Go-to-market (GTM) metrics are a beast to be conquered by any business. Which calculations give us the best indication of the health and direction of our business? What is our north star, by both department and the business as a whole, and are we all in agreement?

Go-to-market (GTM) metrics must be aligned, and ever present in the minds of everyone in your organization to successfully orient leaders and contributors in the same strategic direction. The process of centralizing your company’s focus around one set of numbers, however, isn’t an easy one. It forces you to answer a handful of important questions: What do we care about as a business? Which calculations give us the best indication of the health and direction of our business? What is our north star, by both department and the business as a whole, and are we all in agreement?

While considering all the ins and outs of GTM metrics, another set of questions often creeps up, sometimes filled with doubts, uncertainties, and frustrations. Questions like: Is our data sanitized and current in such a way that we believe in the accuracy of our calculations? Is it consistently dependable? Are there some datasets that are so hard to connect, export, import, and query, that it’s detracting from our ability and desire to consolidate them? Is what the data is telling us helping to inform our future behavior as a business?

In this piece, we’ll be bringing some clarity to both sets of questions, giving you a glimpse at the important GTM metrics we believe should be focused on here at Mosaic, with some concrete answers on what these metrics are, how to calculate them, and why they’re so critical to the successful growth of your business or startup.

Table of Contents

What Are Go-to-Maket (GTM) Metrics?

Go-to-market (GTM) metrics are measurements used by companies to gauge the performance of a new product launch or move into a new market. These metrics include benchmarks on customer conversion rates and retention, overall and recurring revenue, and other measures that give businesses insight into a product’s profitability and how it’s landing with an audience and market.

Which Go-to-Market Metrics to Actually Care About and Why

Of course, every business is different, and the metrics you care about should be tailored to your growth stage, acquisition model, and industry. But there are still basic measurements that most businesses benefit from tracking towards and improving upon.

1. MRR & ARR

MRR and ARR are your Monthly Recurring Revenue and Annual Recurring Revenue.

How do you calculate it?

MRR is the sum of all monthly revenue you earn from your customers regardless of the contract length. To calculate this, you’ll divide the total contract value (from recurring revenue) by the total months of the contract for each customer. Sum the total to calculate your MRR total.

Monthly Recurring Revenue Formula
MRR = Total Contract Value / Total Contract Months

ARR is the sum of all revenue derived from customer contracts that are 12 or more months in duration and are active at the end of the period.

Annualized MRR is an ARR alternative calculated by taking your current MRR and multiplying it by 12 to push it out to a year. This method is more indicative of your revenue run rate if you have contracts of various lengths, but it can create choppiness in your metric over time if your shorter length contracts are not as predictable or one-time in nature.

Why is it important?

MRR is essential to understanding momentum across your entire customer base. The number gives you short-term certainty into total monthly revenue but doesn’t provide great long-term visibility into how much of your revenue will reoccur next year. ARR is a better metric to help signal predictability in revenues that will appear again.

MRR and ARR are essential metrics in tracking product-market fit, knowing your short and long-term momentum as a business, and understanding your trajectory of recurring revenue to know how and when you can invest in the business. MRR & ARR are point-in-time metrics, so it’s also helpful to understand how and why this metric changes over time (new business, customer churn, upgrades, etc.).

2. CAC

CAC stands for Customer Acquisition Cost. It’s the average amount of money you spend to acquire a new customer.

How do you calculate it?

Add your entire acquisition-specific costs (generally sales and marketing spend) for a time period, and then divide it by the number of new customers you acquired over the same period.

Customer Acquisition Cost Formula
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) = (Cost of Sales + Cost of Marketing) / New Customers Acquired

Why is it important?

Tracking CAC helps you understand how scaleable your sales and marketing efforts are at attracting new business. Sales must generate enough income to cover the cost of attracting new customers. When CAC is placed against other metrics like Lifetime Value (LTV), the combination of the two metrics helps you know the solvency of your business, and whether you can afford to invest in acquiring more customers or if you need to refine your lead generation methods to grow more efficiently, which brings us to our next metric.

3. Customer Lifetime Value

Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is the average amount of money you expect to receive from a customer over the life of their account.

How do you calculate it?

The most basic LTV calculation is to take your average revenue per user per year (ARPU) multiplied by gross margin and divide by your churn rate.

Customer Lifetime Value Formula
Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) = (Average Revenue Per User * Gross Margin) / Churn Rate

Why is it important?

Tracking the lifetime value that a customer provides over a relationship with you can help you understand whether or not you’re losing money acquiring customers, which is obviously an essential thing to know about your business. A CAC:LTV ratio of 3:1 is a great goal, meaning the value of a customer should be three times more than the cost of acquiring them

4. CAC Payback

CAC payback is the amount of time (generally in months) it takes your business to break even on a customer.

How do you calculate it?

Add your Acquisition costs for a specific time period, and then divide that value by your net new MRR acquired multiplied by gross margin.

CAC Payback Formula
CAC Payback Period = CAC / (Revenue - Average Cost of Service)

Why is it important?

Your CAC Payback needs to be shorter than your LTV, or you will never make money as a business. The faster you pay your acquisition costs back, the faster you can get to profitability (or you can reinvest that customer profit in more growth).

5. Net Revenue Retention

Net Revenue Retention measures the total change in recurring revenue from your customers over a period of time.

How do you calculate it?

Divide the current recurring revenue (MRR or ARR) for a cohort of customers by the recurring revenue for that same cohort of customers in a previous period (e.g., last month, last quarter, last year).

Net Revenue Retention Formula
Net Revenue Retention = (Starting MRR + Change in MRR) / Starting MRR

Why is it important?

Net Revenue Retention is one of the most essential sales performance metrics and customer success metrics because it helps you know the growth trajectory for your business if you stopped adding new customers tomorrow. It’s a key metric that takes into account churn or downgrades (loss of customer value) and account expansion/upgrades (upsell to customer) to understand the health of your customers.

6. Magic Number

Magic Number isn’t necessarily all that magic, but it is a commonly used efficiency metric for the majority of software companies. At a base level it asks: “For every dollar you spend on Sales and Marketing, how many dollars worth of annual revenue do you create for your company?”

How do you calculate it?

Current quarter ARR less prior quarter ARR divided by your prior quarter acquisition spend. (Note: This can also be calculated monthly or annually, depending on your average sales cycle.)

Magic Number Formula
SaaS Magic Number = (Current Quarter ARR - Prior Quarter ARR) / Prior Quarter Acquisition Spend

Why is it important?

Your Magic Number can help you understand how efficient your Sales and Marketing engines are in a specific time period, and tell you when to invest more or less in those engines. A number greater than 1 usually indicates you should invest more in acquisition. However, anything less than 0.5 and you may need to reassess your acquisition strategy.

7. Runway

Your cash runway is the amount of time (in months) you have before running out of money.

How do you calculate it?

Divide your total cash by your company’s average monthly burn rate.

Alternative calculation – Divide your total cash by your company’s expected future monthly burn rate. The alternative is recommended if you have material changes expected in your business (future investing plans, upcoming lump payments for major software purchases, planned headcount hires, etc.).

Cash Runway Formula
Cash Runway = Total Cash / Average Net Burn

Why is it important?

Runway is important because it can give you an idea of how long you have as a business to grow before needing to become more profitable or deliver another cash injection into the business.

Of course this isn’t the only list of business health metrics in the world. Searching for go-to-market metrics will get you lists of 5, 10, 22, or 30 and more metrics your business should be focusing on—all of these lists are both right and wrong in their own ways, just as this list is. But we’re of the mind that starting with your focus on these seven will have you well on your way to centralized business health data that steers your team onward and upward.

Learn More About Customer Retention Metrics

Why Are Go-to-Market Metrics Difficult?

The answer to this particular question is sometimes different from business to business, but there are also some universal truths that make calculating go-to-market KPIs such a pain for finance teams around the world.

GTM Metrics Data Lives Everywhere

‍Data from nearly every department and tool in your business has to come together to nail these numbers. That means standardizing these metrics and the data used as inputs to calculate them can be hard at best and inconsistent at worst. And unfortunately, it’s often both.

GTM Metrics Require Manual Calculations

‍Siloed data living in different departments and different tools means connecting the dots is often a manual process. To arrive at the numbers you need your business to rally around, finance teams are grabbing one number from here, adding it to another number from over there, and dividing it by another number that had to be calculated over there… It’s a never-ending puzzle. With many formulas and nuanced versions of these metrics, agreeing upon which one you’ll use and sticking to it can be a towering task.

GTM Metrics Are Often Out of Date

Again, because it takes data from multiple places to calculate GTM metrics, and manual calculations are almost always necessary to do it,  your GTM metrics only give you a look at one point in time. As soon as you calculate them, they’re out of date. These metrics often look like a newspaper from last month instead of a real-time stock ticker.

If your business’s GTM metrics really are your north star, shouldn’t they be easier to calculate on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis? And if it’s what you’re steering much of your capital and human resources towards, shouldn’t you be absolutely certain those metrics are centralized, correct, and up-to-date at any and all times? At Mosaic, we think the answer to all these questions is a wholehearted “Yes.” More on that later. But for now, let’s talk about which north star (or stars) are the essential seven your business should be focusing on for the greatest chance of success.

Here’s How We Handle GTM Metrics At Mosaic

At Mosaic, we streamline the way businesses handle Go-To-Market (GTM) metrics by automating essential calculations and ensuring data integrity, making it easier than ever to access, analyze, and act on critical business insights.

Automate Your Most Essential Calculations

Mosaic connects your disparate data into one location and automates the calculation of metrics for you. Your acquisition costs may sit in your ERP and your customer data sits in your CRM. By connecting both your systems to Mosaic, you have go-to-market metrics at the click of a button without the pain and frustration of manually manipulating your data.

Push Curated Content Into Your Account

Mosaic has more than fifty pre-populated metrics your VCs and Investors care about (and you should too) directly into the app and can be accessed with a simple sync of your ERP, CRM, and HRIS software and analysis can be fully customized to your business. Easily establish KPIs to measure marketing effectiveness, evaluate how to shorten your sales cycle, see what changes need to be made to your business model to increase gross, and more.

Provide Data Integrity Guardrails

Mosaic provides data integrity rails to ensure these metrics are always up to date and allow you to calculate them in real-time from your underlying systems of records – let the data work for you instead of you having to work the data. Mosaic also alerts you if your data is inconsistent across systems (missing key fields, stale pipeline data etc.) with the ability to fix it directly in the software so you can feel confident that your metrics are accurate.

Get Finance Teams from Data to Decision Faster

The Future is Here. The Future Is Mosaic.

There’s no denying that executing on go-to-market metrics can be a complex and overwhelming undertaking. It’s a complicated exercise of deciding where to put your energy, and then getting the necessary data in place that will help you know whether or not your energy (and capital) are being well-spent. But of course, doing this exercise (and doing it regularly) is absolutely essential for the health of your business. A finance team and every business leader in the company needs to be in absolute lockstep when it comes to GTM metrics to ensure that every single compass in the business is pointed in the right direction.

If your business is overwhelmed by the constant retroactive puzzle exercise that GTM metrics can be, have no fear: Mosaic is here. We understand both how essential these numbers are to you, and we know firsthand how frustrating it can be to collect and align these numbers on a regular cadence without a little (or a lot of) help. Aligning your business and thinking strategically about where you want to go based on sound and trustworthy data shouldn’t be nearly as taxing as it is. At Mosaic, we aim to fix that. Click Here for a demo of Mosaic to see just how easy metric tracking can be.

GTM Metrics FAQs

What is a go-to-market strategy?

A GTM strategy is the plan a business puts in place before a new product launch. Sales teams and marketing teams analyze current GTM key performance indicators and create marketing campaigns and sales strategies to gain a competitive advantage in their target market.

What should a go-to-market plan include?

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