Enterprise Opportunities to Apply Reinforcement Learning & AI

| January 11, 2019

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Congratulations, you just landed a new customer!  Once the celebrations are over, you have to decide who to thank – was it the digital or offline ads team, or the in-store or virtual customer service reps, or the customer’s neighbor or friend, or the review of your product on YouTube, or some complex combination of all of these, or none of these?  Beyond attributing credit, you need to decide what to do more or less of next time when reaching out to other customers.  You have lots of potentially influencing factors, and the outcome you care about – in this case, customer acquisition – is delayed in time from all of the influencing factors.  This situation occurs not only in marketing and sales, but in supply chains and operations, manufacturing, customer care operations, HR and finance, and in absolutely every function of an enterprise. Traditional analytic techniques exist to try to use all the diverse data to understand what sequence of actions would lead to the best outcome, but a modern approach known as reinforcement learning promises to dramatically improve on the current state of the art.

Spotlight

RetailNext

RetailNext is the worldwide market leader and expert in retail analytics for brick-and-mortar retail, delivering real-time analytics that enable retailers and manufacturers to collect, analyze, and visualize in-store data. The patent-pending solution uses best-in-class video analytics, Wi-Fi detection, on-shelf sensors, and data from point-of-sale systems and other sources to automatically inform retailers about how people engage with their stores. The highly scalable RetailNext platform easily integrates with promotional calendars, staffing systems, and even weather services to analyze how internal and external factors impact customer shopping patterns – providing retailers the ability to identify opportunities for growth, execute changes, and measure success.

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The software-as-a-service industry is rapidly growing with an estimate to reach $219.5 billion by 2027. SaaS marketing strategies is highly different from other industries; thus, tracking the right metrics for marketing is necessary. SaaS kpis or metrics measure an enterprise’s performance, growth, and momentum. These saas marketing metrics are have been designed to evaluate the health of a business by tracking sales, marketing, and customer success. Direct access to data will help you develop your business and show whether there is any room for development. SaaS KPIs: What Are They and Why Do They Matter? Marketing metrics for SaaS indicate growth in different ways. SaaS KPIs, just like regular KPIs, helps business to evaluate their business models and strategies. These key metrics for SaaS companies give a deep insight into which sectors perform well and require reassessment. To optimize any company’s exposure, SaaS metrics for marketing are highly essential. 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In this article, we have identified the critical metrics every SaaS should track: Unique Visitors This metric measures the number of visitors your website or page sees in a specific time period. If someone visits your website four to five times in that given time period, it will be counted as one unique visitor. Recording this metric is crucial as it shows you what type of visitors your site receives and from what channels they arrive. When the number of unique visitors is high, it indicates to the SaaS marketers that their content resonates with the target customers. It is vital to note, however, which channels these unique visitors reach your website. These channels can be: Organic traffic Social media Paid ads SaaS marketers should, at this point, identify which channels are working and double down on those. Once you know these channels, you can allocate budgets and optimize these channels for better performance. Google Analytics is the best free tool to track unique visitors. The tool enables you to refine by dates and compare time periods and generate a report. Leads Leads is a broad term that can be broken down into two sub-categories: Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) and Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL). Defining SQL and MQL is important as they can be different for every business. So, let us break down the definitions for the two: MQL MQLs are those leads that have moved past the visitor phase in the customer lifecycle. They have taken steps to move ahead and become qualified to become potential customers. They have engaged with your website multiple times. For example, they have visited your website to check out prices, case studies or have downloaded your whitepapers more than two times. SQL SQLs actively engage with your site and are more qualified than MQLs. This lead is what you have deemed as the ideal sales candidate. They are way past the initial search stage, evaluating vendors, and are ready for a direct sales pitch. The most crucial distinction between the two is that your sales team has deemed them sales-worthy. After distinguishing between the two leads, you need to take the next appropriate steps. The best way to measure these leads is through closed-loop automation tools like HubSpot, Marketo, or Pardot. These automation tools will help you set up the criteria that automatically set up an individual as lead based on your website's SQL and MQL actions. Next, track the website traffic to ensure these unique visitors turn into potential leads. Churn The churn rate, in short, refers to the number of customers lost in a given time frame. It is the number of revenue SaaS customers who cancel their recurring revenue services. Since SaaS is a subscription-based service, losing customers directly correlates to losing money. The churn rate also indicates that your customers aren’t getting what they want from your service. Like most of your saas KPIs, you will be reporting on the churn rate every month. To calculate the churn rate, take the total number of customers you lost in the month you’re reporting on. Next, divide that by the number of customers you had at the beginning of the reporting month. Then, multiply that number by 100 to get the percentage. A churn is natural for any business. However, a high churn rate is an indicator that your business is in trouble. Therefore, it is an essential metric to track for your SaaS company. Customer Lifetime Value Customer lifetime value (CLV) measures how valuable a customer is to your business. It is the average amount of money your customers pay during their involvement with your SaaS company. You measure not only their value based on purchases but also the overall relationship. Keeping an existing client is more important than acquiring a new one which makes this metric important. Measuring CLV is a bit complicated than measuring other metrics. First, calculate the average customer lifetime by taking the number one divided by the customer churn rate. As an example, let’s say your monthly churn rate is 1%. Your average customer lifetime would be 1/0.01 = 100 months. Then take the average customer lifetime and multiply it by the average revenue per account (ARPA) over a given time period. If your company, for example, brought in $100,000 in revenue last month off of 100 customers, that would be $1,000 in revenue per account. Finally, this brings us to CLV. You’ll now need to multiply customer lifetime (100 months) by your ARPA ($1,000). That brings us to 100 x $1,000, or $100,000 CLV. CLV is crucial as it indicates whether or not there is a proper strategy in place for business growth. It also shows investors the value of your company. Customer Acquisition Cost Customer acquisition cost (CAC) tells you how much you should spend on acquiring a new customer. The two main factors that determine the CAC are: Lead generation costs Cost of converting that lead into a client The CAC predicts the resources needed to acquire new customers. It is vital to understand this metric if you want to grow your customer base and make a profit. To calculate your CAC for any given period, divide your marketing and sales spend over that time period by the number of customers gained during the same time. It might cost more to acquire a new customer, but what if that customer ends up spending more than most? That’s where the CLV to CAC ratio comes into play. CLV: CAC Ratio CLV: CAC ratio go hand in hand. Comparing the two will help you understand the impact of your business. The CLV: CAC ratio shows the lifetime value of your customers and the amount you spend to gain new ones in a single metric. The ultimate goal of your company should be to have a high CLV: CAC ratio. According to SaaS analytics, a healthy business should have a CLV three times greater than its CAC. Just divide your calculated CLV by CAC to get the ratio. Some top-performing companies even have a ratio of 5:1. SaaS companies use this number to measure the health of marketing programs to invest in campaigns that work well or divert the resources to those campaigns that work well. Conclusion Always remember to set healthy marketing KPIs. Reporting on these numbers is never enough. Ensure that everything you do in marketing ties up to all the goals you have set for your company. Goal-driven SaaS marketing strategies always pay off and empower you and your company to be successful. Frequently Asked Questions What are the 5 most important metrics for SaaS companies? The five most important metrics for SaaS companies are Unique Visitors, Churn, Customer Lifetime Value, Customer Acquisition Cost, and Lead to Customer Conversion Rate. Why should we measure SaaS marketing metrics? Measuring marketing metrics are critically important because they help brands determine whether campaigns are successful, and provide insights to adjust future campaigns accordingly. They help marketers understand how their campaigns are driving towards their business goals, and inform decisions for optimizing their campaigns and marketing channels. How to measure the success of your SaaS marketing? The success of SaaS marketing can be measured by identifying the metrics that help them succeed. Some examples of those metrics are: Unique Visitors, Churn, Customer Lifetime Value, Customer Acquisition Cost, and Lead to Customer Conversion Rate. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the 5 most important metrics for SaaS companies?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The five most important metrics for SaaS companies are Unique Visitors, Churn, Customer Lifetime Value, Customer Acquisition Cost, and Lead to Customer Conversion Rate." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Why should we measure SaaS marketing metrics?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Measuring marketing metrics are critically important because they help brands determine whether campaigns are successful, and provide insights to adjust future campaigns accordingly. They help marketers understand how their campaigns are driving towards their business goals, and inform decisions for optimizing their campaigns and marketing channels." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How to measure the success of your SaaS marketing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The success of SaaS marketing can be measured by identifying the metrics that help them succeed. Some examples of those metrics are: Unique Visitors, Churn, Customer Lifetime Value, Customer Acquisition Cost, and Lead to Customer Conversion Rate." } }] }

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Spotlight

RetailNext

RetailNext is the worldwide market leader and expert in retail analytics for brick-and-mortar retail, delivering real-time analytics that enable retailers and manufacturers to collect, analyze, and visualize in-store data. The patent-pending solution uses best-in-class video analytics, Wi-Fi detection, on-shelf sensors, and data from point-of-sale systems and other sources to automatically inform retailers about how people engage with their stores. The highly scalable RetailNext platform easily integrates with promotional calendars, staffing systems, and even weather services to analyze how internal and external factors impact customer shopping patterns – providing retailers the ability to identify opportunities for growth, execute changes, and measure success.

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