What is Customer Lifetime Value? Tips to Improve CLV for B2B SaaS

Customer Support

As a business owner and a sales person at the same time, I am more than familiar with the term “Customer Lifetime Value” (CLV/CLTV).

Came across this years ago, and took me sometime to get used to it as a metric. But today, things are different.

In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the world of CLV, providing you with a clear understanding of its meaning and demonstrating its importance in maximizing your business’s potential. 

I’ll guide you through the process of accurately measuring customer lifetime value and offer actionable strategies to enhance it, empowering you to make informed decisions that will benefit your bottom line.

So, let’s embark on this journey to unlock the power of Customer Lifetime Value!

What is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)?

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a powerful metric that goes beyond the transactional value of a customer and provides insights into their long-term worth to your business.

It quantifies the total revenue a customer is expected to generate throughout their entire relationship with your company.

Analyzing CLTV gains you a deeper understanding of the financial impact each customer has on your business over their lifetime.

CLTV takes into account not only the initial purchase but also subsequent purchases (like upsell, cross-sell), repeat business, and potential referrals that a customer may bring. It allows you to evaluate the profitability of your customer base and make informed decisions about resource allocation and marketing strategies.

When you measure CLTV accurately, you are able to identify your most valuable customers, understand their purchasing behavior, and customize your marketing efforts accordingly. 

It enables you to prioritize your efforts on retaining high-value customers, focus on enhancing their experience to improve customer retention, maximizing their lifetime spend, and building long-term relationships.

This knowledge is invaluable in making data-driven decisions and optimizing your marketing budget for maximum return on investment.

Moreover, CLTV provides insights into customer satisfaction and loyalty. A high CLV indicates that customers are not only making repeat purchases but also demonstrating loyalty to your brand. It signifies that your products or services are meeting their needs and that they are likely to continue doing business with you in the future.

On the other hand, a low CLV may indicate that improvements are needed in areas such as customer experience, product quality, or customer retention strategies.

This metric is a vital tool in developing effective marketing strategies, optimizing customer relationships, and driving sustainable business growth.

How to Calculate Customer Lifetime Value?

To calculate CLV, you’ll need a few key pieces of information. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to measure it accurately:

Step 1: Determine the time period

Decide on a specific time frame you want to analyze—for example, one year, two years, or even longer.

This period should be consistent across all calculations to ensure accurate comparisons.

Step 2: Gather necessary data

Collect data on customer transactions, including purchase history, average order value (AOV), purchase frequency, and customer retention rate.

Additionally, you’ll need information on the average customer lifespan within the selected time period.

Step 3: Calculate average purchase value

Divide the total revenue generated within the chosen time period by the total number of purchases made by customers.

This will give you the average purchase value (APV).

Step 4: Calculate average purchase frequency

Divide the total number of purchases made within the chosen time period by the total number of unique customers.

This will provide you with the average purchase frequency (APF).

Step 5: Calculate average customer lifespan

Determine the average number of years a customer remains engaged with your business.

This can be calculated by dividing the sum of all customer lifespans by the total number of customers.

Step 6: Calculate CLV

Multiply the APV by the APF, and then multiply the result by the average customer lifespan. T

he formula for CLV is

CLV = APV x APF x Average Customer Lifespan.

Let’s break down the formula for Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) into its components:

(A) Average Purchase Value (APV)

APV represents the average value of a customer’s purchase. To calculate APV, you can use the formula:

APV = Total Revenue / Number of Purchases

For example, let’s say you have generated a total revenue of US$100,000 from 50 purchases. The APV would be:

APV = US$100,000 / 50 = US$2,000

(B) Average Purchase Frequency (APF)

APF represents how often, on average, a customer makes a purchase within a given period. The formula to calculate APF is:

APF = Number of Purchases / Number of Unique Customers

Suppose the company has 200 unique customers who made a total of 500 purchases in a year. The APF would be:

APF = 500 / 200 = 2.5

(C) Average Customer Lifespan (ACL)

ACL is the average duration a customer remains engaged with a company. It is typically measured in years. To calculate ACL, you can use the formula:

ACL = Total Customer Lifespan / Number of Unique Customers

Say, you have been operational for 5 years, and 200 customers have engaged with you during this period. The ACL would be:

ACL = 5 / 200 = 0.025 years (approximately 9.125 days)

Now that we have the values for APV, APF, and ACL, we can calculate customer lifetime value using the formula you provided:


Using the example values:

CLV = US$2,000 x 2.5 x 0.025 = US$125

Therefore, the Customer Lifetime Value for this particular example is US$125.

How to Improve Customer Lifetime Value?

Now that we understand how to measure CLTV accurately, let’s explore some strategies to boost this vital metric and maximize the value your customers bring to your business:

1. Enhance the customer experience

Invest in providing exceptional customer service at every touchpoint. Personalize interactions, address concerns promptly, and exceed expectations to build long-term relationships with your customers. A positive experience increases the likelihood of repeat purchases and higher CLTV.

Click here to learn how to deliver a customer experience that will keep customers coming back for more!

2. Upselling and cross-selling

Leverage your existing customer base by offering additional products or services that complement their purchases.

By suggesting relevant upgrades or accessories, you can increase the average order value and extend the customer lifespan.

3. Implement loyalty programs

Reward loyal customers with exclusive benefits, discounts, or points-based systems.

These programs incentivize repeat purchases, foster customer loyalty, and extend customer relationships, leading to higher CLTV.

4. Focus on retention

Retaining existing customers is often more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.

Implement retention strategies such as personalized email campaigns, post-purchase follow-ups, and customer feedback initiatives to foster loyalty and reduce churn.

5. Offer subscription or membership models

Introduce subscription-based pricing or membership programs to encourage customers to commit to your brand over the long term.

Providing convenience, exclusive perks, and continuous value can significantly improve your CLV.

6. Leverage data and analytics

Regularly analyze customer data to identify trends, preferences, and behaviors.

This information can help you segment your customer base, tailor marketing campaigns, and personalize communications to enhance customer satisfaction and CLTV.

7. Encourage referrals

Word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing tool. Implement referral programs that reward customers for referring new business.

This not only brings in new customers but also increases the likelihood of these referred customers becoming loyal and valuable in the long run.

Case Studies: Real-World Examples of CLV Optimization

To further illustrate the impact of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) optimization, let’s explore three compelling case studies.

  1. Starbucks: Prioritizing customer satisfaction and consistently delivering an exceptional experience enabled Starbucks to boast an impressive 89% customer satisfaction rate.

    This commitment has translated into a remarkable CLTV of $14,099 per customer.
  2. Netflix: Understanding customer behavior, Netflix addressed the impatience of customers waiting for movies to arrive by introducing instant online streaming.

    This move significantly reduced churn to just 4% and resulted in a robust CLTV of $291.25 per customer, with an average subscriber staying for 25 months.
  3. Crocs: Taking a data-driven and customer-centric approach, Crocs optimized promotions targeted at customers predicted to churn and expanded programs to provide a “no discount” experience for customers who are less price-sensitive.

    As a result, they achieved a remarkable 10X revenue increase, demonstrating the power of personalized incentives and differentiated customer experiences.

These case studies highlight the importance of understanding CLTV and implementing strategies to optimize it.

These brands addressed pain points, prioritized customer satisfaction, and tailored their marketing efforts, and successfully increased revenue, customer retention, and overall customer lifetime value.

Embracing a data-driven and customer-centric approach can unlock the full potential of customer relationships, driving sustainable growth for businesses.


Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a crucial metric that helps businesses understand the long-term value of their customers. Measuring it and implementing strategies to improve it can drive profitability, enhance customer relationships, and fuel sustainable growth.

Remember, providing exceptional customer experiences and fostering loyalty are key ingredients to maximize CLTV and create a thriving business.

Now that you have the knowledge and tools to measure and improve CLTV, it’s time to put these insights into action.

Embrace CLTV as a guiding metric, align your strategies accordingly, and watch your business flourish!