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In our engagements at FLG Partners, we often encounter situations in which companies default to systems to try to improve their business processes. Unfortunately, this approach can give a management team a false sense of security and almost always results in performance below expectations. At FLG, we typically find that process gaps are underestimated by […]

By OPEX Engine | August 13, 2019

Cloud channel strategies have evolved significantly over the past 20 years. Today there are a variety of SaaS channel sales models that companies have leveraged to exponentially increase sales and their potential customer base.

By Lauren Kelley | August 9, 2019

Over the years, I have become a “data hound” looking for every morsel of wisdom I can ge to help me make smarter decisions. The good news here: accurate data is king. You can’t effectively manage your business without accurate data. Getting it is not always easy but without it you risk making the wrong business decisions […]

By OPEX Engine | August 6, 2019

Cost of Revenue (COR) is the second highest expense bucket for most SaaS companies, yet it often gets overshadowed by the highest expense category, Sales & Marketing.  Sales and Marketing gets a lot of deserved attention since it can make or break a company’s revenue growth. Yet, COR spending directly affects the customer and losing […]

By Lauren Kelley | August 2, 2019

What valuations are founders asking for when they raise their Series A? Since May 2018, we’ve had conversations with 329 companies about their Series A rounds.  Below is aggregate data on these raises with names redacted to preserve confidentiality.  Figures like revenue, valuation, and round size are medians from conversations with founders.  Remember the valuations […]

By OPEX Engine | July 30, 2019

Long-time readers of our work may recall we have strived to shed a light on the opaque, confusing, and volatile practice of valuing private SaaS companies. As we near the mid-point of 2019, we thought it would be good to check on current private company valuation multiples. SaaS Capital is in a unique position to […]

By OPEX Engine | July 23, 2019

In the first half of 2019, total VC deal values hit $66B and is nearly on pace to match 2018’s record of $134.7B, according to the latest report released by PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association. The size of VC funding deals continues to trend upward, while angel and early stage investing is holding its own in terms […]

By Lauren Kelley | July 18, 2019

In looking at this issue across several companies, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend / missed opportunity in how many SaaS companies classify the reason for customer churn.  Roughly speaking, if companies were hospitals, they’d too frequently be reporting the cause of death as “stopped breathing.” Yes, the patient who died stopped breathing; the question is […]

By OPEX Engine | July 16, 2019

If you don’t prepare ahead of time, you could get stuck not producing the top 5 SaaS metrics that investors want to see when they’re considering whether to invest in your next round. Not preparing the right SaaS metrics by venture stage for your VCs can ultimately reduce valuation, or even kill your fund raise. […]

By OPEX Engine | July 9, 2019

We wish you a happy 4thof July with best wishes from all of us at OPEXEngine, the only INDEPENDENT SaaS benchmarking platform. In the spirit of the holiday, we’ve collected some 4thof July-related facts (since we love facts and statistics): The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men from 13 colonies. Only John Hancock […]

By Lauren Kelley | July 3, 2019

In a recent meeting, a founder asked me what I thought of the fundraising environment. My answer was: it’s become incredibly sophisticated along three dimensions: diversity of product offering, pricing sophistication, and efficiency of investment processes. If you read eBoys or Done Deals or Creative Capital, you’ll get a sense of the early days of […]

By OPEX Engine | July 2, 2019

What does it take to achieve extraordinary SaaS B2B valuation multiples?  A big market and performance indicators showing that the company can acquire customers at a fast pace. In addition, it is valuable to show that your company can support/maintain customers with a low cost of revenue.  Even better when your metrics show gains in […]

By Lauren Kelley | June 27, 2019

Average Contract Value is (“ACV”) is a vanity metric that should be looked at as part of a group of ratios that include number of qualified leads, close ratio, sales cycle, and other critical sales metrics. It shouldn’t be put on a pedestal. Here is why: The world’s biggest and best software companies tend to […]

By OPEX Engine | June 25, 2019

I often talk about B2B SaaS metrics from the perspective of what investors want. If you don’t have easy access to the metrics they expect (or, worse, if they’re wrong), your valuation could suffer, and that’s the last thing SaaS founders, CEOs and CFOs want to hear. But on occasion, I’ll hear prospects say they […]

By OPEX Engine | June 18, 2019

In this week’s 2019 State of the Internet presentation, Mary Meeker, the Midas List Kleiner Perkins/Bond Capital partner behind Spotify, Dropbox, Instacart, Slack, Square, Airbnb and Houzz, as well as Facebook and Twitter, captured how the internet is transforming the consumer and enterprise world, and even the political and regulatory sphere.   Given at Vox/Recode’s Code […]

By Lauren Kelley | June 14, 2019

Slack has transformed the way we work. By replacing email with beautiful and simple internal chat, Slack has productized productivity. Founded as a gaming company called Tiny Speck in 2009, the company’s initial product, Glitch, didn’t catch on as expected. So the business pivoted to commercialize an internal tool – a Searchable Log of All […]

By OPEX Engine | June 11, 2019

Two/thirds of the SaaS Finance executives in this week’s webinar audience said they don’t feel they are getting a high level of return on their R&D investment. Tom Huntington, an experienced SaaS CFO and I explored the R&D “Magic Number,” and how the SaaS model and Lean Start-Up methodologies are helping to make R&D investment […]

By Lauren Kelley | June 7, 2019

Everyone loves recurring revenue and rightly so: it’s far more valuable than one-time revenue to VC and acquirers.  But, don’t forsake one-time revenue.  Whether it’s for services, onboarding, licensing, or some other one-time event, revenue of this type is incredibly valuable especially at early stages.   There are three big reasons it’s valuable: It’s a Source […]

By OPEX Engine | June 4, 2019

Great SaaS companies grow fast and have great products.  Top line growth is the number one priority for most SaaS companies, but what about R&D (Research & Development)? You can’t have fast growth without great products, but often, the link between product development and revenue growth isn’t clear. How do you know if you are getting […]

By Lauren Kelley | May 31, 2019

As the ways in which we do business change and evolve, the tools we use for SaaS revenue recognition should, ideally, change as well. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. A recent study found that just 40% of CFOs felt confident about their system’s ability to provide relevant insights, and half reported that their systems did […]

By OPEX Engine | May 28, 2019

This week, we announced a strategic relationship with Bain Consulting.  Bain is using our benchmarks with their strategic consulting to help clients better understand how they compare to peers and market leaders, and where they can improve.  Data plus insights makes the analysis concrete and actionable.  Our decade long benchmarking of software and SaaS companies […]

By Lauren Kelley | May 23, 2019

After sales skyrocketed in 2003, Salesforce was bursting at the seams. Employees worked full-time in hallways and conference rooms because no one was prepared for the company’s explosive growth. Arguably the first true software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, the story of Salesforce exemplifies the dramatic expansion of the entire SaaS industry over the past two decades. Still, […]

By OPEX Engine | May 21, 2019

Sales is the Growth Engine Sales is the engine driving SaaS company value. Top and bottom line performance are totally dependent on the sales organization and its performance. And sales expense is typically the largest expense item on a growth SaaS company’s income statement. When scaling the business, sales typically averages roughly 30% of revenue, […]

By Lauren Kelley | May 16, 2019

Back in 2014, I wrote a post titled “Five ways to build a $100 million business”. If you haven’t seen it yet, the central idea of the article was to look at how many customers you need, for a given ARPA, to get to $100 million in annual revenue and what this might mean for […]

By OPEX Engine | May 14, 2019

We had a great discussion with Andrew Setness, VP Finance at DialSource this week on evolving the Finance organization as a SaaS company grows.  We talked about the processes, metrics and systems that change as a company goes from a Series A, to B, to C and beyond. Andrew, based in Sacramento, CA, highlighted that […]

By Lauren Kelley | May 10, 2019

I’m a huge practitioner of data-driven SaaS management. I believe that almost everything in a SaaS business can and should be measured. But there are two important caveats to measurement that I’ve recently seen overlooked. First, the data you use for KPIs or OKRs must be understood by your teams. And second, it must have […]

By OPEX Engine | May 7, 2019

A customer journey is typically defined as the sum of all the experiences that your customer has with your brand and product. In the case of your SaaS product, it includes interactions prior to buying, the actual buying process, on-boarding, continued learning about how to use the product including best practices, up-selling, technical problem resolution, […]

By OPEX Engine | April 30, 2019

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is one of the key SaaS metrics to track and benchmark in your business.  By accurately calculating SaaS CAC and benchmarking it against peers and market leaders, companies can better allocate resources to improve growth and profitability.  And with accurate calculations, companies can identify the most profitable customer segments.  Yet, getting […]

By Lauren Kelley | April 26, 2019

Many finance teams consider board reports the most challenging type of report that they put together. And, in many ways, it’s because board members want so much more than numbers, such as nonfinancial information and customized analysis. Standard slide templates and data charts may satisfy most board members. But to really dazzle them—and establish the […]

By OPEX Engine | April 23, 2019

Employees are the biggest asset of a SaaS company as well as the single largest expense.  Compensation & benefits alone represent from 65% to 80%+ of revenue.   With the Enterprise SaaS market generating revenues of $20B a quarter, the venture community continues to pump funds into new and expansion companies. The resulting competition makes it […]

By Lauren Kelley | April 18, 2019

PagerDuty was founded in 2009 by 3 former Amazon engineers who were often on-call. To engineers, being on call means carrying a pager to respond to crises when software breaks or services go down. In the 10 years since that day, PagerDuty has built an exceptional business. Their product has evolved from on-call management, which […]

By OPEX Engine | April 16, 2019

Ever had a discussion or sat in a meeting to review metrics and the meeting didn’t accomplish much because the discussion got mired in questions about the metrics, not what the metrics were saying about the company’s performance? Or your executive team looks at metrics one way, but your investors, or bank lenders or new M&A […]

By Lauren Kelley | April 12, 2019

Anna and I are about a year into our SaaSX and Beacon9 stories and about 15 months removed from the acquisition of our SaaS company. We worked with some amazing recurring revenue SaaS companies in 2018. Our journey, our clients, and the new year have caused me to reflect on our mission to help SaaS […]

By OPEX Engine | April 9, 2019

Alignment between Finance and Sales, especially SalesOps, is critical for SaaS companies to effectively manage growth and expenses.  Miscalculating quotas, attainment and On-target Earnings (OTE) for account executives can drive up CAC, not to mention impact revenues and forecasts. Lauren Kelley and Eric Stephenson, Director of FP&A at Domo discussed in SaaS Conversations this week best practices […]

By Lauren Kelley | April 5, 2019

A founder posed me a question earlier this week: Do you have any data/perspective on whether it’s worth keeping the unassisted free trial flow vs. providing only one path which leads to a demo and an assisted free trial? This is a complex question. Let’s break it down.The unassisted free trial has benefits. There’s a […]

By OPEX Engine | April 2, 2019

Just coming back from SaaSConnect, the annual meet-up of the Cloud Software Association (CSA), a terrific conference for SaaS and Cloud business development professionals.  If your partner exec isn’t involved with the CSA, they should be.  The organization is run by a dedicated group of volunteers, ranging from business development at Google and Microsoft to […]

By Lauren Kelley | March 29, 2019

By 2020, more than 80 percent of software providers will change their business models from “traditional” perpetual license and maintenance to subscription-based models. A perpetual model requires customers to pay a fee upfront to purchase a license for the system or application, whereas a SaaS model requires a monthly subscription fee. While some providers, such […]

By OPEX Engine | March 26, 2019

A benchmark floating around the SaaS blogging community is that SaaS net retention rates have to be over 100% – or your company isn’t valuable.  In fact, according to this school of thought, your net retention rate should be way over 100%, at least 125% or more.  Some investors are even associating net retention rates […]

By Lauren Kelley | March 22, 2019

This post won’t save your life, or your company.  But it might save you a few precious hours at 2:00 AM if you’re working on your company’s SaaS metrics and can’t foot your quarterly and annual churn rates while preparing a board or investor deck. The generic issue is a lot of SaaS metrics gurus […]

By OPEX Engine | March 19, 2019

SaaS Sales and Finance collaborate together in planning, forecasting and day-to-day Sales management issues.   That collaboration can be smooth and extremely productive, or there can be less productive friction.  Working with hundreds of SaaS and software Finance organizations to collect and benchmark key Sales-related metrics, we’ve seen some best practices that tend to make the […]

By Lauren Kelley | March 16, 2019

A few days ago I wrote that there’s more than one path to $100 million. I argued that while it’s awesome to see that some companies are able to get from 0 to $100 million in ARR in 7-8 years or even less, trying to grow that fast may not be the best choice for […]

By OPEX Engine | March 12, 2019

SaaS Cost of Goods (COGs) is the fulcrum on which gross margin and key SaaS metrics balance.   SaaS Finance managers have to think strategically as they define exactly how to calculate COGs. More expense in the SaaS COGs bucket brings down gross margin but might improve Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – but this can have […]

By Lauren Kelley | March 8, 2019

“If you need more revenue, invest in Sales.” Why is that the default—some might say “kneejerk”—response to the basic question of how to make more money? One of the reasons Sales is such an obvious economic driver for companies is because its core Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is meaningful and well-defined: bookings. But for businesses […]

By OPEX Engine | March 5, 2019

Ever had a discussion or sat in a meeting to review metrics and the meeting didn’t accomplish much because the discussion got mired in questions about the metrics, not what the metrics were saying about the company’s performance? Or your executive team looks at metrics one way, but your investors, or bank lenders or new M&A […]

By Lauren Kelley | March 1, 2019

Today’s syndicated article was written by Sammy Abdullah, Co-Manager at Blossom Street Ventures. The chart below is a good set of data from recent SaaS IPOs and their R&D spend. Building out, maintaining, and upgrading a technology stack requires a constant commitment to developers and engineers, so what is an appropriate level of development or R&D expense […]

By OPEX Engine | February 26, 2019

There is no shortage of great advice on how to create a great fundraising deck. Our very own Michael Wolfe (not to be confused with the Fire and FuryMichael Wolff, by the way, nor with the fantastic comedian Michelle Wolf) wrote an excellent article about what should be in your fundraising slides some time ago. Mark Suster put together this great […]

By OPEX Engine | February 18, 2019

Investors love SaaS customer cohort analysis. It shows that you are analyzing your business, using data to identify areas of strength and weakness. It shows that you know your customers and can analyze which segments are likely to grow and which are at risk for churn. If you can identify the groups most likely to […]

By Lauren Kelley | February 15, 2019

How much can a customer success manager manage? I’d heard the wisdom of $1-2M in ARR per year and around 80 accounts. But I hadn’t come across any data. Last summer, Gainsight posted the results of their survey on the topic. The truth is most CSMs manage between $2-5M in ARR and somewhere between 10-500 accounts. But […]

By OPEX Engine | February 12, 2019

This week I listened to Jeff Epstein, Bessemer partner and former CFO of Oracle, present to CFOs and finance execs at Intacct’s Finance Summit. The Summit content was well done and kudos to Sage Intacct for organizing it. Jeff described the stages, pre-money valuation and milestones at each stage, from pre-seed to Series G and beyond.  […]

By Lauren Kelley | February 8, 2019

Over the last year or two, many of SaaS Capital’s portfolio companies have initiated channel sales strategies, and many more are contemplating it. Given the trend, this was the focus topic at a recent portfolio company CEO roundtable. The stories and anecdotes from the room of about 10 portfolio company leaders shared a common theme: […]

By OPEX Engine | February 5, 2019

SaaS companies selling in the SMB market are structured operationally very differently from SaaS companies selling in the enterprise market.    Everything from Sales structures to Marketing to R&D is organized differently depending on whether you are selling a low-priced product to a high volume of customers, or selling a high-priced product to a smaller number […]

By Lauren Kelley | February 1, 2019

For any growing business, capturing and analyzing financial data is critical for scaling and making informed decisions. With the right performance metrics and insights at your disposal, you won’t be blindsided by changes in the business. You can proactively address issues quickly and drive growth confidently. And when you’re ready to seek capital, you can […]

By OPEX Engine | January 29, 2019

Driving revenue and revenue growth is one of the most important factors in the financial performance of a SaaS business, so getting the sales and salesOps metrics right is critical. In fact, for 2019, this might be one of the most important financial benchmarks you should track. We had a great webinar with SaaSOptics and […]

By Lauren Kelley | January 27, 2019

One of the most important metrics for B2C companies is customer acquisition cost or “CAC”.  One debate is whether the cost rises or falls over time.  The argument for rising CAC is the next marginal customer is generally harder to acquire than your last customer.  The argument for falling/stable CAC is that as companies get […]

By OPEX Engine | January 22, 2019

CAC can be difficult to calculate.  If you have 1000 customers paying $1,000/year plus 100 customers paying $10,000/year, is it good, bad or indifferent if your average CAC is $5,000/customer?  In the B2B SaaS world, most companies have different customer segments who pay somewhat or very different prices based on a variety of different licensing […]

By Lauren Kelley | January 17, 2019

While most companies put real thought into how they present numbers in their post-quarter board decks and other management reports, one area in which you’ll find a lack of discipline is in how they present quarterly sales forecasts to the board. They’re typically done as a quick update email to the board.  They’ll usually mention […]

By OPEX Engine | January 15, 2019

Here are some predictions for 2019 and a review of my thoughts for 2018, many of which were wrong. The M&A market slows meaningfully, especially at the multi-billion dollar level. The recent seasickness in the public markets forces most CEOs adopt a more conservative approach to acquisitions. Facing large swings in valuation, these leaders may […]

By OPEX Engine | January 8, 2019

Too many SaaS companies don’t have a strategic systems roadmap to support their growth.  As a result, they end up making endless tactical fixes and integrations to solve immediate problems but continue to struggle producing key reports and data analysis. In a recent OPEXEngine webinar, SaaS CFO Eric Mersch (Percolate and FLG Partners) and OpFocus […]

By Lauren Kelley | January 7, 2019

Preparing for an audit isn’t usually on anyone’s list of favorite things but it’s a necessary evil. For software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses, audit preparation can be particularly stressful because the business model presents its own set of unique challenges related to financial operations that play a critical role in any audit. With the right preparation, however, […]

By OPEX Engine | January 2, 2019

Raising capital can be a challenging, sometimes grueling, process. In the last 20+ years, I have seen how the sausage is made from many different perspectives. Prior to starting SaaS Capital in 2007, I was a partner at a venture capital firm with a focus on funding Series A and B for software companies. It […]

By OPEX Engine | December 26, 2018

It’s the end of the year, and it’s time for us to make some predictions going into 2019. Here are the top five things we think the SaaS Boards are thinking about going into 2019. Top Five Things SaaS Boards are Thinking About Going Into 2019 1) Large tech cos are consolidating and driving M&A […]

By Lauren Kelley | December 21, 2018

The growing popularity of SaaS applications among end users, enterprise software buyers and investors creates tremendous pressure on traditional software providers to offer subscription versions of their applications. The business case for moving to SaaS is so strong that this business model is projected to dominate all software sales in the near term. According to […]

By OPEX Engine | December 18, 2018

Yesterday, at the Boston SaaS Finance Meet-Up for the SaaS and Software benchmarking community, we discussed some of the issues with determining customer count for B-2-B SaaS companies.  Last week, the same question came up at our San Francisco SaaS Finance Meet-Up as well, so it is clearly an issue.  Many companies, especially those selling […]

By Lauren Kelley | December 14, 2018

When I first heard about the Lifetime Value (LTV) to Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) metric many years ago, the economics major in me got very excited. I was already well into the SaaS financing business at the time, and this ratio seemed like the most elegant way to express how the business model really worked. […]

By OPEX Engine | December 11, 2018

Best in class SaaS CFOs measure the percent of R&D spend associated with tech debt, just like they track financial debt.  Tech debt simply defined is the accumulated cost of development short cuts and outdated technology.  It is the interest a company pays for trade-offs made between quality and time to market – short cuts […]

By Lauren Kelley | December 7, 2018

Customers will pay you to build your SaaS product. It’s one of the great advantages of a SaaS model. Annual prepay contracts – wherein customers pay for a year’s cost on day – is a free loan from customers. And every startup can benefit from this advance. There’s only one requirement: you must be able […]

By OPEX Engine | December 4, 2018

Savvy SaaS CFOs know that the best way to prepare for board approval of the next year’s budget and plan is to set the stage before the meeting.   This is the time of year when most SaaS companies are compiling and finalizing budget numbers. The hard work of getting Executive team agreement on the final resource […]

By Lauren Kelley | November 30, 2018

Your startup is just getting off the ground. You might have a few account executives and a sales leader in place; maybe some revenue and a handful of customers. The sales team costs real money, and the question before the company is: how do know what quota plan to assign to the account executives? I’ve […]

By OPEX Engine | November 27, 2018

SaaS entrepreneurs have to go out on a limb and spend to grow.  That’s a fact of the SaaS world.  At the same time, spending before revenues come in and investing in growth is a big risk, and it requires tight discipline, like walking on a narrow balance beam requires tight discipline not to fall […]

By OPEX Engine | November 20, 2018

A really smart and experienced investor said to me the other day that with these 3 things, he could absolutely increase any SaaS company value (and would invest in doing so): The right operational data about the company and good, comparable benchmarks, Intelligent interpretation of the data, especially around go-to-market Improved business processes focused on […]

By Lauren Kelley | November 16, 2018

Scaling a startup from zero to $100M is 10% strategy and 90% execution. You’d never know that from reading the Web, because the advice you’ll find online is 90% related to strategy and 10% related to execution. This is the second post in a series that explores the challenges of scaling a startup through rapid […]

By OPEX Engine | November 13, 2018

Every vendor, from early to enterprise stage, must have a laser focus on SaaS cash management in order to survive.  The lag times caused by the subscription payment model, PLUS the intense customer acquisition growth pressure in order to succeed in the market, makes cash burn tough to manage. In SaaS, spending cash usually comes […]

By Lauren Kelley | November 9, 2018

I think it would be hard to overemphasize the importance of upgrade and upsell strategy in SaaS product marketing. In an industry where free trials, freemium versions, bargain basement subscription prices and simply hoping to recover customer acquisition cost with first year revenue are the norm, few things are sweeter than a customer that actually […]

By OPEX Engine | November 6, 2018

Earlier this week, we published a blog by Tomasz Tunguz, How the Economics of Professional Services Have Changed in Software. He demonstrates that professional services strategies and gross margins vary widely across public SaaS companies and have done for some time in the SaaS world. Despite large variances in professional services metrics, public SaaS companies […]

By Lauren Kelley | November 1, 2018

A founder asked me recently if there were any trends in the economics of professional services across public SaaS companies. I had examined the gross margins and share of revenue from professional services about 3 years ago. Professional services are consulting fees software companies charge to customers for software configuration, customization and education. What has […]

By OPEX Engine | October 30, 2018

The OER (Operating Expense Ratio – ratio of operating expense to revenue) is a traditionally viewed as a measurement of efficiency. It can be translated to mean the dollars required to produce one dollar of revenue.  Typically, that dollar of operating expense was 90 percent payroll components. For early stage companies, the OER may be 3X.  […]

By Lauren Kelley | October 25, 2018

From time-to-time, you may need to find consultants to help you with your business.  Sometimes, those needs are high level, like setting strategies or marketing plans.  And, other times, those needs are more point solutions, like a pro in search engine optimization or product sourcing.  Whatever your need may be, there is most likely a […]

By OPEX Engine | October 23, 2018

In early markets, customers prefer entire solutions, not best in class point products. These solutions often include significant professional services and education. At the beginning of a new wave, most customers don’t understand the technology well. So, they seek experts to guide them. Companies that provide services and education often win the early market. They […]

By OPEX Engine | October 18, 2018

Here’s a super interesting perspective from Sunir Shah, founder of the Cloud Software Association, a 2000 member organization dedicated to promoting partnerships and business development among SaaS companies that we like a lot.  From the early SaaS days when few believed the SaaS subscription business model could support partners and indirect channels, the SaaS partnership […]

By OPEX Engine | October 16, 2018

I’ve written quite a bit about the public market software multiples. They’ve increased to near historic levels with forward revenue multiples approaching 9x. As the public markets have appreciated, something has happened that I didn’t expect. Some public companies are now fetching the mulitples of the most attractive private companies. I thought valuations between the […]

By OPEX Engine | October 10, 2018

Employee productivity is an oft overlooked performance benchmark in fast growth tech companies. It is easy to calculate – divide revenue by number of employees.  The calculation is the same regardless of the business model.  The simplicity and consistency of how the metric is calculated is attractive and helpful in calculating the revenue potential of a […]

By Lauren Kelley | October 4, 2018

About two years ago, Marketo was publicly traded and valued at roughly $1.1B. Vista Equity paid $1.8B to take the company private, a 64% premium. At the time it was taken private by Vista, Marketo generated $241M in trailing revenue, growing at 35% annually. Its net income margin was -31%. Last week, Adobe announced they […]

By OPEX Engine | October 2, 2018

Harvard Business Review published an article last year describing a new method they dubbed the Customer Based Corporate Valuation (CBCV) method focused on SaaS valuations and subscription companies. CBCV takes a “bottoms-up” approach to determining a company’s value, focusing on its customer base and the value of its customers.  By contrast, traditional valuation methods take a […]

By Lauren Kelley | September 27, 2018

As many of you know, Red Rocket has been looking for a businesses to buy.  We have previously written about all the challenges that come with buy-side mergers and acquisitions work.   But, there is a new wrinkle we have been running into, that is worth talking about.  Most businesses we have looked at were […]

By OPEX Engine | September 25, 2018

For SaaS companies targeting fast growth to $100M and beyond, the company’s data management of its own business information can enable the growth path or bog it down.   Manual and “heroic” efforts to get the data out of business systems for reporting and analysis will get harder and harder to do as systems, records and […]

By Lauren Kelley | September 20, 2018

It seems a little late in the game for me to be asking a question like “What is SaaS?” But, I’ve always harbored a few embarrassing little secrets on the subject and I think it’s time I came clean. There is a classic Harvard Business School case study called Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt that […]

By OPEX Engine | September 18, 2018

You hear the terms SaaS, subscription, term licenses and perpetual license software tossed around frequently.  The terms aren’t universally understood, nor are the implications of each on the financial model of a company, so the following is an effort to provide an overview. At OPEXEngine, we pull apart the different nuances of each business model […]

By Lauren Kelley | September 13, 2018

Your sales team is starting to close some terrific accounts. As your startup grows, your sales team will experiment with different sales techniques. For example, qualification, pricing, positioning, incentives and contract structure. This is a wonderful phase for a startup. However, there’s a common mistake to avoid. Your VP of Finance should model the impact […]

By OPEX Engine | September 11, 2018

Numbers provide us a certain certainty. With their precision, they offer a sense of black and white, in or out. But, data and benchmarks alone aren’t enough. All the quantitative analysis in the world won’t lead me to the next great idea for startup. Those figures can’t create empathy, develop the right culture, or hire […]

By OPEX Engine | September 6, 2018

Good SaaS CFOs manage increasingly complex organizations and responsibilities.  The Finance organization has grown to be one of the strategic assets of a SaaS company, managing the  numbers, planning for growth, contributing to strategic changes in Sales, Marketing and even R&D, not to mention closing the books every month, quarter and year. SaaS Finance:  One […]

By Lauren Kelley | September 5, 2018

As a SaaS business matures, the importance and value of SaaS metrics increase. Most SaaS businesses begin their journey down the SaaS metrics path by tracking recurring revenue in relation to customer acquisition costs. After building a solid customer base, churn becomes a priority. These fundamental SaaS metrics are all apparent in the standard SaaS […]

By OPEX Engine | August 30, 2018

In honor of the last, hot days of summer and our love of Labor Day data and statistics, we dedicate this content to Labor Day in the U.S. on Sept. 3rd. The first observance of Labor Day was likely on Sept. 5, 1882, when some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. […]

By Lauren Kelley | August 29, 2018

SaaS customer acquisition cost (CAC) is one of the key indicators to define a profitable SaaS business model.  The difference between customer acquisition cost and the lifetime value of a customer defines the value of the business. CAC is defined as the cost involved in acquiring one new customer.  The easiest way to determine customer acquisition […]

By Lauren Kelley | August 23, 2018

Over the last several years, many technologies have been developed to help accelerate and automate the sales and marketing functions. First, it was upper funnel tools that help drive customer awareness and consideration through marketing automation. Then came the middle and lower funnel tools that help drive customer evaluation and purchase through sales enablement tools, which I will […]

By OPEX Engine | August 21, 2018

Fifteen years ago, software company financial plans followed standard guidelines about sales and marketing expense targets. Traditional software sales and marketing expense aimed for 22%-25% of revenue, maybe 28-30% if strong revenue growth warranted it.  Anything north of that required a really good explanation for why and how the numbers would be reduced.  SaaS financial […]

By Lauren Kelley | August 17, 2018

You’ve just raised a round of financing. Your next step is to build your management team. There are several criteria hire an executive. Competency in the field, cultural fit, communication skills, management experience. All of those should be obvious. There is one that is often overlooked. Network. Recruiting is one of the most important responsibilities […]

By OPEX Engine | August 16, 2018

I have written many posts about the importance of determining your industry size for strategic planning or investor pitch purposes.  But, determining your industry size is not always easy, and more importantly, determining your total addressable market (which I will define later), is even more important and an even more nebulous calculation.  So, here is […]

By OPEX Engine | August 9, 2018

In 2007, when OPEXEngine launched its first benchmarking of SaaS vendors, almost no SaaS companies in the data set were selling to end-user customers through a channel. Over a decade later, that statistic has changed dramatically. In the early days of SaaS, the idea was that subscription pricing did not allow a partner margin, so almost […]

By Lauren Kelley | August 7, 2018

I met a seasoned executive recently. He made a bold claim. “Management is an art, and one that is overwhelmingly undervalued in Silicon Valley.” I wondered, are we investing enough in our managers? Talent is the largest investment of an early stage company. 80%+ of startup operating expense flows to compensation. Retaining these employees is […]

By OPEX Engine | August 2, 2018

Hiring and retaining skilled and productive employees in SaaS companies is an ongoing, competitive exercise.  Human assets are the biggest investment and a huge driver of SaaS company valuations – but a lot of organizations don’t check SaaS HR benchmarks regularly or keep it in front of management the way they do customer lifetime value, […]

By Lauren Kelley | July 31, 2018

Recently, people have been asking just where are we in the SaaS valuation cycle. I last updated the chart above more than six months ago. The answer is close to ten year highs. The chart above shows the median enterprise value to forward revenue multiple to multiple. Enterprise value is the market of a publicly […]

By OPEX Engine | July 19, 2018

When I’m not completely absorbed with my agile marketing software startup, I do a bit of SaaS consulting on the side. SaaS colleagues come to me with a wide variety of problems from positioning to sales compensation to churn analysis, but lately I’ve noticed a common theme: poor SaaS customer alignment. SaaS businesses develop intimate, […]

By OPEX Engine | July 12, 2018

The SaaS IPO and M&A market is extraordinarily strong.  Venture and PE capital inflows to SaaS companies also continue to be strong. With the second half of 2018 approaching for most SaaS and software companies, it is time to review and tweak second half budgets and plans. Now is a great time to benchmark your KPIs […]

By OPEX Engine | June 26, 2018

There are five forces driving the startup ecosystem today. They are working together to reinforce a high valuation environment. These forces are: An infusion of capital into Startupland. There are many reasons for this. The money supply in the US has doubled in the last 10 years. A low interest rate environment means a low […]

By OPEX Engine | June 21, 2018

Growth is the primary driver of value for early- and mid-stage SaaS companies.  In subscription models, you invest in revenue acquisition up – front and then generate value over time by managing churn. Acquiring new recurring revenues burns cash, mostly in Sales and Marketing. SaaS executives need to understand how efficient their organizations are in […]

By OPEX Engine | June 19, 2018

Choosing the right go-to-market sales model for your SaaS startup can be a make it or break it decision. Choose right and you grow smoothly from seed funding to A round to B round and beyond. Choose wrong and you spend precious cycles chasing your tail as cash runs out. While most B2B SaaS startups […]

By OPEX Engine | June 14, 2018

Over the past 12 months, a number of our benchmarking customers have either filed or completed SaaS IPOs. And Adaptive, a customer and partner, filed for an IPO in May and then announced in a surprise move on Monday its acquisition for $1.55B by enterprise SaaS company Workday for more than double (2.2X) the expected post […]

By OPEX Engine | June 12, 2018

SaaS companies track income with a variety of different metrics, and it can be confusing.  Some companies track bookings, ARR and recognized revenues, others track billings.  Sometimes companies only include recurring revenues when they talk about bookings or billings, but they also sell Professional Services (and must book and bill them somehow).  Definitions and reporting […]

By OPEX Engine | June 5, 2018

Intelex, a Canadian-based global leader in Environment, Health, Safety and Quality (EHSQ) SaaS, with offices in Toronto, Denver, and the UK, uses OPEXEngine’s SaaS Benchmarking platform, BenchmarkEngine™, together with Adaptive Insights budgeting and planning solution to drive operational analysis enabling fast growth. Intelex has grown to 500 employees with global offices and over 30 percent […]

By OPEX Engine | May 29, 2018

Company X is a fast growth SaaS company, surpassed $20M ARR in 2017 and on a plan to hit $35M ARR in 2018, and $50M ARR in 2019.  Their growth plan is based on: more enterprise customers; opening an office in Europe/UK and increasing European revenue to 15% of total revenue; and adding new functionality […]

By OPEX Engine | May 21, 2018

Last week, Hubspot announced strong Q1’18 results of 39% revenue growth and 44% customer growth.  These are great growth numbers, but more importantly, Hubspot announced a major evolution in its growth strategy. Here is how one successful SaaS vendor is evolving its model. Hubspot invented and evangelized the term “Inbound Marketing,” dramatically influencing the SaaS playbook […]

By OPEX Engine | May 15, 2018

Sales is the revenue engine of any B-2-B SaaS company and thus absolutely critical to company growth. Sales is also often the biggest single departmental expenditure in the company – another reason why Sales efficiency is critical to ensure companies are getting the best productivity for their investment in the Sales organization and everything the company […]

By OPEX Engine | May 8, 2018

SaaS G&A expense is surprisingly high.  Unlike traditional software companies where G&A expense was expected to be in the 12-14% of revenue range at the time a company went public and then drop to 8-10%, SaaS companies present G&A expense between about 15% to 20%, and sometimes more, of revenue.   Why is this and what […]

By OPEX Engine | April 30, 2018

Subscription revenue management SaaS vendor Zuora’s IPO on Thursday, priced at $14, closed at $20 and valued the company at $2B.  2018 is shaping up to be a banner year for B-2-B SaaS IPOs:  Dropbox and Zuora already have listed, Docusign, Pluralsight, Smartsheet have filed and Qualtrics, Apttus, Github, SurveyMonkey and Slack are expected to […]

By OPEX Engine | April 17, 2018

Women in tech are becoming more common every single day, but there is still significant disparity when it comes to what salaries are being offered to women versus men for the same technology jobs.  Hired.com recently released their third annual report, The State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace. Hired.com is a tech hiring marketplace […]

By OPEX Engine | April 11, 2018

Pricing in the SaaS world is particularly complicated. Pricing can make or break your SaaS company with its impact on both profitability and revenue growth – the two major indicators of company valuation. SaaS pricing is a fast-moving target and every SaaS CFO should be re-evaluating their company’s pricing on a regular basis.  As a […]

By OPEX Engine | March 19, 2018

OpFocus recently met with fellow SaaS maven & long time friend, Lauren Kelley, who founded OPEXEngine a decade ago in Waltham, MA and built it into the premier Software as a Service SaaS benchmarking resource. Lauren’s held executive positions of her own in some of the industry’s most successful companies, and having advised hundreds of forward-thinking technology […]

By OPEX Engine | March 11, 2018

Last week, Salesforce.com (CRM) announced their FY 2018 results. The data indicates strength of their expansion model. Here’s why. SaaS companies, as well as investors in SaaS, watch Salesforce the original pioneer of the SaaS model.   The “No Software” company is the largest fast growth SaaS company in the world, keeping the momentum going even […]

By OPEX Engine | March 4, 2018

The importance of unit economics and the associated metrics (CAC, LTV, LTV/CAC ratio) is well established in the SaaS world.  But how you calculate your operating numbers isn’t as well understood – these critical non-GAAP metrics aren’t consistently defined.  And changes in calculations – not the business – can have a real impact on your […]

By OPEX Engine | February 27, 2018

Coming back from the annual SaaStr mega conference in San Francisco, it is clear that SaaS is huge, it is expanding and it is going to impact companies both in the United and States and abroad. The Expanding SaaS Sector The rapidly expanding SaaS sector numbers something like 10,000+ revenue-earning vendors.    While the majority of […]

By OPEX Engine | February 19, 2018

One of the hottest trends in the evolving SaaS playbook is the influence of Account Based Selling (ABS) and Account Based Sales Development (ABSD). The Account Based approach changes two important aspects of growing a SaaS company:  firstly, it changes business processes and secondly, it changes organizational structures.  The focus is to pull together Marketing, […]

By OPEX Engine | February 12, 2018

I’m jazzed to spend this week at SaaStr 2018 annual mega conference & SaaS gathering in San Francisco.   Over 10k + founders, VCs, and execs will be participating in the 3-day conference. The organizers have focused on including women and “under-represented” groups—40% of the speakers are women and 60% altogether between women and under-represented groups.  […]

By OPEX Engine | February 5, 2018

2017 was a banner growth year for SaaS companies, and particularly for SaaS vendors that went public over the past 12-18 months.  Based on OPEXEngine’s data feed of analyst revenue expectations for the next fiscal year filings, top performing SaaS companies’ annual revenue growth rates keep climbing and it appears as if they will beat […]

By OPEX Engine | January 29, 2018

SaaS companies are all about fast revenue growth and great products.  Most discussions about SaaS models focus on Sales and Marketing – in fact we wrote a post about it last week, but what about R&D (Research & Development)? You can’t have fast growth without great products, so how do you measure SaaS R&D performance?  We […]

By OPEX Engine | January 22, 2018

Last week we looked whether all SaaS companies benefited from the incredibly hot stock market in 2017.  We found big variations in Market Cap to Revenue multiple trends.  Some companies doubled their market valuation multiple during 2017, and some at the bottom of the spectrum reduced their multiple by almost half.  This week we’ll look […]

By OPEX Engine | January 16, 2018

2017 was a successful year for Cloud companies. At the same time, the stock market hit historic highs – the Dow increased by 25% and NASDAQ increased by 28%.  We noticed some interesting trends regarding which companies benefited the most from market cap valuation increases in 2017. Why did some SaaS companies get an incredible […]

By OPEX Engine | January 7, 2018

Adaptive Insights and OPEXEngine announced an agreement that underscores the companies’ joint commitment to providing best-in-class benchmarking data to software-as-a-service (SaaS) and software companies. AdaptiveInsights, the leader in strategic corporate performance management (CPM), and OPEXEngine, the principal independent benchmarking platform for software and SaaS companies, can now better serve their mutual customers’ needs.  Under terms […]

By OPEX Engine | August 14, 2017

Are we any good at SaaS product investment? No, not really.   I looked at 145 public and private SaaS companies with revenue of $5 million and greater in conjunction with the team at OPEXEngine.  Our goal was to find a relationship between product spending and payback once companies achieved product market fit.  What happens […]

By OPEX Engine | June 26, 2017

Most SaaS companies know that to run your business profitably, it is important to measure SaaS CAC.  Yet, managing this metric over time can become increasingly complicated as a company expands its operations and divides its resources into both acquiring and retaining customers.  Calculating SaaS CAC correctly is not as simple as dividing total Sales […]

By OPEX Engine | March 1, 2017

  We are frequently asked “how are companies allocating Customer Success expense” and where does the Customer Success organization sit among peer companies.  This issue often comes up among SaaS finance executives at the SaaS Finance Meet-UPS that OPEXEngine runs.  I’ll share some of what we’ve seen here.   We will continue to be working this evolving […]

By OPEX Engine | January 25, 2017

The SaaS business model requires the integration and coordination of far more operations than traditional software models.  R&D, Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, Finance, and Operations all need to work together to produce profitable unit economics which are the basis of a successful SaaS company.  The annual budgeting practices process is a methodical way of allocating […]

By OPEX Engine | November 22, 2016

Does your company provide free food for all employees every day or just on Wednesdays? Concierge services?  FastPass payments?  Free beer and wine?  Doggie day care?  Massage, acupuncture – the list goes on.  Tech companies large and small provide some of the most extensive company employee benefits for their employees in the competition for the […]

By OPEX Engine | October 28, 2016

On the last day of August, as we go into the final stretch of Q3 and 2016, SaaS valuations are evolving.  Benchmarking the financials and operating metrics that drive these valuations is what OPEXEngine, the member-based benchmarking community for SaaS companies, is all about.  Forward multiples have rebounded for companies maintaining strong revenue growth at […]

By OPEX Engine | August 31, 2016

About 3/4ths of Sales expense is spent on sales compensation. Companies have always spent huge amounts of time and resource fine tuning their sales structure and organization but in the SaaS world, it is even more complex.  SaaS companies have to compensate for recurring revenues, renewals, find the right mix of incentives, targets and sales […]

By OPEX Engine | June 30, 2016

Every CFO conference that I’ve been to in the past 5 years stressed the emergence of the CFO as a strategic leader of the company.  Study after study affirms that today’s CEOs expect CFOs, especially in the tech sector, play a strategic role driving company growth rather than just accounting for past performance and policing company […]

By OPEX Engine | May 18, 2016

There are millions, okay, hundreds, of benchmarks floating around these days.  Sales productivity should be a, b or c funnel conversion rates are typically such and such a percent, or churn rates have to be no more than x or your company is in big trouble.  Whatever the metric, someone has a definitive answer for […]

By OPEX Engine | March 29, 2016

Who does sales ops report to within your organization? According to Lauren Kelley, your company’s sales ops may be sitting in the wrong department. Kelley is the CEO and Founder of OPEXEngine, a member-based SaaS benchmarking company. She was previously the SVP of sales and operations at ATG, later acquired by Oracle, and also spent two […]

By OPEX Engine | March 23, 2016

If a company can sell 1.5 deals in the time it previously took to sell one deal, you have 50% more revenue.  All other things being equal (ie., you don’t increase churn, increase discounting, etc), if you tighten up your sales cycle, you’ll increase revenue. There’s a fair amount written on SaaS sales cycle lengths […]

By OPEX Engine | February 29, 2016

Benjamin Graham, father of value investing, famously described the stock market as a “voting machine.”  His star protege, Warren Buffett, would later expand that to “a voting machine over the short term, and a weighing machine over the long term.”  What the heck was Graham talking about, and why did Mr. Buffett feel the need to […]

By OPEX Engine | February 8, 2016

Will risk adverse investors in both the private (VC and PE) and public markets this year impact SaaS operating benchmarks like revenue growth, profitability, hiring and a host of other operating metrics in 2016?  We’ve been getting calls from a number of saavy CFOs asking to see SaaS operating benchmarks from 2009 and 2010, just […]

By OPEX Engine | January 28, 2016

In a recent forum dedicated to software and SaaS Finance leaders, organized by the SIIA and sponsored by OPEXEngine, Netsuite, Intacct and Grant Thornton, one of the best discussions dealt with preparing for and managing the optimal M&A exit for your company, with CFOs from acquired companies and M&A advisors from Grant Thornton. Key Takeaways: […]

By OPEX Engine | December 22, 2015

We frequently have customer conversations where we discuss how things are moving around a SaaS income statement;  hosting costs into COGS, headcount from R&D to other departments, things like that.  Meanwhile, in another part of The Cloud, there are some large, important blocks of capital moving between  a companies balance sheet. The form of the capital is data […]

By OPEX Engine | November 23, 2015

Tech companies are all about innovation – how obvious is that?  And how well you run your R&D innovation and processes is a major determining factor in a company’s success, no more so than in the fast moving world of SaaS technology.  No matter how good your Sales and Marketing functions are, they need to […]

By OPEX Engine | October 28, 2015

Annual Study Finds Private Software Industry and SaaS Firms Seeing Strong Growth,  More Hiring and Significant Venture Capital Flow. One year after reporting that private U.S. software companies saw the largest revenue gains since the recession of 2008, the 2015 Software & SaaS Industry and Benchmarking Report shows even greater acceleration in topline growth. Announced today, […]

By OPEX Engine | September 29, 2015

The recession of 2008 took its toll on many different industries and the software industry was certainly no exception. With the recent release of the 2015 Software & SaaS Industry and Benchmarking Report on Sept. 10, produced by OPEXEngine, in partnership with the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), it was revealed that the software […]

By OPEX Engine | September 24, 2015

We announced recently that average annual revenue growth for the fastest growth private SaaS companies had jumped from last year’s median of 100% to this year’s 150% annual revenue growth.  The press release got a lot of attention and was reported in InfoWorld, ZDNet, CPA Practice Advisor and the Kiplinger Letter, among others.    How […]

By OPEX Engine | September 24, 2015

Bomgar is a venture-backed, mid-sized software vendor which has ranked in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 for the past 4 years.

By OPEX Engine | September 10, 2015

The tagline for General Catalyst Partners is “entrepreneurs investing in entrepreneurs,” and partners of the active venture firm are well known for lending deep operating experience to their portfolio executives’ growing businesses.  I’ve known Larry for years since we were both operating executives at various software companies.  Here’s his take on the key operating metrics that […]

By OPEX Engine | September 9, 2015

Rally Software, based in Boulder, CO, is the leader in Agile Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and IPO’ed April 2013.

By OPEX Engine | September 9, 2015

Financial results for the Class of 9 B2B SaaS companies that IPO’ed in 2014

By OPEX Engine | August 19, 2015

Even a 1% improvement in renewals can drive significantly higher valuations for a SaaS company over time

By OPEX Engine | July 17, 2015

With any analysis, it is only relevant if you understand how the data was calculated and the context of how it relates to your business.  The data has to be credible for the analysis to be useful. And when comparing to benchmarks, it becomes doubly important to make sure that both the benchmarks are credible and […]

By OPEX Engine | May 22, 2015

The social media world and business advisory firms, consultants and other pundits keep alerting businesses that the objective of return on investment (ROI) is diminishing in importance, or even dead, due to the increasing focus on return on user experience (ROE or ROX). We asked three experts to share their advice on ROI versus ROE as […]

By OPEX Engine | May 5, 2015

OPEXEngine and the SIIA’s annual SaaS and Software benchmarking encompasses valuation models, sales and marketing operations, HR and employees, R&D, product and hosting, plus professional services (consulting) and customer service, launches April 7. The Software & Services Division (SSD) of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal association representing the software and digital content […]

By OPEX Engine | April 17, 2015

COGs are the second highest expense bucket for most SaaS companies.  If you aren’t continuously delivering problem-free, high speed and secure access to your SaaS product, customers won’t stay.   Delivering high performance to an exponentially growing subscriber base costs a lot, which drives up COGs.  In addition, you need to invest in your hosting […]

By OPEX Engine | March 18, 2015

Learn about the Sales and Marketing efficiency Magic Number benchmark in the 2015 benchmarking.  Like the benchmarking of any key metric, you will drive operational efficiency and better use of your resources, when you see the variance between your company and your peers at the same stage and with a similar business model.  You can […]

By OPEX Engine | February 23, 2015

After 8 years working with hundreds of SaaS and software companies (and about 60% of the SaaS IPOs over the past 5 years), one of the key ways that growth companies use our benchmarking data and services is for planning and budgeting. Planning and Budgeting Almost all of our clients use benchmarking to plan their […]

By OPEX Engine | January 28, 2015

In the following Q&A, Lauren and David share lessons from each of their 25 years of technology management, tailored for SaaS companies on how fast growth SaaS companies are using key metrics to grow their businesses. Q: What are the do’s and don’ts in building a successful SaaS company? Lauren: SaaS is more complex and […]

By OPEX Engine | December 22, 2014

2015 is fast approaching and it will be a big growth year for software and SaaS companies.  Here’s OPEXEngine’s predictions about how SaaS business models will evolve in the new year, as well as Nicholas Negroponte’s always insightful thoughts about future trends.    OPEXEngine’s  Business Model Predictions for 2015 “Winner take all” competition for market […]

By OPEX Engine | December 15, 2014

I recently attended the 12th Annual MIT Sloan CFO Summit, which, as always, was great.  The title, the Future Forward CFO, articulated the theme that CFOs have moved from reporting the past to helping shape their company’s future.  A CFO’s position has grown beyond reporting accurate financial statements and historical analysis to proactive strategic planning, […]

By OPEX Engine | November 25, 2014

Professional services for many SaaS companies have become an important way to on-board customers, keep customers satisfied with the product and using more features of an application or service, making it stickier.  As one CFO recently said, professional services are definitely a churn-reducer.  SaaS companies, particularly high growth, venture-backed firms, are pricing professional services as […]

By OPEX Engine | November 12, 2014

Borrowing from the basics of Six Sigma, keep the following in mind as you define and manage your SAAS performance management and benchmarking: 1. Define the metrics All metrics should be clearly defined so that an organization can benchmark its success. One way to keep metrics understandable is to use the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, […]

By OPEX Engine | October 27, 2014

The private U.S. software industry is experiencing its biggest revenue gains since the recession, and both private and public companies are renewing their focus on investment in order to gear up for further growth, according to a study announced today by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software […]

By OPEX Engine | July 18, 2014

Tracking performance metrics like monthly recurring revenues (MRR) and contracted monthly recurring revenues (CMRR), customer acquisition costs (CAC), renewal or churn rates, and customer lifetime value rate (CLV) is critical for driving growth at successful SaaS companies.  None of these metrics are GAAP metrics, though, and there is no auditing of the numbers.  Many companies […]

By OPEX Engine | May 21, 2014

Last week’s “Deciphering Finance” conference in Irvine, California, organized by the SIIA was a great forum for sharing best practices among Finance leaders and peer networking.   I thought one of the many useful sessions was the discussion between an experienced CEO and his CFO which captured some of the key issues in that relationship.  Here’s […]

By OPEX Engine | May 6, 2014

Security and performance investments, among other items, are driving up Cost of Revenue for SaaS growth companies. The ultimate goal of a subscription business model is to reduce the cost per subscriber and increase profitability. That does not mean, however, that cost ratios follow a smooth downward trend as revenues grow. 10 years after Salesforce.com went […]

By OPEX Engine | April 8, 2014

order essay online Annual Study Finds SaaS Driving Largest Revenue Gains, and Indications of Growth Outside Silicon Valley, Massachusetts & Other Traditional Tech Centers. Small and mid-sized companies in the U.S. software industry are thriving in the post-recession economy, with software-as-a-service (SaaS) firms consistently experiencing the greatest revenue growth and hiring expectations, according to a study […]

By OPEX Engine | October 17, 2013

Imagine this scenario:  your company is relatively healthy and becoming established in the market but needs to keep up a fast growth pace or maybe even to grow faster.  Your heads of sales and marketing suggest that the best avenue to growth is that you need to add headcount in their respective departments.  Hard to […]

By OPEX Engine | July 8, 2013

Render unto Caesar … I recently met with a client CFO of a $100M software (not SaaS) company and in the course of our conversation she repeated a question her CEO had put to her recently: “Why do we pay so much in taxes; why can’t we pay something more like what GE pays?” It […]

By OPEX Engine | May 7, 2013

I recently spent two full days at a Retail Analytics and FP&A conference, which was terrific for many reasons. Retail FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis) folks are very innovative in tying customer behavior to financial performance indicators. We in the software industry are true babes in the woods compared to retail companies on this one, […]

By OPEX Engine | March 17, 2013

Good news for sales and marketing executives defending their budgets if they are planning on going public soon: The total amount of money in the sales and marketing budget probably isn’t going to be questioned too much. That doesn’t mean that how they spend their money isn’t going to be questioned, or the effectiveness of […]

By OPEX Engine | March 5, 2013

SaaS Cost of Customer Acquisition (COCA) is one of the most critical SaaS metrics in determining whether a SaaS business is building a profitable business or not. COCA includes all sales and marketing expense aimed at bringing on new customers. In small and midsized companies, COCA is typically calculated as all sales and marketing expenses from a […]

By OPEX Engine | February 24, 2013

Every SaaS business wants to have very low churn rates. Public SaaS companies often release renewal rates in the mid- or even high 90 percent range, without giving any detail about how the number was derived. But how do you interpret SaaS churn metrics? In our annual Software and SaaS benchmarking, we’ve been tracking churn […]

By OPEX Engine | February 18, 2013

If you are a SaaS company, you surely watch customer churn rate like a hawk.  When your company is working hard to add new customers, and then losing a good portion of them every year, that’s a bad thing.  It says a few things about your business: You may not have as good customer relationship […]

By OPEX Engine | April 23, 2012

Fast-growing software and SaaS companies don’t navigate their growth by luck. Successful companies today are intensely metrics driven and constantly compare their performance to peers and market. Have you ever felt that critical executive or board-level decisions about sales spend, performance targets and other business drivers are based on anecdotes and emotion more than data? […]

By OPEX Engine | March 25, 2012

get ex back Most companies are now preparing their 2012 budgets and going through the approval process. To say the least, few people enjoy the budget process. It is often long and drawn out to the point where many managers involved in the process are just relieved that it is over, regardless of whether they […]

By OPEX Engine | December 13, 2011

We’ve been tracking COCA for SaaS companies for about 5 years now.  We use the metric to calculate benchmarks for customer acquisition expense by size of company, and by type of product offering, ie., whether a company is selling a low cost solution or a relatively high cost solution.  We incorporate COCA into other benchmarks […]

By OPEX Engine | November 15, 2011

I thought it would be worthwhile to publish an interview I did earlier this year with Mike Morgan, CFO of Bomgar Corporation talking about benchmarking value and how it has worked for them.  Bomgar is a venture-backed, mid-sized software vendor which has ranked in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 for the past 4 years.  With […]

By OPEX Engine | June 15, 2011

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