Gross Margin as Part of Lifetime Customer Value

Continuing with yesterday’s post on SaaS CAC to LTV Metric, there’s another important element that needs to be addressed: gross margin. Gross margin is the percent of revenue left over after taking out the costs required to serve the customer (SaaS cost of goods sold). So, a company having gross margins of 70%+ (as SaaS companies should have), will have more money, as a percent of revenue, to dedicate to acquiring new customers.

In the context of the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer, a company with 90% gross margins has a much more valuable customer than a company with 70% gross margin (or a lower gross margin, as is often the case).

When talking about SaaS CAC to LTV, it’s actually better stated as CAC to the LTV gross margin. The idea for the ratio is how efficiently customers are acquired. Well, companies with very different gross margins shouldn’t be comparing their CAC to LTV ratios. Rather, CAC to LTV gross margin ratio would be a better comparison.

The next time you’re talking about the lifetime value of a customer, talk about the gross margin of the lifetime value of a customer.

What else? What are some more thoughts on incorporating gross margin into the lifetime value of a customer?

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