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Customer Acquisition Metrics & Benchmarks: How to Measure Success

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Customer Acquisition Metrics

Last updated: March 6, 2024

Most marketers divide customer acquisition into three distinct stages: lead generation, lead nurturing, and sales. Each stage has its own metrics to track in order for your team to successfully optimize your full customer acquisition funnel. In this article, we share the most important metrics to track in each of these categories, as well as benchmarks drawn from 52 clients between 2018 and 2023.

Customer Acquisition Metrics & Benchmarks

Metric Role Description Benchmark
Customer Acquisition Cost Overall Growth The average cost of acquiring a single new customer. Organic: 748%
Inorganic: 117%
Customer Lifetime Value Overall Growth The profit made from the average customer over the course of a business relationship. See industry benchmarks
Cost Per Lead Lead Generation The average cost of acquiring each new lead. $393
Website Visitors Lead Generation Total visitors to your company’s website. +45% YoY
Visitor to Lead Conversion Rate Lead Generation The percentage of visitors that perform a conversion event and become leads, such as purchasing an item or leaving contact information for your sales team. 2.2%
Lead to SQL Conversion Rate Lead Nurturing The percentage of leads that become serious sales prospects for your firm. 14%
Annual Churn Lead Nurturing The percentage of customers that are lost each year. 8.5%
Pipeline Velocity Sales How quickly leads convert into closed sales. $500/day to $5000/day – varies highly based on company type
SQL to Win Rate Sales The percentage of SQLs that become closed sales. 27%

Below, we discuss each metric in more detail as well as how your team should interpret it in the context of your full customer acquisition program.

Customer Acquisition: Overall Growth Metrics

Metric Role Description Benchmark
Customer Acquisition Cost Overall Growth The average cost of acquiring a single new customer. $644
Customer Lifetime Value Overall Growth The profit made from the average customer over the course of a business relationship. See industry benchmarks

Overall growth metrics are the highest level metrics by which your team will evaluate the overall performance of your entire customer acquisition program. The most important of these is your customer acquisition cost (CAC), which is calculated by dividing your total number of customers in a given time period by how much your company spent on customer acquisition during that time period. While we’ve provided an industry-wide benchmark of $644 here, refer to our CAC by Industry and CAC by Channel reports for more detailed information.

The second metric, customer lifetime value, is a measure of how well your company targets and successfully closes high value customers. When paired with your CAC, it allows you to calculate your LTV to CAC Ratio. The benchmark for a healthy company’s ratio is 4:1, with each customer bringing in approximately 4 times as much profit as the cost of acquiring them.

Customer Acquisition: Lead Generation Metrics

Metric Role Description Benchmark
Cost Per Lead Lead Generation The average cost of acquiring each new lead. $393
Website Visitors Lead Generation Total visitors to your company’s website. +45% YoY
Visitor to Lead Conversion Rate Lead Generation The percentage of visitors that perform a conversion event and become leads, such as purchasing an item or leaving contact information for your sales team. 2.2%

Lead generation is the first phase of the customer acquisition funnel, and where most marketing is focused. The first metric to track is cost per lead (CPL), which (similarly to CAC) is calculated by dividing your total number of leads by your lead generation costs. This metric provides a high level view of your lead generation.

Website Visitors and Visitor to Lead Conversion rate are both leading indicators, meaning they provide an earlier look into your lead generation. These are most important for digital marketing efforts, but will help provide insight into the impact that traditional advertising has on top of funnel prospects. Combined, these two metrics allow you to forecast your future leads and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Customer Acquisition: Lead Nurturing Metrics

Metric Role Description Benchmark
Lead to SQL Conversion Rate Lead Nurturing The percentage of leads that become serious sales prospects for your firm. 14%
Annual Churn Lead Nurturing The percentage of customers that are lost each year. 8.5%

Lead nurturing metrics evaluate how well your team moves interested leads through the sales funnel through email drip campaigns, regular social media posts such as LinkedIn articles, and by providing lower-funnel content such as white papers and case studies. Lead to SQL conversion rate is the first lead nurturing metric, and is the percentage of all leads that eventually become serious sales prospects. The exact qualifying factors will vary from firm to firm, but at our company for instance, we define this transition as the point at which a prospect commits to a meeting with our sales team—in other words, the point at which they transition fully into Sales and out of Marketing.

The second metric, annual churn, is the percentage of customers that are lost each year. While this may initially appear to be solely a customer satisfaction metric, it also speaks to how effectively your lead nurturing content speaks to the leads who are the best fit for your business model. High churn often indicates that the wrong leads are being nurtured, and those that make it to sales are poor targets for your customer acquisition efforts.

Customer Acquisition: Sales Metrics

Metric Role Description Benchmark
Pipeline Velocity Sales How quickly leads convert into closed sales. $500/day to $5000/day – varies highly based on company type
SQL to Win Rate Sales The percentage of SQLs that become closed sales. 27%

Sales is the final stage of customer acquisition, and the first metric to track is pipeline velocity, calculated with the following formula:

Pipeline velocity represents how quickly leads make it through the sales process, normalized for average deal size. This metric allows your team to track the efficiency of your sales pipeline without giving undue weight to smaller sales that close fastest. Meanwhile, SQL to Win Rate measures how effectively your sales team closes those sales in the first place.

Partnering with Customer Acquisition Experts

Customer acquisition is a complex process, but one of the core functions of a successful business. Even the most seasoned teams will often find that they need external support for at least one stage of their customer acquisition funnel, and choose to partner with an experienced firm.

Our agency has over 12 years of experience working with complex businesses to optimize their customer acquisition. We specialize in thought leadership, using ghostwritten expert content to both generate and nurture leads. If you’re interested in learning more about a partnership, reach out here.

Evan Bailyn

Evan Bailyn is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.