A Guide to Net Revenue Retention for Subscription & SaaS Companies

A Guide to Net Revenue Retention for Subscription & SaaS Companies
A Guide to Net Revenue Retention for SaaS & Subscription Companies

If you’re in the SaaS industry, then you probably already have some idea of the pivotal role net revenue retention (NRR) plays in the success and sustainability of your business. NRR is a key metric for SaaS companies that helps give you a better sense for the strength of your bottom line and the success of your customer retention strategies. 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into the essence of NRR, explain how to calculate it, and share a comprehensive playbook of strategies on how to optimize net revenue retention (including churn management) for subscription and SaaS companies.

TL;DR Want to learn all about net revenue retention for subscription and SaaS companies? We’ve got an in-depth guide with everything you need to know.

What is net revenue retention (NRR)?

Net revenue retention is the heartbeat of your subscription-based business, representing the percentage of recurring revenue retained after accounting for churn, upgrades, and downgrades. Put simply, NRR can help you measure your company’s ability to retain revenue from your existing customers over a set period of time.

Think of it as not merely a metric, but a compass guiding your company's trajectory. A high NRR signifies strong customer loyalty and healthy expansion opportunities, while a low NRR may signal underlying issues demanding attention.

How do you calculate Net Revenue Retention?

In order to calculate the net revenue retention for your subscription or SaaS company, you’ll need to use this formula:

Calculate Net Revenue Retention using this Formula:

NRR = (MRR at the end of the month + Expansion MRR - Churn MRR) / MRR at the start of the month * 100.

If this formula is done correctly, it should provide results ranging from 60% (bad) to 150% (excellent). 

Starting MRR sets the baseline, representing the total revenue from your customer base at the beginning of a given period. Ending MRR reflects the total revenue from your customer base at the end of the same period. Expansion MRR accounts for revenue gained from existing customers who upgraded their subscription plans or purchased additional features. Churn MRR represents the revenue lost due to customer cancellations or downgrades.

How can you improve NRR?

Now that we’ve covered the foundations, let’s talk about some specific strategies and tactics you can use to improve your SaaS company’s NRR.

Churn Management Strategies

Reducing churn is paramount for maintaining a healthy NRR. Try to implement proactive customer success initiatives such as strong onboarding programs, regular check-ins, and personalized support to ensure customers derive maximum value from your product. It’s also vital to develop seamless cancellation flows that provide off-ramps without burning bridges and to leverage exit surveys in order to glean insights into the reasons behind your churn.

And don’t forget about involuntary churn. Typically, around 20-40% of churn is involuntary, usually resulting from failed payments. That’s why it’s so important to head off involuntary churn by implementing automated dunning processes and using proactive customer outreach.

Expansion Opportunities

Another great way to increase your Net Retention Revenue is by taking advantage of expansion opportunities. Existing customers are a goldmine of untapped revenue potential. Try to identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling by analyzing usage patterns and understanding customer needs. 

Make sure you encourage feature adoption through targeted communication and education campaigns. You can also utilize customer segmentation to tailor offerings and pricing structures, ensuring each segment receives the value proposition most relevant to them and their specific needs.

Pricing and Package Optimization 

Crafting the right pricing tiers and packaging is an ongoing process that requires a deep understanding of market dynamics and customer preferences. Be sure to continuously evaluate your pricing strategy, considering factors such as competitive positioning, value perception, and willingness to pay.

You can experiment with tier upgrades, add-ons, and custom plans to cater to diverse customer segments and maximize revenue potential. As time goes on, monitor price sensitivity and adjust your pricing structures accordingly to maintain competitiveness while maximizing profitability.

Customer Lifecycle Management

Another important piece of maintaining a healthy NRR is customer lifecycle management. The best way to do this is by mapping out the customer journey from acquisition to renewal, identifying key touchpoints where you can engage and delight customers. Then, you can implement lifecycle marketing campaigns that deliver targeted messaging and offers based on customer behavior and preferences, fostering loyalty and reducing churn.

Product-Led Growth

Leveraging product usage data to gain actionable insights into customer behavior and engagement levels is another helpful way to affect your company’s net revenue retention. The goal should be to optimize the product experience to preempt churn and drive user engagement by continuously refining features, usability, and performance.

You can use in-app messaging and notifications strategically to guide users towards value-driving actions, such as completing onboarding tasks, exploring new features, or upgrading their subscription plans. By aligning product development with customer needs and preferences, you can enhance retention and fuel sustainable growth.

Feedback Loop and Iteration

It’s important to remember that NRR is a dynamic metric that requires continuous monitoring and iteration. While all of these strategies and tactics can be used to enhance net revenue retention, each SaaS company will have to choose and adapt their strategies based on changing customer behavior and market trends.

You’ll need to regularly analyze NRR metrics and customer feedback to identify areas for improvement and opportunities for innovation. Try to embrace a culture of experimentation and learning, where feedback is welcomed and used to drive continuous improvement across all aspects of your business.

Ready to step up your retention game? We got you! At Churnkey, we care about your growth, and we help you retain more customers than ever. Our typical customer lowers cancellations up to 54%!

Schedule a demo or sign up for a free trial to start fixing failed payments today.