The Most Important SaaS Metric of All: Net New Customer Growth

Jason M. Lemkin
SaaStr: Scale Faster. Together.
2 min readApr 1, 2024

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So in the early days of SaaS, we looked mostly at ARR growth. Then, we realized NRR was just about as important. NRR is the mathematical key to keeping growth going and going.

But now fast forward to today, and we have a large swath of public SaaS and Cloud leaders. And one thing that’s become clear is that not only does high NRR keep scaling well past $1B in ARR … so can net new customers. Yes, you will exhaust your core ICP and buyer at some point.

But you have to keep growing that circle, that sweet spot of customers. So you can keep growing new customers ideally at least +20% a year, even at $100m+ ARR. And yes even at $1B+ ARR.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15JDnheat46bTe39ac3cI-XVjUUG58092_rC961w5Vzw/edit?usp=sharing

What do we see? The leaders in SaaS and Cloud keep new customer count up in the double-digits … even at billions in ARR. The averages:

  • + 14% new customer count growth
  • + 23% ARR growth even at
  • + 1.25B ARR on average

Try to keep your customer count growing at least 50% as fast as your NRR. That ensures you have a future, and you aren’t overly reliant on upsells from the base.

And most importantly, your net new customers are your future. This probably is your most important metric at all.

It may be just as important a goal as ARR and NRR every year — if you really want to go long.

Set a Net New Customer goal for this year. It will help you hit the 2026+ plan. And just as importantly, hopefully it will keep the team from pushing existing accounts so much, that they break them. That they leave.

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Jason M. Lemkin
SaaStr: Scale Faster. Together.

SaaStr. Pre-nicorn VC. Co-Founder CEO of EchoSign. Served as VP, Web Biz Svcs at Adobe. Also built nanobatteries implanted inside your body.