As organizations look to distinguish their product in a crowded market, they’ve a wide range of levers to tug from.
They will, amongst different issues, construct distinctive AI-powered options, design a visually intuitive interface, ship personalised person experiences, and supply integrations with the purposes their shoppers and prospects use (i.e., supply related product integrations).
We’ll clarify why our final choice — providing product integrations — is especially impactful by breaking down the use circumstances these integrations can assist and by explicitly highlighting the advantages that include offering them.
And, assuming you determine to spend money on product integrations, we’ll cowl all of your choices for constructing and managing them.
However first, let’s outline what product integrations are.
What are product integrations?
They’re integrations which might be constructed between your product and the third-party purposes your shoppers or prospects use. These integrations are usually constructed by way of utility programming interfaces (APIs) to make sure that knowledge syncs rapidly and reliably.
To assist convey our definition of product integrations to life, let’s cowl a number of examples.
1. Enable shoppers so as to add heat results in your product robotically
Say you supply a CRM and need to assist your shoppers reply to leads quicker via your platform.
In any case, analysis reveals that the quicker a company responds to a lead, the extra doubtless the group is to qualify and convert them. As an example, if an organization’s response time drops from 5 minutes to 10, your probabilities of qualifying them lower by a whopping 400%.
To assist shoppers reduce their response time, you may combine your CRM with shoppers’ advertising automation platforms.
By means of the integrations, shoppers can construct a circulate the place as soon as a lead reaches a sure rating of their advertising automation platform, the lead is robotically added to your product, together with particular, predetermined fields —such because the lead’s first and final names, job title, employer, the content material they’ve downloaded out of your firm, and many others. — after which assigned to the suitable rep.
2. Assist shoppers create tickets as soon as your product identifies a difficulty
Let’s think about that you simply supply a safety resolution that may determine vulnerabilities in a shopper’s codebase.
To assist your shoppers uncover and act on any of the problems your product finds over time, you may combine your resolution with shoppers’ ticketing purposes and construct a sync the place, as soon as a difficulty is recognized, a ticket is robotically created.
Sure fields can be included as a part of the sync, comparable to an outline of the problem in order that your shoppers’ safety and engineering groups have the entire context they should resolve the problem.
3. Allow shoppers to ship the fitting presents to their staff
For our final instance, let’s assume you supply a gift-delivery resolution that HR groups can use for workers.
To make sure your shoppers’ HR groups ship the fitting presents to the fitting staff throughout varied milestone occasions — birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, and many others. — you may join your resolution with shoppers’ human sources data methods (HRISs) and sync staff together with related fields that may assist your product detect key milestone occasions.
As soon as your product detects a milestone occasion, it could possibly robotically set off the gift-delivery course of on the HR staff’s behalf.
Advantages of product integrations
Earlier than deciding the way you construct product integrations and the use circumstances you need to assist, you’ll want to find out in the event that they’re value implementing within the first place.
We’ll cowl some advantages of product integrations that may finally persuade you to spend money on them.
Will increase gross sales
As shoppers consider your product towards your opponents’, they’re doubtless making comparisons alongside a wide range of dimensions, comparable to pricing, assist, and platform options. Integrations are additionally prone to fall into this listing.
In different phrases, for those who can supply the next quantity of related integrations and/or deeper integrations that higher meet your shoppers’ wants, you’ll — all else equal — be higher positioned to win extra aggressive offers.
Improves buyer retention
As our examples above confirmed, product integrations may help shoppers use your product extra simply and successfully. This not solely interprets to improved experiences that make prospects happier, however it additionally makes them extra prone to renew and even spend extra with you.
Permits market enlargement
The shoppers you serve in numerous markets, whether or not that’s outlined by area, measurement, and/or trade, doubtless use a singular set of purposes. As an example, a small or medium-sized enterprise could also be extra doubtless to make use of accounting software program like Quickbooks, whereas a bigger firm could also be extra doubtless to make use of NetSuite.
You’ll be able to, subsequently, enchantment to prospects in goal markets that you simply’re seeking to acquire a foothold in additional simply by providing integrations with the particular purposes they’re utilizing.
Enhances your advertising efforts
The third-party suppliers you supply integrations with could also be keen to have interaction in co-marketing actions that increase consciousness of their integration.
As an example, they could be keen to make their very own social posts or articles concerning the integration and even take part in webinars together with your staff round the advantages of integrating your product with their resolution.
All of those actions may help you attain a bigger viewers, construct credibility to your product, and, after all, get extra shoppers to undertake your integrations.
The right way to implement product integrations
There are, typically talking, three approaches to constructing product integrations.
Native integrations are merely any integrations that your engineers construct, handle, and preserve themselves.
Let’s check out native integrations’ strengths and weaknesses.
The cons of native integrations
1. They’re extraordinarily advanced and resource-intensive to construct, not to mention preserve.
Yourgroup will doubtless need to have a number of engineers, if not a complete staff of engineers, fully-dedicated to constructing, sustaining, and managing the integrations.
This, in flip, can forestall lots of your most gifted engineers from focusing in your core product, which carries long-term dangers for your enterprise.
2. Your group is susceptible when the engineers who work on an integration depart.
Integrations aren’t a“set-it-and-forget-it kind of mission. They typically break and should be improved over time.
If the engineers who know how one can full this work for a given integration depart your organization, the remaining engineers could also be poorly positioned to take over and full these duties, jeopardizing the longer term well being of the mixing.
3. You’ll doubtless battle to maintain tempo with demand.
Your shoppers and prospects will doubtless ask for various integrations. In lots of circumstances, we’ve seen a wide range of firms, from startupsto enterprise organizations, feeling pressured to construct out dozens of integrations throughout software program classes.
Since native integrations pressure you to construct one integration at a time, and every integration construct comes with distinctive challenges, your engineers will doubtless battle to maintain tempo with demand and construct up an integration backlog, which finally frustrates your shoppers, prospects, and your go-to-market staff.
The professionals of native integrations
1. They will work successfully when shoppers and prospects request just some integrations.
Native integrations are additionally efficient when the mixing necessities are comparatively shallow in scope.
Assuming you even have the mandatory engineering sources in-house, it could possibly make sense to construct the integrations natively.
2. You don’t need to rely upon the third-party integration resolution’s security measures and capabilities.
Your product integrations will naturally deal with delicate knowledge, comparable to personally identifiable data (PII) in your shoppers’ staff.
Some integration distributors might not do sufficient to guard delicate knowledge, main your shoppers to doubtlessly violate knowledge privateness legal guidelines and rules.
3. Provides your staff management over integration efficiency.
An integration vendor’s platform might change in ways in which hurt your integrations.
As an example, they could determine to cease providing a sure integration you’ve been utilizing, or they could determine to deprecate particular integration administration performance your staff relies on to detect errors. Native integrations permit you to keep away from these dangers fully.
Embedded integration platform as a service (embedded iPaaS) is an integration resolution that enables shoppers to embed the seller’s platform straight into their product.
There’s additionally flexibility in how the answer is embedded. For instance, you may undertake a white-label method, the place the answer suits in aesthetically with the remainder of your product. And you may merely embed the answer with the seller’s branding.
Let’s take a better have a look at the answer’s execs and cons:
The cons of an embedded iPaaS
1. They pressure you to construct one integration at a time.
Like native integrations, this incremental method can forestall you from scaling your integrations rapidly and assembly buyer demand.
2. They require technical experience to make use of.
Regardless of branding themselves as low-code and even no-code, embedded iPaaS options are sometimes extremely technical and require weeks, if not months, of onboarding.
Furthermore, because the platform nonetheless requires customized code, your engineers will doubtless be the one staff who can use the platform.
3. Most embedded iPaaS options fail to offer satisfactory integration administration capabilities.
They could, for instance, inform you that there’s a difficulty, however they don’t present the context you must diagnose and deal with it, forcing your engineers to carry out this work themselves.
The professionals of an embedded iPaaS
1. They typically present enterprise-grade security measures.
A number of distributors within the house are GDPR-compliant, have handed the SOC 2 Kind 2 Audit, and have taken different measures to maintain your shoppers’ knowledge secure.
2. A number of distributors are well-established within the integration house.
You’ll doubtless come throughout embedded iPaaS suppliers which have been out there for greater than 10 years and work with well-known manufacturers throughout industries.
This could provide you with confidence that they gained’t exit of enterprise within the close to future.
Except for our instance talked about earlier, you may also select who’s capable of construct and modify integrations.
Specifically, you may determine whether or not the accountability ought to solely be reserved to your staff or in case your shoppers can construct and alter integrations as nicely. This stage of flexibility may help you convey integrations to market in the way in which your staff needs.
A unified API is a single, aggregated API that allows you to supply a whole bunch of integrations throughout software program classes (e.g., HRIS).
Listed here are among the execs and cons of a unified API resolution:
The cons of unified API
1. Some platforms solely cowl one or two classes.
Because you doubtless have to construct integrations throughout a number of classes over time, this limitation could possibly be a deal breaker to your staff.
2. A couple of distributors supply guide integrations.
It’s possible you’ll come throughout a “180 integration” and assume the seller is referring to a bidirectional sync. They may really be referring to an method to integration that entails a 3rd get together manually utilizing your shoppers’ login credentials to entry purposes and retrieve knowledge.
This method presents a major safety legal responsibility to your shoppers, and it results in poor integration efficiency, as sync frequencies are naturally delayed.
3. A number of unified API suppliers have gone out of enterprise.
We’ve seen a number of distributors stop operations, leaving their shoppers within the unlucky state of affairs of getting to cease providing integrations. This, in flip, naturally hurts their shoppers’ means to promote their merchandise and retain their very own shoppers.
The professionals of unified API
1. Unified API lets you supply all of the integrations you care about via a single integration construct.
This makes a unified API way more scalable than the opposite choices.
2. They will present the mixing administration options you must ship dependable and performant integrations.
As well as, these options may be accessible to your buyer success managers, permitting them — and never your engineers — to handle shoppers’ integrations efficiently.
3. Like embedded iPaaS, many unified API options supply sturdy safety capabilities and controls.
That is mirrored in the truth that many distributors adjust to GDPR, have HIPAA certifications, and many others.
The most effective method to constructing product integrations at your group finally relies on your integration wants.
If you must construct comparatively few integrations over time and you’ve got ample engineering sources to assist these builds (and the upkeep that follows), native integrations or an embedded iPaaS may suffice. If, nonetheless, you need to scale your integration choices rapidly, a unified API resolution is probably going your greatest guess.
You’ll additionally want to take a look at particular person options with an in depth eye, whether or not that’s sitting via complete product demos, enterprise a proof of idea, making an attempt a free model of the product, and many others.
Any vendor can say what you need to hear, however it’s not till you see and use the answer your self you could uncover whether or not it meets your integration necessities.