Zapier Connector or Native Integrations: a clear winner for B2B SaaS products

by Endgrate Team 2023-07-31

Integrations are becoming an essential part of B2B SaaS companies. Nowadays, customers not only want, but expect an easy way to integrate your product with the multitude of other applications they use on a daily basis.

When it comes to building out these integrations, companies usually struggle on the correct approach. On one side, building out a Zapier connector allows users to build out the integration workflow by themselves. However, offloading integrations to an external productivity automation platform brings in a host of user experience problems. On the other hand, building out a native integrations solution results in a completely custom and seamless integration experience for your users, but often comes at extremely high engineering and maintenance costs.

In this article, we'll dive into the benefits and tradeoffs of either solution, and our suggested approach for your product integrations.

Zapier Connector

Zapier logo.

Zapier is an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) aimed at users of SaaS applications, enabling them to create basic low-code automation workflows, termed 'Zaps', between their various apps.

Zapier primarily serves end-users of B2B SaaS applications, but it also provides a platform for companies to offer their app as an endpoint by creating a Zapier connector. This process usually takes about two months and can function as a temporary solution, enabling some customers to initiate basic integrations while awaiting a native integration from your side.

While Zapier has an extensive library with several thousand connectors, the limitations in user experience, features, and potential revenue loss cannot be overlooked.

Poor user experience

Zapier logo.

Users would need to exit your app, register a Zapier account, and learn how to construct Zaps. This process can cause frustrations, mainly because of potential workflow misconfigurations, testing problems, and long-term integration maintenance. This often results in negative user experiences that could be associated with your product.

Furthermore, Zapier is designed to look forward, meaning it will only support “new” data. It doesn't support the retroactive integration of data between two apps, such as syncing or importing data from third-parties. Consequently, your app won't have any integrated data until a new record is created in a third-party app.

Lack of features

Zapier logo with lack of features text.

From a features viewpoint, Zapier integrations are constrained by the scope of each app's Zapier connectors. Despite adding more endpoints for your app, users won't be able to access all API endpoints of other connectors.

Moreover, while Zapier emphasizes field mapping, it does not support more complex integration workflows, which while more challenging, can provide significantly greater benefits.

If you choose not to create a Zapier connector for your app, you can still assist individual customers in setting up their preferred workflows through Zapier by targeting your app's API endpoints with webhooks. However, this won't enable your app to activate any workflows.

Challenges with mid-market/enterprise sales

Zapier logo with challenges with mid-market/enterprise sales text.

Most B2B SaaS companies find that a significant number of customers are either unaware of Zapier or lack the technical skills to create and maintain workflows themselves. This is especially evident when selling to mid-market or enterprise companies, where expecting sales or accounting teams to establish Zapier workflows for their CRM or accounting software respectively is impractical.

Finally, it is important to note that the customers willing and able to use Zapier have to bear the cost themselves. This generally results in one of two scenarios:

  1. Your customer may be unwilling or unable to pay for Zapier.
  2. Your customer pays for Zapier, thereby presenting a missed revenue opportunity for your company.

Despite these shortcomings, Zapier's extensive connector library could prove valuable for addressing the integration needs of a handful of your smaller customers.

Native Integrations

Woman standing in front of icons of integrations.

On the other hand, native integrations are embedded within your product, require little to no configuration on your customers' end, and provide a seamless integration experience. All your customers would have to do would be choose an integration provider, authenticate into the app, map their fields if needed, and that's it - no extra steps. This provides additional value for both you and your customers on many different fronts.

Promoting User Adoption

Woman standing in front of icons of integrations with promoting user adoption text.

Looking at it from an onboarding and adoption angle, facilitating users to activate integrations within your app with just a single click expedites their journey to the key 'Aha' moment. This is achieved by integrating data from their current tools (such as CRM, marketing automation, and accounting software), and allowing them to instantly visualize how your product complements their existing workflows.

Each additional step that your potential and existing customers must take to start using your product introduces an extra friction layer, diminishing the likelihood of them adopting your product. Your goal should be to reduce the time they spend outside your app to reach their objectives.

Efficiency in Customer Success Resources

Woman standing in front of icons of integrations with efficiency in customer success resources text.

On the operations side, consolidating the management of every deployed integration will save your customer success team valuable hours spent on troubleshooting. Instead of dealing with Zapier implementation issues on a case-by-case basis, offering embedded integrations allows for a cohesive, centralized system for managing integrations.

Expanding Revenue Streams

Woman standing in front of icons of integrations with expanding revenue streams text.

Providing embedded integrations offers you a chance to monetize your integrations. For instance, you could reserve certain integrations for your product's higher tiers or offer them as an add-on to your customers' existing plans. Considering customers would otherwise be paying Zapier to create and manage the integrations themselves, this typically proves to be a straightforward upsell for SaaS companies.

Despite the evident advantages of integrating native integrations into your app, many companies in recent years have still chosen to build Zapier connectors as a means to deal with the influx of integration requests from their potential and existing customers, primarily because they could not spare 6-8 weeks of engineering per integration.

Enter Endgrate

Endgrate logo with enter Endgrate text.

Endgrate allows you to ship native integrations immediately without sacrificing engineering effort - it's a completely embedded, white-labeled solution. No configuration is required to build an integration on Endgrate. Connect once, and instantly gain access to the 100+ integrations Endgrate supports, with new integrations built fast - custom integration requests come at no extra cost or setup.

Seamless for end user


Offloaded to Endgrate

In-house engineering resources

In-house support team

Custom integrations

Time per integration

None (Offloaded to Endgrate)

Weeks to Months

Offloaded to end user

Monetization Option

To learn more about how Endgrate can help you turn integrations into your product's competitive edge, book a demo.