What Are Integrations and Why Are They Important?

Published on
July 18, 2024
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An integration is something that connects multiple software platforms together.

Imagine this, you use HubSpot as your CRM but you use a software like Nowcerts as your AMS System (insurance agency specific software.) You may be creating deals in your CRM which ultimately represent a new insurance policy being created. Now you may want to make sure that your deals are synced over to your AMS system as policies. You can use HubSpot’s API and Nowcerts API to make sure that your deals in HubSpot sync to Nowcerts.  APIs play a crucial role in keeping everything interconnected and functioning smoothly.

“In 2017, growth platform HubSpot carried out research revealing that 17% of salespeople cite lack of integration with other tools as the biggest challenge using their existing CRM.”

From increasing sales productivity, to enhancing your customer's journey integrations are fundamental to helping your business grow in todays day and age.

If you aren’t tech-savvy and you’re still confused on what integrations mean and what integrations mean for your business, don’t fret. This article covers all the details, and by the end you’ll know what are integrations, how they can help optimize your business, and how to design and implement them.

What are integrations?

Integrations connect one software to another third-party applications so they can share data between each other. Sharing data between two software applications can allow you to optimize the features each software has.

Integrations are built using APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), which act as intermediaries that allow different software systems to communicate with each other. By using APIs, developers can enable data exchange between platforms, ensuring seamless functionality and enhanced capabilities across integrated applications.

APIs consist of methods for creating and manipulating data. These methods are:

  • POST request
  • PUT request
  • PATCH request
  • GET request
  • DELETE request

An example of how you may use these methods in an integration:

  1. You can use a GET request from HubSpots Contacts API to get a list of contacts
  2. You can use a POST request from Sendgrids API to send the contact an email
What is an API? A Beginner's Guide to APIs | Postman

By building integrations on APIs, according to HubSpot, you can connect your integrations to your software and use them in tandem with one another.

“Integrations connect your software to third-party applications so they can share information with each other. They share data from one system to the next to provide you with more features and options while using your software.” HubSpot

If you have HubSpot, integrations can be found in the App Marketplace where you can browse through a variety of integration categories ranging from advertising and lead generation to content and email management. Within your HubSpot portal, you can search and learn about the different applications and how they address various business needs.

Custom vs. Out-of-the box Integrations

Custom integrations are bespoke solutions tailored specifically to meet the unique needs of a business. If you can’t find a pre-built integration for the softwares you’re looking to integrate, you will have to build out a custom integration. The first thing to check when looking to build a custom integration is to see if each platform has an API or connection layer.

Out-of-the-box integrations are already built and are designed to work seamlessly with your existing software. They are user-friendly, easy to install, and can be deployed almost instantly without any need for custom configuration. Out-of-the-box or native integrations typically fulfill standard business needs and are a quicker and simpler option compared to custom integrations. You can find

If your business has more complex requirements, a tailor-made solution might be a better fit. We build custom integrations and extensions directly on the HubSpot platform, read more about some of our past integrations and extensions here.

Why are integrations important?

As your business grows you may need new softwares. Maybe its an accounting software like Quickbooks, or a document signing tool like PandaDoc. Integrations allow you to optimize and enhance your operations and give you more features and added functionality across your technology stack.

Using connections to third-party apps, integrations enhance your current system's functionality. They provide features that let you automate and complete various tasks, improving your business functions overall.

In todays day and age,  an era of digital transformation, data, and near-endless technology solutions, integrations are a way of streamlining your systems and centralising the data your business needs to make informed, calculated decisions.

“As you get a 360-degree view of all customer interactions, you can then easily follow their journey throughout the flywheel.”

There is a reason we’re talking in terms of the whole business here. Integrations don’t simply meet the needs of one team or department, they serve multiple functions and can be valuable across many categories, from customer success and analytics to internal communication, content management, HR, and many more.

How can integrations transform business operations?

Whether you’re a startup, mid-size business, or a large corporation, integrations can serve many purposes for businesses of all sizes. Depending on the type you choose, integrations can address customer needs quickly and efficiently, allowing you to access all of the information for each contact in your database.

With a clear view of each client’s activity, integrations enrich data to add value to interactions across each stage of the flywheel, whether it’s marketing to strangers, building relationships with prospects or delighting customers to turn them into advocates.

“Integrations facilitate data sharing and follow your client’s path from first time visitor to lifetime customer.”

Having your technology talk to each other not only improves data visibility and accessibility, but integrations can also complement the way your teams operate with each other to save time and allow for the business to run smoothly.

Connectivity and communication are key. If you aren’t sure whether your company has visibility over all of its customer data, ask yourself what data you do have on your customers and where it is. This can give you insight into how well integrated your tools are with one another and where communication needs to improve.

Integrations can also automate tasks that might otherwise be manual. For example, copying data to multiple platforms with spreadsheets. This reduces human error as well as any delays, enabling you to connect the dots across your tools to track, monitor, and manage data end-to-end.

Building an integration with HubSpots API

Building an integration using HubSpot's API involves several key steps to ensure a seamless connection between your software and HubSpot's platform. First, you need to familiarize yourself with HubSpot's API documentation, which provides comprehensive guidelines and examples. This documentation will help you understand the endpoints, authentication methods, and data structures required to interact with HubSpot's services.

Once you have a good grasp of the API, the next step is to set up authentication. HubSpot uses OAuth 2.0 for secure access to its API. You will need to register your application with HubSpot to obtain client credentials, including a client ID and client secret. These credentials are used to request an access token, which allows your application to make authorized API calls. After obtaining the access token, you can start making API requests to retrieve or send data, such as creating contacts, updating deals, or fetching analytics. Throughout the process, it's essential to handle errors gracefully and ensure your integration is secure and efficient.

How do you design a software integration strategy?

Designing a software integration strategy involves the following:

  1. Define your business needs and objectives: Start by identifying the key systems and applications currently in use and pinpointing the specific areas where integration can add value. This involves mapping out the workflows and processes that can be streamlined through integration, such as data sharing between CRM and marketing automation tools, or syncing customer interactions across support and sales platforms.
  2. Align your use case: As covered in the previous question, there are multiple types of software integration. You should pick out the approach(es) that makes the most sense based on your business needs.
  3. Prioritize your non-functional requirements: Identify your integrations’ non-functional requirements in a variety of areas, such as availability, scalability, governance, and security.
  4. Decide on delivery model, governance and skills: Your answer to this question should largely be driven by the goals you’ve set in step one. For example, if you’re prioritizing efficiency and cost savings, you can have IT or a solution integrator (SI) implement and maintain the integrations. However, if your goal is to transform your processes, you’ll likely need lines of business to get involved.
  5. Invest in the integration solution that does the best job of addressing your answers in previous steps: For instance, if your goal for implementing software integrations is innovation and, as a result, you’d like lines of business to get involved, you should look for an integration solution that offers a low-code/no-code UX.

Finding the right integrations with HubSpot

HubSpot knows the importance of connecting your technology and having them talk to one another. In fact one of their biggest competitive advantages is that HubSpot has an all-in-one platform that has all of your tools integrated in one place, it also has a growing ecosystem of integrations and apps you can connect to it. HubSpot is continually expanding the already expansive list of apps and web services it integrates with, providing its valued customers with as seamless an experience as possible.

With currently over 300 integrations at your disposal ranging from lead routing and social media to advertising and webinar creation, the possibilities are endless when it comes to streamlining your business processes and transforming your day-to-day operations.

Software integration examples

  1. Sync HubSpot deals to your Microsoft Access database
  2. Use Zapier to create contacts when a new Monday CRM row is created
  3. Routera API to assign your HubSpot Records

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