Customer Acquisition Cost (Definition + How to Calculate)

Content Writer
March 22, 2024

Customer acquisition is one of the most grueling aspects of running a business. Getting customers through the door is not only incredibly complex but also very expensive.

Research shows customer acquisition costs have skyrocketed over the last decade, with a 222% increase in CAC since 2014. Calculating customer acquisition cost (CAC) can help organizations streamline their marketing and sales operations and lower this cost to a manageable level.

In this blog post, we help you discover what CAC means, what business factors influence it, and how to calculate it. Let’s kick off.

What is the customer acquisition cost?

Customer acquisition cost, or CAC, is the total cost an organization incurs to obtain an individual customer. The cost to acquire customers includes a range of marketing and sales outgoings, from ad fees and CRM solutions to employee salaries and any other potential expenses for converting a lead into a paying client.

Knowing client acquisition costs is crucial to the health of your business for many reasons, including:

  • Sustainable growth: The efficient use of the cost-per-acquisition formula allows companies to optimize their spending and focus on the elements of their operations with the highest return on investment.
  • Resourcing and hiring: CAC can help business leaders allocate resources and hire an appropriate workforce to tackle demand while maximizing customer acquisition efforts.
  • Budget optimization: Understanding CAC allows organizations to efficiently allocate marketing and sales budgets. By identifying the cost-effectiveness of various channels and strategies, businesses can focus on those with the highest return on investment, maximizing budget efficiency and driving more sustainable growth.
  • Investor attraction: For startups and companies seeking investment, a well-managed CAC is crucial. Investors often evaluate the scalability of a business model by looking at the CAC in relation to CLV. Lower acquisition costs indicate a business’s potential for sustainable growth and profitability, making it more attractive to investors.

Factors influencing customer acquisition cost

Many factors can affect your cost-per-acquisition calculations. Although these can differ significantly by industry, there are a few main aspects that business leaders should keep an eye on.

Marketing strategies

Depending on your chosen marketing strategies, customer acquisition costs can quickly ramp up, especially in a B2B environment. Paid advertisements, content marketing, and social media campaigns are often essential to attract the right audience.

That said, eye-catching campaigns don’t come cheap! You can evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategies by dividing your marketing spending by the revenue you bring in through campaign leads.

Marketing and sales channels

The cost of your marketing and sales content can vastly differ depending on where you run it. Self-publishing can be a solution for online channels or social media, but these might be more effective in B2C scenarios.

Business leaders often expect more complex and high-end content pushed through channels such as print ads, commercials, or even referrals. Traditional marketing and sales channels can be costly to operate and might require increased effort.

Target audience

As mentioned above, your target audience can heavily influence your marketing and sales costs. Organizations operating in a B2B landscape can often expect higher outgoings and, therefore, steeper customer acquisition costs.

While this can make business owners a tad nervous, it’s important to remember that B2B customers also tend to bring in higher revenue, leveling out your calculations in the long term.

How to calculate customer acquisition cost

Now that you truly understand the importance of CAC, you might be wondering how to calculate it. Don’t worry; although it might sound daunting, the process itself is actually not overly complex. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Select your desired period. Your cost-per-acquisition calculation will only provide beneficial information if you choose a specific time frame, such as a month or a year. Narrowing down your data points will help you better understand your operations and make spotting seasonal trends easier.

Step 2: Don’t be afraid of the cost of the acquisition formula. You don’t have to be a math whizz for this one. Your customer acquisition cost is easy to calculate using the formula below:

Customer Acquisition Rate = (Cost of Sales + Cost of Marketing) / Acquired Customers

If your marketing operations have an outgoing of $400k, while your sales guys go through $500k in a month while you generate 600 new clients, your cost of acquisition formula will look like this: ($400k+$500k)/600=$1500.

Step 3: Put those digits to good use. While we applaud you for your efforts on your cost-per-acquisition calculation, it remains just a number if you don’t utilize it effectively. Your client acquisition cost should be compared to your other relevant business metrics so you can make informed decisions.

Strategies to reduce customer acquisition cost

Reducing your customer acquisition cost is essential not only to maximize your revenue but also to ensure that your customer retention programs are run efficiently. We have collected a few effective strategies for you to reduce your CAC quickly.

Optimize your marketing efforts

Spend some time testing the waters with your marketing channels. Try to identify the avenues and platforms where your audience spends the most time and focus your spending power on these.

Don’t be afraid to use creative content to capture attention. Make it easy for your B2B customers to reach your sales team with tools such as online schedulers. A TrustRadius report suggests that 71% of buyers find product demos the most impactful resource when making purchase decisions.

Target the right people

It’s easy to assume that quantity is the most important factor in generating leads. However, securing high-quality leads should be your sales and marketing teams’ number one goal. High quality doesn’t necessarily mean only high spending power, but also that they are your ideal customer in your exact industry.

Keep your customers loyal

Keeping your existing customers can often be cheaper than chasing your prospects. A Gartner report shows that excellent customer support boosts the chance of repeat purchases by 85%.

Invest in customer loyalty programs and outstanding customer service to keep your clients happy. If you nurture your relationship right, they might even become your brand advocates in the long run!

Dive deep into your data

While client acquisition cost is an important metric to monitor, it’s not the only one you should focus on. Collect information frequently and in depth from your prospects and loyal customers. From customer satisfaction surveys and behavior analysis to testimonials, customer metrics can be a great tool in your arsenal to achieve organizational success.

How can reducing your customer acquisition costs

Customer acquisition costs, or CAC, consistently nag businesses, particularly those in the B2B sector. Simply pouring funds into marketing seldom solves the problem. Enter, presenting a distinctive strategy for snagging customers through a tool you already use: Slack. Here's a glance at how could cut down your CAC and make your sales path smoother:

  • Sharp Lead Generation: Wave goodbye to broad-stroke marketing. dives deep into your Slack channels, mining for leads that matter. It doesn't stop at just names and titles—it digs into sentiments and keywords to unveil their real needs and issues. Your efforts become pinpointed, targeting only those ready and likely to say yes. Think of the benefits as you sidestep outreach that misses the mark!
  • Customized Connection Power: Forget one-size-fits-all pitches; they just don't work. is your ally in sculpting messages that truly click with each prospect. It sifts through chats, picking out phrases that help tailor your communication. This approach not only wins trust but also forges strong early bonds, pushing up conversion rates and dialing down client acquisition costs.
  • Noise? What Noise?: Finding the decision-makers in a sea of contacts can be daunting. cuts through the clutter. By analyzing Slack interactions, it spots the influencers you should talk to. This focus means your sales efforts hit the right mark, saving time and boosting efficiency.
  • Smart Lead Sifting: Treat leads differently because they are. shines a light on who's who by evaluating Slack interactions for engagement and keywords. Scoring leads this way, you hone in on those with the brightest conversion prospects. It streamlines your sales funnel, directing energy to where it counts.
  • Elevating Sales Team Performance: is your team's digital sidekick, taking on routine tasks so they can focus on their strengths—making connections and sealing deals. Picture the uplift in productivity and cost savings as Thena organizes meetings, qualifies leads, and suggests conversation starters, all fueled by insights from your Slack conversations.
Stage of Customer FeatureCost Reduction Benefit
ProspectingIdentify Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)Focus marketing efforts on qualified leads, reducing wasted ad spend and outreach.
ProspectingPredict Buying BehaviorPrioritize high-intent leads, allowing you to invest resources in prospects most likely to convert.
Qualifying LeadsUncover Hidden Decision-MakersEliminate wasted time on unqualified leads and connect directly with key decision-makers.
Qualifying LeadsLead ScoringEfficiently allocate sales resources by prioritizing leads with the highest conversion potential.
Relationship BuildingPersonalized CommunicationCraft targeted messaging that resonates with each prospect, increasing conversion rates and reducing time spent on generic outreach.
Relationship BuildingTrigger-Based OutreachAutomate outreach based on relevant events, keeping your company top-of-mind without manual effort.
Proposal & NegotiationCompetitive BenchmarkingDevelop stronger proposals by leveraging data on competitor pricing and value propositions.
Proposal & NegotiationWin Probability InsightsNegotiate more effectively by understanding the real-time likelihood of closing a deal.
OverallReduced Sales Cycle TimeStreamline the sales process by identifying the right leads, personalizing communication, and focusing on high-intent prospects.
OverallImproved Sales Team EfficiencyRepurpose time spent on unqualified leads and repetitive tasks towards building valuable relationships.


Wrapping up

Client acquisition costs can help business leaders make the right decisions for their organizations, optimize revenue, aid long-term strategic planning, and help their employees thrive.

Intelligent solutions like Thena can help you bring the most out of your customer support operations, ensuring that the customers you worked hard to acquire remain loyal! Add Thena to Slack to see how we can help your business to thrive!


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