The Ultimate SaaS Economic Metric: Lifetime Gross Profit

by Sean Boyce
Lifetime Gross Profit

The world of software as a service (SaaS) has experienced rapid growth, and the competition has never been fiercer. So, how can businesses thrive in this landscape and ensure long-term success? The answer lies in a critical metric: Lifetime Gross Profit (LTGP). By focusing on LTGP, SaaS companies can optimize their customer acquisition and retention strategies, boost profitability, and ultimately achieve sustainable growth. This blog post will explore the ins and outs of LTGP, its applications across various industries, and the challenges and solutions associated with its implementation.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding Lifetime Gross Profit enables SaaS companies to make strategic decisions for optimization and profitability.
  • LTGP is a superior metric to LTV, as it focuses on gross profit rather than solely revenue.
  • Leveraging analytical tools can help businesses gain insights into their customers’ lifetime gross profits in order to improve long-term success and profitability.

Understanding Lifetime Gross Profit

Lifetime Gross Profit (LTGP) is a crucial metric in the SaaS business context, as it measures the total profit generated from a customer over their entire relationship with the company. It takes into account not only the revenue from the customer but also the cost of goods sold (COGS) and other direct expenses associated with serving them. This comprehensive view of profitability enables businesses to make informed decisions regarding customer acquisition and retention strategies, ultimately contributing to long-term growth.

Lifetime Gross Profit for long term growth

The primary components of LTGP include:

  • Total Revenue Generated
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)
  • Gross Profit & Margin
  • Average Length of Customer Account (months or years)

By understanding these components, SaaS companies can calculate lifetime gross profit to better evaluate their profitability and make strategic decisions to optimize their business performance.

Definition and components

In the context of SaaS, LTGP is the total profit generated by a customer over the course of their relationship with a company, considering revenue, costs, and customer lifetime value (CLV or LTV). The calculation of LTGP requires businesses to account for various aspects such as revenue, costs, and LTV, that define a customer’s relationship with the company.

One essential metric for SaaS businesses to track is the CLTV:CAC ratio, which helps determine if acquiring new customers will cost more than their contribution, thus driving revenue and ensuring long-term success.

For long-term planning, the calculation of CLV is vital, aiding businesses in understanding the average duration a customer stays with the company and the revenue they generate during that period. By monitoring the CLTV:CAC ratio and other relevant metrics, businesses can focus on optimizing their marketing strategies and leveraging Lifetime Gross Profit to make informed decisions that contribute to their overall success.

Pro Tip: For a deeper dive on the topic of SaaS metrics, refer to my other article here.

Why LTGP is better than LTV

The distinction between Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) and Lifetime Gross Profit (LTGP) lies in how they are calculated. CLTV centers solely on the revenue generated by a customer, whereas LTGP accounts for revenue, expenses, and customer lifetime profitability. This difference is significant because LTGP provides a more comprehensive view of a company’s profitability and financial sustainability than CLTV alone which only focuses on revenue.

A focus on gross profit over mere revenue allows businesses to gain a more accurate insight into their financial health and formulate strategies that maximize profitability. As a result, LTGP stands as a superior metric for evaluating the success of customer acquisition and retention efforts compared to LTV, which only considers the revenue value of a customer.

Calculating Lifetime Gross Profit

The calculation of LTGP necessitates that businesses consider factors like customer churn rate, average revenue per user (ARPU), and gross margin. These factors directly affect the customer lifetime value (CLV) component of the lifetime gross profit calculation, making it essential for businesses to accurately measure them.

Calculating Lifetime Gross Profit

Considering these factors helps businesses determine the lifetime profit generated by a customer, thereby informing growth strategies and decisions about resource allocation. Accurate LTGP calculations enable businesses to identify high-value customers and allocate resources more effectively, ultimately leading to increased profitability and success.

Factors affecting lifetime gross profit

Lifetime Gross Profit can be impacted by several factors, including customer churn rate, ARPU, and gross margin. The churn rate has a significant influence on LTGP, as a high churn rate indicates that customers are leaving the business, resulting in reduced revenue and lower LTGP. On the other hand, a low churn rate implies that customers are staying with the business for longer, leading to higher revenue and increased LTGP.

Another critical factor in calculating LTGP is the average revenue per user (ARPU), which measures the amount of revenue generated per user over their association with the company. An increase in ARPU typically means an increase in LTGP. Furthermore, gross margin plays a crucial role in the calculation of LTGP, as it determines the percentage of revenue that remains after subtracting the cost of goods sold.

Careful consideration of these factors enables businesses to calculate LTGP accurately.

Example calculations

Example calculations can help demonstrate the importance of LTGP in various scenarios. For instance, in a subscription-based SaaS business, LTGP can be calculated by subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS) from the total revenue generated by customers over their lifetime. The COGS includes expenses such as hosting, customer support, and other costs directly related to delivering the service. By applying this formula, businesses can determine the lifetime gross profit and make informed decisions about customer acquisition and retention strategies.

Lifetime Gross Profit Sample Calculations

For a SaaS business, LTGP can be calculated by considering variables such as:

  • Revenue
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)
  • Operating Expenses
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
  • Gross Profit Margin
    Retention Rate

With accurate LTGP calculations, SaaS businesses can pinpoint high-value customers, streamline their marketing strategies, and allocate resources efficiently, leading to enhanced profitability and success.

Utilizing Lifetime Gross Profit in SaaS Strategy

Utilizing LTGP in SaaS strategy can help businesses in the following ways:

  • Focus on profit rather than revenue
  • Enhance customer relationship management
  • Optimize enterprise resource planning
  • Allocate resources more effectively
  • Track real growth

Calculating LTGP and analyzing its components empowers businesses to make informed decisions that bolster their long-term success and profitability.

For example, LTGP can play a crucial role in enhancing customer relationship management in SaaS companies by providing a holistic view of the profit generated from a single customer throughout their association with the company. This information can be used to optimize pricing models, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and make informed decisions about customer acquisition and retention strategies.

Profit is the objective and revenue is a vanity metric

Profit is a more accurate measure of a company’s financial performance than revenue, as it represents the actual financial gain a company makes after accounting for all expenses. Revenue, conversely, is simply the total amount of money generated from sales. Profitability, illustrating the capability to generate positive cash flow and reinvest in strategic endeavors like product development and customer acquisition, is critical for a SaaS business’s long-term sustainability and growth.

Lifetime Gross Profit

A focus on profit over revenue can steer businesses towards long-term success and sustainability. Just revenue without context for expenses isn’t very helpful when trying to measure the performance of your business. Sure your revenue may be growing, but are your expenses growing the same, faster or slower. The value of your business will change dramatically based on each of those three different scenarios.

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Enhancing customer relationship management

LTGP can help improve customer relationship management by:

  • Identifying high-value customers
  • Targeting retention efforts more effectively
  • Analyzing the profitability of different customer segments
  • Allocating resources accordingly to initiatives that boost customer retention.

Utilizing Lifetime Gross Profit through CRM

For example, Amazon and other leading online retailers use metrics such as customer lifetime value (LTV) to recognize and target high-value customers, who generate significantly more revenue than regular customers. By analyzing customer behavior and purchase history, e-commerce businesses can discern patterns and preferences that point to high-value customers and modify their marketing and retention strategies accordingly. You can do the same with your SaaS business, but first you need to understand LTGP and which segments of your customers are the most profitable.

Optimizing enterprise resource planning

The integration of LTGP into enterprise resource planning can foster improved decision-making and resource allocation. By calculating this metric, businesses can identify and target the most profitable customers and allocate resources accordingly to initiatives that boost customer retention.

Utilizing Lifetime Gross Profit through ERP

Businesses can better optimize their enterprise resource planning by:

  • Aligning their investments with the potential profitability of each customer
  • Enabling businesses to make educated decisions about budgeting and resource allocation
  • Maximizing profitability and ensuring long-term success

Better budgeting and resource allocation

A focus on LTGP fosters more accurate budgeting and resource allocation, ensuring investments gravitate towards profitable initiatives. By taking LTGP into account, SaaS businesses are able to make educated decisions about budgeting and resource allocation to maximize profitability.

Utilizing Lifetime Gross Profit through budget allocation

Calculating LTGP can help businesses in the following ways:

  • Identify high-value customers
  • Allocate resources more effectively based on the profitability of each customer
  • Prioritize customer acquisition, retention, and upselling strategies
  • Maximize profitability and return on investment

Tracking real growth (profit NOT revenue)

Tracking LTGP empowers businesses to monitor actual growth and profitability instead of just revenue. Revenue alone does not provide a comprehensive view of a company’s financial health, as it fails to consider the expenses necessary to generate that revenue. Profit, conversely, reflects the amount of money remaining after subtracting all expenses from revenue. It signifies the actual financial gain or loss of a business and is a superior indicator of its overall growth and profitability.

By focusing on LTGP, businesses can obtain a more accurate representation of their financial performance and make strategic decisions to maximize their profitability. As a result, tracking LTGP stands as a superior metric for evaluating the success of customer acquisition and retention efforts compared to revenue alone.

Challenges and Solutions in Measuring Lifetime Gross Profit

The measurement of LTGP comes with challenges such as data collection and accuracy, overcoming implementation hurdles, and leveraging analytics and finance tools. Overcoming these challenges requires a clear understanding of LTGP and its benefits, as well as effective communication and training.

To ensure accurate data collection for LTGP calculations, businesses must:

  • Gather comprehensive and reliable data on customer transactions and purchase history
  • Guarantee precise tracking of customer lifespan
  • Utilize historical data and additional calculations to calculate customer lifetime value (CLTV)

By addressing these challenges, businesses can accurately measure LTGP and use it to inform their strategic decision-making.

Data collection and accuracy

For accurate LTGP calculations and informed decision-making, it’s vital to ensure precise data collection. Overcoming the challenges associated with data accuracy requires the use of reliable data sources, ensuring data accuracy, and addressing data privacy and security concerns. By implementing these solutions, businesses can accurately calculate LTGP and use it to inform their strategic decision-making.

Challenges for Lifetime Gross Profit - Data Collection and Accuracy

Overcoming implementation hurdles

A clear grasp of LTGP and its benefits, coupled with effective communication and training, is required to overcome implementation challenges. Businesses can successfully implement LTGP measurement by:

  • Defining and aligning their metrics and goals
  • Implementing data collection and tracking systems
  • Ensuring data accuracy and consistency
  • Addressing data integration challenges
  • Regularly reviewing and refining measurement methodologies.

By addressing these challenges, businesses can successfully implement LTGP measurement and use it to inform their strategic decision-making. This, in turn, can lead to improved customer acquisition, retention, and profitability.

Leveraging analytics and finance tools to track LTGP

Businesses can track and analyze LTGP more efficiently by utilizing analytical and finance tools. Some of the most effective analytical tools for tracking LTGP include:

  • Payment Processors (Stripe)
  • Accounting Systems (Quickbooks, Wave)
  • Google Analytics

Challenges for Lifetime Gross Profit - Finance tools

By leveraging these tools, businesses can gain valuable insights into their customers’ lifetime gross profit and use this information to make informed decisions about customer acquisition, retention, and upselling strategies. This, in turn, can lead to increased profitability and long-term success, ultimately helping them save money and generate greater profits.


In conclusion, Lifetime Gross Profit (LTGP) is a vital metric for SaaS businesses, providing a comprehensive view of profitability and informing strategic decisions related to customer acquisition, retention, and upselling. By understanding the components of LTGP, leveraging analytics and finance tools, and addressing challenges associated with data collection and accuracy, businesses can optimize their customer relationships, allocate resources more effectively, and ultimately achieve long-term success and growth. Embrace the power of LTGP and unlock your business’s true potential today.

If you’d like to learn more about how to calculate better economic metrics and leverage them strategically to grow your software or SaaS business more effectively, schedule a free strategy session with me so I can learn more about what I can do to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you calculate lifetime profit?

Lifetime profit can be calculated by subtracting relevant expenses from the average customer lifetime value (CLTV) for your business.

What is the gross profit lifetime value?

Gross profit is the money left over after deducting the costs of goods sold (COGS) associated with providing a service from the revenue generated. This can be used to calculate the lifetime gross profit for an average customer.

How is LTGP calculated?

LTGP is calculated by subtracting COGS from total customer lifetime revenue, providing an indication of how effective a company is at retaining customers and generating revenue.

What factors affect LTGP?

Customer churn rate, average revenue per user (ARPU), and gross margin all have an impact on Long-Term Gross Profit (LTGP), making them important factors to consider when forecasting the success of a business.

How can LTGP be utilized in SaaS strategy?

LTGP can be used to calculate the average revenue per customer over their lifetime, divided by the churn rate to understand the profitability of each customer, enabling informed decisions for customer acquisition and retention.

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