5 surprising takes on customer-facing analytics at SaaStr Annual 2022

Last week, the Cumul.io team headed off to SaaStr Annual, the world’s biggest SaaS gathering. With more than 10k attendees, we took the opportunity to get hot takes on an important product topic.

Customer-facing analytics.

We interviewed over 80 SaaS builders and product managers to understand how they are delivering insights and metrics to their customers.

Here are the 5 most interesting facts we observed.

Almost every SaaS company offers insights to its customers.

90% of the product builders we talked to offer insights in some shape or form. We heard everything from sending regular KPI reports via email, raw data exports, to elaborate dashboards and business intelligence integrations.

They need analytics to answer user requests for insights. But at the same time, analytics also facilitate conversations and help to demonstrate the value of their SaaS product.

The 10% who don’t offer insights are early-stage startups, investing all their budget and resources into their core product.

1 in 4 offers data exports.

As many as 25% of companies provide raw data tables or export data. It is an easy & quick way to address a customer’s need for insights. But even though users can dig into their data, the user experience leaves something to desire compared to visual dashboards, which are quickly accessible without manual effort.

“It takes an analytics company to build a premium UI for end-users to address all their pain points.”

1 in 5 builds ad-hoc reports for their customers.

SaaS companies are obsessed with efficiency and building scalable products. Hence why we were surprised that 20% still spend time on ad-hoc reports for their customers. Some respondents manually create reports for quarterly business reviews with customers. Others use an external BI tool to create custom reporting per customer upon request.

“We still need to educate our customers with services & during QBR meetings on metrics and KPI’s, and it also helps us to understand which metrics they need.” 

Product teams still like building analytics in-house.

SaaS vendors have put effort into visual, interactive analytics for customers. 1 in 3 interviewees have built some data visualizations in-house, even though developing analytics from scratch takes months of effort and expert resources. Very few of the respondents already use third-party embedded analytics tools to shorten time-to-market.

The #1 challenge for SaaS customers is editing reports.

We researched the main frustrations about customer-facing analytics on G2, and shared them with our respondents.

  1. Analytics are too difficult to use
  2. Insights aren’t relevant
  3. Users can’t edit their own reports

The latter resonated most at SaaStr. 40% of our interviewees said their customers complain about not being able to edit reports. Most vendors acknowledge it is complex to shape & build customizable analytics for their end-users.

“You need to find the balance between a powerful report builder tool and keeping it easy for end-users”.

Data clearly comes to the fore, as most SaaS companies offer some form of analytics in their platform. But there are two massive opportunities that currently go untapped.

  1. The user experience from a customer’s point of view
  2. The speed & efficiency of building analytics inside a SaaS product 

“I don’t want to be a sales analytics tool but provide ready-to-consume insights without end-users having to deep dive themselves.”

With an engaging, good-looking user experience, digital products can differentiate themselves and truly stick with their customers. To get started, check out the whitepaper below to learn the critical ingredients for a winning dashboard experience.

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