Lean-Case Demo Tutorial - The Business Case Template


This tutorial breaks down the standard Lean-Case Demo into step-by-step instructions and gives a good idea how to build a Lean-Case Business Case Template. You learn how to set up a simple Customer Lifecycle Model with a Get-Customer Phase and a Keep-and-Grow Customer. This is the key to get started. The Get-Customer Phase is a simple Signup Phase. The Keep-and-Grow Phase is a SaaS revenue streams which has 2 plans. You learn how to connect the plans with conversion rules,  how to add services to cross-sell and how to validate the mechanics of your model. We are also showing you how to add churn and all revenue related cost to calculate and check your unit economies.  On top, we provide examples how to add headcounts and expenses. At the end, we show how you can share your Lean-Case and check the dashboard results.

For each step, you first find the respective video sequence and below the video the script text as well as supporting screenshots.

lean-case demo tutorial

You are going to learn  2 things at the same time

  • how to build a professional Business-Case and
  • getting started with Lean-Case

If you want to follow the entire video of the Lean-Case demo and not the step by step instructions, find the entire demo video here.

Key Questions - how should you get started?

The onboarding of a Lean-Case project is really the hardest part. ​

Like an Excel, you should have an idea of how your case should look like before you create a Lean-Case Project. Best is to check out this tutorial section and get some ideas. All tutorials are also available as Lean-Case templates which you can select when you set up a project and get started right away. If you have a need for a different template, let us know your ideas and questions.

When setting up a Lean-Case project, you should be able to answer 3 questions regarding your customer lifecycle of getting, keeping and growing customers:

  • How do you create leads?
  • How do you convert leads into paying customers? and
  • How do you grow your paying customers?

Let’s see how Lean-Case can support this.

Starting from scratch or using a template

Go to your project workspace to add a new Lean-Case project. You have the option to start a Lean-Case project from scratch or to use one of our templates. The templates show how the Lean-Case project is set up. You also have access to a step-by-step tutorial and a video.

In this demo, we are actually creating the model of this Demo Template. Each Lean-Case model has two phases:

  • the Get-Customer Phase creating Signup – 10% of which convert into paying customers after 1 month
  • the Keep-and-Grow Customer Phase with Basic Customers and Enterprise Customers and an upgrade mechanism which converts 25% of Basic Customers into Enterprise Customers
  • On top, we cross-sell professional services for integration to 50% of enterprise customers.  

You can later on select the template, but – to maximise your learning - we are starting this project from scratch

  • Pick a name for your project
  • Select a currency
  • set the project start in January and
  • if you want, pick a logo for your project

Great, we have just created your first Lean-Case Project.

Let’s first take a look at the menus in Lean-Case, you find 3 major menus revenues, headcount and expenses which we use in this demo to enter data. They are very similar. You can plan, check and track your data. In addition, we are showing you the Dashboard menu which displays results

To get around in any of the submenus, you find the Getting Started Box with useful information to get started. This information includes

  • a short explanation of the submenu
  • a video explaining the functionality within this submenu in more depth and
  • links which take you to our help center

Now, we have 4 business objectives and questions. We want to understand

Step 1: Set up revenue streams

Let’s now get started and add the revenue streams “Signups” and “SaaS”.

If you are here for the first time, you can activate the Beginner Mode. When you then click the “Add Revenue Stream” button, Lean-Case guides you through a list of questions and explanations to enter your assumptions. For this demo, it would take a bit too much time to use the beginner mode, but of course we recommend you to use it.

We start with the Revenue Stream “Signup”. Now, the revenue stream template loads directly. You are asked to select the revenue type for this revenue stream from a list of revenues types such as Services, Subscription or SaaS Revenues. Let’s pick “Subscription (Customer Contract)” from the list. As Signups do not generate revenues, the revenue type doesn’t really matter in this context. Let’s just pick revenue type “Subscriptions”.

Enter the name of the stream “Signups”, let’s use the same name for the contract.


Now, you can understand well what revenue streams are.  They combine different templates – in particular

  • contract template which looks different for each revenue type and which defines the average contract of a customer,
  • the forecast template which defines how many new customers you are acquiring in this stream
  • the churn and customer movement template where you define churn and conversion rules and
  • the cost templates to capture all revenue related cost like COGS and Customer Acquisition Cost which are made up by Cost of Selling and Cost of Marketing.

Let’s save the Signup Revenue Stream and move on to set up the second revenue stream “SaaS”. Now, we obviously pick revenue type “Subscription (Customer Contract)” from the list.

Enter the revenue stream’s name “SaaS”.

You can add several contract types to a revenue stream. In SaaS this is what we would typically call a plan, in eCommerce this would more likely relate to different products or product baskets.

Let’s add two plans to our SaaS revenues

  • a basic plan which is billed monthly with MRR of 500 $
  • a enterprise plan which is billed quarterly with MRR of 1000 $

Let’s also save this plan.

Step 2: Connect Revenue Streams with Conversion, Time Delay and Volume Metrics

Now, we are ready to connect the 2 revenue streams with conversion rules.

  • Volume Metrics – to fill the pipeline
  • Conversion Metrics  - to push the volume through the pipeline from stage to stage
  • Time Delay Metrics – which describe how long a conversion takes
  • Financial Metrics - which describe how much a conversion costs

Set Pipeline Volume 

Let’s open the Signup Stream and define the volume of new customers in the Forecast Tab.

There are different forecast models which we can pick. We can acquire customers directly or use a sales team or sales partner structure with targets to acquire new customers or a revenue number per month. Let's assume that in in January 2019 we hire 1 Inside Sales team to generate Signups and that this team has a target to acquire 100 new signups per month.


Add Conversion Rules

Then let’s go to the “Churn & Movements” tab to set up the conversion.

Add a Conversion Rule by clicking the <Add Customer Movements> button. We defined that we have a conversion of 10% from Signups to SaaS Customers. So if there are 100 new signups per month, 10 of them convert into customers. We can also split this into 2 rules to model that some of our signups convert into Basic and some into Enterprise customers

  • Our first rule defines that 6% of Signups - ..  convert into SaaS customer and buy the Basic Plan with a delay of 1 months
  • Our second rule defines that 4% of our Signups - ..  convert into SaaS customer and buy the Enterprise Plan with a delay of 1 months

So, that’s a total conversion of 10% leading to 6 new Basic and 4 new Enterprise customers per month. If we now save this, we should see that we create new revenues per month of 6*500 + 4*1000 which is $7000. That’s still easy to calculate.

But now let us add the upgrades from Basic to Enterprise Customers in revenue stream SaaS.

This conversion rule defines that 25% of our SaaS - Basic customers  convert into SaaS – Enterprise customer with a delay of 3 months – so after 3 months 25% of 6 new basic customers which is 1.5 customers convert into enterprise customers and instead of 500$ as a basic customers they generate an additional 500$ per month as a Enterprise customer. 500$ multiplied by 1.5 new customers should give us an additional 750$ in new revenues as of month 4 


Check the revenue numbers.

For the first 3 months, we still see $7000 of new revenues per month, but starting with month 4 we can see that new revenues are up at 7.750 per month – there is an additional 750$ due to the upgrade.

Check the customers numbers.

We can check the customer numbers nicely in the Manage Menu under the Number Economics Tab.

Pick the Signup Plan – For every period this charts shows

  • the number of Beginning customers at each month,
  • the number of new customers,
  • churned customers
  • the number of customers which due to conversions leave this plan (we call those Reduction Customers) and
  • the number of customers which due to conversions join the plan (we call those Expansion Customers).

Below the chart you also find the table version which we refer to as the Customer Movements Table.

For our Signup Plan, we want to check the number of new signups and the number of Reduction Customers. Just deselect all others in the chart legend. We can see that every month the Inside Sales team creates 100 new signups and that with a delay of 1 month 10% of them convert out or reduce.

Let’s select the Basic Plan, we can see that there 6 expansion customers every month and that with a delay of 3 months 25% of those which are 1.5 are reduction customers and convert out

Let’s select the Enterprise Plan, we can see that there are 4 new customers every month for the first 3 month and that this number increases by 1.5 to 5.5 as of month 4.

Step 3: Add Cross-Selling

After connecting the 2 revenue streams, last thing to be done on the revenue side is to add the Cross-Selling revenue stream. The revenue type for this stream is "Services". We assume that all customers buying our enterprise plan buy a two day integration project at a daily rate of $1000 per day - so these are integration revenues of  $2000 per project. Now, how do we connect the cross-selling revenues to our SaaS Enterprise customers? – Cross-selling in Lean-Case is just another forecast model. Let’s say that we are cross-selling integration services to our enterprise customers and that 50% of them buy them with a delay of 1 month. Let’s save this and check. We have 4 new enterprise customers per month, 50% of them - so 2 - buy our integration services. 2 x  2000 gives us $4.000 of Integration revenues per month.


Step 4: Add Churn and revenue-related Cost

We can see almost linear revenue growth – monthly, quarterly and yearly. But unfortunately, that’s not what we are seeing in SaaS Daily life because customers are churning.

After we entered revenues, we now add all the data which we need to calculate the unit economics – in particular churn and all revenue related cost –

  • cost of goods sold and
  • customer acquisition cost which are made up by the cost of selling and the cost of marketing.

Add Churn

Let’s start with churn. Let's say churn is 10% for our Basic plan. Because the Basic plan is billed Monthly, customers can renew their contracts or churn on a monthly basis. This is why this is 10% MONTHLY churn.

Let’s also assume 10% churn for the Enterprise plan. Because the Enterprise plan is billed Quarterly, customers can renew their contracts or churn on a quarterly basis. This is why this is 10% QUARTERLY churn. On a monthly basis, monthly churn is about one third of quarterly churn. But there is a formula which you can look up in our help center.

When we save this data, we can see that our growth is no longer linear. Actually, revenue is almost plateauing. What is happening here? The acquisition of new customers is just good enough to compensate for the customers which are churning. This is actually very expensive. We are spending money to get new customers into the door instead of spending money to keep the existing ones happy.  

Let's go back and be a bit more realistic and reasonable with churn numbers. Let's make it 5% of monthly churn for the Basic plan and 5% of quarterly churn for the Enterprise plan.

We could again check the number of churned customers in the Customer Movements charts – but we also want to show another way. You can also use the check menu. The Check page gives you a lot of transparency to understand the calculations which are happening in Lean-Case. We can filter the data by revenue streams and metric types. And we can check the Customer Movements Tables for both plans.

Remember we have 10 new customers per months - 6 new customers in the Basic plan and 4 new customers in the Enterprise plan. As the basic plan is a monthly plan - we have our first churn after the first months.  As the enterprise plan is a quarterly plan, we have our first churn only after the third month.

Let’s now go back to the SaaS Revenue Plan Menu and add all revenue related cost.

Add CoGS

We start with Cost of Good Sold which are all the cost to keep your existing customers running. For example, COGS are

  • time-based minimum hosting cost which can be 1000$ per month growing at 2% on a quarterly basis
  • volume-based cost of $100 for customer on-boarding. They occur once, per every Expansion Customer in the SaaS revenue stream (note: using Conversion Rules result in Expansion Customers, whereas using the Forecast Module results in New Customers)
  • volume-based cost of $10 as a customer specific hosting.  This occurs monthly per every existing (ending) customer in the SaaS revenue stream (note: in Lean-Case we use the term Ending Customers because these are the customers at the end of the period)

But what happens if you don’t know all that data – you can also check our benchmarks by clicking the benchmark icons. These are context-sensitive. i.e. that clicking the benchmark icon under COGS gives you COGS related benchmarks. Here – for example – you find a benchmark regarding the average gross margin by different revenue types. You learn that the average gross margin for SaaS revenues is about 80% (in turn that means that COGS are about 20%) and that the average gross margin for professional services is much much lower.

Going back to Lean-Case, on top of the initial COGS, we can now assume an additional COGS buffer of 10% of revenues of the SaaS stream.

Add Cost of Selling

Next, let’s go the Cost of Selling. Remember we go to market with an Inside Sales Teams creating Signups. This is why we have to enter cost for this Sales Team in the Rev Stream Signup. Let’s assume the monthly cost per sales team is 5000$. So, this is a volume driven cost because total cost depend on the number of all existing Sales Teams. Just to make a side calculation, we have selling cost of $5000 for 10 signups converting to new customers per month. That is a cost of selling of $500 per customer months which is part of the CAC.

Add Cost of Marketing

In the Signup Rev Stream, we can also add the cost of marketing required to create leads which convert to signups in the first place. Let's assume - we create all our leads through events and that the cost per lead is $60. Let’s also assume that the conversion from lead to signup is 10%. That means we need 10 leads to create 1 signup so that the cost to acquire a signup is 10*$60 which is 600. As our conversion from signup to Saas customer is also 10%, we need 10 signups to create 1 Saas customer so that the cost to acquire a paying SaaS customer is 10 x 600 which is $6000. So the total customer acquisition cost is  6000 for the cost of marketing plus 500 for the cost of selling – so it totals $ 6500.

In the Signup Rev Stream, we can also add the cost of marketing required to create leads which convert to signups in the first place. Let's assume - we create all our leads through events and that the cost per lead is $60. Let’s also assume that the conversion from lead to signup is 10%. That means we need 10 leads to create 1 signup so that the cost to acquire a signup is 10*$60 which is 600. As our conversion from signup to Saas customer is also 10%, we need 10 signups to create 1 Saas customer so that the cost to acquire a paying SaaS customer is 10 x 600 which is $6000. So the total customer acquisition cost is  6000 for the cost of marketing plus 500 for the cost of selling – so it totals $ 6500.

Step 5: Check Unit Economics

After entering all revenue related cost - Let’s now check the unit economics and go to the Manage sub-menu to check the unit economics dashboard. You see 2 filters to select revenue stream contracts.

  • In the first filter, select the primary revenue streams contracts for which you want to evaluate the unit economics.
  • In the second filter, select all other revenue contracts which carry cost related to the primary revenue streams.

For example, let’s pick the Revenue Contract “Basic” as the primary one to check its unit economics. However, not all of the cost related to those revenues is covered in that rev stream. In particular, most of the the cost of selling and cost of marketing which have an impact on the unit economics of the Basic Customers are covered by the rev stream contract Signups. So, we have to add that one to the cost related revenues streams   

  • First of all, let’s check the cost of customer acquisition which we have calculated to be 6500. Magic! Our calculated number actually is close. However, it deviates a bit because of the Conversion rule which converts 25% of basis customers to enterprise customers. If you set the 25% to 0% (so that there is no conversion), then you would find exactly the $6500 number here. Actually, if you plan to set up your model in a similar way, you can avoid this issue by creating 2 separate revenue streams for Basic and Enterprise customers instead of modelling them as 2 contract into one stream.
  • Secondly, we see a monthly churn rate of 5% which yields a customer lifetime of 20 months
  • Third, you can find the monthly gross profit which is average revenues – average cogs of 312.50$
  • If we multiply this gross profit by the lifetime of 20 months, we get the customer lifetime value which is hardly higher than the cost of customer acquisition

Now we have all the ingredients to calculate the unit economics.

  • LTV/CAC Ratio. It is a long-term indicator which shows how many times the LTV exceeds the CAC (for SaaS B2B businesses this should ideally be greater than three) and because it is much below 3 this traffic light indicator signals a red flag
  • Months to Recover CAC – is a short-term indicator which defines how fast you recover the CAC For a SaaS B2B This should ideally be faster than 12 months and because this is much larger, this traffic light also shows red flag.

If we select the unit economics for the Enterprise plan, we can see that they are much better and turn green.

If we select the unit economics for both plans, they look ok. With an LTV / CAC Ratio of 2.3 you are not far away to spend more money on marketing and scale your business.

Isn’t this nice. We haven’t even been spending 20 minutes but already have real good insights – and we haven’t discussed a single excel formula.

Step 6: Add Headcounts

For now, we have finished the revenue side.  Let’s now add headcounts and expenses.

In the headcount menu, we can add teams.

The first team should be our engineering team. It is important to define if the cost for this team is

  • indirect cost related to G&A, S&M or R&D or
  • if it’s direct cost – cost which is directly related to revenues, so CoGS, COS or CAM. Direct cost impact the calculation of the unit economics. That’s why you also have to assign the relevant revenue stream.

Add Jobs

We can add jobs, e.g. the CTO, who is an employee, he starts in July 2019 and gets a salary of 5k. Because he is an employee, the company pays benefits and taxes of 20% and he gets a salary increase of 2% per year.

Add Groups

Then we can add groups, e.g. sw developers which have similar job and salary profiles. You add the same data as for jobs but instead of entering a start and enddate we have to fill a hiring plan. Just enter when we add a new headcount. Let’s assume that in the first year we hire 1 new developer each month – so a total of 12 developers.  Each developer is a contractor and gets a base salary of 3k.

Let’s save this and check the result. You can see an additional 3k per month and that the CTO job starts in July.


Add Manager Roles

On top, we can also add Manager Roles to automatically add management layers -  let’s say that we need a lead dev per 6 developers in the group.

Let’s save this and let’s go to the Check page where you can filter by teams and job types and check the data for each jobs, for each group and each roles.


Add Team Roles

Let’s add a second team which is the customer service team. Actually, we do not know at what point in time to exactly hire a CSR, because this is more dependent on a driver like our revenue volume. For this case, we can add team roles in Lean-Case. Similar to Groups, Team Roles also have similar job and salary profiles. But other than Members in a Group they are not hired at specific points in time. Hiring Team Roles depends on drivers like the number of Sales teams, Sales Quotas to sign up a new customers per month or simply revenues.

Let’s e.g. hire 1 Customer Service Representative at a cost of $1000 to manage 100k of revenues in the SaaS Revenue Stream. Basically, this means we are spending 1% of revenues for support but at the same time we have the benefit that we keep track of how many headcounts we need.

Actually, we could also define all the headcounts which make up the Inside Sales Team which we defined in rev stream “Signup”.  We could e.g. say that we hire 1 contracted Sales Rep who makes 5k per month into each Sales Team. But Do you remember?, we have already defined this cost in the Cost of Sellling Tab in the Signup rev stream. This is another way to assign this cost and at at the same time keep track of the headcount numbers. But in order to avoid double counting, I don’t want so save this change right now,


Step 7: Add Expenses

Now we go to the Expenses menu which again works very similar. Let’s say we are adding an expense group for Admin Cost. Maybe there is an important expense item which is an audit cost and you have to pay $1.000 in July and Oct. For this purpose, we can manually enter a data series. What you see here, is what we call the spreadsheet widget which is extremely powerful. You can use the spreadsheet widget wherever you see this table icon. For example, let’s go back to our churn of 5% because you want to adjust the churn rate over time. You cannot only enter a data series manually, you can also upload data via a spreadsheet template, and you can also automatically create a data series. Let’s assume that we start with a churn rate of 5%  and that it “grows” in absolute terms by -1 per year. So, this will give us 5% churn in the first year, 4% in the second and so on. Nice right?

Step 8: Share your Lean-Case

Now, we have entered revenues, revenue related cost, headcounts and expenses. Once you feel that you are ready with your Lean-Case - you can share it to get feedback. First, you want to share a Lean-Case with a peer. You can grant Editor rights and also allow him to share this case with others but only for viewing. Only the Owner of a LC project can grant editing rights to be in full control.

Step 9: Check the Dashboard

Actually, if you share your LC project with someone else, this user will be taken right away to the dashboard. The idea of the dashboard is to show you all results of your LC project in one Menu. 

The dashboard has 2 submenus Profit&Loss  and Insights

Profit & Loss

The submenu Profit & Loss shows a combined profit and loss and a cash flow statement. Here you can find all data in one place - Revenues, CogS CaC, operating expenses for headcounts and expenses. You can drill down into each total and see the data by revenue stream.  At the same time, the P&L report serves as a simple simulation dashboard – you can select which revenues streams, teams and expense groups you want to include in the numbers.

The key metrics show

  • the number of customers at the end of the selected period
  • the number of total Revenues at the end of the period
  • The time to break even which is the first time when EBITDA get positive
  • The max cash required to fund the project and
  • The time to get your invest back which is the first time when the cumulated cash flow is positive


The submenu Insights has several tabs. You can check results of assumptions which you entered in the revenue, headcount and expense menu.

  • Check results of revenue streams in terms of number of new customers and total customers, revenues and revenue growth,
  • Check results for headcounts teams in terms of cost and headcount numbers
  • Check results for expense groups in terms of expenses and expense growth
  • The profitability tab combines all this data and shows how profitability margins develop over time.
  • The cash flow tabs also adds cash flow from financing and investments to the data and shows how cash-flow develops over time.
  • The tab Customer Lifetime metrics shows the Unit Economics per revenue stream. Please refer to the Revenue Manage Menu for a detailed explanation of those.

Basically, you have now seen the most relevant parts of Lean-Case. We are working on many more modules in particular also to report on actuals.

If you liked this demo, please spread the word.  You can sign up for a Free Trial at www.lean-case.com We can answer questions via hello@lean-case.com or you can schedule a web call with us at www.lean-case.com/talk.  Besides answering your questions, we can guide you building, validating and tuning your case in workshops.

Thank you. Have fun


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