The Future Of Integrations With Ryan Lunka
Accelerating Sales to Scale your Business
More and more SaaS and cloud products are hitting the market. And when the average business owner generally uses at least eight pieces of software every single day, integrations become a priority. Today, Ryan Lunka, CEO of Blended Edge, shares the future of integrations.
In this episode, you will learn what partner integration best practices are, the lessons Ryan learned selling SaaS products to big enterprises and what’s the best option between an in-house or a third-party integrations team.
03:40 – What are the challenges a SaaS company typically faces? The most universal one is everybody has a backlog of integration requests.
04:57 – How to decide the order of priority with integrations? According to the ecosystem strategy.
07:03 – Integrations best practices. Learn and embrace from a developer perspective.
12:23 – Pricing integration projects. It’s a balancing act.
15:38 – Tips to get help directly from the product team. Build productive relationships.
17:41 – Ryan shares the lessons he learned from selling SaaS products. Be honest.
21:43 – Where are integrations going? Customers are thinking cross product.
28:12 – The Sales Deep Dive. Ryan’s sales habits.
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How to decide the order of priority with integrations?
Ryan explains this escenario by using one typical situation among his customers. When they’re helping a software company to figure out how to deal with their backlog, they categorise the different integration opportunities according to how important they are for the ecosystem strategy. So you’re going to have all of them in different group as follow:
- Ecosystem imperative: These are the ones you need no matter what, because if you go to market and you don’t have them, you’re at a disadvantage. I’m talking about something like a Salesforce integration, a Shopify integration or a NetSuite integration.
- Ecosystem Imperative: These are the ones that aren’t necessarily required, but you probably want to have, especially if you’re scaling. If you don’t have these, at the very least you need to have a really good answer for how you’re going to provide for your customers.
- Others: These are the ones that are not worth investing in yourself as a product company, but you still want to be able to say yes to your customers. You give your team the tools or the ability to provide those integrations on your behalf.
Integrations best practices
1. If you’re a reseller or you’re implementing software on somebody else’s behalf and integration is part of that, Ryan strongly suggests seeking, learning and embracing whatever they have provided you from a developer experience perspective or from a partner experience. The API is the first part of that, but there’s also the documentation, SDKs and sandbox environments that come around it. You should provide a full-stack developer experience for your team to do that effectively. And that probably will reduce a lot of friction.
2. Don’t think about integration like a reactive one‑off thing because you’re gonna have a million of these one‑offs. From the beginning, build a methodology for how you deliver integration projects. Integration projects have a tendency to really spin out of control when they’re not managed well. A regimented process that you execute every single time, with some flexibility points, has a higher percentage chance of success.
These are the lessons Ryan learned from selling SaaS products
Large enterprises have long and complicated sales cycles. So Ryan would play the role of the solution engineer a lot in the sales process. And when he was selling alongside Adobe, for instance, there’d be an Adobe account rep who had the primary ownership of the relationship, but they would bring somebody like his company in pretty early because they knew their professional services team was not going to implement the integration. So they worked alongside them to co-sell their services with their product.
As best practices go, Ryan suggests being honest and able to articulate why things are hard and or why they don’t work the way it’s expected to non‑technical stakeholders. When you’re selling in an enterprise, you might be in a room with 20 different people across the organization that have different versions of technical or non‑technical involvement. So it’s all about being able to communicate all those things clearly helps to build consensus and make sure you’re successful.
The Sales Deep Dive
What are the sales habits that help you accelerate your sales?
The most effective sales tool for us is building really strong relationships. We don’t have a very transactional sales process. We have a lot of long cycles and we have to build a lot of trust before somebody will allow us to come in and take over a fundamental part of what they do. So constantly meeting new people and building a relationship, even if we never work together or even if we don’t work together for three more years. Building momentum around there is probably the best thing that we do to try to build sales.
What are some of the tech tools you use to accelerate your sales?
Building on that is anything that helps facilitate that relationship. So we do use HubSpot to do a lot of inbound content generation and try to follow up on that. And then, we’re heavy users of LinkedIn, heavy users of Slack because a lot of communities are in Slack channels. So really anything that facilitates at scale, that one‑to‑one connection with the types of people we want to be working with.
What’s the best source of leads for your business?
I’d say we’re about half inbound, and LinkedIn probably plays a part in that, and half relationship-based lead generation where we’re out in the community trying to provide value. And that builds into a relationship that becomes a commercial partnership.
What is one action that someone can take to 10 X their sales today?
I would say you have a real opportunity to separate yourself from the pack by very confidently and very repeatedly delivering the integration portions of your projects well, and being able to bring a methodology to your customers to say, here’s how we’re going to make sure this part of the project that you don’t want to do is going to be successful.
About Ryan Lunka
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