What Is An API?
API stands for Application Program Interface. Simply put is how information is delivered to and accessed from a system.
Think of it like this; you are out at your favorite breakfast spot and you want to order blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon, extra crispy.
How does the kitchen in the back know what you want from the available items they have to offer?
Because the waiter told them so.
Think of an API as the waiter of a system, it retrieves and delivers information from the “kitchen”.
In real life instead of pancakes, APIs deliver requests to data systems which in turn deliver data back to you.
It is how you can locate contact info in Prophet CRM that a coworker may have entered through a simple search request.
What Are API Integrations?
Let’s go back to our pancake and waiter example, but instead, imagine the pancakes were not for yourself but rather for one of your loyal customers.
While the kitchen must get the order, it is also important that the sale information, customer information, and payment information are also recorded.
More often than not tracking all of this info will require multiple systems.
This means that you or someone else in your company will be recording highly similar if not the same data into several other programs.
But what if you didn’t have to?
What if there was a way for information to be updated in one system from another automatically.
That is what API Integrations do.
API Integrations are essentially a waiter that instead of just reporting orders to the kitchen, also updates the other systems in your business.
Why is API Integration important?
API integrations are important for several key reasons:
Automating daily activities has become a critical component of productivity in today’s fast-paced work environment. Working smarter and not harder, by reducing repetitive tasks, accelerates and streamline business processes.
2. Consistent Data
Reducing the number of times data is manually entered not only reduces the risk of human error but creates a consistent, centralized database. Additionally, it promotes the input of high quality and detailed information by employees as they know they will only have to enter it once.
3. Combines highly focused systems
API integrations are important because each program or app you use does its specific function so well, that it is hard to use just one during a business sales cycle. Integrating these specialized tools allows for a more fluent and comprehensive sales approach when interacting with potential customers.
As this technology becomes more popular 55% percent of CIOs claim that using API integrations is critical to their business strategy according to a survey conducted by Cloud Elements. Additionally, they identified CRM as being the #1 system in need of integrations.
Example of an API Integration:
It isn’t uncommon to use all these programs during one sale:
1. Prophet CRM: Gather information and grow the lead
2. MailChimp: Email marketing and information delivery
3. Zoom: Schedule a sales meeting
4. DocuSign: Finalize and make the sale official
Picture this; It’s the start of the week and you have just been assigned a batch of hot leads from your marketing team.
You begin to create customer profiles in your CRM platform and attempt to connect with the various accounts you have been assigned.
Some pick up, some don’t, some request additional information be emailed to them while a few are ready to talk later this week.
Moreover, a few accounts from last week are moving towards the closing stage!
While this is easily organized within your CRM system you may waste the rest of your day using second-tier programs to deliver information, set meetings and send contracts.
With an API Integration in place, it is as easy as changing the stage of an account and automatically having another program perform the desired action.
Customer A moves from prospect to potential and is automatically added to an email list.
Customer B wants to see a demo is moved from the potential stage to the demo stage and a zoom meeting invitation is automatically generated and emailed to them.
The possibilities are endless and the time you can save in daily activities is infinite.
How To Apply API Integrations:
So all of this sounds great but how can you get API Integrations up and running?
When it comes to implementing your API you have one of two options.
Option A: In house implementation.
This can be done by either having a current member of your IT team learn how to create the code that will connect whichever programs you see fit to make a specific business process more efficient. Additionally, you could hire a contract worker or a new employee that specialized in this area.
Option B: Third-party implementation
Most major Software As A Service providers have API integrations ready to connect their software to any other major application. Not only is second-hand implantation cheaper, but it is also faster.
Contact your CRM provider, as CRM is a great central application to connect other programs too, and ask about API integrations today.