Reporting and analysis is an important part of any business. By now you probably understand how monitoring your metrics for sales and conversions is important to forecast future revenues and profits, or how valuing net promoter scores and customer churn can help you understand your performance. But what good is collecting data if you aren't using it in the right way? As a subscription model business, you should be taking your reports and acting on them continuously to improve your subscription offerings.
Use reports to understand what performs well - and what doesn't
As a company in the SaaS industry, we know that some businesses struggle to find actionable ways to use their data, or they have too much data that they don't know how to manage it. First, start by prioritizing your SaaS data, then, establish your processes for what you should do with it.
Even with plenty of market research before launch, you may need multiple iterations to get your pricing tiers and your offerings exactly right. Your business needs to be adaptable. To that, you need to be able to analyze your data in real-time, not once a month or even less frequently when there is little you can do to make a difference right now.
By watching how customers and potential customers interact with your business and products and how many touch points they need to make a purchase, and which pricing tiers and offerings are most appealing to them, you can remove or alter low-performing products and packages, or encourage increased sales of already top performing offerings.
Subscriber usage versus support metrics
There are essentially two categories of reporting metrics that you can use to dictate your subscription products. Subscriber usage data and subscriber support data will help you determine if your products are viable and/or are the most user-friendly they can be.
Subscriber usage data
Subscriber usage data is more than just your acquisition rates or your site visitor dropoff - you want to understand how people are using and interacting with your products themselves.
Track performance of your features. What are the most used and least used features? What is the average session duration for your platform? How frequently are users entering your software platform?
This type of information can tell you valuable information about how people are using your software, and what areas you may want to emphasize. If you have a particular feature that seems to be a crowd pleaser (most of your customers spend significant time on it) you can decide to either make this a premium feature, or offer it as part of a freemium trial to get more potential customers hooked.
Take a look at less used features - are they necessary to offer on standard packages and can you make them an "add-on" instead for those who really want or need them? Are they not coherent as part of your other features and you should focus on developing something else?
Subscriber support metrics
Data coming from your support channels give you crucial information about your usage and customer experience. If you're finding you have a high rate of support tickets, maybe you need a product that is more user-friendly, or, perhaps your offerings aren't being articulated well enough before the point of purchase. One of the number one reasons for customer churn is that users don't feel that they got what they signed up for.
If you have a high-touch sales model, these things may be easier to avoid, but do consider the issues your customers are having as indicators for improvements on how you sell your products and how you explain what you are offering.
You should also be aware that if you're having issues with billing or chargebacks, you may have problems with your systems for handling accounts receivable. Even if your software itself is great, customers don't want to deal with problematic invoicing. Consider if there are many instances of late payments, needing to recreate or clarify invoices, and customers calling asking what their invoice is about. You may also be dealing with poor checkout flow on your website - all areas that can be easily fixed to improve your results.
We shouldn't just be using our reports and metrics to understand how our business is performing. The real benefit of having better reports through subscription models is to be able to make changes to our offerings or pricing tiers in real time, in order to create the best results for our business. When we use data to dictate our decisions not only about our business, but our products and customer experience, we're better able to continuously improve our subscriptions in total.
Learn more about how reporting is an integral part of building a subscription business in our White Paper: Best Practices for Transitioning to a SaaS Subscription Model Business