Net revenue retention: It's importance & how to calculate it for a SaaS

As a business model, SaaS (Software as a Service) is built on recurring revenue from customers. In order to be successful, SaaS businesses need to have a strong net revenue retention rate. Net revenue retention measures how much revenue a company keeps from its existing customer base over time, and is a key metric for evaluating the health of a SaaS business.

illustrative minimal modern visualisation of net retention rate
Want to see your metrics in a completely new way?

Growth forecasts produced by the AI-platform that’s seen billions of raw event data like yours in the past.

AIM ↗

Net revenue retention is therefore a key metric for SaaS businesses. It measures the amount of recurring revenue that a company retains from its customer base over time. In other words, it's a measure of how much recurring revenue a company keeps from one period to the next.

If a company has a healthy net retention rate, it means that it is retaining more customers and generating more recurring revenue than it did in the past. This is indicative of a growing and healthy business. And also increasing the chances of your SaaS to get funding.

On the other hand, if a company has a low net retention rate, it may be losing customers and seeing its recurring revenue decline. This is something that investors and analysts will be closely watching for when considering whether or not to invest in a SaaS company.

team at startup office by witeboard calculating net rerention rate

How to calculate your revenue retention

There are two main ways to calculate net revenue retention: gross retention and net retention. Gross retention looks at the total recurring revenue from customers in a given period, while net retention looks at the change in recurring revenue from customers in a given period.

How to calculate net revenue retention for SaaS

To calculate net revenue retention, you will first need to gather data on your customer churn rate and your customer lifetime value (LTV). Once you have this data, you can use the following formula:

Net Revenue Retention = ((1-Churn Rate) * LTV) - Gross Revenue

For example, let’s say that you have a customer churn rate of 5% and an LTV of $100. If your gross revenue for the period is $1,000, then your net revenue retention would be ((1-0.05) * 100) - 1000 = 95%.

This formula can be helpful in understanding net revenue retention, but it’s important to keep in mind that there is no magic number for net revenue retention. The right net revenue retention rate will vary depending on your specific business model and goals.

If you’re looking to improve your net revenue retention rate, there are a few things you can do:

- Offer discounts or incentives to customers who stay with your service for a longer period of time
- Provide additional value to customers so that they see your service as essential
- Improve your customer service and support so that customers are less likely to churn

How to calculate gross retention for SaaS

There are two ways to calculate gross retention: cohort analysis and monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

Cohort analysis is the more detailed of the two methods, and involves tracking groups of customers (cohorts) over time to see how much revenue they generate. This method can be useful in understanding which cohorts are generating the most value for your business.

To calculate gross retention using MRR, you will need to track the MRR for each customer at the beginning and end of each month. You can then use the following formula:

Gross Retention = ((Ending MRR - Starting MRR) / Starting MRR) * 100

For example, let’s say that you have a customer with an MRR of $100 at the beginning of the month, and an MRR of $120 at the end of the month. Your gross retention for that customer would be ((120-100)/100)*100 = 20%.

You can also use this formula to calculate gross retention for your entire customer base. This will give you a good overview of how much revenue you are retaining from one period to the next.

It’s important to keep in mind that gross retention only measures the amount of revenue that is being retained, not the number of customers. So, if a small number of customers are responsible for a large portion of your recurring revenue, your gross retention rate will be high even if you are losing a lot of customers.

No matter what net revenue retention rate you ultimately achieve, it’s important to constantly monitor this metric and make sure that you are doing everything you can to retain your existing customers.

The key factors that influence net revenue rate for a SaaS company

There are a few key factors that can influence net revenue retention for a SaaS company, including customer churn rate, customer lifetime value (LTV), and gross revenue.

Customer churn

Customer churn rate is the number of customers who cancel their subscription or stop using your service over a given period of time. The higher your customer churn rate, the lower your net revenue retention will be.

Customer lifetime value

Customer lifetime value (LTV) is the total amount of money that a customer will spend on your service over the course of their relationship with your company. The higher your LTV, the more likely you are to retain customers and generate revenue from them over time.

Gross revenue

Gross revenue is the total amount of revenue generated from customers in a given period of time. The higher your gross revenue, the more likely you are to retain customers and generate revenue from them over time.

Improving net revenue retention for your SaaS

There are a few things you can do to improve net revenue retention for your SaaS company including offering discounts or incentives to customers who stay with your service for a longer period of time, providing additional value to customers so that they see your service as essential, and improving your customer service and support so that customers are less likely to churn.

Offering discounts or incentives to customers who stay with your service for a longer period of time can be a great way to encourage them to remain loyal to your company. This could include offerinng a discount on the monthly fee for customers who commit to a year-long contract, or giving a free month of service to customers who refer a friend.

Providing additional value to customers so that they see your service as essential can also help to improve net revenue retention. This could include offering new features or functionality that are only available to paying customers, or providing exclusive content or access to VIP events.

Improving your customer service and support so that customers are less likely to churn is another important way to improve net revenue retention. This could involve ensuring that you have a knowledgeable and helpful customer support team, providing easy-to-use self-service tools, and proactively reaching out to customers to address any concerns they may have.

dashboard from aim visualising net retention rate

There is a new way for tech companies to calculate the most important metrics for their SaaS. And it's AIM.

Most SaaS companies have different analytics tools to capture and measure their product, marketing and revenue metrics. While there are so much to track, this easily get's compiles in a spreadsheet somewhere. While there are so many digital tools used by the teams to collect them.

AIM draws on all data that’s ever related to your growth - operational costs, acquisition metrics, cohort metrics, LTV metrics. No cost is left out, essentially merging the growth models of your CFO, marketing and sales team into a complete and unbiased one. And giving you a complete overview of important startup metrics to track.

It keeps track of all the alternating variables - efficiency trends, seasonal trends, customer behaviour trends - and connect them all the way down to a 5-year cash position forecast. This means always-on forecasting, so you place every bet with surgical precision.

Want to try it out? Read more here.

Common questions on net revenue retention

Why is it important for a SaaS businesses to track their net revenue retention?

Net revenue retention is one of the most important metric for SaaS businesses because it measures how much revenue a company is able to generate from its existing customer base. The net revenue retention rate can be used to predict future growth and profitability, and it is a key indicator of a company's health.

What are some of the factors that can affect net revenue retention?

There are a number of factors that can affect net revenue retention, including customer churn, pricing changes, new product offerings, and changes in customer behaviour.

How can SaaS businesses improve their net revenue retention?

There are a few things SaaS businesses can do to improve net revenue retention, including offering discounts or incentives to customers who stay with the service for a longer period of time, providing additional value to customers so that they see the service as essential, and improving customer service and support so that customers are less likely to churn.

Growth forecasts produced by the AI-platform that’s seen billions of raw event data like yours in the past.

See 5 years into your future growth trajectory

With this new advantage point, we give you precise scenario views 5-years ahead. You will clearly be able to see where your current trajectory will take you, and what destinations are available to you if you move key metrics.

visualisation screen from google chrome visualising the interface of the analytics product aim in an demo interface for a startup
visualisation of cash flow creenshot from ark kapital tool aim

The true picture of your growth vehicle

We are not here to replace any platforms, but to give founders a birds-eye view of how it’s all connected. Every single cost and growth activity gets connected from the past into a 5-year cash position future. It’s a beautiful outlook, that lets founders see their totality like no one else.

a vector visualisation of data in the future

Make bets with surgical precision

Every company is an unique animal, and taking on outside advice can therefor be difficult since it’s tainted by another companies reality. With Aim you have a model that tells you exactly what measures are right for you, and the concrete impact they will deliver in the longterm.

Use AIM to fundraise, from others

As the capital market are turning their eyes towards disciplined and profitable growth, you can use AIM to showcase that you are the animal they are looking for. We often get requests from our VC friends to deploy AIM to their portfolio companies, use this to your own advantage.