It’s Fine to Outsource a Key Integration First. Get It Done.

This post from Gorgias the other day, after it’s $700m valuation Series C, reminded me of a key mistake many founders make.  They often wait too long to build a fully native integration:

Gorgias is now the leading contact center on Shopify, with over 10,000 customers.  It naturally started on Shopify as its core platform — since Shopify is #1.  It built this integration in-house.  It had to — it was core to the product.

But it then expanded as many of us do into other leaders, from Magento to BigCommerce.  And at first, it used third parties dev shops that knew those platforms and ecosystems to build the first integrations.  Then, as you can see below, they brought the 2.0 edition in-house.  A much better, more feature-rich version, once it came in-house:

A lot of us go through this.  Back in the day, we were the first esignature natively integrated into Salesforce.  And we built it ourselves.  But then, to do our 1.0 Netsuite, Oracle, and Microsoft integrations, we found experts to build the 1.0, using our original Salesforce integration as the framework and playbook.  Were they quite as good and feature-rich as the original integration we built ourselves?  No.  But it also meant we got it done that quarter, instead of maybe … almost never.  They were still decent, pretty good 1.0 editions that let us close customers.  Including Oracle and Netsuite themselves.

My only real point on this simple post is that I’ve seen so many other SaaS leaders do this, especially when building integrations isn’t their core.  They have customers that want an integration with Saleforce, or Shopify, or QuickBooks, or Bill, or whatever.  And it’s clear that it’s worth doing, but you just don’t have the resources.  You can try to get customers to build it themselves on your API, but almost none will.

My recommendation is almost always just outsource the 1.0 integration vs. not getting it done at all.  A good plan today is often better than a better plan next year.  And most importantly, then you can learn.

Don’t stall, don’t wait, don’t lose a few key customers you could close now and lose because an integration you don’t understand well or don’t have time for just isn’t built yet.  This is 2022.  There’s someone out there that can do it for you, and has done it for 10-100 other vendors.  And quickly, and probably much cheaper all-in than you could do it yourself.

Get it done.

More on a deep dive on the learnings here from MaestroQA at $12m ARR on the Salesforce platform here:

Published on August 25, 2022

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