Categories Articles, SaaS

Who gets excited, thrilled, or enthused about a messaging platform?

A lot of people, it turns out. You’ve probably heard a friend or coworker raving about Slack, and how great it is for team productivity.

While it may not sound exciting, Slack has gotten a lot of people talking — and for good reason. Besides the fact that Slack is one of the unicorn startups valued at a billion-plus, it’s also a really useful product. Billed as an “email killer”, the messaging service allows teams to communicate easily through groups, direct messaging, and more.

Today, Slack announced their new marketplace of Slack Apps to better serve the 2 million users of the product. These apps integrate directly with Slack, so you can be notified through the platform whenever someone mentions your company on Twitter, if your engineering team pushes new code, or if your sales team closes a deal.

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Why is this app store such a big deal? For Slack, it helps users stay engaged with the product, and less likely to churn. For the companies building these integrations, they’re able to draft off Slack’s success, and make their product stickier and more helpful to users as well. It’s truly a win-win.

Not convinced yet? We talked to people at companies that are actually building Slack integrations and asked them why. Here are the reasons your company should build an app for Slack.

The Benefits of Slack

If your team doesn’t use Slack yet, or even if they do, you may not have fully bought into the hype. “It’s just a messaging platform,” you think. “What’s the big deal?” However, people are literally becoming addicted to Slack because it’s so easy to use. Just ask Ty Magnin, Director of Content Marketing at Appcues.

“I started using Slack when I first came to Appcues,” he said. “Slack lets us communicate more fluidly with one another. It cuts down on meetings and emails, and its integrations allow us to consolidate information from other systems. Our favorites are a Twitter integration I use for monitoring, a Stripe integration we all use to rally around new deals and a Wercker integration that tells our dev team about their builds.”

Slack integrations allow us to consolidate information.

Ty Magnin
Appcues

Magnin said that the value of Slack for his team increased significantly when they started using these key integrations.

“In a world where people like me are using 10-25 apps in a given day, and teams are using well into the hundreds, it’s no wonder we want some consolidation of our most vital metrics,” he explained. “Slack is the right channel for this. They created a massive ecosystem of integrated apps for communications, because they own the medium in which team collaboration is happening already.”

Easy Slack Integration

From a technical standpoint, Slack is also appealing for developers because of the easy-to-use API. Adam Sigel, Product Manager at InsightSquared, explained that building the Champ app for Slack was an obvious decision.

“It was easier to build than the Champ mobile app,” he explained. “By building a simple integration, you leverage the Slack infrastructure which means you get push notifications, gif and emoji support, and all these features that we wanted to build into Champ, but would be really difficult to do.”

For any product that wants to utilize team-wide communication, Slack is the perfect platform to build on. Sigel explained that the Champ app monitors Salesforce and lets you know when a deal closes with the dollar amount, the name of the person that closed it, and a link to Salesforce.

“Champ is a way to celebrate deals in real time and in public with your team,” he explained. “Slack was a perfect place to do that. I love the culture that it’s building. Whenever a deal closes, everyone responds with celebratory emojis. It’s a great way for people to have fun and react, without being too noisy and distracting. The best part is, we didn’t have to build it.”

The Slack App Marketplace

With the Slack App Store officially launched, many people predict there will be an explosion of new Slack integrations in the coming year. Chris Conrey, Director of Sales and Marketing at Expanded.io, said that his company already built an integration for their product, and he’s sure many will follow.

“I think there is potential for a huge number of products to integrate with Slack,” he said. “Think of something like a shared Scrum app with a message when something changes status? Or a news ticker app set to company-relevant keywords? I think people will jump to build for Slack because it’s fairly easy to integrate with, it’s hot right now as the collaboration tool of choice, and it can be a great hook into your own products.”

Slack overlaps with our target audience of high-growth tech companies.

Adam Sigel
InsightSquared

Slack is also a great way to reach a specific target market. If your company sells specifically to high tech companies, for example, Slack is probably right in your sweet spot. This was a large part of why InsightSquared chose to build for Slack, Sigel explained.

“From a business standpoint, we know that it overlaps with our target audience of high growth tech companies,” he said. “We wanted to build where they are and are going.”

However, not everyone is completely convinced that Slack will become the next big platform like the Salesforce App Exchange. Conrey said he believes the platform will grow quickly, but isn’t sure that it will be sustainable in the long-term.

“It’s hard to guess at the future of a fast moving world like these collaboration and chat apps,” Conrey said. “HipChat was the cream of the crop just 2 or 3 years ago, and it’s a distance behind now. Slack does seem to have a much more focused and reactive plan so I could see it succeeding. The integrations really do give it a reason to keep going.”

 

If you weren’t sure about Slack before, hopefully you’ve changed your mind. Instead of just building a standalone app for the iPhone or a standard SaaS product, you should also invest in an easy-to-use Slack integration. If you don’t, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

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