How to productize API integrations

First: consider the investment you make in building integrations. The engineering resources. The follow-up customer and sales training. Spinning up countless marketing and landing pages. 

After all that effort, how can you maximize the ROI for your product’s integrations? 

Like all things integrations, the answer is more complicated than a one-off approach.

When considering how to productize integrations, you’ll want to answer a few questions about the service your app provides and the role integrations play in it. 

Let’s get into it. 

Your integration go-to-market: free or paid service?

We don’t have a right or wrong answer to when a customer should pay for the integrations your service offers. 

We have, however, interacted with thousands of companies that offer integrations. So, here are some hints to help guide your decision-making process:

Hints they shouldn’t pay

  • Integrations are mission-critical to the delivery of product/service
  • Standardized onboarding across the majority of customers
  • Most of the use-case is pulling data and less so about pushing
  • Large numbers of smaller customers
  • Competitors already offer integrations
  • Your product is way better off with integrations than without
  • The main focus is acquiring market share
  • Integrations reduce and prevent churn

Hints they should pay

  • A larger portion of MM/Enterprise customers
  • Integrations are mainly required to help close larger deals and ease the onboarding / reduce the manual of larger organizations
  • Custom onboarding process with a CSM
  • Integrations and ease of onboarding are competitive advantages
  • Clients were previously willing to pay for integration development
  • Integrations require customization per client
  • A larger focus is increasing ACV
  • The pain of manual data entry and uptake outweighs the cost of paying for integration 

To see integrations-as-a-product in action, here are some examples of how different, top-tier providers offer integrations. 

Related: How to choose between native and 3rd-party integrations

Drata —  does not charge

Who are they: Compliance automation platform

Funding: $282.M

How they use Integrations: Employee directory and company hierarchy act as critical information for streamlining onboarding. They can’t deliver on the “automation” in compliance automation without integrations.

How they win: By staying competitive. Compliance software in this space offers many integrations. Each platform sees this as a competitive advantage to offer more integrations or the best-automated experience. Instead, Drata is making the long-term play they might command a premium price over time.

How Merge Helps: Using Merge reduces the cost of integration maintenance for Drata. There isn’t a need to pass that cost on to the customer directly because it helps them gain market share in a high-growth and competitive market.

eLoomi — charges, or includes built-in pricing quotes

Who they are: LMS Platform focused on enterprise companies

Funding: $78.7M

How they use integrations:  Previously, required manual data uploads. Otherwise, customers would have to build their integration to their RESTAPi or pay eLoomi for the dev work. Offering integrations provide a premium connection to their enterprise clients. 

How they win: Being able to abstract away the complexity of scaling integrations is a huge win. By adding on premium customer service and onboarding they set themselves apart from the pack. 

How Merge helps: Merge can provide Enterprise-level integrations, including SAP and Workday. Additionally, because eLoomi is based in the EU, Merge’s multi-tenant EU and US offerings allow them to adhere to EU regulations and serve customers across both continents.

So: pay, or no?

Ultimately, whether you offer integrations for free or charge depends on your specific situation. However, Merge can help by providing access to 170+ integrations in just a few weeks. Reach out for a demo or sign up for free to learn more.