7 Super Important SaaS Marketing KPIs for Early-Stage Startup ✨


01, 2024

While the founders are waiting for someone to pour money or, in the more polite term, raising capital, marketers need to generate demand now! The marketing KPIs (Marketing Key Performance Indicators) I’ve selected for SaaS startups are particularly relevant to follow in the early stage after the pre-seed and seed stages. This means there is already a team, a product, and some potential customers who have expressed interest. So now, we need to work hard, grow fast, build a base, and hopefully reach more advanced raising capital stages.

Investors don’t just Pour it up unless you’re Rihanna. Too bad Rihanna doesn’t have a song about leads.

Rihanna - Pour It Up (Explicit)

7 Super Important SaaS Marketing KPIs for Early-Stage Startup

  1. Total New Leads
  2. MQL Marketing Qualified Leads
  3. SQL Sales Qualified Leads
  4. LVR Lead Velocity Rate
  5. Lead-to-Customer
  6. Churn Rate
  7. CPL Cost Per Lead

SaaS Marketing KPI 1: Total New Leads

The first on the list is total leads. The indicator of the indicators. The king of kings. All other indicators rely on it. This indicator is important as it easily shows our business potential and growth rate.

Wait a minute, What is a Lead?

Basically, leads are potential customers. Then why do we call them leads? Because marketers like to invent new expressions. And in a wider sense, lead generation is the method of reaching potential customers, primarily through online tools. Any process that ends with us having contact details like email, phone number, or at least an interest is meant to generate a lead.

Aeroleads – An example of a lead generation tool

Aeroleads, an Indian SaaS company founded in 2015, offers an email address and phone number finder tool.

How It Works:

Aeroleads has a Chrome extension that lookup people’s email addresses and phone numbers from the top business social networks like LinkedIn, Xing, CrunchBase, and AngelList and creates lists of relevant leads.

For The 7 Best Lead Generation Tools Click Here

How to track Leads? Google Analytics⬇️

How To Track Leads In Google Analytics

Here is an excellent post from Databox about 7 Efficient Ways to Track Leads in Google Analytics.

SaaS Marketing KPI 2: MQL

Once we have measured the total number of leads per month, we need to check how many MQLs we have each month.

What is a Quality Lead?

Quality Leads/Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) are leads that, according to a set of criteria we set in advance, we estimate that they eventually can become customers for real – we identify a genuine potential for a Sale.

Drift – An example of a Marketing Qualified Lead generation tool

Drift, an American SaaS company, founded in 2015, offers a conversation marketing platform (Chat). Sounds like a tool to generate quality leads to me 🙂

For the 7 Top tools to generate Quality Leads click Here


SaaS Marketing KPI 3: SQL

What is SQL?

Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) are quality leads that, if we don’t close, it’s our fault. They’ve already spoken to sales, are in the midst of their free trial, have a lot of questions, and visit our website every morning. They want to be customers, and now it’s our turn to push a little (Marketing) or beg 😉(Sales). It depends on the lead. In the end, a lead is a person who represents a company.

Recap: SaaS Marketing KPIs we viewed until now.

  1. We counted all our leads (Total New Leads)
  2. We filtered them so we would only focus on MQLs.
  3. We super-filtered them (SQL), and now we are the nicest ever.
SaaS Marketing KPIs 
SaaS subscription cancellation rate 
KPI for Early-Stage Startup SaaS Marketing KPI 2024

SaaS Marketing KPI 4: Lead Velocity Rate (LVR)

Say Hello to your first calculation – Lead Velocity Rate (LVR). LVR shows potential growth rather than sales. At this stage of your SaaS Startup, the potential is mostly what investors are looking for.

How To Calculate LVR?

Marketing KPIs  Lead Velocity Rate  
KPI for Early-Stage Startup
SaaS Marketing Key Performance Indicators

This month we have a 20% increase in leads from last month. If the benchmark of similar startups is around this number or more, you are on the right track. And yes, investors know the benchmark quite well.

MQL = Marketing Qualified Lead

It is also possible to do the calculation on SQLs after they have passed the initial MQL filter.

SaaS Marketing KPI 5: Lead-to-Customer

Generally, we look at this indicator to see where we went wrong. It could be that what we defined as a quality lead needed correction. I worked with a startup that defined a Qualified Lead as a lead that downloaded a free eBook. After a couple of months, we realized that the number of customers from this definition of a quality lead was much lower than from other sources.

Most SaaS software companies refer to the ratio between the number of customers and the number of MQLs that month.

Lead-to-Customer also called Lead Conversion rate

How To Calculate Lead to Customer?

Marketing KPIs   Marketing Key Performance Indicators
20% of our leads became customers

SaaS Marketing KPI 6: Churn Rate

Classic SaaS marketing KPI. How many canceled their subscription to our SaaS product?

How To Calculate Chrun Rate?

Marketing KPIs 
 Marketing Key Performance Indicators
SaaS subscription cancellation rate
Marketing Qualified Lead generation tool  
KPI for Early-Stage Startup

This month, the SaaS subscription cancellation rate is 5%. If the benchmark of similar startups is around this number or less, you are on the right track.

SaaS Marketing KPI 7: Cost Per Lead

How much did all this fun cost us? Here is a meeting that you always want to postpone. Cost per lead refers to the amount of money we spend purchasing a lead. Every month, we check how many leads came to us from each channel and how much money we spent on each channel. For example, in November, we spent $5,000 on Google ads and $3,000 on LinkedIn ads. Fifty leads came from Google, and another fifty leads came from LinkedIn. So, the cost per lead through Google Ads is $100, and through LinkedIn ads is $60.

How To Calculate CPL?

For more posts on SaaS Marketing, click here.
For more posts on Startup Marketing, click here
Check out the 7 Hottest SaaS Marketing Trends 2023 ➜ here
Check out the 7 Great Reasons Why SaaS Affiliate Marketing Boosts Sales! ➜ here
Check out the best 7 Free email marketing platforms in 2023 ➜ here

Topics: SaaS subscription cancellation rate, KPIs for Early-Stage Startup, Marketing KPIs SaaS

Cover image By freepik