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Customer Success Job Tip: Mini SaaS Crash Course

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

My first few days at Hotjar, a Software as a Service (SaaS) company, were filled with A LOT of new buzzwords.

MRR, ARR, ARPA, ARPU, Churn, Retention, LVT:CAC...

I mean, the list goes on and on and go on.

Like a newbie who wasn't trying to show the world she didn't know much about SaaS, I mastered the art of just nodding my head on calls (we were remote) while frantically writing down terminology I didn't know.

I started putting together a quick cheat sheet in a Google Doc, and I'd referred to it often. Getting familiar with the terminology, business models, and even stages of startups allowed me to understand the industry I was in and how my work was making an impact.

If you're looking for a Customer Success position today, chances are you've run into a handful of jobs in the SaaS space. If you're not familiar with SaaS, this short article will help you get up to speed quickly.

Resource # 1

I LIVED in ChartMogul when I was trying to figure out all of these new terms. They have the best library of SaaS metrics and they have a cheat sheet for everything!

After a quick Googling session, I ran into this masterpiece: The Ultimate SaaS Metrics Cheat Sheet.

Highly recommend! Pin it, print it, put it on your wall because this one is a keeper.

Once you've familiarized yourself with this cheat sheet, grow your expertise by diving into others like The Ultimate SaaS Acronym Cheat Sheet.

Resource # 2


Twenty minutes to an hour can really help you level up your expertise in a given area. Some podcasts that I've frequently leaned on to help me level up my SaaS chops are:

  1. The SaaS Revolution Show - SaaStock is a global community of (SaaS) founders, executives, and investors. This podcast talks about scaling, go-to-market strategies, raising capital, and many other topics.

  2. Churn.FM - As the title already states, this podcast is about churn. And if churn is the topic, you'll definitely be hearing about MRR, ARR, Retention, etc.

  3. OV | Build - How have other teams done it? How have other teams scaled? This podcast answers these questions!

Make a list of what you feel you need to double down on and find a podcast that speaks on the topic. Podcasts don't just give you the definition of a term, they give you real-life examples of how these terms are applied –– that's powerful!

Resource # 3

There are so many books on SaaS out there!

The one book that seems to be at the top of every list is "Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry." Salesforces was the first built from scratch SaaS company, a.k.a, the first "real" SaaS company.

If you want to go into a SaaS startup, David Cancel, the CEO at Drift, has great recommendations, and he often shares on his Medium. CO Bloom also has a great list here, which I highly recommend.


Thinking back to my most recent interviews, the terms "churn," "retention," and "NDR" were quite popular and that's because they are a core part of the Customer Success role.

This article scratches the surface; there are plenty of resources out there about SaaS. The goal here is to get you acquainted with the basics so that you're comfortable speaking to these terms and concepts during your interview and well beyond that 🙃

Action Items

  • Definitely read that cheat sheet and then find a resource that best fits your learning style.


Jan 28, 2021

Hi Ashna, thank you so much!

I'm glad you found this helpful and that you're sharing it with your network.


Unknown member
Jan 27, 2021

Incredible article Diana as usual. Quite useful, already have a few people that I would love to share this with. Thank you!

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