B2B benchmarks play a crucial role in understanding how your marketing strategies are performing — from evaluating a single campaign’s performance to assessing your long-term performance. Benchmarks allow you to compare your business with the competition, judge your performance over time and, importantly, identify where improvements are needed. This helps you to set better, more realistic goals.
While this might seem like common sense, just 50% of B2B marketers formally measure the return on their online marketing investments.1 And for some businesses, like those in the SaaS B2B space, who focus on digital inbound marketing strategies, this is crucial to measure — and in detail, from ROI to specific budget benchmarks.
While there is an array of helpful benchmarks for all businesses, there are specific benchmarks that may be more helpful to these SaaS B2B businesses. With that in mind, here are 45 benchmarks that will help SaaS B2B marketers hone their marketing strategies.
Return on investment and ROAS
- PPC ROI calculates the overall profitability of your PPC campaigns, by comparing the investment against the return it makes. Isolate the revenue generated by conversions from your PPC campaign and then use the formula: ROI = (Net Profit / Net Spend) x 100.
- In an evaluation of digital marketing channels, one study found that the average PPC ROI across industries is 36%.2
- SEO ROI calculates the overall profitability of your SEO efforts by comparing the investment against the returns they make. You can understand your SEO ROI by using the formula: SEO ROI = (Value of organic conversions – Cost of SEO investments) / cost of SEO investments.
- A good SEO ROI to aim for is about 5:1, or 500%, though this differs across industries.3
- Webinar ROI calculates the profit directly derived from webinar events as a percentage of the money spent on the event. It can be difficult to arrive at an exact figure, as you first have to work out the profits directly related to the event.
- B2B Webinars have a relatively high ROI in the B2B SaaS industry, at an average of 213%.4
LinkedIn Advertising ROI
- LinkedIn Advertising ROI calculates how much profit can be attributed to a LinkedIn advertising campaign. It can be a complex process with multiple steps, but LinkedIn has several analytic tools that can help.
- Return on advertising spend (ROAS) is a metric that allows you to measure the effectiveness of any advertising campaign. Unlike ROI which focuses on profit, ROAS focuses on revenue. It can be calculated with the formula: ROAS = (Gross revenue from advertising campaign / Cost of advertising campaign).
- A good ROAS is about 4:1,5 meaning a return of £4 for every £1 invested. Some industries need higher ratios, and some can still grow on lower ones. Company size can also affect the figure.
Marketing spend by percentage of company sales revenue
- A common way of working out what a given company’s marketing budget should be is by calculating marketing spend by percentage of company sales revenue. The formula to work this out is: Marketing spend by % of revenue = (Total marketing spending / Total revenue from sales) x 100.
- SaaS companies spend a bigger portion of revenue on marketing compared to other industries: between 15% and 25%.6
B2B marketing as percentage of company budget
- The percentage of the total company budget spent on marketing. You can work it out with the formula: Marketing as % of budget = (Total marketing costs / Budget) x 100.
Marketing percentage of firm budget by sector
- Marketing percentage of firm budget by sector is a way of analysing different marketing spending patterns across different sectors. It can be a useful way of working out how much your business should be spending on marketing in order to remain competitive with others in the same niche.
- Predicted growth is an estimation of future growth based on past performance and analysis of probable marketing effectiveness going forward. Predicted growth helps marketing teams adjust their marketing strategies.
Traditional v digital spend
- Traditional v digital spend is the breakdown between traditional and digital marketing expenditure. In the B2B niche, digital spending is increasing at a faster rate than traditional spending.
- In the US in 2022, the average B2B services companies’ digital marketing spending increased by 18.63%, while traditional spending increased by 2.4%.7
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Organic cost per lead
- Organic cost per lead is the average cost it takes to generate an organic lead. It can be worked out with the formula: Organic cost per lead = Total organic marketing expenditure / Total number of organic leads.
Paid cost per lead
- Paid cost per lead is the average amount it costs to generate a paid lead. It can be worked out using the formula: Paid cost per lead = Total paid lead expenditure / Total number of paid leads.
Lead to MQL conversion rate
- Lead to marketing-qualified lead (MQL) conversion rate refers to the number of overall leads that go on to become marketing-qualified leads. The higher the rate, the more your marketing efforts are targeting the right audience. The formula to find this rate is: Conversion rate (%) = (All leads / Marketing qualified leads (MQL)) x 100.
- The average lead to close CVR in B2B SaaS is 39%.8
Average lead to opportunity
- The average lead to opportunity conversion rate is the percentage of all leads that convert to opportunities. To work it out as a percentage, use the formula: Average lead to opportunity rate = (Number leads converted to opportunities / Total number of leads) x 100.
- The average rate for B2B companies over all channels is 13%.9
Opportunity to sale
- Opportunity to sale is a useful benchmark at the bottom of the sales funnel. To work it out, use the formula: Number of Sales / Total Number of Opportunities x 100.
- Salesforce estimate that customer and employee referrals have the best opportunity to sale conversion, at 14.7%10
Lead to close
- Lead to close conversion rate (CVR) allows you to determine the percentage of leads that convert to customers. This then allows you to evaluate the quality of your leads. The formula is: Lead-to-close CVR = Sales / Leads.
- The annual churn of a company is how many customers it loses over a year. Work it out with the formula: % customer churn = Total number of customers who churned / Total number of customers.
- The average annual churn rate for a SaaS company is between 32% and 50%.11
- Marketing channel metrics involve measuring which marketing channel brings in the most leads. This varies between industries and companies, depending on strategy.
- For SaaS companies, these channels are likely to be paid search, display ads, social ads, paid content discovery, and retargeting.
CLV and Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
Organic customer acquisition cost
- Organic customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the metric that shows how much it costs to get a customer from an organic source. The formula to work this number out is: Total organic marketing costs for getting customers / Total customers acquired.
- In B2B SaaS, the average organic CAC is $205.12
Paid customer acquisition cost
- Paid customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the metric that shows how much it costs to get each new customer through paid marketing. The formula is: Total paid marketing costs / Total customers gained via paid marketing.
- In B2B SaaS, the average paid CAC is $341.13
Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
- Customer lifetime value is the total revenue your business can make from a customer throughout their lifetime as a paying customer. CLV can be a difficult calculation based on different metrics. But for SaaS companies, a good rule is: Average Transaction Size x Number of Transactions x Retention Period.
LTV to CAC ratio
- LTV to CAC ratio lets a company measure the relationship between the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer and the cost of acquiring (CAC) that customer. You need
- to have calculated your LTV and CAC to be able to measure this. The formula is: LTV:CAC ratio = LTV / CAC.
- In SaaS, a good benchmark for this ratio is over 3:1.14
Net revenue retention rate
- Net revenue retention rate refers to the percentage of recurring revenue retrained from existing customers within a certain time period. It’s a churn metric, and it gives a holistic view of positive and negative changes.
- More than 50% of SaaS companies reported an NRR rate of 95% to 115% in 2020.15
- A good way of measuring the value of your content is how much it’s shared. Valuable content will generally get more shares; the exact numbers will vary massively depending on your follower base and the industry.
Follower growth rate
- Follower growth rate allows you to track how many followers you gain over a specific period of time. As it’s often shown as a percentage relative to previous follower counts, it’s more useful in many ways than raw numbers. The formula to work it out is: Growth rate = (Number of new followers in a time period / Number of followers at the beginning of that time period) x 100.
- The email open rate is the percentage of all email subscribers who open an email. The higher the open rate the better. The formula to find it as a percentage is: Open rate = (Subscribers who open an email / Total number of subscribers) x 100.
- The IT, tech and software industry has an average open rate of 22.7%.16
Click through rate (CTR)
- In email marketing, the click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of email subscribers that click on at least one link in a campaign email. The formula is Number of people who click a link / Total number of emails sent out. To find it as a percentage, multiply that figure by 100.
- The average email CTR for IT, tech and software is 2.0%.17
- An email unsubscribe rate shows the percentage of email recipients who opt out of a mail list after a particular email campaign. It’s a broad but useful metric for measuring the effectiveness of a given campaign. The formula is: Unsubscribe rate = Number of unsubscribes / Total number of emails sent out in a campaign.
- B2B has one of the highest unsubscribe rates, at 1.08%.18
- Email bounce rates show how many emails aren’t received by those on a mailing list because the intended recipient’s service returned the email. A soft bounce is when the recipient is temporarily unavailable. A hard bounce is when the email failed to reach the target.
- Mailchimp data found that the software and web app sector has an average soft bounce of 0.65% and a hard bounce of 0.97%.19
Click through rate (CTR)
- Click through rate is a metric to measure how many clicks a given ad receives. A high CTR infers that a paid advert is performing well.
- In B2B in 2022, the average CTR through search was 2.55%, and 0.22% on Google display networks.20
Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)
- Cost per thousand impressions (CPM) is the amount that an advertiser pays for 1,000 impressions on a page. It’s a common way of pricing ads, but it’s not a useful metric that can be used to ascertain campaign effectiveness.
Cost per click (CPC)
- Cost per click (CPC) is the amount that a company pays per click on an advert. If the advert is paid for up-front, then the formula is: Total amount spend on the advert / Number of clicks on the advert.
Cost per action (CPA)
- Benchmarking cost per action allows you to determine how much it cost your business to get a potential customer to complete a desired action. It’s is a form of advertising where a business only pays when they get a lead. You can work it out with the formula: total marketing spend (month/year) / total number of customers acquired.
Conversion rate (CVR)
- Conversion rate (CVR) is one of the more useful metrics available to measure an advert’s effectiveness. It’s used to find out what percentage of people who click on an advert go on to convert. The formula to work it out is: (Number of converted leads / Number of people who clicked on the advert) x 100.
- In SaaS, 7% is the benchmark for visitor to lead conversion.21
Cost per view (CPV)
- Cost per view (CPV) is a pricing structure used for video advertising. Generally, the advertising will only be charged after a certain amount of time or if a viewer interacts with an advert. CPV can be worked out with the following formula: Total advertising cost for a video / The number of views that video gets.
Achieve better open rates and CTR with an effective email strategy.
Customer journey length
- The customer journey length is the amount of time it takes for a lead to convert. In SaaS, the journey can often be a long one: more than 12 months on average.22
Customer journey touchpoints
- Customer journey touchpoints are the points of experience that customers have with a given business. Understanding the overall customer experience as a string of these moments of contact, on and offline, helps to optimise that experience and maximise conversion rates and customer retention.
- Benchmarking account size means finding out how many stakeholders were involved in the buying process for an account that was won. In B2B, there are often multiple parties involved in any given purchasing decision.
- Page views per visit is a way of measuring how many pages a user views on each visit. It’s a broad metric, but it can help website owners measure how interesting users find the site and how intuitive it is to navigate. It will help you understand whether you are following web design best practices.
Unique monthly visitors
- This is the number of visitors who arrived on your site during a given period. It’s an engagement metric. It helps you gauge growth and quantify the impact of a campaign.
% change in website visitors
- % change in website visitors refers to the change in website traffic, generally measured after a marketing event or strategy change. It’s an excellent early indicator of how well a given marketing program is working.
Average Visit Duration
- Average visit duration is the average amount of time that all website visitors spend on the site. B2B companies should aim for at least 2-3 minutes. This suggests your site has good content that visitors are interacting with.
- A website’s bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit the site but leave after exploring a single page. The less that people interact with a site, the higher the bounce rate.
- While this varies via industry, a reasonable bounce rate to aim for is between 30-50%.23
- Customer reviews are important for B2B marketing. Positive reviews that illustrate in-depth knowledge of a service or product build trust in a company, helping to build brand authority. G2 found that 92% of B2B buyers were more inclined to buy a service or product after reading a review that they trusted.24
Desktop vs. Mobile Split
- Desktop vs. mobile split involves calculating whatever particular metric you want on desktop v mobile. This could include open rates, page views, bounce rates, or conversion actions. It shows how potential customers are choosing to interact with your business.
- The split varies wildly by industry. For B2B, most searches are still made on desktops.25
B2B benchmarks are used by B2B businesses to compare themselves with their industry peers. They can be used for internal purposes, such as comparing sales performance against other companies within an industry, or used externally to benchmark a company’s performance against competitors.
B2B benchmarks help businesses understand what’s standard within the industry. This enables them to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and where they are falling short or succeeding. This helps businesses set better goals and strategies.
Benchmarks depend on your business goals. SaaS businesses tend to focus on digital inbound marketing strategies, so their benchmarks should focus on these metrics. This includes using ROI, Website, Organic, Paid and Digital Marketing benchmarks.
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