Blog Article

What is Annual Contract Value (ACV)? ACV vs ARR

Tanushree Munda
By Tanushree Munda | June 10, 2024 3:57 pm

As a sales leader, do you want to better understand your sales performance and the value your company brings in annually? Then it's time to dive into Annual Contract Value (ACV) and its close cousin, Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR).

These metrics are essential for any subscription-based or SaaS company, providing a clear picture of the health and growth of your business. So, let's explore what ACV is, why it matters, and how it differs from ARR.

Also Read: Learn How ACV and ARR- Propel Your Business Forward with Smart Strategies

What is Annual Contract Value (ACV)?

Annual Contract Value (ACV) is a sales metric that represents the total value of a contract normalized to a one-year period. It is the amount of revenue generated from a customer's contract over a year. This includes not only the recurring fees but also any additional one-time charges, such as setup fees or professional services fees, that are spread out over the life of the contract.

For example, if a customer signs a 3-year contract worth $30,000, with additional one-time charges of $5,000, the ACV for this contract would be ($30,000 + $5,000) / 3 years = $11,667.

Importance of ACV in Sales

ACV is a critical metric for sales teams, especially in SaaS and subscription-based businesses, as it provides a clear and consistent measure of the value brought in by the sales organization. Here are a few reasons why ACV is important:

  1. Sales Performance Evaluation
  2. Imagine a performance review without any concrete data. ACV solves this by providing sales leaders with a data-driven way to assess their team's performance and the overall health of the sales pipeline. Higher ACV translates to more valuable contracts, ultimately leading to increased revenue and profitability. This metric empowers you to identify areas for improvement, recognize top performers, and celebrate successes.

  3. Forecasting and Planning
  4. By understanding the ACV of your contracts, you gain the power to accurately forecast future revenue. This foresight allows you to strategize your sales efforts effectively. Sales leaders can set realistic targets, allocate resources efficiently, and ensure the sales pipeline remains robust. Imagine sales automation tools that automatically calculate ACV for every new deal, further streamlining your forecasting process.

  5. Customer Value Assessment
  6. ACV provides a standardized way to assess the value of your customers. It helps you distinguish your most valuable clients, the ones who contribute significantly to your revenue stream. With this knowledge, you can prioritize your customer retention efforts, ensuring long-term partnerships with these key accounts. CRM software can be a valuable tool for managing customer relationships and keeping track of ACV for each client.

  7. Pricing Strategy
  8. Analyzing ACV data unlocks valuable insights into the pricing preferences of your customers and the market as a whole. This goldmine of information can inform your pricing strategy, allowing you to find the sweet spot between one-time charges and recurring fees. By optimizing your pricing based on ACV, you can ensure your business model is both sustainable and attractive to your target market.

Remember: A higher ACV doesn't always equate to better. Consider factors like customer lifetime value and acquisition costs when developing your pricing strategy.

ACV empowers sales teams with the data they need to optimize performance, maximize customer value, and ultimately drive growth. By incorporating ACV analysis into your sales operations, you unlock a powerful tool for strategic decision-making and achieving long-term success. Sales report forms that include ACV calculations can be a valuable tool for communicating progress and keeping stakeholders informed.

Suggested Read: Unlocking Business Growth: Master the Total Revenue Formula & Key Sales Metrics

How to Calculate Annual Contract Value (Example)

Understanding your sales KPIs (key performance indicators) is crucial for success, and ACV (Annual Contract Value) is a star player in this arena. ACV isn't some complex equation – it's a straightforward way to measure the average annual revenue generated by a customer contract. This metric is particularly valuable in the world of sales and marketing for subscription-based businesses.

Calculating ACV is a breeze. Let's break it down with a clear example:

Scenario: A new customer signs a 2-year contract with your company, with the following breakdown:

  • Recurring annual fee: $10,000
  • One-time setup fee: $2,000

To find the ACV, we follow a simple formula:

ACV = Total Contract Value / Contract Length (in years)

Step-by-Step Breakdown:

Total Contract Value: We need to consider both the recurring fee and the setup fee. So, Total Contract Value = $10,000 (recurring fee) + $2,000 (setup fee) = $12,000. Contract Length: The contract spans 2 years.

Now, let's plug these values into the formula:

ACV = $12,000 / 2 years = $6,000

The ACV for this contract is $6,000. In simpler terms, this customer contributes an average annual revenue value of $6,000 to your business.

Key Takeaway:

By incorporating ACV calculations into your sales and marketing processes, you gain valuable insights for strategic decision-making. This metric helps you:

  • Evaluate Sales Performance: Monitor the average value of contracts your sales team is securing.
  • Set Realistic Targets: Forecast revenue based on ACV and set achievable sales goals.
  • Prioritize Customer Retention: Identify high-value customers and focus your efforts on keeping them happy.

Remember, ACV is just one piece of the puzzle. Consider factors like customer acquisition cost and lifetime value for a more comprehensive understanding of your customer base.

Difference Between ACV & ARR

Both ACV and Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) are important metrics for subscription businesses, but they have distinct differences:

  1. Fees
  2. Imagine a customer signing a contract with your company. ACV takes a holistic approach, considering all the revenue generated from that contract within a year. This includes not just the recurring annual fee, but also any one-time charges like setup fees or professional services.

    On the other hand, ARR is a more focused metric. It only considers the recurring revenue component, the predictable income you receive year after year from the customer. Think of it as a steady stream of income, independent of any initial setup costs.

  3. Annualized Revenue
  4. ACV, as the name suggests, normalizes the total contract value to a one-year period. This provides valuable insights, but it doesn't necessarily reflect the actual annual revenue generated by the customer.

    ARR takes the stage here. It represents the true annualized revenue run rate from your entire customer base. By considering only recurring revenue, ARR paints a clearer picture of your ongoing income stream and the overall financial health of your business.

  5. Use Cases
  6. Sales Teams and ACV:

    ACV empowers sales teams by providing a benchmark for evaluating the value of individual contracts. It helps assess sales performance, identify high-value opportunities, and forecast future revenue based on the average contract worth.

    Investors and ARR:

    For investors and stakeholders, ARR takes center stage. It's a key metric for gauging the overall financial health and growth of a subscription-based business. ARR reflects the company's predictable revenue stream and its potential for long-term success.

    Remember: Both ACV and ARR are valuable tools. ACV provides contract-level insights for sales teams, while ARR offers a broader perspective on your business's financial health. Use them together to gain a comprehensive understanding of your customer base and revenue streams.


    Annual Contract Value (ACV) is a powerful metric for sales teams in subscription-based businesses. It provides a clear picture of the value brought in by the sales organization and helps sales leaders make informed decisions about forecasting, resource allocation, and pricing strategies.

    Understanding ACV and its relationship with ARR is crucial for effectively managing and growing your business. By utilizing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into your sales performance and make strategic decisions to drive success.

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