6 Ways Integrations Drive Business Results
Three words: extend your runway. Prioritize your roadmap. Anticipate the worst.
What’s your response to the recent market slowdown: keep with the status quo, or find new ways to grow?
One piece of the puzzle poised to impact both revenue and expenses is your integration strategy. Integrations are directly customer-facing, critical to your product experience, and require non-trivial resources to build and maintain.
So, how do companies of all sizes - from boot-strapped teams of three to global enterprises - use product integrations to ultimately increase their bottom line? The answer lies in trusting an integration platform as a service (iPaaS), such as a unified API or embedded workflow builder, to offload the cost of integrations and increase a company’s ability to add integrations quickly.
To better help you consider how integrations can benefit your business, we’ve put together a list of examples that show how integrations can help organizations succeed. Whether it's increasing revenue or lowering costs, we’ve seen a productized integration strategy lead to success in many different SaaS organizations.
Part I: How integrations drive revenue
Let’s take a step back: why even bother with integrations?
If we can make a guess, it’s customers, customers, customers. Integrations help expand your product’s reach and interoperability, as well as affect your existing users’ experience. By sitting squarely at the intersection of driving new revenue and enhancing existing business, integrations have the potential to make a huge impact on your profit.
Below are the three most powerful ways we’ve seen product integrations used as revenue drivers.
Expand your ecosystem
As enterprise software becomes increasingly decentralized, integrations are critical to becoming a strong player in any vertical. In January, HubSpot’s App Ecosystem blew past 1,000 integrations. As HubSpot’s VP of platform-ecosystem, Scott Brinker, said in an interview, "by building out the vast network of apps in our ecosystem, we're able to both increase the value of our platform for existing customers and offer more support for new partners." Of course, growing to 1,000 integrations took HubSpot years to build: how can you shorten that timeline?
Using an iPaaS is one solution. These products can provide access to an entire ecosystem of app integrations through a single API or workflow builder. Plaid is one example, where companies can boast of 10,000+ integrations by accessing a single API.
SEE IT IN ACTION: Miles Hobby, the co-founder of Agora, found value in a Unified API like Merge to add HR integrations to his platform: "Rather than spending the time and money to build and support 25+ HRIS integrations, we seamlessly connect to a single API that handles everything for us."
With a Unified API, a company of only a few dozen can feature an integration offering mirroring that of a fully-fledged enterprise. Read more here.
A peek inside Agora’s integration offerings
Let Sales Say Yes
Lurking under any salesperson’s bed is a monster named “integration roadmap.”
Your sales reps are your product’s greatest advocates, but an unfocused or ad-hoc integrations strategy can negatively impact their ability to perform. A lack of integrations, integrations competing with your product roadmap, and frustrating bugs (from… integrations) all promote a soured sales cycle and ultimately hurt your ARR.
Consider instead that your product’s greatest champions shouldn’t be blocked by integrations — integrations should propel your sales team forward. How many deals would you be able to unlock if your team could reliably offer integrations to prospects?
Using a productized integrations solution allows you to both advertise integrations confidently and know that you have the capability to build them out. Arming your sales team with the confidence that integrations can be built in weeks - not quarters - does more than boost their confidence: it boosts revenue.
Integrations are only going to become more and more table-stakes for prospects looking to buy your product, and iPaaS can help them anticipate their product needs.
SEE IT IN ACTION: Jonathan Fields, the co-founder of Assembly, experienced blocked deals in the six figures because of his team’s inability to offer critical integrations. After switching to a Unified API like Merge, he found those deals and more unblocked. In his own words - “We launched Merge, and it paid back in two weeks.” If you’re curious about Assembly’s experience unlocking 10x in sales with a Unified API, read on here.
Your product’s quality should be determined by the work you put into designing and engineering it: not an API key expiring. And yet, the customer experience for integrations usually has a tangible impact on your customer’s satisfaction with your product, their churn rates, and your Net Promoter Score.
So: consider how to stop the manual uploads and frustrating API key re-entry. If your customers’ experience in linking their integration is not just smooth, but stable (see: data reliably syncing), your product’s stickiness has probably propelled you past your competitions’.
By considering the authentication and UX process behind your customer-integration experience, you can allow integrations to become as white-glove as the rest of your product.
SEE IT IN ACTION: Ning Wei, the co-founder of HireBeat, finds value in having a consistent UX and design behind how his customers’ are able to authenticate their integrations. A UX on a platform such as Merge is “consistent, clean, intuitive, and helps to create a very smooth user experience.”
More on HireBeat’s experience using Merge’s end-user onboarding can be found here.
Part II: Lower costs with better integrations
We really mean it.
While integrations are often a parasitic task on any product roadmap - draining resources at the cost of some promised expanded sellable market - partnering with an integration platform can have a number of cost-saving benefits to your organization.
Instead of seeing your integrations strategy as another potential expenditure, here are three ways a productized integrations strategy can save costs across your organization.
Decrease Time to Market
What’s helped your team build quickly before?
Clear documentation, lack of context switching, and the ability to rely on pre-built, flexible tools all come to mind.
Product integrations excel in guaranteeing your team these same factors. A Unified API, for example, standardizes third-party-API-specific-quirks, such as a platform’s auth, pagination, and data formats. This means your team only needs to invent what matters to your core product: not reinvent the wheel.
SEE IT IN ACTION: Molly Liu, a PM at Ramp, was able to add 24 integrations to her new product in 4 weeks - not the 8 months that had been expected. For Molly and her team of 5, the dependability of a Unified API played a key role in this rollout: “easy access to enabling integrations allowed us to collect feedback early on and figure out how we want to move forward.”
Read more about Ramp’s experience accelerating their product roadmap by 28 weeks here.
Save on engineering and maintenance
It’s costly to spend engineering hours on integrations.
Timelines run long and risk extending further due to the pressures of navigating poorly maintained docs, whack-a-mole debugging, and sorting out issues like auth and pagination. Most devs don’t love the work associated with building and maintaining integrations; we can bet you’d probably love to have your best engineers working on your product - not data model standardization.
Having an integration strategy that’s dependable, easy to implement, and developer-friendly can have a massive impact on freeing up your engineer resources and saving your dev team time. iPaaS platforms like a Unified API provide you with an API that is already pre-standardized, and feature documentation that is easy to read and search through to help your team build and maintain your integration offering as quickly as possible.
SEE IT IN ACTION: Dan Marashlian, the CTO of Drata, found clarity and sense in the tooling in a Unified API. “Working with… [a] Unified API and [its] beautiful React component took less than a sprint to integrate, test, and release — a level of speed and performance that matches what any high-performing startup would require.” If you’re curious about reading more on how Drata supports thousands’ of customers' HR integration needs with a Unified API, read on here.
Save on partnerships
Navigating the partnership landscape is a challenge for any company looking to offer a wide array of integrations.
As much as you may want to write them off, partnerships are a key factor in your integration roadmap’s success. Whether it’s gaining partner credentials or sandbox access, a well-maintained partnership is sometimes the only way to build reliable integrations.
Luckily, many iPaaS platforms provide partnership access and service to their users. As a provider, Unified APIs often maintain, pay for, and manage partnerships with major providers like UKG and Workday themselves. You still benefit from partner-quality integrations and resources like sandboxes and OAuth authentication - just without the extra hassle.
SEE IT IN ACTION
Scholars knew that partnerships were critical for their integration strategy, but didn’t have the resources to invest in their ATS. Using Merge allows them to offer 30+ integrations without having to worry about gaining partner credentials or paying partnership fees. Read more about Scholars' use case here.
As you look for ways to cut costs and drive revenue, consider how your integration strategy can act as a key driver for your business.
Far from a few years ago, when integrations were managed in-house and ad-hoc, companies today are using integrations to drive their revenue and lower their overall costs.
That success comes from trusting an integration strategy to iPaaS providers, such as embedded workflow automation platforms or Unified APIs like Merge.
These platforms are an investment. They mean a new architecture, a new framework to work in, and a new experience for your customers and team. But, think about what you’ve been doing up until now: has it really been that much more effective?
Your integrations strategy has the potential to drive revenue and lift your entire business up. The risk comes from the approach you take.
If you’re curious about learning more about the differences between third-party integration strategies, we’ve written an article on the difference between embedded workflows, like Zapier, and Unified APIs like Merge.
If you want to test out Merge’s Unified API, walk through our Onboarding Flow in our docs, or sign up for free to gain access to your API keys. And if you want to know how Merge can help your business’ use case, sign up for a conversation with one of our experts.