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The Lean Analytics Plan - 10 Minutes to Get Started!

  • 27 April 2022
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This article reviews the main SaaS growth business levers, how they drive business outcomes and how these could be quickly mapped together in a lean analytics plan, inspired by Timo Dechao’s framework. The examples below focus on the SaaS customer journey and business model, however many of them are applicable for additional digital verticals as well.   

Quick links:

 

Optimize your product experience and customer value to drive business growth

In the last few years, the B2B SaaS space has increasingly recognized that the digital user experience is both a powerful differentiator that provides a competitive edge and long-term defensibility, while also being a cost-effective distribution channel. 

 

This led to a new go-to-market motion called PLG (Product Led Growth) which is being implemented in various ways across orgs, and is redefining the nature of collaboration between engineering, product, marketing, design and sales teams. In the coming years, we expect all companies to adopt some form of the PLG go-to-market elements, and we are here to help you and your team get on-board with where the market is going.

Whether you’re still sales-led, making your first steps in becoming “Sales-Assisted,” or are hard at work on your completely self-serve motion - this document will help you set up your basic analytics plan and Heap implementation quickly.

 

1. Know your PLG motion & Map Your Growth Levers

Before you begin working on any analytics implementation project, it’s important that you identify which motion is most relevant for you, and which PLG levers you are going to focus on in the near future. Identifying your business growth levers early on will guide you through creating a simple and effective initial analytics plan - so you can start asking all your pressing questions within a week. Yep, 1 week.

Two of the most common PLG motions are Self-Serve and Sales-Assisted (below) which quickly demonstrate why “Growth is a team sport.” All teams can benefit from aligning around how to track and measure the performance of their iterative work - and its impact on business outcomes. 

 

 

Product Team
(+ Engineering, Design)

Marketing Team
(+ Engineering, Design)

Sales
(+ Product, Marketing)

Customer Success
(with  Product, Marketing)


Self-Serve (SS)

Startups, SMB, and Lower Mid-Market

Drives:
Acquisition

Activation
Retention
Monetization - All
 

Drives:
Acquisition
Resurrection

Supports:
Activation
Retention
Monetization - All 

No touch

No touch

Sales-Assisted

Enterprise

Drives:

Pipeline of hand-raisers (PQL)

Supports:
Activation
Retention
 

Drives:

Acquisition
Pipeline of hand-raisers

Supports:
Activation
Retention

Resurrection

Drives:
Acquisition
Monetization - Free to paid

Drives:
Retention
Monetization - Resurrection,
Expansion

Supports:
Acquisition 

 

Tip #1: You and your team should be tracking first the levers you are DRIVING, and ultimately make sure you have visibility into the areas you’re supporting, as well how all the teams together drive growth across the entire journey. 

 

Start out by mapping your growth levers and  the top metrics that will establish your performance baseline. Once you do this you can measure the impact of your iterative work. 


2. Know Your SaaS Growth Levers

In general, the growth levers in SaaS tend to fall into one of these three buckets. The output of all of them is Revenue


SaaS growth levers:

  • Acquisition efforts (get more users)

  • Retention efforts (enjoy word of mouth, renewal and expansion)

  • Monetization efforts (get more for different usage volumes and use cases).

 

“While all products will share common drivers of growth, such as new user acquisition, higher activation and better retention, each product or business has a more specific combination of factors that are uniquely its own…The way to determine your essential metrics is to identify the actions that correlate most directly to users experiencing the core value of your product…” - Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown 


There are many analytics frameworks out there. In our experience the following simple framework is extraordinarily easy to use, and can help you get started quickly.
 

Tip #2: After you get started, it’s easy to expand. The beauty of Heap and its automatic data capture capabilities is that you can easily modify your analytics plan as needed, whenever you’d like, since you’ll have access to retroactive data from the moment of installation.

 

3. The Heap Lean Analytics Plan by Timo Dechau
 

Although Heap enables you to auto-track events and define them later, it is useful to spend some time planning what you want to track before setting up your account. 

 

The more you align your analytics plan with your customer’s journey and the way they experience your core value proposition, the easier it will be for you to set up the right reports and produce insights that will drive business growth. 

 

In order to make this planning as easy as possible, we recommend using this spreadsheet to break the SaaS journey into three key categories: business lifecycle, product features, and user experience. 

 
  1. Business Lifecycle Events

  1. Product Features and Flows Events

  1. User Experience Events

Recommended Event Type

Custom, Server Side

Automatically Captured

Automatically Captured

Integrations

SFDC, Hubspot, Shopify

Intercom, Iterable or others

 
 

Usually, 6-8 events define the crucial steps in your customer lifetime journey - including acquisition and monetization events.

 

Since they are not expected to change much or at all - track these using custom events in Heap, with the help of a developer.

Measuring the actions that are correlated most directly with how users experience your core value and engage with your product.

 

Define these events based on how people use a specific feature you’re interested in analyzing. 

These events are similar to product events but focus more on how exactly people engage with your front-end. These can be clicks, hovers, scrolls, or any keyboard event.
 

 

Never put these into your initial tracking plan - they change often and are too unpredictable. But use them; they are very helpful for understanding your users, find friction and growth opportunities.

 

Download the spreadsheet

 

That's it.


You can make your first step in your data-driven product iteration journey to drive business growth with just a few events and reports. As you learn more about your digital experience, and define more events per your discoveries, and segment your users, your definitions dictionary will expand, and so will the reports you are using to drive growth at each stage.


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Hello Heapsters!

In case you missed the webinar this week, would like to refresh your memory or share it with others, here is the recording of our live session with Timo Dechau, the Co-Founder and Chief Tracking Officer of DeepSkyData, from 6/7/2022.
 


In case you want access to any of the links we dropped in the chat during the event - here’s the fully list:

Where can you read and learn more about top growth metrics:

Heap Groups
Heap Partners

Books and online programs:
Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown
Product-Led Onboarding by Ramli John
Product-Leg growth by Wes Bush
Concepts discussed in the Reforge Growth Series
Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Joskovitz

If you have any other questions or would like to further discuss the topic - please feel free to do so in this thread!

Until next time,
Shelly 
 

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