SaaS business

How to Market SaaS Software: 7 Efficient Strategies


mins to read

What can make people buy your SaaS product? Introducing email marketing, creating a shiny website, publishing loads of useful content, or maybe everything at once? 

The answer to the question of how to market SaaS software has many points to discuss. Still, the main thing all your prospects want is to have their problem solved with your product. That’s why your SaaS marketing strategy should be aimed to help people quickly and easily see what value proposition your cloud software has and how end-users can benefit from purchasing it. Luckily, there are many ways to do it. 

As a design agency for SaaS, we know that good marketing design will show the value of your SaaS product through a usable website, high-converting landing page, customer-centered ads, and so on. It can help to add credibility to your software and retain your customers. But of course, not only design can attract people to your software-as-a-service.

In this article, we are going to discuss 7 strategies that can help your cloud software grow and prosper.

Marketing tips for SaaS software products

The SaaS market is growing extremely rapidly and to stay successful you should constantly test, change, adapt and develop new solutions for your software. Therefore, SaaS-based marketing calls for some unique approaches. 

You may have already heard of some of the tactics we are going to talk about in this article, or maybe you even use some of them. If not, they’re worth a try. Now, let’s check them out.

Free service

While traditional businesses try to attract audiences by providing special offers, making sales, and similar, SaaS companies try to win over customers by offering them a free trial version of the product. 

Such a marketing tactic works well for cloud businesses, as the most efficient way for a customer to realize that your software is exactly what they were searching for, is by trying it out. Therefore, SaaS marketers are doing their best to make it as easy as possible to sign-up for trials to lure interested customers and increase the conversion rate.

There are two most popular ways a prospect can try out your SaaS:

  • Freemium - the user gets free access to the basic version of the service, while additional functionality is included in the premium paid version.
  • Free trial - user gets full-featured access to the service but is limited in time (week/month for free) or by the number of operations (for example, five requests or uploading two reports).

Some SaaS owners are still afraid that offering their service and not asking money for that will just ruin their revenue. So, how to understand if such SaaS marketing tactics will work for you? We’ve already discussed it in detail in our article about freemium pricing, but a short answer to this question will be “Test it!”. Determine which model brings your customer closer to the purchase and run a split test. 

For example, Netflix offers a thirty-day free trial. You can get access to free films and TV series after registration, by specifying the data and bank card details, which you will no longer have to fill out if, after the trial period, you want to continue using the service. This tactic increases customer’s interest and moves them gradually down the sales funnel.

Besides, Netflix did a great job by making the sign-up form simple and short, and a CTA button noticeable. 

Netflix SaaS marketing

Promote on multiple channels

Don't get hung up on search engine traffic alone. Attract customers through other channels as well:

Social networks and other external resources

Thematic platforms and popular social media where you can post an article, share your experience, or just talk about your SaaS company are an additional chance to get noticed, increase the level of trust, and expand an interested audience. 

You can regularly remind customers about yourself, acquaint users with the product, its functions, or the release of updates.

It is important to correctly select resources: they should be fairly well-known, with a lot of traffic, and related to the topic of your business. For example, you may try Github, Behance, Stackoverflow. 

Keep in mind that it is important to fully fill out the profile, use only relevant information, publish regularly and communicate with the audience. As a result, in addition to links, you will increase brand awareness, referral traffic, and leads.

One more recommendation: If you can create video content, don't miss the opportunity. Videos generate more feedback than text + images.

For example, PostPlanner, a social media marketing tool, is active on all popular social media. When you check their profiles it becomes clear that PostPlanner has a good social media strategy for their saas.

Here is PostPlanner’s page on Facebook:

PostPlanner SaaS Marketing


PostPlanner SaaS Marketing

And Instagram: 

PostPlanner SaaS Marketing


When done correctly, remarketing is an opportunity to “catch up” with users who were on your site, but for some reason did not take the targeted action. That is, only those who were most interested in your service will see your ad. 

To do this, you need to analyze data from Google Analytics and define your buyer personas - create a portrait of users who are likely to convert into a real customer:

  • define the target audience
  • find out what actions users tend to do on the website
  • understand where visitors go most often before they convert
  • find out how long the session lasts on the site
  • see which devices potential leads use to visit your website

Next, create a list of those who fit the necessary criteria of a buyer persona. And only then set up advertisements that will remind these users about your software.

Here’s how Grammarly creates a targeted ad on Youtube where they present use-cases so that the viewer can find their pain points. 

Grammarly SaaS Marketing

Or take a look at Grammarly’s great text advertising.

Grammarly SaaS Marketing

Email marketing

Don't trust those who say email marketing is dead, dying, or is about to die. It works and brings results for one simple reason: the subscriber base is the most loyal audience the business has since they voluntarily left you their contact information.

To generate a base of emails, create CTAs that offer your visitors:

  • bonuses and discounts
  • useful material
  • free courses 
  • demo version

When you have your solid email base choose some great SaaS email templates according to your purpose and test which works best for your SaaS.

For example, here’s what I got in my inbox from cloud accounting software Freshbooks:

SaaS Marketing

Such kind of onboarding email not only reminds users about the service but also teaches how to use it and presents its value. 


SaaS products are complex and very often it’s difficult to omit using technical words or lengthy descriptions on your website or in SaaS ad campaigns. Still, always strive to simplify every aspect that concerns your cloud software.  

Instead of broad product lines, SaaS companies offer their clients a couple of packages that cover the needs of most types of audiences. Instead of a cumbersome website, they tend to create a simple landing page. They write minimum text with technical terms and prefer speaking the client's language.

For example, FleetMatics doesn’t try to dip its customers into the entire universe of GPS tracking. You won’t find any mention of GIS, RFID, WLAN, PSAP, CTIA, ANI, or other terms on their website. Do you know why? Their audience has no idea what it is. Therefore, FleetMatics does not reveal all the secrets of GPS technology but sells a ready-made solution that does not require clients to get into any technical issues.

In a simple and visual form, FleetMatics reveals the essence of the technology to a potential buyer. After reading a couple of pages on their website, you can easily understand what the company's offer is, even if you don't understand anything about GPS tracking technologies.

Fleetmatics SaaS Marketing
SaaS Marketing

Mind customer retention

Retention is paramount for the cloud business. According to Pareto analysis, 20% of your regular customers bring you more than half of the income, and this statistic is true for SaaS products.

Therefore, the advertising budgets of SaaS companies should be directed towards retaining old customers, rather than attracting new clients. Marketers actively use retargeting and premium options (upsells and cross-sells) to keep existing customers interested and engaged.

As well, remember that keeping your users is possible not only by providing them with large discounts. There is also the emotional attachment to the brand, which you can develop using a gamification approach with a customer-centered design, by unique communication style, or some interesting content.

Financial management software company Workday, as an example, has found a way to retain key customers. They release special videocasts with up-to-date information for HR leaders and vice presidents of client companies. And clients definitely like such brand focus. Moreover, Workday does it very well creating content of the highest quality for its target group.

Workday SaaS Marketing

Take care of customer success

You need to understand that even the highest quality software product will fail if you don’t pay enough attention to your customers. Selling a cloud service implies full support and providing regular updates. And as we already defined earlier, the core of the business strategy of a SaaS company is to satisfy the customer who has already bought your service, not the potential one.

If you wait until something breaks down to start fixing it, it will, of course, allow the company to save money and feel relatively safe, but in the long run, such companies lose out. The sooner you will respond to your customers the better. 

Start communicating with your existing customers, offer them bonuses for candid feedback. Through communication and the analytics of conversations, you will understand what your service lacks, and what, on the contrary, needs to be abandoned in order to make it less cumbersome and complex.

For example, at Process.st, an online workflow management software, they analyze each customer’s feedback they receive from the support team (about bugs or some particular failures). It allows them to improve customer satisfaction rate and think about other decisions they can do to make their product better.  

Optimize the website

The whole SaaS marketing strategy aims at directing your prospect to the website as it is the place where sales happen. 

The biggest misconception of aspiring SaaS entrepreneurs is that they think of a website as something that has to be aesthetically pleasing. This is not the case. There is not a single proven case that a beautiful picture somehow affects the conversion or sale.

Instead, you should take care of presenting a clear value proposition and providing a coherent user experience to the website visitors. 

Here are some tips for optimizing conversion:

  • Define the most important target action that leads to conversion for each specific page on your website (signing up for a free trial, viewing pricing, watching a video, etc.)
  • Then ask yourself a question "What elements of the design interface promote the client taking this action?"
  • Get rid of everything that can distract the user from the target action and make their path to CTAs as short as possible. CTA must be visible, correctly positioned, and visually distinct from the rest of the web interface
  • And the last tip: to make sure you’ve done everything correctly - run a split test

For example, let’s look at the home page of one of our clients Textmagic (you can read about the design process of this customer experience platform in Textmagic’s case study).

Textmagic SaaS Marketing

As the visitor opens the website they can read an informative headline that clearly explains the value of the product and of course it is impossible to miss that bright-orange “Start Free Trial” CTA that stands out on the blue background. As well, prospects can view a video that shows how the software looks and operates. 

All these features help Textmagic acquire more customers. 

Tell about your clients’ success 

While traditional customer reviews just contain words of gratitude for in-time delivery or the good state of a product, the SaaS industry lets you play differently. Instead of putting small company logos, marketing gurus encourage cloud companies to show exact numbers to the potential buyers that serve as real proof of how your service helped well-known companies to achieve tremendous success.

Note that it won’t work if you try to come up with a successful case instead of a client or if you cannot explain to the buyer a real economic benefit from your software.

Netsuite, a business management software company, builds stories of customer challenges and solutions and shows how they helped the company grow. And they do it very ingeniously: there is a separate page on Netsuite’s website devoted to authoritative business owners. They are sincerely happy for the success of their clients, but at the same time, they do not forget about themselves. It is an effective promotion model if you have a true story to tell your prospects.

Oracle SaaS Marketing

Let's summarize

Simplicity remains central to cloud platform marketing. If your SaaS is intuitive and usable, you have good product quality and fine-tune the perfect support system, then even word of mouth can gradually lead your SaaS company to customers. Your main concern will remain to retain existing customers.

Still, working out additional marketing strategies won’t hurt.

  • Don’t be afraid to offer your product for free, just test which model is suitable for your software
  • When you promote the product do it on multiple channels. Be active in social networks, optimize your email marketing, and think of publishing useful content in your blog
  • Do your best to keep the existing customers satisfied. Pay attention to their feedback and respond to it 
  • Finally, take care of the high-quality design that drives conversion. Here at Eleken, we know how to create a simple yet attractive and converting landing page or a growth-driven website

Kateryna Mayka


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SaaS business
min read

What Is Product Mindset? A Talk with an Experienced Product Manager

Anna is a Product Manager with six years of experience in the field. She started her career as a Project Manager in the IT industry and now pursues a product management path. She was building products in the B2B segment and is now focused on consumer-facing products. We got to talk to Anna at quite an interesting moment in her career:  she just left her position as Product Lead at Boku (formerly Fortumo) and joined Fintech company Riverty as a Product Manager.

We at Eleken design SaaS products and believe that the product mindset of the team is an important factor in building digital platforms and apps. So we could not miss the opportunity to talk to an experienced product person and ask her about her career journey and share some insights about what impacts the success of digital solutions. 

Hey Anna! It’s nice to have you with us. May you please tell our readers a little bit about your journey to becoming a Product Manager and how it all started?

Hi! To be honest, I think my path in product management started as early as I interacted with the IT world in high school. Now it sounds a little funny but I took part in an Informatics school competition and I realized that it is a combination of things that I love! Math, logic, analytical thinking, and creativity combined gave birth to my new passion. Those early achievements in school competitions sparked my interest in the IT field. 

During my university years, I did not waste time. I started with a free internship to just get a taste of work in IT. This experience helped me to understand the field from the inside, build a network, and learn about different professions and career paths.  At the same time, I was taking programming courses and participated in IT events. I met a lot of IT professionals, worked with different people, and eventually, I realized that I want to try myself as a project manager.

The first years of my career were a bit explorative and I collected every experience I could. In those early days, I worked as a Project Manager at a digital design agency in Kyiv for a while. There I actually learned more about user-centric design, how digital products are built, how to make proper UX research, and how to empathize with customers. 

After I moved to Estonia to pursue my Master's degree, I decided to look for a product management job, since I felt I have the right skills and experience for this position. I found my first job in Estonia as a Product Manager at Estonian mobile payment company Fortumo and started building fintech products. There she was promoted to the Product Lead position.

And soon after you made an interesting shift from being a Product Lead to a Product Manager. Why did you choose to go back to product management? 

I simply did not want to miss an amazing opportunity to build consumer-facing products from scratch. I believe that to become a great Product Lead you have to get enough experience in different product types. But I will definitely be back on the leadership track in the future. 

What is the difference between these two roles?

I am pretty sure that roles and responsibilities vary from one company to another. As a Product Lead, I was responsible for:

  • leading a team of product managers 
  • making sure that they have everything needed to succeed in their job
  • setting up the strategy
  • helping to solve any obstacles
  • getting aligned with stakeholders

The Product Manager collaborates closely with both the Product Lead and the product team and is responsible for one part of the product that the Product Lead oversees. 

What is in your current scope as a Product Manager at Riverty?

At Riverty, I am responsible for consumer touchpoints of a financial payment product. It means that we are building a new product that has a consumer-facing part and also solves consumers’ problems. By consumer, I mean the common folk, like us. So, my job is to make sure that: 

  • all problems of consumers are actually solved 
  • the experience of consumers with every product touchpoint is seamless, transparent, and enjoyable while using our product  
  • when we launch in new markets we provide consumers of that market with an experience suitable for them 

Honestly, I am quite obsessed with my mission on this product because I help people with their day-to-day pains making their lives easier and more enjoyable.  In addition, I am thrilled by the fact that the product is new. The first MVP was launched only this summer, so there are tons of opportunities to explore, hypotheses to validate, and metrics to measure. And I love growing together with the product and the team. 

What are your main challenges as a Product Manager?

First of all, we will roll out products to new markets such as Sweden, Norway, and Germany. I need to study these markets to be able to deliver products that fit the market and that users will find useful.

Secondly, I need to find ways how to get qualitative and quantitative insights from consumers. Since the product is at the MVP stage, there is a task to get an analytical dashboard to quantify consumer behavior

On the other side, I want to learn consumers’ feedback on using the product, do user testing, and interview potential consumers before going to market. Since the product is B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) there is no direct way for me to reach out to consumers, so there is a challenge to get in touch with them. 

But over the last 6 months at the company, I found ways to get some consumer insights that led to data-driven decisions on product features. For example, we use the VWO recording tool to record user sessions and then analyze consumers’ behavior and find patterns that indicate their confusion

As a design agency, we are curious to learn more about the relationship between design and Product Management. How do you collaborate with designers?

I may be a little biased here because I love working with designers! They were always the best partners in crime and I involve designers in my thought process, prioritization, and day-to-day work as much as I can. UX professionals, as well as Product Managers, are the ones to know everything about the product’s clients, advocate for them, and define the product strategy. I love to have a close relationship with the design team to bounce ideas and hypotheses, brainstorm, and gather requirements. 

Of course, there is a bureaucratic part to it such as creating tickets and commenting on Figma files. But what I want everyone to understand is that design is not a standalone part of a product, but is fuel to the engine which keeps it running. Designers should not receive specific tasks only and then produce results, the design flow should be a natural flow that sheds light on each and every roadmap item and provide necessary insights to drive it further.

We totally agree that design is essential for product development. In your opinion, what drives the success of products?

Failed products are products that do not serve the customers, for whom they were designed. In most cases, it happens because the whole product was built on the assumption that something might work for the customer without any validation.
If you examine the failed product patterns, you might see that tremendous work was done to get it live, the opportunity cost was enormous, managers came up with ideas and engineers started to build something.  However, usually, there were some typical mistakes like: 

  • not including engineers and designers at the ideation stage 
  • not doing research and validation of the idea with the product’s prospective users
  • not building a prototype and testing it with users 
  • not learning from the received feedback 
  • or even basing the whole product development on the assumptions born in managers’ heads. 

I believe that a product mindset is key to the success of the product. By the definition, product mindset refers to creating meaningful value for customers. This should be the first thing the whole product team works on. In teams with such a mindset, every member is eager to deliver value, not just a feature. 

From my experience, teams that possess a true product mindset have certain practices: 

  1. They ask themselves “why” something is planned to be delivered
  2. They are data-driven and rely on quantitative and qualitative variables to justify decisions. 
  3. They use the MVP approach not even when it comes to the product's final result, but also to the MVP features and release parts that can bring value at first and are all nice-to-haves later to add value. 

These qualities are not naturally given to the teams: they require the right coaching, experience, company culture, and vision. I am so honored and pleased by the fact that at my previous job, I had a chance to work with people possessing a product mindset and learn from them, so now it is a natural part of my competency.

Failing fast is a pillar of a product mindset. In order to have that product team need to be eager to deliver an asset in live to get feedback from the users, validate if it is even worth driving further, what should change, maybe the audience chosen is not right at all or the features that were prioritized do not solve any problems. 

You work in international companies, can share some insights about the cultural specifics?

I have worked both in international companies in Europe and in local companies in Ukraine that work with international clients. A lot of differences between these two experiences were in the essence of work culture. 

For example, in Estonia, the work-life balance is very supported by the government and also the management of the company. When I started working in Estonia and was still a student, by the labor law I was entitled to thirty calendar days of study leave, which is a vacation that is used for studies despite having regular yearly vacation days. Even though I was not overusing them, I found them very helpful when I needed to complete my Master's thesis and when I was doing my exchange semester in Switzerland while working remotely. I am also very grateful to my manager who always encouraged me to take some study leaves and advise the same to all working students. 

When I joined Riverty I was surprised at how people take work-life balance seriously in Nordic countries. Once I scheduled a call with a Norwegian colleague at 4 pm on Friday, he texted me that at this time the whole Oslo office is dead and people are off work to pick up kids from school and do family things. Although, some of them might resume work at 10 pm after the kids are in bed. So everything that is written in books is true. 

Can you please compare working in a startup and in a big corporation?

I think it all comes down to the company size. Working in a startup versus a corporation is two different but fulfilling experiences. In a startup or company that developed after the startup,  each employee is taking full ownership of the culture and is encouraged to be proactive and do even more than expected. In a corporation, you have your own responsibility which might be ten times smaller than in a startup, but you will have the full focus and resources spent on one specific aspect of the product. 

What do you read? What resources help you grow professionally?

I read a lot when  I do my day-to-day work. For example, when I do not know a term or concept I will google it and read as much until I understand the high-level meaning of it. I talk to people in the field, which helps me to learn about their challenges and different perspectives on the role. 

At the moment I read “Inspired” by Marty Cagan and before that, I watched some lectures of his on YouTube about how product-driven organizations work. Would definitely recommend it. 

From my bookshelf, I can recommend such books as:

  • The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great Software (Pragmatic Programmers) by Jonathan Rasmusson.
  • EMPOWERED: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Products by Marty Cagan 
  • The Culture Map by Erin Meyer. 

What would you recommend to aspiring product managers?

  • When choosing the first company you work for, research the product type and domain it belongs to. Do not start with a domain that you are not passionate about. For example, if you do not like financial topics, do not go to fintech. It is important that you use, love, and are obsessed with the product you build. In addition, later in your career, you will be hired not only because of your product management skills but also for the domain knowledge that you gathered. You're first company choice will more or less define your whole future career. So choose wisely! 
  • Ask questions! I know it might sound cliche but this skill is crucial for this role. I have been recently involved in a candidate interview for the Product Manager role. That candidate did not get many votes because he did not ask questions. One of the skills a PM must have is curiosity. Your ability to ask questions shows that you are eager to learn and you have the potential to succeed in the role. 
  • Decide for yourself why you want to be a Product Manager. For that you will have to do some research, talk to people and learn that this job it has its flaws, like any other. Product Management is quite an independent role where you need to come up with many things on your own and find and prioritize thousands of problems. For that you would need to fully own your timeline, spend it wisely, and control, and prioritize your backlog while being flexible with leading the team, making research, and gathering information on the product daily. It is not easy and it is not for everyone. 

Thank you Anna for the interesting conversation and insights into the product field!

Thanks for the talk! Good luck to you and your readers!

SaaS business
min read

SaaS Dashboard: the Anatomy of Your Business Growth

Is your business on the rise? Are there any obstacles to its growth? What aspects require improvements? SaaS KPI dashboard answers these questions in seconds and gives you an outlook on your business health and wealth.

What is SaaS metrics dashboard?

When it comes to measuring SaaS business growth, KPI and metrics are the main things you should look at. Traditional numeric records take much time, energy, and focus to analyze. SaaS analytics dashboard is an effective tool that tracks, analyses, and displays metrics and KPIs in a visually understandable form like charts, widgets, lists, and graphs. The biggest benefit of the dashboard is its simplicity.

Dashboard collects key metrics from sales, finance, customer support, and marketing all in one place so you can find problems and tackle them at initial stages. I would even call it a launchpad for making strategic decisions.

Why do you need a SaaS dashboard?

Metrics are for doing, not for staring. Never measure just because you can. Measure to learn. Measure to fix.

Stijn Debrouwere

Based on the insights you will learn from the analytics dashboard, you can set clear priorities and directions for your business. To be more specific, you can focus on goals and achieve them faster by fixing problems at their initial stages.

Your team should not stay on the sidelines. If they have free access to the dashboard, they see their impact on business growth and stay motivated.

A mistake many founders make is sharing with their employees a few general metrics once a year (like Churn and MRR). Such practice doesn't give the team much sense of what was right or wrong. Moreover, they can't get a clear idea of cause and effect. You better keep them in a loop, so when they notice any drop in key metrics, they can immediately dig into a problem and offer solutions.

Dashboards come in all shapes and sizes. But not all of them may seem good enough to meet your needs and define your growth-levers. Not sure what dashboard you need for your SaaS business? Wonder how to create one? Have doubts about what matters most? Read on, we'll figure it all out.

Types of SaaS dashboards

Most businesses fail to define what purpose their dashboard should serve and create one that answers multiple purposes. Typically, they end up with blurred objectives and priorities.

As a starting point, consider these three types of SaaS dashboards to define your needs:

  • Analytical dashboards are used to investigate trends or deeper insights to understand what happened in the business, and what changes you should make in the future. They are used mostly by product managers and business analysts.
Financial performance dashboard. Image credit:datapine.com
Financial performance dashboard. Image credit:datapine.com
  • Strategic dashboards are used mostly by CEOs with a focus on company top-level KPIs. These dashboards display business performance over set time frames: past month, quarter, or year.
CEO dashboard. Image credit: datapine.com
CEO dashboard. Image credit: datapine.com

Operational dashboards are used for employee awareness tracking the day-to-day operations of each team in real-time. They help to catch problems once they occur.

Customer Service Dashboard. Image credit: datapine.com
Customer Service Dashboard. Image credit: datapine.com

In this example, on the lower right section, the highest response time is on Saturday. Using this insight, the team can improve their work process either by changing their schedule or by hiring more people.

Key metrics to track

A SaaS metrics dashboard is only as powerful as the metrics included in it. But how do you know what to include? Let's find out what metrics are the most relevant (aka basic) for SaaS businesses.

Back in 2013 Zendesk investor – Christoph Janz – shared his thoughts on useful metrics SaaS companies should track. I think they are great as a starting point. Christoph gives his SaaS metrics template for free as an Excell file. This way he helps small Saas companies to get a bird's-eye view of the business.

David Skok, a serial entrepreneur and investor, created a quite similar SaaS dashboard. It's more complex and includes metrics for companies using either annual or monthly contacts with sales calculations. Whereas, Christoph Janz's SaaS dashboard is focused on MRR with a low-touch sales model.

By the way, I recommend you to read David's article about SaaS metrics.

Key metrics for SaaS dashboard may vary according to types of product. Summing up opinions from investors and SaaS company founders, I want to highlight metrics for a dashboard that are revealing the core of business health and stimulating its growth.

  • MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue): The name speaks for itself - it's an expected revenue change from month to month.
  • CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost): The average cost for the newly acquired customer.
  • LTV (Lifetime Value): The revenue an average customer generates to your company over the life of the customer (before they churn).
  • LTV/CAC Ratio: Comparing the value of a customer over their lifetime to the cost of acquisition of that customer allows you to determine how much money you should spend to acquire them.
  • ARPA (Average Revenue Per Account): The average revenue you generate from each customer (monthly/quarterly/yearly).
  • Churn: The percentage of customers who cancel their subscription (calculated monthly).
  • Retention: The percentage of loyal subscribers (calculated monthly).
  • Expansion: A monthly revenue generated from existing customers. For example, any predictable up-sells, add-ons, or upgrades to existing accounts lead to expansion.

Key dashboard metrics can be modified for different purposes. SaaS CEO dashboard may include additional metrics such as New Contract Value (sales results), Pipeline, Customer Health. But, remember to keep it simple. Don't cram in too much information. The easier the better.

This list of key metrics sets the base for a good SaaS analytical dashboard and helps you discover the pain points. As a result, you will be able to break down a questionable metric into more detailed ones.

North Star Metric as a growth driver

The majority of entrepreneurs don't include the North Star Metric (NSM) in the list of key metrics that I've mentioned before. I think this is a big mistake. Just like a Polaris star, the NSM gives you the direction you are looking for.

So what this North Star Metric is, you may wonder.

North Star Metric is a key measure of your product success. It's something you need to use as a focus for growth.

What is the biggest value that your users get out of your product? What can't they imagine your product without? Or, if you will, when while using your product for the first time do your users experience the aha moment?

This moment stimulates business growth, and the metric that captures that moment is the North Star Metric.

Here's how well-known SaaS companies defined their North Star Metrics:

  • For Medium its total time spent reading
  • For Slack - messages sent within the organization
  • For Intercom - number of customer interactions
  • For Zoom - weekly hosted meeting
  • For Hubspot - number of weekly active teams
  • For Quora - number of questions answered

As for Medium, their NSM reflects value for readers - an easy-to-use platform with interesting and useful content to read.

Quora, as a Q&A platform, is focused on the number of questions answered. Why so? Because the more questions users answer, the fewer questions are left unanswered and the more value the platform brings to the user. Fair enough, we come to Quora for the core value they offer - the answers. The company's growth driver is a conversion of askers into answerers.

By the way, Quora’s NSM perfectly reflects the company's mission «to share and grow the world’s knowledge».

So, the NSM is the metric that everyone in the company can understand and work towards driving it. As a result, the business grows.

If you know your NSM, you can accelerate your business growth by focusing on one goal. Adding your NSM to your dashboard can serve as a guiding metric for anyone in your company.

If now you are interested in how to find yours, I highly recommend you to check this amazing read about NSM.

SaaS KPI dashboard design and structure

Apart from metrics, informational architecture is what makes a dashboard an effective analytics tool. It must convey the message from the first glance. Here are some tips to follow when creating your SaaS analytics dashboard:

  • Context. To tell if the metrics are good or bad, you need to provide context. By context, I mean some comparison either with the results from the previous month, or with industry standards, or with your goals.
SaaS KPI dashboard design and structure
Image credit: geckoboard.com

Consistency: Use three graph types maximum (better two) so that your dashboard doesn't feel repetitive. If you track changes in trends over a set period of time, bar or line charts would be a great choice. Although, pie charts are good for proportional analysis. Choose the most suitable graphs to keep your dashboard clear and easy-to-read.

good dashboard design structure
Image credit: geckoboard.com

Relevant use of color: Color creates visual cues that help us quickly identify good or bad trends at first sight. There are two mistakes to avoid: color misuse and overuse. They both lead to distraction and confusion. Thus, sometimes a dashboard seems like a drawing board.

So, why don't you define a range of colors that convey the meaning of your dashboard indicators? As we used to perceive it, red is for decline or alert, green is for growth, etc.

  • Numbers. Round your percentage to decimals and financial indicators to thousands (rarely hundreds). The majority of the dashboards don't need high-precision numbers displaying every cent. Such information distracts from the main dashboard objective - to give you a quick understanding of the state of things.
  • Size and position. Group interconnected metrics; position high-priority metrics on the top left of a dashboard and make their font size bigger.

When finished, take a five-second test. If a dashboard answers your questions within 5 seconds, then it's made clear. If not, go on improving it.

Read more about dashboard design and get inspired by examples.

How to create a SaaS metrics dashboard?

Of course, you can follow the methods given by Christoph Janz and David Skok and create your dashboard in Excel. But, let's be honest, manual typing and updating your data is time-consuming.

There are platforms that take the weight off your shoulders. Let's review some of them.


SaaS analytics platform for subscription-based businesses. Integrates payment platforms like Stripe, Chargebee, Recurly, Braintree, App Store Connect, and Google Play. You can add other payment provider using their Analytics API. Reports can be sent to Slack or email.

tools to create dashboards Baremetrics


A dashboard software that allows you to create well-designed live dashboards and easily share them with your team. You can customize visualizations based on your team and business needs. Metrics can be displayed on a TV or any big screen, browser tab, and mobile phone. It integrates 60+ data sources like GitHub, Google Analytics, Jira, Stripe, Zendesk, MySQL, and many more.

geckoboard dashboard software


Analytics service for web and mobile applications that tracks how customers interact with them. It offers real-time highly-customized dashboards with 50+ data source integrations. Also, Mixpanel supports Slack and email reporting.

mixpanel to create dashboards


Online analytics platform for creating real-time dashboards for businesses of all kinds and sizes. Integrates 100+ data sources.

klipfolio dashboard software


Analytics platform for subscription businesses. Integrates payment platforms like Stripe, Shopify, Chargify, Recurly, etc. It allows additional integrations from MailChimp, Pipedrive, Zapier to enrich customer analysis.

tools to create dashboards ChartMogul

SaaS dashboard examples

Now as you know the anatomy of a good SaaS KPI dashboard, let's learn more from some of the use-cases.

SaaS dashboard

great SaaS dashboard example
Image credit: geckoboard.com

This example is based on the metrics taken from Christoph Janz's template. The basic growth markers on this SaaS dashboard give a clear picture of business health for both the founder and the team.

MRR lines show how the company is growing over time, while CAC, ARPA, and other metrics display what drives or slows down the business rise.

User Experience dashboard

user experience dashboard example
Image credit: klipfolio.com

On UX Operations dashboard charts like churn and win rate give insight into how customers interact with your product. Also, purchase and sign up funnels are split into stages that explain task completion rates. This information allows you to spot the phase that can negatively affect conversion rates.

Marketing dashboard

marketing dashboard design example
Image credit: baremetrics.com

This SaaS marketing dashboard for subscription businesses features customer acquisition metrics and their impact on MRR. While tracking trial performance, marketers should always keep an eye on user churn. That is why they are grouped on one side of the dashboard.

Feature launch dashboard

feature launch dashboard example
Image credit: geckoboard.com

Feature launch dashboard is better to display real-time on TV so that teams working on it could see how the new feature is performing and identify critical moments.

This dashboard highlights key-metrics for marketing and development teams involved in the project. The right side shows the analysis for users' behavior in a feature-usage funnel. When the left side displays signup to customer conversion rate.

The true value of an analytics dashboard can't be underestimated. You can get actionable insights that streamline your business growth if only you:

  • Identify your needs
  • Select the right metrics to track
  • Keep the dashboard clear and simple
  • Share the dashboard with your team

Once you understand what metric is a growth driver, go on creating more detailed dashboards for different departments in your company. Be sure, everyone will benefit from the focus they get.

When you know the growth metrics that you track daily, and focus your and your team’s efforts to drive them, you are in the right direction to business growth.

Sometimes, minor changes in user flow, onboarding process, or in design overall, give major improvements in metrics on your dashboard.

Eleken, as a design agency, helped many SaaS companies to reach their maximum potential. If you have any questions about your product design, feel free to contact us.

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