12 Customer Lifecycle Metrics For Your SaaS Business



During the current market conditions, organizations are facing budget cuts and layoffs, leading to reduced marketing budgets. It's crucial to focus on loyal customers as an important source of cash flow and organic growth. To measure customer performance and satisfaction throughout the customer lifecycle, 12 key customer lifecycle metrics for SaaS businesses are provided, ranging from onboarding metrics like Time to First Time Value to loyalty metrics like Customer Retention Rate and Advocacy metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Social Interactions.

By Payal Parikh, VP of Client Services at Heinz Marketing

Organizations are facing budget cuts and layoffs in the current market. In the first two weeks of 2023, 91 tech companies have laid off nearly 24,000 employees (Matt’s LI post). And marketing has taken a huge hit from the budget cuts.

During an economic downturn, it’s more important than ever to remember that loyal customers are an important source of cash flow and organic growth. The reduced marketing budget is essential to bringing in revenues from key customers. Read more about marketing’s role post-purchase and how marketing can create growth through positive customer experience throughout the customer lifecycle i.e., all the stages of the bow tie funnel.

What are customer lifecycle metrics?

Customer Lifecycle metrics are the simple KPIs that define a customer’s stage of interest post-purchase and it also provides insight into your business performance.

Each metric focuses on the different parts of the customer lifecycle and determines to a large extent whether the customer will stay or not.

12 customer lifecycle metrics for your SaaS business

Here are 12 KPIs that you can start measuring right away and at each stage of your customer journey.


Onboarding is not just about getting your customer familiar with the product. It is also about hand-holding the customer in the initial usage which fits right in their context. They need to start finding value from the product to make sure that their ROI is soon and easily recovered. And, onboarding metrics help you gauge if your customers can attain those results or not.

  1. Time to First Time Value – this metric shows how fast will your product solve the customer’s pain point and help them gain a positive return on their investment. Sometimes it is also used to measure how fast a customer is onboarded, but in those cases, quality is compromised with speed. You can also think about implementing some key features first so the customers start realizing the value of the product sooner.
  2. Free Trial to Paid Conversion Rate – measures the percentage of users that have converted to a paid account from a trial period. This metric indicates product value by measuring the number of users that find enough value in the product to pay for it.



  1. Product Adoption Rate​ – Product adoption can be measured as the percentage of users performing certain behaviors. Your mission is to identify these behaviors! What actions do people take that prove they’re getting value? How many ​daily/monthly active users do you have vs all users?
  2. Time of first primary action​ – this is another metric you can track if you have identified what is that crucial primary action within your product, that defines the adoption of your product
  3. Time spent on each feature – read ‘each key feature’. This will show if the customer has started solving their pain point as discussed during sales calls. This will also show if the customer knows how to solve their problems – another indicator of successful onboarding and adoption.


  1. Customer Retention Rate​ – Customer retention rate measures the number of customers a company retains over a given period of time. Keeping your existing customers is much less expensive than trying to win new ones. Loyal customers also contribute to your business’ health by providing referrals, promoting your brand on social media, and giving feedback to improve your product or service. See more details on these metrics in the Advocacy stage below. Zendesk shows you how to calculate customer retention rates.
  2. Churn Rate​ – this is just the opposite of what the customer retention rate is tracking. For example, if your customer retention rate is 80%, your churn rate is 20%. In simple terms, it is the rate at which your customers stop doing business with you, or don’t renew their subscription with you.
  3. CLV​ – Customer lifetime value is the measure of how much income your business is expected to generate from a typical customer for as long as that account remains a customer. This is an important metric that indicates if you need to invest more in marketing for current customers.


  1. Net Promoter Score (NPS) – NPS measures customer experience and predicts business growth through customer loyalty and advocacy.
  2. Pipeline from past customers/referrals​ – another way to directly measure customer advocacy is within your pipeline. Set up an opportunity source as a ‘referral from a past customer’ or ‘past customer at the new company’ and measure how much pipeline you are generating from this source.
  3. CSAT​ – Customer Satisfaction Score or CSAT Score is a customer experience metric that measures the happiness of your customers. The main benefits of CSAT are that it’s fast and easy to calculate, and because CSAT surveys generally only ask a single question, you’re likely to get high response rates from your customers.
  4. Social mentions and reviews​ / Social interactions​ – some customer success teams are measured upon social mentions and reviews of the product and/or company. There are a lot of social listening tools in the market that has made this manual work way more efficient. Effective social interactions with your customers will increase customer satisfaction!

Let us know if we can help you develop your bow tie funnel, strategies to get started on this journey, and define metrics to measure success beyond the traditional funnel. Reach out to us for a free 30 min consultation! payal@heinzmarketing.com.