How exactly to Determine Your SaaS Business’ Cost of Acquisition

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Without customers, it’s impossible to create a successful SaaS business. And, when you’re first getting the business ready to go, you could be inclined to get clients at all possible. Over time, however, this may make your acquisition costs unpredictable and, generally, overinflated.

Related: How exactly to Market Your SaaS Business

In the event that you gauge the cost of acquisition against customer lifetime value, you’ll likely find that the revenue earned from each customer is significantly less than you originally thought — or worse.

Wouldn’t you rather know just how to cover sales and marketing, than to just fly by the seat of your pants? Let’s check out how exactly to determine your SaaS business’ cost of acquisition.

What’s customer-acquisition cost?

Very simply, customer-acquisition cost considers the sales and marketing costs involved with acquiring one new customer for your SaaS business.

Generally, the less you need to spend on getting yet another customer, the better. However, this isn’t to claim that there exists a magic number to shoot for. Acquisition costs may differ significantly in one business to another, based on the niche and the prospective audience.

Customer-acquisition cost can be an important metric to assist you determine whether you have a viable business design which can be scaled over the long term. The higher the gains you see after expenses, the better.

In the event that you don’t match your acquisition cost against your customer lifetime value, it’ll be hard to determine whether your costs are high, low or somewhere among. We need to have a closer look at customer lifetime value.

WHAT’S customer lifetime value?

Just how much revenue do you earn from an individual customer while they’re spending money on your services? When you average out that figure across your customer database, the effect will be your customer lifetime value.

In this instance, it’s easier to have an increased number. The longer a person stays and will pay for your services, the more valuable see your face is to your business.

There isn’t necessarily a target going to, because customer lifetime value may differ a lot in one SaaS business to some other. Generally, though, your customer acquisition costs ought to be at or significantly less than 33 percent of your customer lifetime value. In the event that you aren’t there yet, don’t buckle, as the scale could be titled on your side.

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Customer-lifetime value and customer-acquisition cost ratio

When you’re seeking to better understand your business’ cost of acquisition, there are numerous important SaaS metrics to comprehend. But comparing customer lifetime value and customer acquisition cost gives us a far greater notion of your revenue per customer.

It must be apparent that it’s easier to spend less and earn much more, instead of the other way around. This may also assist you to determine your ROI — the entire efficacy of your online marketing strategy.

Ideally, your customer lifetime value and customer-acquisition cost ratio ought to be three or more. Fortunately, neither value is fixed. Think about it as a seesaw. You can keep your charges down and generate more revenue, but those efforts will demand ongoing optimization.

This ratio alone can provide you a better notion of your business’ cost of acquisition, but there are a few other important factors to bear in mind, such as for example churn.

What’s churn?

In practically every business, customers come and go. That is called churn. A good 5 percent difference in annual churn between two businesses could possibly be significant, especially during the period of five, 10 or 15 years.

If you’re in a position to keep customers for longer, you can consistently increase revenues and never have to generate more business. Churn drives up customer acquisition cost and requires a toll on customer lifetime value. A higher churn rate is a likely indicator that your service is mismatched to your customer’s needs, and could require further development. Adding features or tweaking the program could further drive up the expenses.

Most small SaaS businesses generally have a monthly churn rate between 1 and 11 percent. Much like other metrics mentioned previously, the precise nature of the business enterprise and the clients you’re targeting are factors here. There is absolutely no perfect score.

The low the churn rate, the better, but smaller businesses routinely have an increased churn rate, so don’t be placed off by that. It usually is superior.

Calculating your SaaS business cost of acquisition

A straightforward way to calculate your customer acquisition cost is by dividing the full total cost of sales and marketing by the amount of customers you acquired. Let’s say, for instance, that you spent $10,000 to obtain 350 customers. That could make the expense of acquisition roughly $28.57 per customer.

Customer-lifetime value can be easy to calculate — you’ll simply accumulate the revenue earned from each inactive customer and divide it by the full total number of customers.

As mentioned, if your customer-lifetime value and customer acquisition cost ratio are greater than or add up to three, you understand that you have a viable business design on your own hands.

You’ll still need to take into account churn, because, as we already determined, an increased churn rate will be indicative of a problem with the merchandise. It may be a mismatch together with your target audience members; it could not provide right features or benefits they need; or the perfect solution is itself is probably not what these were looking for, and there are better options in the marketplace.

Don’t forget: Cost of acquisition is similar to a seesaw, and may be optimized.


In developing your web and offline presence, you have to recognize that customer awareness is key. You need to take your leads and prospects from completely unaware to many aware for your marketing and sales to work.

Related: IN THE EVENT YOU Outsource Mobile SaaS Development?

The added benefit to reducing customer-acquisition cost and increasing customer lifetime value is that it can benefit your valuation. If you’re thinking about selling your business at some time, you need to have a close look at acquisition cost and lifetime value. You don’t have to optimize it to the nth degree to pique the interest of investors, but going right through the procedure