What is CAC:LTV?
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is the total amount of money spent on customer acquisition (sales, marketing, etc.) divided into the total number of customers acquired. If you spend $1,000 to acquire 10 customers, your CAC is $100.


Customer Lifetime Value (LTV or CLTV) is the total amount of lifetime revenue generated from a customer. If you have a customer who spends $100 a year with you for three years, your LTV is $300. 


Using the two examples above, your ratio would be 3:1, or 3x LTV to CAC.


Simply put, LTV needs to be higher than CAC.


Why is this the ultimate metric?

If your ratio is too high (>5:1), you’re potentially leaving market share and revenue on the table. Too low (LTV<2:1) and you might be using ineffective or expensive channels to acquire and retain customers.


Customer churn can significantly impact CAC:LTV as well. If you have 5,000 customers and 5 percent churn, you have to sell 250 new customers each year just to remain flat. Can your sales team keep up with this?


Getting this right means higher valuation, increased stock price, and increased company value.




Ryan Tognazzini

Works closely with B2B companies to solve strategic business problems so that they will make their number.
Learn more about Ryan Tognazzini >

Ryan joined SBI in 2010 as a Senior Consultant. Since then, he has worked extensively with emerging growth technology companies, including SaaS, enterprise software, systems integrators and OEMs. Additionally, Ryan works alongside numerous private equity investors, performing both sales and marketing due diligence and organic growth initiatives inside their portfolio companies.


Among a long list of accomplishments, he developed and implemented a sales and marketing strategy that resulted in the turnaround of a $1B IT integration clients. He executed organic growth initiatives to help a $100M software company achieve 40%+ year-over-year growth in preparation for an IPO. And he worked with a $1B enterprise software client to transform their sales and marketing go-to-market strategy for their cloud and SaaS offerings. Not surprisingly, in 2014 he was voted SBI Employee of the Year by his peers.


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