A simple software integration guide for startups

A simple software integration guide for startups

Opinions expressed by Business owner contributors are their own.

Your product is your company’s main selling point, but it doesn’t have to be the only feature. In fact, when companies open their products to integrations with third-party software, they unlock a whole world of possibilities. In the years since the release of our flagship product, the Intelligent Video Doorbell, the ButterflyMX team and I have made a focused effort to expand our reach by integrating our software with third-party products.

For example, just this year, we partnered with RemoteLock so that our unified access control solutions now connect to more than 80 smart locks to seamlessly provide building and unit access from our mobile app. This has greatly expanded the capabilities of our products without the time, energy and financial investment required to launch an entirely new product, which has helped grow our business dramatically.

If you’re at the helm of a startup looking to expand your product’s reach, consider integrating with other software.

Related: Challenges companies face in software integration

What are the benefits of integrating the product with other software?

No matter what product or service you offer, by integrating with other software, you combine various platforms into one unified software architecture. And by creating a large integrated system, you increase functionality and convenience for consumers.

Additionally, product integration with other software expands product capabilities without the need to develop new products. Software integrations allow you to advance and expand your product faster because you exponentially increase its capabilities. Software integrations also offer an easy way to foster professional relationships with other companies in the industry.

Why are partnerships important?

When you’re building a business from scratch, you need to develop partnerships. Across industries, leading companies boast multiple integrations. In fact, the average software-as-a-service (SaaS) company has 15 integrations. However, some SaaS companies boast over 500 integrations. By partnering with another company in your industry, you become part of their growth. So when their product is successful, so is yours and vice versa.

One of the biggest benefits of creating integration partners is boosting your company’s growth by expanding your user base. Not only are you offering your customers a new tool or feature, leading to increased customer retention, but you’re also opening up your business to a whole new customer base. With a partnership in place, you can expand your customer base and add new users with ease.

Overall, developing deep business partnerships and software integrations will grow your business in the short and long term. In fact, you can think of new integrations as a new sales channel. You are adding your products and services to a whole new market.

Because your software integrations should be with companies in your industry or related, you’ll be selling to new customers with a similar customer profile. This means that your product will inherently meet their needs.

How to approach partnerships as a startup

So, you’ve decided it’s time to grow your business by enabling third-party software integrations. But how do you find good partners? First, you need to look for companies whose customers match your KPI or ideal customer profile. An ideal customer profile is a detailed description of your company’s ideal customer. The ICP is used to regulate marketing and lead generation tactics.

By working with companies whose KPI matches yours, you increase the likelihood that their customers will find value in your product and vice versa. But remember, software integration is not a completely smooth process. The more integrations you enable, the more maintenance you will perform. Also, when changes are needed, you need to get approval from both companies’ teams instead of just your own.

So, make sure you have an in-house team that can spend their time mostly building the integration from scratch and its post-launch maintenance to address and fix issues.

Related: How to use strategic partnerships for more explosive growth

How to integrate your product with other services

While software integration presents a unique and valuable opportunity for your business, partnerships are not guaranteed to succeed without hard work. In addition to high-quality and relevant software integration, a solid strategic framework is required.

Make sure you put your customers’ needs above all else. When creating your software integrations, consider what products your customers already use, what kinds of systems they might want to integrate with, and how a specific integration can improve their experience with your product.

Also, ensure your integration has longevity by building a strong foundation for your partnership. Integrations are not a quick trick to multiply your customer base. Instead, you should build integrations with long-term business goals in mind. Then, with each new iteration of your integration, consider customer feedback to improve the integration and your product overall.

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