Benchmarks are comparable figures of companies, which give a quick idea of their size and performance. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are often used as Benchmarks. Revenues, products sold, costumer acquisition costs, costumer lifetime value, churn-rate, all kinds of costs, and such, deliver a quick overview of size and performance of a company.
Management teams will derive strategies from those figures and investors will compare them to peer-groups or standards within the industry. Benchmarks are used in daily management and for company valuations, at all stages.