KPI dashboards are an important tool for startups to capture the status and development of their businesses. They can be used internally, to see the effects of business measures taken, set and communicate priorities and goals. They are also very helpful for external communication, primarily with investors.
However, building an appropriate dashboard that captures the right things is by no means easy and many founders, especially those doing it for the first time, have challenges developing one. To address that need, Christoph developed a KPI dashboard for SaaS startups some time back and it turned out to be very helpful for, and popular among, SaaS founders.
Recently, Angela of VersionOne posted a very good article about KPI dashboards for marketplace startups. We are big fans of marketplace startups too, and I was intrigued to see how Angela and Boris think about marketplace metrics and tracking them. I am sure Angela's dashboard will be very helpful to most marketplace founders looking for an inspiration for a KPI sheet.
As noted by Angela, marketplaces come in different shapes and sizes, but they do tend to share the buyer/seller logic and transaction orientation. While this is very true, the business models of some marketplaces fit this logic less perfectly than others. For example, some marketplaces do not revolve around selling products, but enable service providers to reach their customers and enable them to book services, as is the case for OpenTable or our portfolio companies DocPlanner and StyleSeat. Such marketplaces tend to include a B2B/SaaS component and vary in pricing models, so their dashboards require some customising and frequently expanding vs what Angela's model would suggest.
With the above in mind, I thought it could be useful to show an example of a KPI sheet used by a services marketplace startup. Below I attach a screenshot of the sheet as used by Docplanner (thanks Mariusz!). You will notice that the logic and key metrics of Docplanner's sheet are different in a number of places from what Angela suggested. This is primarily driven by Docplanner's business model having different value drivers than this of a more typical buy/sell marketplace. Let's go through the key differences by segment.
Overall Marketplace Metrics
GMV/Take Rate/Revenues are the topline figures in Angela's marketplace model. For Docplanner, I would argue that the GMV metric is not so essential tactically to justify tracking and optimising for. It is a very big number and it does illustrate the economic relevance of the platform, yet Docplanner's business model does not operate on a %-cut of revenue basis. What is critical for Docplanner is how efficient the platform is in filling in the time slots available on each doctor's calendar. That is why the number of bookings made on the platform as well as different statistics around it are the key overall metrics of the marketplace. Some stats around bookings that Docplanner is measuring are:
- # of bookings made by patients
- # of bookings made by doctors and their co-workers directly in the system
- Average # of bookings per calendar
- Distribution of bookings across calendars
- Fill rates
Seller/Supplier Metrics (Doctors)
Most of the metrics proposed by Angela in this segment will be relevant for Docplanner too and they indeed track most of them. However, in contrast to most trading marketplaces, there is real sales effort involved in getting doctors on the platform and activating them, so that Docplanner tracks a number of metrics associated with that. They also track a number of more typical SaaS metrics, since a subscription to the platform is the core of Docplanner's business model. Overall, additional seller metrics include:
- # of sales reps
- Average sales rep productivity
- Resulting average CAC
- Supplier / doctor churn
Buyer Metrics (Patients)
Docplanner puts more emphasis than is suggested by Angela's KPI sheet on traffic metrics and focuses more on the # of bookings and conversion rates to bookings rather than average $$$ amounts per buyer/patient. Also, Docplanner is very serious about the activity of the patient community, which is reflected in the tracking of the number of comments left by patients on the platform.
It is worth adding that Docplanner is tracking all of the above on a per country basis (they are operational in multiple countries) as well as on a consolidated basis.
Check it out and please let me know should you have questions or suggestions on what could be improved in the sheet.