Customer Lifecycle ROI Calculator

Optimize Your Investment in Customer Acquisition, Retention and Expansion

Our Customer Lifecycle ROI (CLR) calculator provides a framework for enterprise software companies to measure growth efficiency and guide operating investments / decisions across the customer lifecycle.

The ratios that will be calculated include costs associated with customer-facing functions such as Sales & Marketing, Professional Services (including Education), Customer Success and Renewals. Note: Support & Cloud Ops are excluded from this analysis because they are necessary to keep the product up and running (part of COGS). Costs from non-customer-facing organizations such as R&D and G&A are also excluded.


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  • Typical Enterprise Software Ranges
  • Your Ratios

CAC Ratio

  • 2.50 1.50
  • 5.00 0.00

You spend $X to acquire $1 of new revenue from a new customer

CRC Ratio

  • 0.10 0.05
  • 0.20 0.00

You spend $X to retain $1 of revenue

CEC Ratio

  • 1.25 0.50
  • 3.00 0.00

You spend $X to acquire $1 of upsell / cross-sell revenue

Note: Ratios were calculated using the high-level inputs provided and other default assumptions and are directional only.

Learn how these CLR ratios can help guide investment decisions.

Discuss your results with a Waterstone business performance expert.


How to Leverage CLR Ratios: Typical Strategic Actions to Consider

Performance range for your ratios (highlighted if above or below typical enterprise software ranges)
Performance Context Increase Investment Maintain Investment Reduce / Optimize Investment Selected
Low CAC Ratio Large Market Opportunity Invest in additional Sales resources, coverage, programs
High Market Penetration Continue to target high potential segments
Large Market Opportunity Optimize Sales coverage model to drive high productivity
High Market Penetration Reallocate spend to CEC / CRC to drive upsell / cross-sell or retention
Low CRC Ratio Low Gross Retention Expand Renewal and CS focus
High Gross Retention Continue investment, focus on upsell / cross-sell in addition to core renewals
Low Gross Retention Optimize spend: adjust CS strategy, optimize renewal process, etc.
High Gross Retention Scale CS / Renewal processes to lower spend but maintain renewal rates
Low CEC Ratio Large Base Opportunity Invest in additional expansion plays via focused sales / CS resources
Limited Base Opportunity Continue to focus on high-expansion-potential segments
High Large Base Opportunity Adjust Sales / CS incentives, promotions, etc. to drive higher yield
Limited Base Opportunity Reallocate spend to CAC to drive new logo acquisition / retention
Increase investment relative to other growth drivers
Maintain investment level with focus on improved productivity / efficiency
Reduce investment (reallocate to other growth driver or realize higher margins)

To discuss your results with a Waterstone business performance expert, request your complimentary consultation below. We have helped numerous tech companies with detailed Customer Lifecycle ROI analyses and advised them on the operational changes required to achieve ideal Customer Lifecycle ROI ratios for their business goals.


Calculate your Customer Lifecycle ROI

The CLR calculator provides a framework for enterprise software companies to measure growth efficiency and guide operating investments / decisions across the customer lifecycle. To see your results, you will need to provide the following:

  • Year-over-year revenue growth (%)
  • % of revenue from new customers vs. existing companies*
  • Annual gross dollar churn*
  • Sales and marketing spend as % of revenue*
  • Allocation of sales and marketing resources on new logo acquisition vs. existing customers*
  • Customer success and renewals spend as a % of revenue*
  • Allocation of customer success and renewals resources on retaining vs. expanding customer*
  • Professional services spend as a % of revenue*
  • Allocation of professional services resources on new customer implementations vs. other add-on services*

*If these numbers are unknown, the calculator provides a typical allocation option for these inputs.

Year-over-Year Revenue Growth


% of Revenue from New Customers vs. Existing Customers

Annual Gross Dollar Churn


Sales & Marketing Spend as a % of Revenue

Allocation of Sales & Marketing Resources on New Logo Acquisition vs. Existing Customers

Does the Sales team spend significant time on renewals?

Customer Success & Renewals Spend as a % of Revenue

Allocation of Customer Success & Renewals Resources on Retaining vs. Expanding Existing Customers

Professional Services (incl. Training/Ed Services) Spend as a % of Revenue

Allocation of Professional Services Resources on New Customer Implementations vs. Other Add-On Services