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Optimize the Right Metrics to Scale Your Business

Tech CEOs will accelerate at-scale attainment with the right front-office metrics, innovative problem solving, and continuous improvement.

  • Failing to present the board with clear metrics and improvement plans can have a significant impact on a leader's career.
  • Measuring metrics not aligned with revenue goals hinders a software startup's growth and success.
  • Lack of shared goals and metrics hinders data-driven decision making.
  • Leaders need reliable metrics to improve processes.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

This SoftwareReviews blueprint provides the guidance and tools required to implement a key metrics approach, resulting in getting to scale faster. Key steps for success include:

  • Establishing benchmarks in front-office operations.
  • Educating stakeholders on the importance of the right metrics.
  • Evaluating against benchmarks and establishing a link between key metrics and processes.
  • Setting realistic goals for functional leaders for improvement and aligning with the CEO's goals.
  • Measuring the impact of changes, adjusting improvement goals, and communicating progress.

Impact and Result

Instill confidence in leadership among investors, the board, and employees through a demonstrated ability to bring operations back on track as indicated by key metrics.

Optimize the Right Metrics to Scale Your Business Research & Tools

1. Optimize the Right Metrics to Scale Your Business Deck – A deck to enable tech CEOs to have conversations with other leaders, compare the company's performance against benchmarks, diagnose metrics, and improve and scale their company.

In this deck, you will discover the key metrics that will help your company scale and the benchmarks for guiding decisions on making operational improvements to scale the company.

2. Optimize the Right Metrics to Scale Your Business Toolkit – Tools to calculate key metrics and compare against benchmarks.

These tools compare your company's benchmarks against those of high-growth companies, giving you insights into the secondary metrics that could help you scale.

3. Optimize the Right Metrics to Scale Your Business Tool Presentation Template – A template to present the results of benchmarking analysis, create improvement plans, and assign responsibility.

This presentation makes it easy to communicate the need for a metrics strategy that aligns everyone, tracks performance against industry benchmarks, and creates a plan for improvement and growth.

Workshop: Optimize the Right Metrics to Scale Your Business

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Establish Metrics and Stakeholders

The Purpose

Assess the current metrics and processes, help align the leadership team to key metrics, and identify secondary metrics to scale.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Key metrics identified
  • Tools to identify and troubleshoot performance against benchmarks




Discuss the current metrics that are being used to measure the success of the organization.

  • Assessment of the current stage of metrics

Identify the key stakeholders who will be affected by any changes to the metrics.

  • Documented metrics being used and their owners

Discuss and summarize the growth plan and strategy of the company

  • Mapped impact of the current metrics in the decision-making process

Module 2: Evaluate the Processes and Links to the Metrics

The Purpose

Identify the metrics collection process and assign ownership.

Key Benefits Achieved

Alignment on the metrics and finalized collection process




Discuss the current processes that are in place to collect and analyze the data.

  • List of metric collection tools and resources

Identify the links between the metrics and the organization's goals.

  • Identified metrics and alignment to the goals

Identify any areas where the processes could be improved.

  • Time and resource commitments understood by key stakeholders

Turn KPIs into shared goals.

Module 3: Compare the Current Metrics to Benchmarks and Identify Gaps

The Purpose

Look at the top four metrics that are critical for this stage of the company and check against benchmarks.

Key Benefits Achieved

Results of the benchmarking exercise and an analysis of the gaps




Compare the organization's current metrics to industry benchmarks. 

  • Benchmark comparison report using tool

Identify any gaps between the organization’s metrics and the benchmarks. 

  • Finalized additional metrics list and process to measure

Discuss the implications of these gaps.

  • Agreement on stakeholders for the new measurements

Module 4: Plan to Address Gaps and the Changes Needed

The Purpose

Create a plan to address the gaps.

Key Benefits Achieved

Leadership team aligned and finalized plans to address metric gaps




Develop a plan to address the gaps in the organization's metrics.

  • Detailed plan for new reports and dashboards

Identify the resources that will be needed to implement the changes. 

  • Deck for presentation to broader audience

Develop a timeline for implementing the changes.

  • Modifications to board and quarterly business review reports
  • Preparation/dry run session on new metrics

Module 5: Develop a Strategy for Implementing the Changes

The Purpose

Finalize strategy for continuous monitoring and improvement.

Key Benefits Achieved

Targets and plan for monitoring metric performance




Discuss the challenges that may be encountered in implementing the changes.

  • Agreement on frequency of measurement

Develop a strategy for overcoming these challenges.

  • Measurement and monitoring team

Develop a communication plan to keep stakeholders informed of the changes.

  • Process for acting on measurement alerts
  • Strategy for revisiting the benchmarks annually

Optimize the Right Metrics to Scale Your Business

Tech CEOs will accelerate at-scale attainment with the right front-office metrics, innovative problem solving, and continuous improvement.

Analyst Perspective

Optimize the right metrics to scale your business

Our business-to-business (B2B) software startup research shows CEOs need a roadmap to get to scale. While investment dollars are available to startups, the monies will go to companies where revenue growth, scalability, and eventually earnings are most predictable. Predictable growth is hard-won and often starts with a trajectory that is anything but smooth. Leaders need coaching, the right talent, a solid set of key metrics, and a problem-solving culture to get to scale. However, the challenges can be daunting.

Startup leaders often miss key metrics that diagnose hidden flaws, or they fail to align stakeholders on fundamentals such as strong product-market fit, deep buyer understanding, or a focus on customer value delivery. What's needed, from a front-office perspective, is a set of metrics that can give CEOs the insight into whether they are moving successfully from early-stage through mid-stage to at-scale. Failing to measure in this fashion will result in difficult board and investor conversations, and a lot (including careers!) is at stake.

Our research finds that successful startup CEOs align stakeholders on the right metrics throughout the early-stage to at-scale journey. They lead problem-solving efforts when metrics were off track and executed playbooks with experienced staff to remediate issues and accelerate success. Our blueprint documents this process, provides you with software industry front-office benchmarks, and points to playbooks contained in our library that will help plug gaps, get you to scale, and keep your investors satisfied.

Jeff Golterman, Managing Director

Jeff Golterman
Managing Director
SoftwareReviews Advisory

Shashi Bellamkonda, Principal Research Director

Shashi Bellamkonda
Principal Research Director
SoftwareReviews Advisory

Executive Summary

Your Challenge Common Obstacles SoftwareReviews’ Approach
Startup CEOs seeking to optimize around the ideal set of metrics and build the organizational capabilities to drive ongoing improvement will face the following challenges:
  • Failure to present the board with clear metrics and improvement plans, causing a significant impact on their career.
  • Metrics measurements not aligned with revenue, hindering the startup's growth and success.
  • Lack of shared goals and metrics, hindering data-driven decision making.
  • Need for reliable metrics to improve processes.
When changing how the business is measured, CEOs will encounter the following obstacles:
  • Resistance to being measured.
  • Teams lacking an operational model to solve problems and drive improvement.
  • A lack of marketing analytics platforms or staff knowledgeable about analytics.
  • Revenue tracking and forecasting tools not shared.
  • Operational Martech systems are not effective nor integrated with analytics.
This SoftwareReviews blueprint covers the following steps to achieve at-scale success:
  • Establish front-office benchmarks.
  • Educate stakeholders on the importance of the right metrics.
  • Evaluate against benchmarks and establish a link between key metrics and processes.
  • Set realistic goals for functional leaders for improvement and alignment with CEO goals.
  • Measure the impact of changes, adjust improvement goals, and communicate progress.

SoftwareReviews Insight
Startup leaders need to align executive and functional objectives, continually measure performance against key metrics, and build a problem-solving culture to drive continuous improvement and confidence in leadership among investors, the board, and employees.

Metrics are many - our focus here is on the front office

The scale-up journey calls for optimizing many metrics. This blueprint is focused on customer, sales, and marketing.

This blueprint's focus:

Revenue metrics
Metrics impacting new revenue, sales, marketing, and conversions

Retention metrics
Customer success metrics that impact retention and revenue from existing customers

Front Office - Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success

Will be covered in future research:

Cash flow metrics
Profitability, cash flow, burn rate, and cash runway

Product metrics
Product usage, monthly active users (MAU), adoption rate

Pricing metrics
Gross margin, operating margin, and net profit margin

"Use actionable metrics and throw out the ones that only make you feel good. If metrics do not suggest actionable strategies, they are not worth your time and effort."
- Kim Christian Hvidkjaer, serial entrepreneur, author, and investor

Your job is on the line

Your change management program to get to scale will bring huge benefits:

  • Aligning the CEO and the leadership team on goals
  • Increasing the pace of getting to scale
  • Enabling fact- and data-driven decision making
  • Giving reliable ability to measure the key metrics
  • Demonstrating management prowess to the board

"If you can get 1% better each day for one year, you'll end up 37 times better by the end of the year."
- James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits

Expect challenges

Leaders driving the change management required to get to scale will have to overcome key challenges.

  • Board reporting takes too long and confidence in the numbers is weak - Without clear metrics and improvement plans ready to activate, boards suspect leadership may need upgrading.
  • Misalignment between CEO and key staff - This is evident when teams lack documented goals and objectives that align with what's mission critical to the CEO. If staff members can't articulate how their objectives are aligned with the CEO, there are flaws in the annual goal-setting process.
  • Key metrics (revenue, retention, growth) are frequently suboptimized - This is because a more detailed set of underlying metrics linked to processes haven't been established. Revenue growth at all costs may lead to suboptimized customer retention, for example. Another example is how poor-quality leads result in wasted sales resources, lower win rates, and higher costs per lead. Leaders recognize that second- and sometimes third-level metrics that contribute to key metric attainment may be missing.
  • Balance between agility and fact-based approaches in decision making - A lack of metric alignment or supporting data capture and measurement systems can impede progress and lead to delays in making critical business decisions. Gut feel and intuition-based decision making creep in and destroy scale and repeatability. Leaders know how to strike a balance.
  • Discord - Discord among staff arises with the inevitable conflict between the fact-based decision makers and "seat of the pants" staff and leadership. If old-line leadership fails to adopt measurement and reporting methods that drive scale, CEOs will face significant gaps in decision making and will need to make the tough decisions to move those that don't get it out of the business.

"By tracking key metrics, SaaS companies can identify areas where they are growing and areas where they are generating profits. This information can be used to make better decisions about pricing, product development, and marketing. Ultimately, this can lead to a higher valuation for the company."
- David Skok, Managing General Partner, Matrix Partners

Front-office metric focus varies as you scale up

Metric emphasis shifts as your company scales. CEOs, even those at-scale, will ensure the foundational metrics, typically associated with early stage, are being optimized.

As you get to scale... ...and build essential company capabilities... ...key metrics will vary!

Get to scale

$100M ARR

  • Customers see clear product value
  • At-scale go-to-market strategy, especially sales, product launch, and marketing motions for repeatable growth; metrics dashboard
  • Professionals proficient at problem-solving tradeoffs; efficient use of capital

Invest in sales and marketing wisely

Sales & marketing expense ratio

Enable a high seller %; attain high quota %

Sales quota attainment ratio

Drive new ARR vs. retention losses

SaaS quick ratio

Build on foundational success

$10M to
$100M ARR

  • Capturing market share vs. key competitors
  • Driving and balancing new logo and existing customer growth
  • Driving multiyear customer relationships
  • Finding and monetizing new markets and pools of growth via new products, segments
  • Managing customer acquisition costs

Manage customer acquisition costs

New CAC ratio

Drive acceptable CAC payback period

CAC payback period

Drive expansion growth after retention losses

Net revenue retention

Enable expansion growth as a high % of total growth

New vs. expansion ARR mix

Execute on the fundamentals

<$10M ARR

  • Strong product-market fit - designed for buyers and competitively unique, and with a sizable available market
  • Unique brand identity, expressed across a multichannel lead gen engine
  • Go-to-market strategy beginnings including an effective sales and/or channel motion
  • Delivering customer value

Close a high % of sales opportunities

Win rate

Satisfy customers


Have high % of customers renew

Gross revenue retention

Drive growth in existing customers

New + expansion ARR growth rate

Strengthen fundamental capabilities

Before optimizing metrics against early-stage benchmarks, CEOs will work with their functional leaders to ensure key foundational capabilities are in place.

When in early-stage, have you...

  • Established a clear measure of competitive differentiation?
  • Established a well-defined brand strategy?
  • Built products based on documented buyer personas and buyer-defined definitions of value?
  • Defined product leadership in your market(s)?
  • Established an effective social presence? Lead gen engine?
  • Established an effective overall sales-tech enabled sales/channel motion? Pricing strategy?
  • Built a website and content marketing focused on buyer value (vs. features)?
  • Developed a customer success strategy to maximize customer satisfaction?
  • Implemented an effective sales and marketing automation platform?

Chart of Technology Marketing Management Framework

Members can use the research and analyst guidance behind SoftwareReviews' Technology Marketing Management (TMM) Framework to optimize key processes and improve metrics throughout their scale-up journey.

Regardless of current size, optimize early-stage metrics: Win rates

Sales win rate is one of the most important metrics. Wins indicates the volume of prospect engagement and overall demand for your solution, the strength of your product/market fit, and sales effectiveness.

Key metric: Win rate

<$10M ARR
Close a high % of sales opportunities

Win rate
Satisfy customers

Have high % of customers renew

Gross revenue retention
Drive growth in existing customers

New + expansion ARR growth rate
New logos: Should be within the range of 20% to 40%.

Upsell/cross-sell in existing accounts: Should be higher and within the 40% to 85% range, showing buyers want more of what you are offering. Combined win rates should be around 30%.

If win rate is above 40%:

  • Deals may be disqualifying too early in the sales process due to an inaccurate ideal customer profile (ICP) or overly stringent sales qualification.
  • Your offerings may be underpriced/overfeatured.
Definition: How successful Sales is at turning sales opportunities into sales.

Measured: $ opportunities won / ($ value of opportunities won + $ lost)

$100M ARR
20% to 22%
$10M to
$100M ARR
20% to 40%
<$10M ARR
20% to 40%

Pipeline coverage ratio

Definition: How large your pipeline of opportunities needs to be per your win rate.

Measured: 1/win rate. If your win rate is 20%, you need five opportunities identified for every one won.

TMM Framework links:

  • Lead Gen, SEM & Paid Advertising: Diagnose an out-of-date buyer persona or inaccurate ICP.
  • Product Pricing & Packaging: Determine if offerings are accurately priced to take full advantage of the market opportunity.
  • Sales Data & Technologies: Identify opportunities to free up sellers for more selling activities.
  • Website Design, SEO & Conversion; Social Media Strategies; Marketing Automation Tools: Excel at lead gen engine basics to both generate leads and take burden off sellers.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Customer satisfaction is best measured using a Net Promoter Score (NPS) and should be measured at least once annually throughout your scale-up journey. Our research shows the delivery of customer value correlates highest to strong NPS.

Key metrics: Net promoter score (NPS)

<$10M ARR
Close a high % of sales opportunities

Win rate
Satisfy customers

Have high % of customers renew

Gross revenue retention
Drive growth in existing customers

New + expansion ARR growth rate
NPS: A measure of customer satisfaction and a proxy for willingness to renew. For startups, an NPS of 30% to 50% is strong and over 50% is exceptional. The most accurate scores are based on surveying a broad distribution of customers vs. known favorites/promoters.

If you are a members of SoftwareReviews Advisory with adequate reviews, you can contact your account team for your scores.

Definition: % of customers that would recommend, using a scale of 1-10, vs. detractors; 9-10 are promoters, 7-8 are neutral, and 0-6 are detractors.

Measured: % Promoters - % Detractors

Customer satisfaction:

Exceptional > 50%
Strong 30% to 50%
Fair 0% to 30%
Poor < 0%

Remedies: NPS scores lower than benchmark signal customer dissatisfaction in a key area. Our research, however, shows a lack of customer value as the #1 contributor to low NPS scores.

TMM Framework links:

  • Customer Satisfaction & NPS; CX Data & Technologies: Capture customer NPS scores annually and learn which features and capabilities have the highest NPS correlation.
  • Brand Strategy & Identity; Brand Equity, Awareness & Performance: Budget and build for brand strategy and awareness. Buyers want to buy from and customers want to stay with strong brands.
  • Internal & External Communication: Ensure investors, analysts, and influencers hear your voice to grow mindshare.
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About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Guided Implementation 1: Build process measurement capability
  • Call 1: Discuss the existing metrics and plan for a leadership meeting to align on the measurement.
  • Call 2: Discuss progress and answer questions.
  • Call 3: Plan to evaluate the existing metrics against the benchmarks and identify changes that may be necessary.
  • Call 4: (Optional) Discuss progress and answer questions.
  • Call 5: Review results and discuss plan to give ownership and responsibility for changes.
  • Call 6: (Optional) Continue discussion from call #5.

Guided Implementation 2: Implement metrics improvement
  • Call 1: Discuss existing resources and needs for new hires or changes to reporting systems.
  • Call 2: Discuss the functional goals for metrics for each leader and establish a problem-solving team.
  • Call 3: (Optional) Follow up with call about report and presentation preparation.
  • Call 4: Discuss impacts on the program and further changes that may be needed.
  • Call 5: Use the Key Metrics and Benchmarking Tool to gauge the impact of the measurement changes.
  • Call 6: Debrief and determine how we can help with next steps.


Shashi Bellamkonda

Jeff Golterman

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