6 Effective Strategies for Crafting Robust Partner Integrations

From DIY to specialized teams, these methods guide you in executing your integration roadmap effectively.

6 Effective Strategies for Crafting Robust Partner Integrations
Do not index
Do not index
Robust partner integrations—where two SaaS products connect to deliver a smoother, more functional user experience—can be a solid bet for increasing customer willingness to pay and customer retention. A Profitwell study found that just one integration can increase customer retention by 15% and willingness to pay by up to 30%. But, these projects can be complex and time-consuming. In today's article, we'll dive into strategies for working through your partner integration roadmap including
  • Building in-house
  • Unified APIs
  • iPaaS (Integration Platforms as a Service)
  • Open Source Integrations
  • Integration Partnership Programs
  • Hiring a fractional team

Building In-House

Screenshot from Merge.dev interview on partner engineering source: https://www.merge.dev/blog/5-questions-with-a-partner-engineer-meet-kevin
Screenshot from Merge.dev interview on partner engineering source: https://www.merge.dev/blog/5-questions-with-a-partner-engineer-meet-kevin
Some SaaS companies initiate their integration efforts with existing engineering resources, working part-time on these projects. As demand for integrations grows, these companies often allocate a specialized team solely focused on this crucial area.
  • Why Choose This Approach: Opt for this method when integrations are central to your product’s value proposition and you seek full control over the user experience.
  • Pros: Complete control over user experience, potential to develop a specialized team, and the ability to cultivate deep, in-house expertise in integration development.
  • Cons: Consumes significant resources, necessitates specialized internal expertise and may divert attention away from the core product.

Unified APIs

Source: Coda homepage https://www.codat.io/
Source: Coda homepage https://www.codat.io/
Unified APIs serve as a universal translator, allowing developers to connect with multiple apps and services through a single interface and integration.
  • Why choose this approach: Ideal for rapid deployment of multiple data integrations, benefiting from a standardized data schema for quick read/write actions.
  • Pros: Simplifies API management, quick to implement, ongoing maintenance covered, access to many APIs within a category
  • Cons: Limited support for deep integrations, limited control over user experience, vendor dependency

iPaaS (Integration Platforms as a Service)

Screenshot from Rollout homepage source: https://rollout.com/
Screenshot from Rollout homepage source: https://rollout.com/
An Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) s a cloud-based toolkit that links various software applications. Embedded iPaaS goes a step further by integrating directly into your software, cutting out extra logins and unlocking thousands of new use cases.
  • Why choose this approach: Ideal for organizations looking for a fast, plug-and-play solution that doesn't require specialized engineering expertise. Embedded iPaaS is especially useful for turning your product into a workflow automation hub.
  • Pros: Quick to set up, extensive pre-built connectors, no need for specialized engineering resources, Embedded iPaaS provides seamless user experience.
  • Cons: Limited customization options your users will have to learn how the embedded IPaaS solution works, potential for vendor lock-in, and sometimes less control over data flow, UI, and architecture.

Open Source Integrations

Screenshot from Cal’s bounty program: https://cal.com/jobs
Screenshot from Cal’s bounty program: https://cal.com/jobs
Some SaaS companies choose open-source integrations, typically as part of a broader open-source development strategy, allowing their community to contribute by building and maintaining these integrations.
  • Why choose this approach: Ideal for SaaS companies that have a strong developer community and want to leverage that for cost-effective and rapid development of integrations.
  • Pros: Community-driven, cost-effective, the potential for diverse and innovative solutions.
  • Cons: Limited control over quality and timelines, responsiveness to user needs might be slower, the possibility of varying quality.

Integration Partnership Programs

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Creating and managing a partnership program allows you to grow your integration library by incentivizing other companies to build and maintain integrations.
  • Why choose this approach: Best suited for SaaS companies with a well-established user base, high engagement, or unique market positioning that makes it attractive for potential partners to contribute.
  • Pros: Scalable growth, reduced development costs, increased diversity in integration offerings, and the ability to focus on core product development.
  • Cons: Lower control over the quality and scope of third-party integrations, possibility of brand dilution if partners don't align with your quality or mission, more management required for partner relationships.

Hiring a fractional team

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If you're not sure how to handle integrations, a specialized team can help. They can guide you through all the options we've discussed. For instance, Lunch Pail Labs can build integrations, navigate partnerships, and eventually help your team to take over.
  • Why choose this approach: Great for companies that need expert help fast and don't want to add full-time staff.
  • Pros: You get specialized help, customized plans, and the ability to change as your business grows.
  • Cons: It will cost you, but a good team will set you up to manage things yourself later on.
  • Examples: Lunch Pail Labs
And there you have it! Your ideal integration approach will depend on what your SaaS company specifically needs and the resources you have. When in doubt, don't hesitate to seek expert help. Lunch Pail Labs is here to strategize and execute your integration roadmap effectively and would love to chat.

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Written by


Lola is the founder of Lunch Pail Labs. She enjoys discussing product, SaaS integrations, and running a business. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.