Leads, Users, Active Users and Customers. Who is who in a Saas startup?

I am going to talk about the most important B2b saas metrics and objectives, that will help you measure your success and make decisions based on the right data.

What is it a lead? What is a saas user? What is an active user?

Why is so necessary to go in to the depht of something that seems so trivial?

These are terms that, at first, seem to be clear to us, but you would be surprised by the differences that exist in how these terms are considered between startups and even between departments of the same startup.

After analyzing hundreds of startups a year, it´s very difficult to find companies that have thought about it sooner or even ever.

We are familiar with the terms growth rate, LTV, MRR… but….

Would you be able to simply generate a monthly cohort report for each plan

I assure you that it is not an easy task, but we will try to bring some light to the topic.

There are metrics, processes and business objectives that must be well defined from the beginning, in order to be able to analyze in conditions the metrics that are generated for the following stages, even for internal communication or with investors.

I lay these foundations on top of a framework of my own elaboration, for the measurement of the most important kpi’s of a saas: “The B2b Saas Metrics Journey”, which I will present to you in the following post.

Let’s get into it.

Types of users in a b2 Saas

Regardless of the stage your startup is in, it is important to build the foundations for a correct internal communication with the team and all stakeholders.

Let’s identify the different types of interactions that our customers can have in our Saas:


A person who enters our platform, website… but does not perform any event that we can consider of importance.

Lead(MQL, SQL)

A person that performs a certain action, leaving their data, either for a webinar, an e-book, etc. It´s equivalent to a contact at an early stage in the purchase decision, it´s often called, “a cold lead” isn´t ready to make the purchase decision, so we should take actions to help you move forward in this cycle. Within the leads, we can segment them into:

  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): This is a lead that we have identified as part of our buyer persona, and that has a high probability of becoming a customer, since we have identified that they are considering our decision.
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): This contact is in the final part of the purchase decision. This lead is ideal for implementing a final sales push strategy, either with demos, freemium…

Depending on your needs you can adapt this nomenclature and adapt it to your particular case, even to treat different leads, depending on the channel.

Freemium users:

Users who use the product, with limited functionality, in order to test the solution in freemium business models, which we will see in the next newsletter.

Trial users:

Users who have registered and have started a trial period of the saas for a certain period of time. Unlike freemium users, trial users are offered the full version, or almost the full version, of the product, so that the user can appreciate its full value.

How can we identify whether a trial or freemium makes sense in my pricing strategy?

🚫 For example, Dropbox uses a freemium model, where users try the service with free storage and once they are using it and need more space, they go directly to the paid plan.


Users who are paying for some type of subscription. Subscribers have different variants depending on the type of plan and the renewal period that we will see in the monetization stage.

Saas funnel metrics

This is han example of saas funnel metrics with the different metrics

Active Users (AUS):

Total number of users interacting with our product. Users who access “x” times to your service and perform “y” actions during a given period of time.

Active users can be:

  • Maus (montly active users)

Monthly active users (MAU) are the total active users during a period of a month.

  • Waus (Weekly active Users).

Weekly active users are the total active daily users over a period of one week.

  • Daus (daily active Users).

Daily active users are the total number of users who participate, in some way, in a product on a given day. 

In most cases, to be considered "active", users simply have to log in, and this can lead to problems in the future, but we will see this a little later.

 Stop here.

What is an active user for you?

Think about it for a few seconds… ⏳ ⏳

Active users, is a kpi to identify, which users we are bringing value and are far from “churn”.

Defining an active user is not a trivial task. To do so, you must identify the key actions that a user must perform in your saas. Remember that an active user is an user that is far from causing churn, so it´s necessary to find the actions performed by your most loyal customers. 

But this is enough for a whole post, which I will present to you soon.

But this is enough for a whole post, which I will present to you soon.

Meanwhile this tool can help you to track your metrics: