What Is Net Revenue Retention? (How to Calculate & Improve It)

What Is Net Revenue Retention?

Net Revenue Retention (NRR) is a financial metric used to assess a company's ability to retain and grow revenue from its existing customer base. It’s also referred to as the Net Retention Rate. 

It factors in revenue lost due to customer churn and contractions, but also includes additional revenue gained from upsells or cross-sells to your current customers. 

A high NRR indicates that a company is not only retaining customers but also successfully increasing its value over time. This can be particularly important for subscription-based or service-oriented businesses.

Now, let’s take you through how to calculate this metric.

How Do You Calculate Net Revenue Retention?

To calculate NRR every month, use this equation:

NRR= ((Starting MRR - Contraction MRR - Churn MRR + Expansion MRR)Starting MRR)100 

Let’s look at the meanings behind the sales metrics that go into the NRR equation:

  • Starting Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): The total predictable revenue generated by a business from all its active subscriptions in a month.
  • Expansion MRR: The additional revenue gained in a month from existing customers through upgrades or additional purchases beyond their original subscription plans.
  • Contraction MRR: The decrease in monthly recurring revenue caused by existing customers reducing their subscription levels or opting for less expensive service plans.
  • Churn MRR: The monthly revenue lost due to customers canceling or not renewing their subscriptions.

Need an example?

NRR Example Calculation

Assume you have the following:

  • Starting Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): Let’s say your business begins the month with $100,000 in MRR.
  • Expansion MRR: During the month, your business adds $5,000 in MRR through upselling to some existing customers.
  • Contraction MRR: A number of customers downgrade their plans, resulting in a reduction of $10,000 in MRR.
  • Churn MRR: Additionally, customer churn leads to a loss of $15,000 in MRR.

In this case, your NRR will be:

NRR= ((Starting MRR - Contraction MM - Churn MRR + Expansion MRR)Starting MRR)100 

        = (($100,000 – $10,000 – $15,000 + $5,000)$100,000)100 

        = (($80,000)$100,000)100 

        = 80% 

In this example, the NRR is 80%, indicating a net reduction of 20% in revenue from existing customers over the month. This is due to significant downgrades and a high customer churn rate.

So, is this a reasonable NRR figure?

Let’s find out.  

What Is an Ideal Net Revenue Retention Rate?

An ideal NRR rate for a SaaS or subscription-based business typically exceeds 100%. This indicates that the company is not only retaining its existing customer base, but also successfully increasing its revenue from them through upsells, cross-sells, or price increases.

However, the "ideal" rate can vary depending on the industry, market conditions, and the specific business model of the company.

For instance, businesses in highly competitive markets (or those with more volatile customer bases) might consider a slightly lower NRR as acceptable. Conversely, in less competitive or more stable markets, companies might aim for even higher NRR rates.

How Often Should You Track the Net Revenue Retention Rate?

For most SaaS and subscription-based businesses, tracking the Net Revenue Retention rate every month is ideal. That’s because this aligns with billing cycles and offers timely insights into customer behavior and revenue trends. 

This frequency allows businesses to quickly identify and respond to changes — maintaining a clear understanding of customer value dynamics. Quarterly reviews can also be beneficial for longer-term strategic planning and analysis.

Now, let’s go through the reasons why it’s worth tracking the NRR metric.

Why Is Net Revenue Retention Important for Your SaaS Business?

NRR holds immense importance for your SaaS company, and here are the reasons why:

  • Indicator of Customer Satisfaction and Value: NRR measures how much revenue you retain from existing customers over a certain period, including upsells, cross-sells, downgrades, and churns. A high NRR suggests that customers find value in your product.
  • Investor Appeal: For SaaS companies seeking investment, a high NRR is a strong signal to investors. It demonstrates a sustainable business model with a loyal customer base, reducing the perceived risk and potentially increasing your company's valuation.
  • Resource Efficiency: Focusing on existing customers for revenue growth can be more cost-effective than acquiring a new customer. NRR emphasizes maximizing value from the existing customer base, promoting resource efficiency.
  • Predicts Long-Term Growth and Health: Net Revenue Retention rate is vital in assessing a SaaS company's growth capacity. It indicates how well a company can increase revenue from its existing customer base, highlighting long-term growth potential.
  • Competitive Benchmarking: NRR allows you to benchmark your business against competitors and industry standards. It's a clear indicator of how well your business is performing in retaining and growing customer relationships compared to others in your market.
  • Early Detection of Business Challenges: Regular tracking of NRR helps in spotting customer-related issues early. It allows for immediate action to improve customer retention rate and maintain revenue stability, addressing problems like customer churn rate or dissatisfaction.

So, how do you increase your NRR and drive sustainable growth for your business?

10 Failsafe Tips for Increasing Your Net Revenue Retention

Below are tips and strategies for boosting your NRR:

1. Improve Customer Experience and Engagement

Prioritize delivering exceptional customer experience, promptly addressing issues, and maintaining consistent, personalized communication. Use educational content and product updates to ensure customers find ongoing value in your service.

Also, regularly gather and act on customer feedback to continually refine the user experience. Develop a comprehensive customer success program focused on helping clients achieve their goals using your product or service.

But that’s not all:

You might also consider reinforcing customer loyalty through tailored rewards and recognition programs. Also strive to deliver exceptional customer support and ensure your customer service team is well-trained to provide outstanding assistance.

2. Optimize the Onboarding Process

Streamline and enhance the onboarding experience for every new customer to ensure users quickly recognize the value of your product. A well-structured onboarding process can lead to higher customer satisfaction, reduced churn, and increased opportunities for revenue expansion.

3. Offer Incentives to Loyal Customers

Reward and incentivize loyal customers with discounts, exclusive features, or early access to new offerings. Recognizing and appreciating long-term customers can strengthen their commitment to your service and boost retention rates.

4. Develop Upselling and Cross-Selling Strategies

Identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling by understanding your customers' evolving needs. Tailoring these offers to align with their business goals can effectively increase their spending.

5. Limit Downgrades & Cancellations

Implement strategies to minimize downgrades and cancellations, such as offering flexible plans or temporary discounts. Understanding why customers downgrade or cancel and addressing these underlying issues can help maintain higher revenue levels from your current customer base. 

With that said, it’s preferable to have a customer downgrade than to cancel the account entirely. So, don’t make it too hard for them to switch to lower-tiered plans.

6. Offer Tailored Solutions

Customize your offerings to suit different customer segments. This can involve creating tiered pricing models or tailored packages that cater to the unique needs of each customer segment, encouraging them to upgrade or add services.

7. Consider Implementing Usage-Based Pricing

Explore the option of usage-based pricing models, where customers pay according to their actual usage of the service. This can encourage customers to engage more with your product and potentially lead to increased revenue as they scale their usage.

8. Conduct Surveys for Churn Insights

Use targeted surveys to understand the reasons behind customer churn. Gathering direct feedback from departing customers can provide valuable insights into areas for improvement and help develop strategies to retain existing customers more effectively.

9. Use Customer Health Scores

Implement a system to track customer health scores, which indicate the likelihood of churn or expansion. Regularly analyze these scores to proactively address issues with at-risk customers and identify potential opportunities for revenue growth with satisfied customers.

10. Use the Right CRM Tools and Plugins

Using CRM software and relevant sales tools and plugins can help you manage customer data, track interactions, and identify opportunities for upselling or cross-selling. Doing all this can positively impact NRR. 

Now, chances are that you’re already using Salesforce for your sales activities

But how do you streamline your sales processes and boost your NRR? 

Look no further than using a tool like Scratchpad!

Improve Your Sales Pipeline With Scratchpad

Traditional CRMs, including Salesforce, might not fully meet your needs in areas such as pipeline management, automation features, deal inspection, and sales forecasting accuracy.

This is where the enhanced functionality of Salesforce add-ons like Scratchpad becomes valuable, offering significant improvements in these critical aspects.

Scratchpad is a transformative Chrome extension that significantly boosts the performance of sales teams and revenue operations.

It delivers unparalleled insights into deal forecasts, sales rep performance, and lead behavior. This allows you to quickly identify potential problems, offer more efficient coaching, and achieve your goals hassle-free.

Scratchpad's benefits include:

  • Improved efficiency through advanced views, which allow for easy modification of fields, objects, or next steps in Salesforce.
  • Streamlined workflow tiles for quick access to essential data.
  • Pipeline gap identification with deal spotlights and getting alerts for missing fields, ensuring your deals align with close dates and forecasts.
  • Seamless integration of Salesforce workflows with sales notes, including easy editing, sharing, and template creation for repeated use.
  • Simplification of manual tasks with no-code Slack automations, enhancing workflow productivity.
  • Automate forecast roll-ups and ease of tracking pipeline changes at all levels.
  • Generation of visual forecasts based on historical data from trends analytics to monitor deal progression and assist reps in meeting quotas.
  • Quick Salesforce workflow updates and record creation using simple keyboard shortcuts with Scratchpad Command.
  • Effortless documentation of sales conversations through Scratchpad’s AI Sales Assistant, featuring an advanced sales call recording tool with AI-assisted notes.

Try it for free today.

Let’s now clear any other doubts you may have about the Net Retention Rate.

3 FAQs About Net Revenue Retention

Here are the answers to a few NRR-related questions:

1. What Is the Difference Between Net Revenue Retention, Net Dollar Retention, and Gross Revenue Retention?

Net Revenue Retention, Net Dollar Retention, and Gross Revenue Retention (or Gross Retention Rate) are pivotal for evaluating a business's financial health and customer success efforts.

Now, let’s demystify the distinctions between three metrics:

  • Net Revenue Retention (NRR): Measures the net change in total revenue from existing customers over a specified period, accounting for churn, contractions, and expansions. It focuses on how much recurring revenue (such as monthly or annual recurring revenue) is retained and grown.
  • Net Dollar Retention (NDR): Net Dollar Retention is similar to NRR but considers all revenue, including one-time and non-recurring revenue, from your current customers. It provides a comprehensive view of customer revenue changes.
  • Gross Revenue Retention (GRR): The Gross Revenue Retention rate is also known as the Gross Retention Rate or the Gross Dollar Retention. It solely focuses on retaining existing customers' revenue without accounting for expansions or upsells. The Gross Revenue Retention rate measures the percentage of total revenue retained from existing customers, excluding any additional revenue generated from them.

2. What Challenges Are Involved in Calculating Net Revenue Retention?

Below are the complexities and obstacles that often come with calculating Net Retention Rate:

  • Data Accuracy: Inconsistencies or inaccuracies in the data from different sources can result in incorrect NRR calculations. To derive an accurate NRR, it's essential to ensure that data is meticulously gathered, harmonized, and validated across multiple systems and platforms. However, this can be a complex and time-consuming process.
  • Multiple Revenue Streams: SaaS businesses often have diverse revenue streams, including subscriptions, upsells, cross-sells, and one-time charges. Accurately attributing and tracking these revenue streams over time can be challenging, especially if they vary significantly from customer to customer.
  • Customer Churn Tracking: Customer churn, where customers discontinue their subscriptions, directly impacts the Net Retention Rate. It's not just about tracking lost customers but also understanding the revenue impact of each lost customer, which can vary depending on their subscription size and additional services used.
  • Revenue Expansion and Contraction: Revenue per customer can expand due to upsells or upgrades (customers buying more or moving to a more expensive plan) or contracts due to downgrades or discounts. Tracking these changes accurately and consistently over time is essential for an accurate NRR calculation.

3. How Does NRR Impact CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) and CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)?

Net Revenue Retention directly affects CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) by increasing revenue from existing customers, leading to higher CLV. 

This, in turn, can improve your company’s CLV:CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) ratio — one of the key indicators of financial health.

Ready to Unlock the Power of NRR With Scratchpad?

Net Revenue Retention is a pivotal metric that offers you insights into customer retention, growth, and revenue performance. By effectively improving it, you can bolster your financial health and long-term sustainability.

Want to maximize the potential of NRR, improve customer loyalty, and simplify your sales processes on Salesforce?

Consider leveraging tools like Scratchpad.

Try it for free today and discover the immense benefits it has for your SaaS company.