Building a Support Strategy for Your B2B SaaS Integrations: Key Considerations for Product and Technology Partner Managers
Discover essential internal and external support strategies for B2B SaaS integrations, and key considerations for product and technology partner managers.
August 9, 2023
In today's business landscape, software as a service (SaaS) has become a popular solution for companies of all sizes. B2B SaaS providers offer a wide range of specialized tools and platforms that help businesses streamline their operations and improve their overall efficiency.
However, with the rise of SaaS solutions, the need for seamless integrations has also emerged. This is where multi-purpose SaaS integrations built with partners come into play.
B2B or Enterprise SaaS solutions (solutions designed for businesses, larger organizations, or enterprises) ideally should be scalable and customizable, providing businesses with the flexibility to adapt their software to their specific needs.
This includes offering multi-purpose, battle-tested integrations, allowing their business users to connect their solution with different SaaS tools and platforms in their tech stack to automate workflows - saving time and resources.
But building and maintaining these integrations require significant support and resources from both the SaaS providers and their partners.
In this blog post, we will explore the support needed for multi-purpose SaaS integrations built with partners, and why it is crucial for businesses to prioritize this support.
The Importance of Integration Support
One of the most overlooked elements of a successful integration roll out is the internal and external ongoing support strategy. Ideally, upon rolling out a new integration to your user base, there will be swift & widespread adoption.
As your integration is being more frequently used by a wider variety of people, there will be a new host of questions and requests that your company must be prepared to address. Let’s talk about how you can prepare for this.
Who Will be Supporting This Integration?
Your new integration is most likely connecting your SaaS product with another SaaS tool which you have partnered with.
As part of these discussions among partnership teams, you must agree upon who will be the primary support provider.
In general, the ‘integration provider’ aka the SaaS system facilitating the initial installation of the integration will provide primary support.
However, one significant exception to this best practice is if you are integrating with a significantly larger SaaS, such as Salesforce or Magento, that hosts their own established marketplace.
In this instance, you will be expected to provide support for your integration.
Another simple way to think about this is that the SaaS that leads the development of the integration will be best suited to be the primary source of support for the integration.
It is worth noting that some infrastructure tools allow the teams of both the integration owner and the partner SaaS to manage and view integration instances.
While this is not a replacement for delegating a primary owner, it can be a nice option to have.
Who Will be Managing the Support?
Now that you have determined which SaaS will be primarily responsible for supporting the integration, one must determine whom within that organization will be managing the support.
At most organizations, integration support will be handled by the customer support or customer success team; However, depending on the workload balance and structure of your organization, integration support could also roll into the product, engineering, or implementation team.
Once your organization is supporting a larger number of integrations, it may behoove you to create a specialized integration support team within your customer services department.
How Are You Supporting Your Integration?
Much of your team’s ability to support your integration moving forward depends on what tooling you are using to run and monitor your apps.
Ideally, you are using a system that can quickly and easily tell you if an integration is having a problem, what problem they are having, and which account the issue is associated with.
Some other features that allow for more efficient support include:
Custom error logging
Easy search functionality
Ability to proactively determine whether there are account specific issues, an integration wide problem, or a global outage.
Managing integrations post-development may not be a top priority for organizations, but taking a few simple steps can help you stay ahead of the game.
First, you can ensure your product team stays up-to-date with the API changelog of the SaaS you're integrating with. Look out for breaking changes, new features, or large product changes that could affect the integration.
Many SaaS companies will send developer update emails for heavy API usage. If your SaaS partner doesn't offer a developer listserv, set up a web alert or rely on the SaaS partnership team for updates.
The second important component of proactive integration support is setting up alerting and/or reporting.
Ideally, you or your integration management service will have this functionality. If not, you can integrate with your organization's APM tool to set up alerts for failed integration runs, allowing for immediate issue resolution.
Lastly, subscribing to your SaaS partner's status page can help you stay aware of any disturbances or outages that may impact the integration.
As new requests and asks come in, it is important to collect them in an organized manner for you to prioritize and groom as you would any core product feature request.
The questions you should be asking yourself during this process include, but are not limited to:
Would the majority of users using the integration benefit from this feature?
Is this feature already addressed in the core functionality of ours or our partner SaaS?
Is there an existing process for doing this?
Would the integration have to be re-reviewed if we added this feature?
Will adding this feature break the integration for existing users?
Just like with any product, you must get to the core problem your customers are trying to address rather than simply taking their feature request at face value.
Other Key Considerations for Support
Although it might seem a little silly to call out, it is incredibly important that your support team has access to your partner SaaS.
In addition to needing an account for ongoing development, your support team will often have to recreate scenarios that your customers frequently face.
Also, if your team is taking the lead on supporting this integration, it is imperative that your support team not only understands how the integration functions, but also knows how to use the partner SaaS system.
Your sales team will most likely also want to be able to demo this integration during prospecting or later deal calls.
If that is the case, you may want to consider having two accounts with your partner SaaS: one for support and development and one for sales.
This is something that you should be able to negotiate during partnership conversations.
At this point everyone interacting with this integration must be aware of how this integration functions.
Lastly, by the time you have launched your new integration, your product team (or whomever does your technical writing) has prepared technical documentation on the integration, internal support documentation, and external support documentation.
In tandem with the documentation, they should have also done a demonstration with both the customer support and sales teams on how this integration works so they can speak eloquently on the topic to both existing customers and prospects.
If this has not yet happened pre-launch, it must happen immediately following launch.
In conclusion, integrations have become a vital component of B2B SaaS companies’ product offerings. Not only do they facilitate the acquisition of new customers, but they also aid in retaining existing ones.
Therefore, it is imperative for SaaS companies to prioritize building extensive and comprehensive integrations that deliver exceptional value and cater to the customers' requirements, which are essential to their workflows.
By investing in integration support, businesses can ensure that their integrated systems work efficiently, maintain productivity, and avoid downtime.
Therefore, businesses should consider implementing systems and processes for integration support or partnering with an expert integration support team to help them achieve the best possible results from their SaaS application integrations.
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