One entrepreneur who I follow ritually is David Cummings, the co-founder of Pardot who bootstrapped his way to one of the largest SaaS acquisitions in history when the business was purchased by ExactTarget (now part of Salesforce.com).

As I noted in my last post on "Six Lessons for Channel Leaders from Inside Silicon Valley," the ability and willingness of IT manufacturers and their channel partners (VARs) to study and learn about the SaaS subscription economy is going to be critical to their survival and growth as more and more customers - from SMB to the enterprise - continue to adopt the Cloud.

That being said, one of the most important lessons I learned during my time with Allbound in Silicon Valley was the critical nature of KPIs and analytics in both SaaS and venture capital. KPIs that CAN AND SHOULD be adopted by Cloud-centric resellers include:

  • Lead Velocity Rate
  • Visitors & Signups
  • Signups & Paying Customers
  • Conversion Rate By Plan
  • New MRR/ARR
  • Total MRR/ARR
  • Upgrade, Downgrade & Churn MRR/ARR
  • Total Churn
  • Customers by Plan
  • MRR/ARR by Plan

In a post on his blog this week, David linked to an enhanced version of a SaaS KPI dashboard Excel file that I definitely recommend downloading. It's a great model for not only SaaS entrepreneurs, but for any subscription or cloud-based company looking to more intelligently manage their business with data.