Creating Your SaaS KPI Dashboard

Creating a SaaS KPI Dashboard can be a daunting task. Many companies and businesses tend to focus on metrics that are less significant, such as new users and pageviews, which may not be directly in line with your bottom line. Instead, such businesses should find significant metrics (i.e. Key Performance Indicators) and concentrate on them. Tracking the wrong numbers can be both a waste of time and resources. While Google Analytics real time pageviews ticker can be great for displaying the number of pageviews, reaching your target for daily pageviews served for non-paying or free customers can only mean high server costs. Clearly, no organization wants this.
Therefore, evaluation of success requires a change of the “pageviews=success” mentality. Apparently, the vanity metrics are the simplest metrics to view on Google Analytics. A company has to devise a strategy to make their real metrics easier to access, and that is where the cloud-based KPI dashboard comes in.

Which Metrics Do You Track?

First, businesses have to determine their most important metrics (KPIs) that must be tracked. Whether a new or existing business, you must have a plan concerning how those KPIs are going to be measured. Your dashboard should make it easier to import spreadsheets into monthly figures and help generate graphs. And after plugging in your important figures, you will realize that tracking each of the metrics provided in the sheet can be overkill, therefore you should single out some key metrics that may include aggregate monthly recurring revenue, fresh monthly recurring revenue figures, and total new monthly-recurring revenue. You may also add some metrics to help track the growth or size of your customers, including users in each of your plans and new customers today. Others may include new user emails and new usernames. In that manner, if you notice a potentially large customer signing up, you can instantly follow up to find out their immediate needs.

How to Build Your SaaS KPI Dashboard

So how to you go about building your dashboard? There are several resources and solutions to help you build your dashboard. Some of these solutions or options for business dashboards include Ducksboard, Geckoboard, Lefttronic, Cyfe, and more. You can also find a reliable open-source dashboard framework at places like Shopify. It should be easy to create your custom dashboard with your chosen dashboard framework, which should also be able to handle all of your UI, graphs, and job scheduling needs. In fact, some of these are so simplified that all you have to do is write two scripts for quickly obtaining data from your own database.
After building it, you may get your team bookmark this dashboard and replace the habit of having to check Google Analytics for your pageviews. While this may take a longer time than developing the actual dashboard, push your team until each member has bookmarked the dashboard

Results of the KPI Dashboard

After making your teammates realize that “pageviews= cost” and making them shift to the dashboard, you will realize that the dashboard is well worth the development cost. You could triple your revenue in a month, attract some high net worth clients and even keep an eye on users who are signing up with potentially high profile domains. This will also allow you to make realistic projections regarding how long it would take your business to reach breakeven.
Therefore, instead of depending on vanity metrics with zero utility, these actionable metrics will enable you to have answers to critical questions such as: the amount of support to offer to free or plus users, as well as how much fees to charge for your pro plan, and whether you will ever become a real business. This can also help managers and entrepreneurs discard their vanity metrics while exposing their critical metrics.
SaaS companies, entrepreneurs, and businesses are always anxious around their metrics, often wondering which metrics are important and how they could be tracked. This anxiety is normal. While virtually every SaaS manager has heard of the Big Data, and can tell a story regarding how a single insight resulted in a 10 times increase in revenue, those insights must be known and a good method must be put in place to track them. Apparently, some of those insights are hidden in everyday metrics such as visitors, signups, revenue, and customer retention.
Setting up a SaaS KPI dashboard will help you keep an eye on the most important metrics that help to track the key parameters of your business. You will be able to measure marketing performance, any incremental changes, and even overall company progress easily. This will also be an empirical bedrock or foundation, upon which you can set goals for your business and measure your team’s progress.

Step 1: Setting up your tracking

While you could use a template for your SaaS startup, keep in mind that a template alone is not ideal, as you are the only person in a better position to evaluate the needs of your business. Therefore, take your time and determine what works best for your business. But in general, a SaaS company or business should track the following: visitors, signups, signup conversion rate, paying customers, revenue, and signup-to-paid conversion rate.
Tracking Visitors
Automatically track visitors after installing the initial JavaScript snippet.
Tracking Signups
Tracking signups will require you to create an “event” to be sent the moment a new user signs up to use your service.
Tracking revenue
To track revenue, you must have data for this dashboard, so ensure your tracking is installed correctly before you can move on.

Step 2: Create Your Own KPI Dashboard

With all the events required to make your dashboard, you can now create your dashboard inside of the dashboard framework. Add a new metric like the visitor metric. You may need data to be able to create a dashboard, so ensure your tracking is in place before you proceed.

Conclusion

With a product vision, a great team, and a timeline, you now know which areas need improvement, as you already have the stats with you. This is the time to take action and make the necessary improvements. Creating a SaaS KPI dashboard requires you to focus on the key metrics that are significant to your business – revenue, signups, and more, not just pageviews.

Omri Erel
Omri is the Head of Demand Generation, as well as the Lead Author & Editor of the SaaSAddict Blog. Omri established the SaaSAddict blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to SaaS and cloud migration.
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