12 Key Levers of SaaS Success




This presentation is from my talk at the 2017 SaaStr Annual conference in San Francisco. It offers an overview of a simple model to understand a SaaS business and the key levers a CEO can pull to get the most impact. The presentation covers:

Optimizing the SaaS Funnel:

  • Get inside your customer’s head
  • Break down the funnel into microsteps
  • Identify bottlenecks
  • Use funnel math to make improvements

12 Key Levers Within the Funnel:

  1. Product/market fit
  2. Top of the funnel flow
  3. Conversion rate
  4. CAC (customer acquisition cost)
  5. Number of sales people
  6. PPR (productivity per rep)
  7. Getting enough leads
  8. Pricing
  9. Customer retention rate
  10. Dollar retention rate
  11. Months to recover CAC
  12. Recruiting, onboarding & management

12 Key Levers of SaaS Success [View or download on Slideshare]


If you’re interested, you can find my 2016 SaaStr presentation here.
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David Skok

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  • Another important presentation David (as always) and hope many get to view it beyond SaaStr Annual (i.e., if / when video avail.).

    Indeed, time constraints limit how much detail can be provided on each of the twelve (12) levers in a single presentation …. e.g., #8 Pricing.

    Similar to your 12 Levers … my work, primarily with software and technology companies, has produced The 10 Dimensions of Demand focused on the evidence of demand in the form of acquiring, growing and retaining actual paying customers.

    If intrigued … more here: http://demandspark.com

  • Sayed shahnur

    Covered almost everything. However, I find “value proposition” and USP in the top 5 levers for SaaS. No mater how organized and fit the product is (SaaS I mean ), the software must ensure comfort, easiness and a certain portion of value to the market.

    When you are able to help people, people will look up to you. Thats what made leadpages, Instapages and even Google 🙂

    Sayed Shahnur (https://crazyengage.com/)

  • Hi Sayed, I strongly agree with you. When I use the term “product/market fit” it implicitly means that the company has to solve those problems to get to product/market fit. So I believe we are very much on the same page. Best, David

  • Ashley

    Hey David thank for the sharing I appreciate your article.


  • Beth

    This is a super helpful and concise presentation! I want to add something, however. To any startups out there, you can focus on pushing your product and trying to reach these SaaS targets, but you need to have a solid team backing it up. I recommend checking out Geckoboard’s success with hiring for culture fit in this podcast: http://bit.ly/2xQmf0N

    They use employee NPS to gauge their success with building the right type of company environment. This means so much to the success of the product. I mean, look at Uber. The general public takes note (albeit down the line) of how companies treat their employees. Otherwise, this presentation is a great resource! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  • Ayush ladha

    This is super helpful and precised presentation . For more info related to any business news you can visit http://business2business.co.in/

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