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Key PMM metrics and OKRs: CLTV and revenue retention for SaaS

Metrics & OKRs | Product Marketing | Articles | SaaS products

In the latest of our AMAs, Boomi’s Director of Portfolio Messaging, Div Manickam, took some time out to answer your questions on some of product marketing’s key metrics and OKRs; customer lifetime value and revenue retention for SaaS.

To see what else is coming up, head to the question zone.

Q: How does your company reward and structure the salesforce around renewals? Do you have a team/person dedicated to renewals by product? How does your product marketing organization support the renewal team?

A: We have a dedicated sales team supporting renewals and this is critical for any SaaS business. We started with helping support cross-sell and upsell initiatives and we know we should continue to do more. One measure is platform or product adoption and we are tracking key metrics around platform usage and this helps drive customer retention and growth.

Q: How do you arrive at the OKRs to focus on? Is this top management led? How do you break down to strategic, tactical, operational or even situational objectives?

A: As a PMM team, our disciplines are portfolio messaging and positioning, product and solution launches, buyer persona and audience growth, competitive intelligence, market presence and analyst engagement. We are part of the CPO/product org and have OKRs across the product org. Our objectives are aligned to three key areas - Customer, Employee and Business. This helps us align efforts and have focus. To be successful with OKRs, consistency is key. As a team, we have tried to keep it to three objectives and five key results each, and we received feedback from one OKR consultant that was this is still a lot. This is a great video from John Doerr to help inspire to build the right OKRs.

Q: When you are looking at metrics like Retention and CLTV, how do you identify behavior that is a leading indicator? How do you incorporate those leading indicators into your strategy?

A: As we look at metrics, some of the leading indicators are win rates for revenue growth, new product/feature adoption for product usage, up-sell or cross-sell growth for customer retention. As PMMs, we enable five disciplines:  

  • Portfolio messaging and positioning
  • Product and solution launches
  • Buyer persona and audience growth
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Market presence and analyst engagement.

Q: Who sets your KPIs? So with customer LTV for example, who decided that was your KPI? And who dictates what LTV you're aiming for?

A: KPIs are set and driven by executive leadership with company-wide strategic priorities. The strategy team looked at historical trends to understand our customer LTV. As a SaaS business, customer retention is crucial for our success and hence platform adoption has become a key metric for growth. We need to align PMM metrics with top-level goals - revenue growth, product usage and adoption, customer retention and churn.

Q: If your customer LTV was lower than what you're aiming for, what would you look to do next? What sort of tactics do you find most effective to increase LTV?

A: As we embark on this journey to link and influence our PMM efforts for customer retention, we will be looking at the retention and churn metrics to measure success. If it's lower than anticipated, we could shift our efforts to focus on segments of our customer base. Customer onboarding is a key aspect of this effort to make sure customers have a seamless experience from initial discovery to purchase to adoption and retention.

Q: I'm very new to product marketing and I'm the only PMM in my company. To give a bit of context, I work for a B2B company that sells subscription-based software security solutions. Currently, I don't have any OKRs but a focus point for the next quarter will be putting some in place. What would your advice be when setting out and deciding which OKRs to have? How do you know you're using the ‘right’ ones?

A: Consistency and focus are key for OKR success and this is a great video from John Doerr to help inspire to build the right OKRs.

Connecting with your stakeholders to understand their priorities is the next step. As Mary Sheehan from Adobe shared at the PMM Summit in Austin, here are three questions to ask yourself to identify the right metrics:

✅Can you influence it?

✅Are the metrics motivating?

✅Do these metrics show true success for your stakeholder?

E.g. Priorities for each stakeholder - we need to connect our initiatives with their success.

- Sales: Revenue - net new logos, average deal size, pipeline

- Marketing: Leads/MQLs, CAC, LTV

- Product: Product usage, adoption, churn.

Q: Are these your primary metrics at Boomi? What other OKRs do you have?

A: Our shared objectives are:

  • Cross-functional efforts across Product, Sales and Marketing for platform adoption and advocate for the market and customer.

  • Market/data-driven and persona led, adapting to market trends and drive momentum.

We looked at our growth strategy and aligned our PMM metrics to influence these metrics - CLTV  (customer lifetime value), Average Deal Size, Market Expansion, and Industry Penetration. To achieve these goals, we are looking at Platform Adoption and Buyer Persona/Audience Growth.

Q: With so many data sources available, how do you and your team ensure you focus on the right metrics?

A: This is challenging indeed. We aligned our metrics and OKRs to make sure we are working on the right priorities. This is an iterative process. We started with the buyer’s journey, mapping  awareness, consideration and decision for key metrics. Our product management team is now helping with PQL (product qualified lead) to measure and track product adoption. To make sure you have the right metrics, connect with product, sales and marketing leaders to better understand their priorities and align efforts. That’s where content metrics are tricky as it’s all about influencing opportunities.

Q: How do you document and share your team's success/failures on these metrics? Which stakeholders do you share them with?

A: Our stakeholders are product, sales and marketing leaders and as PMM, we had challenges identifying the right metrics that are relevant for each team. Since we are supporting the buyer’s journey, we are working to map our metrics across awareness, consideration and decision. Quarterly check-ins have helped us in the past to help share updates and align efforts. Collectively we are all influencing revenue and customer growth.

Q: Is product marketing the only team responsible for these metrics at Boomi? Or do you share them with other teams?

A: These are shared metrics as we collaborate with teams across Boomi for the end to end execution of the initiatives. We work with product, sales and marketing teams and prioritize initiatives that drive sales on a quarterly basis. For example, product adoption is a shared objective with product marketing and product management.

Want to learn more?

Needing to measure your product marketing success is a huge part of the role. After all, how are you going to identify what works and what doesn’t without metrics and data to back it up?

Our Metrics Certified: Masters course will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to measure the impact of your work and continue driving, not just your product and department, but the entire company towards success.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

🎆 Use formulas to correctly measure key metrics.

💪 Identify which metrics you should track for each deliverable.

👀 Understand how your work can positively influence these metrics.

🔦 Relate your KPIs to your OKRs and confidently report on the impact your function has on the business.

Ready to get started?

Written by:

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce

Bryony's the Head of Content here at Product Marketing Alliance and you'll find her behind most things written!

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Key PMM metrics and OKRs: CLTV and revenue retention for SaaS