The Softletter Financial Handbook

The Softletter Financial Handbook

Purchase the Financial Handbook




The next edition of The Softletter Financial Handbook will be released in a few days. New business and executive compensation benchmarks will be included in the report. Purchasers of the current edition will receive a free update to the new edition upon its release.

Purchasers will receive a free update to the next edition upon release.

The Softletter Financial Handbook is a treasure chest of statistical reports and benchmark studies on software finance and operations. Here in one easy-to-navigate resource, you’ll find dozens of separate surveys and reports on all kinds of software companies, public and private, with data that companies usually share only with the most trusted industry analysts.
And you’ll find more than just raw numbers. We’ve drawn on our network of company managers and experts for a wealth of analysis, tips and metrics that will also help you develop smarter management strategies. You could spend years collecting this kind of savvy advice (just as we’ve done). Or you can browse the pages of The Softletter Financial Handbook—and get instant access to an invaluable knowledge base.


Downloadable PDF only.



  • Comprehensive study of all matters relating to finances within software companies.
  • Up-to-date metrics and benchmarks with analysis and tips and techniques to improve your bottom line.
  • Detailed data and information on RPE, DSO, ROE, operating income, operating income per employee, R&D, S&M, G&A and more as well as mergers, executive compensation, operations, pricing, sales and marketing, and much more.


  • Provides CEOs, CFO and COO with an invaluable resource of metric enabling them for running a software business.
  • A must have for preparation and updates to business plans, budgets, forecasts and any business financial analysis.
Read Partial TOC (full TOC available upon new release)


Benchmarks: Product Management Best Practices
Benchmarks: OEM Contracts
Benchmarks: Sales & Marketing Staffing
Benchmarks: Sales and Marketing
Benchmarks: Marketing Expenditures and Effectiveness
Benchmarks: Sales & Marketing Cost Ratios
Benchmarks: Telesales Metrics
Benchmarks: Days Sales Outstanding
Marketing Ratios
Key Metrics: The Sales Pipeline
On Measuring the Cost of Customer Acquisition
Benchmarks: Upgrade Pricing
Benchmarks: Marketing Lead Generation
Marketing Calculators Cardfile
Sales Forecasting Tools Cardfile
The Softletter/Prolexic Website Security Surveys
Benchmarks: Electronic Software Distribution
The Softletter SaaS Free (Freemium) and Trial Access Survey
Desktop Trialware Conversion Rates (Yes, the Desktop is Still Here)
Eight Ways to Measure Web Support ROI
E-mail and Telephone Support Costs
Profit Metrics for Professional Services
Benchmarks: Tech Support Cost Ratios
Benchmarks: Revenue Per Employee
Benchmarks: Operating Income Per Employee
Benchmarks: Return on Equity
Benchmarks: General and Administrative
Google Survey Part I:  Google for Promotion
Google Survey Part II: Google as a Platform
Google AdWords Survey Results
Benchmarks: Research and Development


SaaS In The M&A Arena
Negotiating Your Non-Compete Agreement
Are You the Big Dog in Your Vertical Market Niche?
Outsourcing to India
The Top 10 European Buyers
The Top 10 US M&A Buyers
When Your Sector Starts to Consolidate
Not All Revenue Is Created Equal
Impact of the Sub-Prime Meltdown on Software M&A
Yes, There Are Bad Deals
Keeping Negotiations Secret
The Top Five Problems in Software Company Financials
Protecting Your Excess Cash
Working Capital—Its Role in Deal Negotiation
Capitalization of Software R&D Choices
The 10 Second “What is My Company Worth?” Valuation
The Softletter Software Company Valuation Worksheet
Due Diligence: Get Ready to Meet the Buyer’s Every Request
Preparing for the Sale: The Documents
The Top Five M&A Deals of the Past Five Years (2005-2010)
Developing Solid Financial Projections
Seller Beware—Outside Deal Funding Required
What is a Recapitalization?
M&A  vs.  IPO
Protecting Your IP from Outsider (or Insider) Claims When You Sell Your Company
A Valuation Model for Subscription Revenues
What’s Your Company’s Value Multiplier?
Why Deals Fall Through
The 504b Option
What Drives Valuation Multiples?
The True Value of an M&A Advisor
Angel Investors
Legal Strategies: What to Expect and Who Pays
Earnouts: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
When to Dig In Your Heels During  Negotiations
Preferred Shares: The Monster That Ate Your Deal
Strategic versus Financial Buyers
Representations and Warranties Insurance
Reps and Warranties: Vital to the Deal
Why All the Focus on EBITDA?
M &A: A Global Process
Accounting Problems: Don’t Let Them Stop Your Deal
Due Diligence Tips for Sellers
When is the Right Time to Sell?
If it Takes 8 Months to Sell, When Should I Begin Planning?
Exit Strategies: Think M&A
Is My Company Too Small to Sell?
The Ten Worst Things You Can Do
When Selling Your Software Company
Getting a Deal Done: Spousal Approval
Deal Killers: What Wrecks Value
The Power of the Minority
Negotiation Tactics
Passive vs. Active Shareholders
How to Detect a Non-Negotiating Buyer
Types of Statements That Can Spoil a Deal
Escrow Provisions in M&A Transactions
Using Strawmen in M&A Negotiations
Tax Reduction Tactics When Selling Your Company
The Art of the Earnout
How to Structure an Installment Sale
How to Negotiate an Asset Sale
How to Sell a Small Services Company
How to Sell Your Company When Shareholders Dissent
What to Do When a Deal Falls Through
How to Hang Onto Employees Through a Sale
How to Deal With a Weak Balance Sheet
How to Keep a Secret
Working With International Buyers
What Do Financial Buyers Want?
What Do Strategic Buyers Look For?
On Negotiating a Technology License
How to Avoid “Haircuts”
The Role of Revenue Recognition
Checklist: The Letter of Intent
The Letter of Intent
The Sarbanes-Oxley Effect
How to Field an Unsolicited Offer
The Devil Is in the Deal Structure
Escrows and Holdbacks
Escrow Agreements in the Age of SaaS
Why Restricted Stock Is Risky
How to Structure an Earnout
Guy Art
Entrepreneurship: “Burn Your Business Plan”
Why Angels Fear to Tread
Creative Financing Tips From the Experts
Return Leaders: Conversation With the Founders: RightNow Technologies
An Insider’s Guide to Venture Capital Term Sheets


How to Make Profit Sharing Work
Benchmarks: Employee Benefits
How Microsoft Measures Employees
How to Structure a Comp Plan
Climbing the Incentive Ladder
Incentive Plans: “Punished by Rewards”
Severance Stats: What’s the Going Rate?
The Devaluation of Options
Options Grants by Job Title
How to Structure a Sales Comp Plan
Recruiting: It Matters Where You Look
Benchmarks: Chief Executive Officer Compensation
Benchmarks: Chief Technical Officer Compensation
Benchmarks: Chief Financial Officer Compensation
Data Points: Marketing Salaries
Data Points: Board of Directors Pay
Benchmarks: Product Manager Compensation
Benchmarks: Requirements Manager Compensation
Benchmarks: Direct Sales Compensation
Benchmarks: Detailed Enterprise and SaaS Sales Analyses


Endangered Environments
Valuing Options While Running the Compliance Gauntlet
Pricing and Value Approaches for Embedded Software
Non-Recurring Engineering
Minimizing Online Sales Fraud
Increasing Q&A Costs Squeeze Bottom Lines
The Micro-ISV Father Discusses the Kids
RIM vs NTP: The Fallout
Disadvantage: Microsoft
Automating Your Product Management Processes
Building a Balanced Executive Team
Business Process Patents: What Remains After Bilski, Part I of II
Business Process Patents: What Remains After Bilski, Part II of II
What’s Your Business Innovation IQ?
On Reinventing the Company
How to Survive Financial ‘Peaks and Valleys’
A Growth Strategy Roadmap
The Growth Imperative
The Science of “Meaningful Marketing”
“A Fundamental Change in Economics”
Six Rules for Sustained Success
Do You Have the Right Number of Employees?
Commentary: Squeeze Play
How to Become a Productivity Superstar
How to Plan for Profits
How to Get Paid Faster
Cash Management: Who Gets Paid First?
Travel Cost Ratios
Cost-Saving Tips From the Experts
Office Rentals
How to Break (or Bend) a Lease
The Softletter Occupancy Cost Survey
On Trimming the SKU Count
Telecom Cost-Savings Tips
The Art of Small-Scale Manufacturing
Shopping Cart Abandon Rates
Why Web Stores Lose Money
Why Upgrade Campaigns Bog Down
On Two-Dimensional Pricing
The Psychology of Pricing
The Rebate Recoil
Pricing Strategies for Software Bundles
How to Price Support Contracts
A Service Pricing Checklist
How to Structure a Usage-Based Pricing Option
On Keeping Discounts Under Control
Eight Ways to Raise Prices
Five Pricing Pitfalls
Channel Optimization: Are You Giving the Channel Too Much? Part I of II
Channel Optimization: Are You Giving the Channel Too Much? Part II of II
Keep Microsoft’s Pricing Changes in Perspective
How to Account for Services Revenues
Summary Results from the Softletter, Pricing, Discounting, and Billing Services Survey for SaaS Companies,  Part I of II
Summary Results from the Softletter, Pricing, Discounting, and Billing Services Survey, Part II of II
SaaS Pricing Models, Part I of II
SaaS Pricing Models, Part II of II
Summary Results from the Softletter SaaS Escrow Surveys
New Rules on the Road to Revenue Recognition
The Hidden Cost of Capital
What’s Your Financial IQ?
The Moving Target of Software Sales Tax, Part I of II
The Moving Target of Software Sales Taxes, Part II of II
Cardfile: Software Sales Tax Resources

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