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Net Dollar Retention (NDR): Client Success

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In the realm of Client Success, understanding the dynamics of customer engagement and retention is crucial. Net Dollar Retention (NDR) emerges as a pivotal metric, serving as a litmus test for evaluating the financial health and loyalty of a company's customer base. Within industries reliant on subscription models, such as Software as a Service (SaaS), NDR offers insight into customer behavior patterns, providing a clearer picture of business stability and growth potential over time. As businesses strive to scale and adapt in a rapidly evolving marketplace, mastering the nuances of NDR can significantly enhance strategic decision-making and customer relationship management.

What is Net Dollar Retention?

Also known as Net Revenue Retention (NRR), Net Dollar Retention (NDR) is a metric that measures the revenue retained from existing customers over a specific period, accounting for any upgrades, downgrades, or churn. It represents the percentage of revenue retained from one period to the next, emphasizing the importance of maintaining and growing customer relationships financially.

Calculating Net Dollar Retention

To calculate Net Dollar Retention (NDR), companies need to consider the following revenues from their existing customer base within a specific time frame:

  1. Starting Revenue (Beginning MRR Balance): The revenue at the beginning of the period.
  2. Expansion MRR: Additional revenue generated from upgrades or cross-sells during the period.
  3. Churn MRR: Revenue lost due to cancellations during the period.
  4. Downgrade MRR: Revenue lost due to customers downgrading their plans during the period.

The formula for NDR is expressed as:

NDR=1+(Expansion MRR− Churn MRR− Downgrade MRR / Beginning MRR Balance)

This calculation provides a percentage that shows how much of the original and new potential revenue a company has been able to retain through its ongoing relationship with existing customers. By using this formula, companies can better understand the effectiveness of their Customer Success strategies and identify areas for improvement to enhance customer retention and growth.


What Does Net Dollar Retention Mean for Your Company?

Net Dollar Retention offers more than just a snapshot of revenue stability; it provides deep insights into the overall customer satisfaction and loyalty. A high NDR indicates that customers are not only staying but are also expanding their business with you—signifying a healthy product-market fit and effective customer success strategies. Conversely, a low NDR might signal underlying issues in your offerings or customer service approaches, suggesting areas for immediate improvement. By closely monitoring NDR, companies can align their operational strategies more closely with customer needs, fostering better product adaptations and innovative service offerings tailored to boost customer satisfaction and retention.

What makes up a Good NDR?

A "good" NDR indicates not only that a company is retaining its customer base but also that its existing customers are increasing their spending over time, which is a strong sign of customer satisfaction and product or service value. Here is what generally constitutes a good Net Dollar Retention Rate:

  • Above 100%: An NDR greater than 100% is considered excellent as it signifies that the revenue from existing customers has grown, overcoming any losses from churn or downgrades. This growth can come from upselling or cross-selling to current customers.
  • Around 100%: An NDR of 100% indicates that a company has effectively retained its revenue from the existing customer base, which is also a positive indicator, especially in highly competitive markets.
  • Below 100%: An NDR less than 100% suggests that there are net losses in revenue from existing customers, which could be due to various factors such as high churn rates, significant downgrades, or other customer dissatisfaction issues.

Understanding and aiming for a good NDR rate is essential for businesses as it not only reflects on their current financial performance but also on their potential for future growth and stability.

How to Improve Your Company's NDR

Improving NDR requires a multifaceted approach focused on deepening customer relationships and optimizing their experience at every touchpoint.

Enhance Customer Onboarding

A well-structured onboarding process that educates new users about your product's key features and benefits can lead to higher satisfaction and retention rates, positively affecting NDR.

Optimize Customer Support

Offering stellar customer support, especially by resolving issues swiftly and effectively, can significantly improve customer retention rates and encourage positive upgrades, thus positively impacting NDR.

Develop Upselling and Cross-selling Strategies

Identifying opportunities for upselling and cross-selling within your existing customer base can lead to increased revenue without the associated costs of acquiring new customers. Tailoring these opportunities to meet specific customer needs enhances their likelihood of acceptance, boosting NDR.

Challenges in Implementing and Maintaining High NDR

Implementing and maintaining a high Net Dollar Retention (NDR) can be challenging due to various factors that impact customer behavior and business operations. Addressing these challenges effectively is crucial for sustaining revenue growth and customer satisfaction.

Enhancing Customer Engagement

Enhancing engagement through personalized communication and services is key to mitigating churn and boosting NDR. By understanding the specific needs and behaviours of different customer segments, companies can deliver more relevant and appealing experiences, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing churn.

Streamlining Onboarding Processes

A smooth and informative onboarding process is critical to ensure customers understand and use your product effectively. Improved onboarding can lead to higher product adoption rates and customer satisfaction, which positively impact NDR by reducing early-stage churn and encouraging upgrades.

Optimizing Pricing Strategies

Pricing strategies must be flexible and adaptive to customer needs and market conditions. Implementing tiered pricing models or offering customizable packages can help accommodate customers' evolving demands, potentially reducing downgrades and cancellations.

Leveraging Customer Feedback

Collecting and analyzing customer feedback provides valuable insights into product improvements and service enhancements. This proactive approach allows companies to make informed decisions that align with customer expectations and needs, thereby improving NDR.

Comparing NDR with Other Retention Metrics

Net Dollar Retention should not be viewed in isolation but as part of a suite of metrics that collectively provide a comprehensive view of customer and business health.

NDR vs. Churn Rate

While NDR focuses on the revenue aspect of customer retention, the churn rate measures explicitly the percentage of customers who discontinue their subscriptions within a certain period. Comparing these metrics hielps businesses understand how losing customers impacts revenue.


Gross Revenue Retention (GRR) measures revenue retention without considering revenue gained from upsells or cross-sells, providing a purer indicator of revenue loss due to churn. Analyzing both NDR and GRR can offer nuanced insights into how effectively a company retains existing revenue while expanding its revenue streams.


CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) predicts the total revenue a business can reasonably expect from a single customer account. It helps companies to understand the long-term value of improving retention rates and can be particularly effective when used with NDR to forecast future financial performance.

Understanding these metrics in relation to NDR provides businesses with a clearer picture of their customer retention efforts' effectiveness and helps identify areas for strategic improvement in customer success initiatives.

Practical Uses of NDR for your CS Team

By integrating NDR principles into Customer Success practices, companies can cultivate deeper connections with their customers, foster loyalty, and maximize the value derived from their products and services. This section explores how NDR strategies can be effectively applied within Customer Success initiatives to achieve these goals.Here are 3 ways in which your team can use NDR to benefit the overall CS strategy:

Implementing Customer Success Initiatives

Effective customer success initiatives form the bedrock of a successful NDR strategy. Through comprehensive onboarding programs, ongoing training sessions, and proactive support, companies can ensure that customers not only understand their products or services but also derive maximum value from them. These initiatives not only foster satisfaction but also cultivate loyalty, laying the groundwork for future expansion opportunities.

Tailored Engagement Strategies

Personalizing engagement strategies based on the unique needs and behaviors of different customer segments can significantly enhance satisfaction and retention rates. Whether it's customizing communication channels, offering targeted promotions, or providing tailored product recommendations, companies can deepen their understanding of customer needs and preferences, thereby bolstering the perceived value of their offerings and driving NDR.

Continuous Product Improvement

Continuous product improvement, driven by customer feedback and usage data, is essential for maintaining competitiveness and driving NDR. By iteratively addressing pain points and enhancing the user experience, companies can cement the indispensability of their products, fostering long-term loyalty and encouraging customers to expand their investment over time. This commitment to product excellence ensures relevance and signals a dedication to customer success, ultimately fueling NDR and sustainable business growth.

Investing in a Customer Success Platform like Velaris can be a vital asset to your team when driving these strategies forward. The platform offers a suite of features to streamline the implementation of thesestrategies and effectively drive superior customer success outcomes.


Businesses can significantly improve their NDR by implementing strategies that enhance customer satisfaction and value. This requires a continuous commitment to understanding customer needs, delivering exceptional service, and refining products and services to better meet those needs.

In addition to these operational strategies, businesses must ensure that they track and analyse their NDR effectively. This includes understanding the nuances between different retention metrics and their interaction to provide a comprehensive view of customer and business health.

As companies strive to adapt to an increasingly competitive market, the ability to quickly respond to and exceed customer expectations using a robust segmentation strategy will distinguish leading businesses from the rest. NDR sheds light on financial health and reflects the strength of customer relationships, serving as a crucial metric for sustained growth and success.

Book a demo today to discover how Velaris can help you enhance customer success strategies and improve Net Dollar Retention.

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