The True Cost of Acquiring a New Customer for SaaS Companies

Are you struggling to grow your business and acquire new customers? If so, you are not alone. Many businesses face the challenge of managing their customer acquisition cost (CAC), the amount of money they spend to get a new customer. For SaaS companies, the CAC is even more critical, as it directly impacts their recurring revenue model and the overall profitability of the business. 

In this blog post, we will explore what the CAC is and why it matters, and we will discuss some strategies to reduce it and improve your business’s bottom line.

The Cost of Acquiring a New Customer

According to research by McKinsey & Company, the cost of acquiring a new customer can vary greatly across different industries. For example, businesses in the software industry may spend an average of $395 to acquire a new customer, while businesses in the retail industry may spend only $10. 

This indicates that the CAC is not a one-size-fits-all metric and depends on the business’s specific context.

In addition to the industry, the value proposition of the product or service can also affect the CAC. If the product or service offers a high value to the customer and solves a significant need or problem, the business may be able to spend more to acquire the customer and still achieve a positive return on investment (ROI). 

On the other hand, if the product or service is not differentiated from the competition or does not offer a clear value proposition, the business may need to spend less to acquire the customer, or it may face challenges in retaining the customer and generating revenue from them.

Here is a table that shows the average CAC for different industries, according to the research by Startuptalky:

IndustryAverage CAC
Real Estate$213
Technology (Hardware)$182
Marketing Agency$141
Consumer Goods$22

As you can see, the CAC can vary significantly depending on the industry and the value proposition of the product or service. It is important for businesses to understand their specific CAC and how it compares to their competitors to make informed decisions about their marketing and sales strategies.

The Role of CAC in the Recurring Revenue Model for SAAS Companies

The recurring revenue model is a business model in which the customer pays a regular fee to access a product or service, typically monthly or annually. This model is commonly used by SaaS companies, subscription-based businesses, and other businesses offering continuous and ongoing customer value.

In the recurring revenue model, the CAC and the lifetime value (LTV) are two important metrics determining the business’s profitability. The LTV is the total revenue a customer generates for the business during their lifetime. For example, if a customer pays a monthly subscription fee of $50 and stays with the business for 24 months, their LTV would be $50 x 24 = $1,200.

The CAC and the LTV are related because the CAC needs to be lower than the LTV for the business to be profitable. If the CAC is higher than the LTV, the business will not be able to recover the costs of acquiring the customer and will not generate a positive ROI. Therefore, businesses need to manage their CAC and keep it as low as possible to maximize their profitability and the return on their marketing and sales efforts.

An Example of CAC Calculation

For example, let’s say that a SaaS company has an LTV of $1,000 and a CAC of $800. In this case, the company will not be able to recover the costs of acquiring the customer and will not profit from that customer. However, if the company manages to reduce its CAC to $600, it will be able to generate a profit of $400 from each customer, which can significantly improve the bottom line of the business.

In summary, the CAC and the LTV are important metrics in the recurring revenue model, and businesses must manage their CAC and keep it as low as possible to maximize their profitability and the return on their marketing and sales efforts.

Strategies to Reduce CAC

Here are some strategies that businesses can use to reduce their CAC and improve their profitability:

  1. Improving the marketing and sales processes.
    • Developing a targeted and effective marketing strategy that reaches the right audience and generates leads
    • Optimizing the sales process to convert leads into customers efficiently and at a lower cost
    • Using automation and technology to streamline the marketing and sales processes and reduce the time and effort required to acquire customers
  2. Offering a free trial or a freemium model.
    • Providing a free trial or a limited-feature version of the product or service can help generate interest and attract potential customers.
    • Offering a freemium model, in which the basic features are free but advanced features are paid, can help generate revenue and reduce the CAC
    • These models can also provide valuable insights and customer feedback, which can be used to improve the product or service and increase customer satisfaction and retention.
  3. Increasing customer retention.
    • Investing in customer service and support to improve customer experience and resolve issues quickly and efficiently
    • Offering incentives and rewards to loyal customers can help retain them and generate more revenue from them.
    • Developing a customer retention strategy that includes regular communication, surveys, and feedback can help identify opportunities to improve the product or service and increase customer satisfaction.

Important Research Statistics

Research has shown that these strategies can effectively reduce the CAC and improve the profitability of businesses. For example, a study by HubSpot found that businesses that invest in customer service and support have a higher customer retention rate, which leads to a lower CAC and a higher LTV. 

Another study by Optinmonster found that offering a free trial or a freemium model can increase the conversion rate and generate more revenue, offsetting the CAC and improving the business’s profitability.

By providing high-quality and relevant links to the customer’s website, the link building company can improve the website’s search engine rankings and visibility, increasing the number of organic leads and reducing the need for paid advertising. This can help lower the CAC and increase the return on investment of the marketing and sales efforts.

In summary, businesses can use various strategies to reduce their CAC and improve profitability.

These strategies include improving the marketing and sales processes, offering a free trial or a freemium model, and increasing customer retention.


In conclusion, customer acquisition cost (CAC) is a critical metric for businesses, especially for SaaS companies that rely on the recurring revenue model.

If you want to learn more about how Yoho Digital can help reduce your CAC and increase your profitability, contact us today and schedule a consultation. We would be happy to discuss your business model and provide personalized solutions to help you achieve your brand and business objectives.

About the author

Gareth worked on competitive projects including keyword research, website audits, and content planning to increase search position on domains in Google. See our entire Link building process here.