Software as a Service (SaaS) businesses operate in a fiercely competitive market. A SaaS dashboard organizes key SaaS metrics from sales, marketing, finance, support and development teams to give executives a bird's-eye view of the business.
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.
A SaaS dashboard is like a road map for your business. It tells you where to go and helps you build the best infrastructure possible on your journey, so it's important that everyone has access to this information in an easy-to-understand format.
With real-time data at their fingertips, executives can make informed decisions about what strategy to take and which metrics are most important at any given time.
What you need to know about a SaaS Dashboard?
Your SaaS dashboard is like a snapshot into the health of your business. You can think of it like your “medical chart” when you go to the doctor, but for your business.
Your dashboard tells you how your business is doing in terms of MRR ( monthly recurring revenue ), churn, ARPU ( average revenue per user ) or any other metrics you track to measure growth.
A SaaS dashboard gives you a high-level view of your business and allows you to make real-time decisions.
In fact, executives at Hubspot said that the company’s ability to quickly adjust their offering has been key in its success: “We've had the flexibility built into our DNA from day one. We're a company that will pivot, and we're an agile business.”
Instead of getting numbers from a bunch of different tools or having to deal with complicated spreadsheets that only you understand, your SaaS dashboard serves as the “home” for the metrics that are most important and enables everyone on your team to make informed decisions about where best focus their time and effort.
1. Track Your Team's Performance
As companies grow, it becomes increasingly important to track the performance of everyone on your team.
Having an in-depth view of what’s working and what’s not allows you to take quick action when necessary so that no one is ever left wondering how they can add value or where their efforts would be best served.
A SaaS dashboard allows managers to highlight the top and bottom performers on their team by person or overall.
You can also track activity-based metrics like social media followings, content created for specific campaigns, time spent in support queues so that you know which departments are contributing most effectively towards your goals.
I think a large part of it is the fact that our data is super easy to access. As we create more content and improve our marketing, I can log into our dashboard and see the impact it's having on our MRR. It's extremely motivating.
2. Constant showcase of Metrics
Another key element of a SaaS dashboard is that it provides constant showcase of metrics. Seeing your numbers being updated in real-time gives you and your team the opportunity to make decisions about what’s working, what isn't and where your efforts should be focused based on data rather than assumptions or hunches.
For instance, one thing I like to do is see how many customers we added or lost the previous day. If we saw a huge spike or drop, I know something's off and we can dig into it.
This is part of the dashboard which tracks all of our key metrics like MRR, churn etc in real-time so that no one on my team misses out on any important data.
Another time this comes in handy is if you work in a team with different responsibilities and roles (i.e Development, Marketing etc.).
How many times have you been asked by a manager or someone from another team about something specific but didn't know the answer?
Being able to quickly access information that pertains specifically to your department lets you answer those questions on the spot and gives everyone more visibility into what's going on in other areas of your business.
This means that no one is left wondering how they're impacting the company or where their efforts would be best directed.
This transparency to key data also creates an environment where people are accountable for their actions and performance, which makes you a better manager. It's great for answering questions from investors as well.
3. Integration of Data
A SaaS dashboard integrates data from multiple sources which means that it's not tied to a specific tool or app.
So instead of having different dashboards for your Sales, Marketing and Support teams (or worse – spreadsheets), you have all the information available in one place.
For example, when I first started at my company we had a separate Sales, Marketing and Support team.
Someone on the sales team would go to our CRM system for information while someone from marketing had an entirely different set of data they needed.
Accordingly, that meant we couldn't get a comprehensive view of where we stood as a company or how each department was performing because everyone's dashboard looked completely different.
Now that we have a SaaS dashboard, everyone has access to the same data. This makes it easier for our team to come together and discuss what's working or not because everyone is on the same page when it comes to how certain activities are impacting key metrics.
4. Spots the issues quickly
Spotting issues ahead of time or avoiding them completely is the overarching benefit that a SaaS dashboard provides.
Big changes generally happen over time. What typically happens is you slowly lose some MRR over the course of several months, and then one day you wake up and wonder where all your revenue went!
That's an extreme example, but you get the point. When you see big changes in your dashboard, you should immediately follow up and investigate the reason for the change.
A SaaS dashboard helps you avoid those surprises and gives everyone on your team a better understanding of where their time should be devoted to based on what’s most important at any given moment.
If we didn't have a dashboard that we tracked on a regular basis, it would've been more difficult to see that downwards trend early on, and we would've been slower to take action.
The faster you can spot negative trends or issues in your business, the less long term damage it'll cause you.
5. Plans ahead of time
Knowing where you stand today is nice, but unless you're able to take that data and turn it into a plan to improve your business in the future, what's the point?
A strategic dashboard (meaning customized to your business) can be a great starting point for your growth plan.
You'd think this would come naturally or intuitively, but it's actually pretty easy to get distracted or sidetracked from your goals.
When we saw that our revenue was diving, we shifted our development resources towards our marketing and growth, time spent in support queues so that you know which departments are contributing most effectively towards your goals.
I think a large part of it is the fear of the unknown. For instance, you're going to have a much easier time planning your marketing efforts if you know how many people are on your email list.
You don't want to build an audience that's too large or small for where you want it to be and then try and play catch up later when growth is stagnant because there aren't enough people to sign up for your product.
Core SaaS Metrics
- Lifetime Value (LTV): The total value an average customer brings to your company over their entire time as a customer.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): The average cost for acquiring a new customer.
- Churn: The percentage of customers who leave your company, typically calculated by month.
- Retention: The percentage of customers who stay with your company, also typically calculated by month.
- Average Revenue Per Account (ARPA): The average revenue from each account (customer).
- Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): The revenue a SaaS company expects to earn every month.
- Expansion: The amount of monthly revenue from existing customers. Account upgrades and adding new users to existing accounts are ways existing customers contribute to expansion.
- Time Series: How metrics change over time. Your dashboard should show your key metrics over several months so you can understand how your efforts (e.g., sales, marketing, development) are impacting growth.
The bottom line is that a SaaS dashboard helps you visualize, understand and improve your business.
Without it, you're going to miss out on opportunities for growth because you don't have all the data at your fingertips when decisions need to be made or questions answered immediately.
Having access to comprehensive information about how our company operates allows everyone on our team to have a bird's eye view of how everything is performing.
This lets us see the big picture and spot problems before they become insurmountable issues that jeopardize our company’s future growth or success.
It also helps us create realistic expectations for ourselves within each department, which means we're able to set proper goals and achieve them more often.
When you have a plan that's based on solid data, it makes for a much less stressful work environment where everyone can focus on doing their best.
Instead of worrying about going down the wrong path or losing sight of what matters most to your company’s future growth.