CUSTOMER STORY

MainStem skyrocketed sales, product, and engineering confidence with Paragon

HEADQUARTERS
Seattle, WA
INDUSTRY
Supply & Purchasing Management
70%
of development saved
4 hours
to ship Slack integration
3
enterprise deals closed

“The confidence between our sales and dev teams have just gone through the roof on integrations. Now they know if they get a request, and it’s on the Paragon website, it’s a 100% yes.”

About MainStem

MainStem is the only B2B SaaS supply and purchasing platform built specifically for the cannabis industry, and have helped cannabis companies save significant operational and supply costs by unifying their end to end operations. While other purchasing platforms were built to service more traditional industries, they do not have the necessary functionality to manage the unique workflows and regulations of cannabis companies, which is why MainStem has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. They’ve recently raised their Series C with Merida Capital, were on the Inc 5000 fastest growing companies in America and Vangst’s top 20 cannabis companies to work for, demonstrating their strong potential for becoming the #1 purchasing platform in the industry.


The problem

Garrett, chief technology officer at MainStem, was faced with 3 crucial integration requests (Teams, Slack, and Quickbooks) at one time, but couldn’t prioritize the integrations because his team was focused on building out core product features for their enterprise offering, Purchase Pro.


On the one hand, existing customers were frustrated that they couldn’t get MainStem notifications right in their messaging apps.

On the other hand, multiple enterprise prospects who were evaluating MainStem required the QuickBooks integration to make a decision, as they needed alignment from their accounting and finance departments.


Previously, Garrett’s team had built dozens of integrations in-house for MainStem, to enable their customers to truly manage all their operations and drive efficiencies from a single platform. However, while these integrations were successful, they consistently required significant engineering lift not only to build, but to maintain.

“Every time I heard ‘We need to integrate with X', I would always think, we’re looking at a month or two before a customer sees the integration."

The team would spend weeks tackling the fundamentals of the implementation. Primarily, combing through the API documentation for each 3rd party app to understand which endpoints to call, as well as tackling user authentication and token management which was consistently a challenge. Not to mention the endless maintenance that proved to be an engineering burden due to vendors changing APIs.


Building these integrations in-house demonstrated a few inherent drawbacks:

  1. It would take away months of engineering resources that could otherwise be spent on their core product
  2. Their sales and customer success team could never confidently answer questions around their integration roadmap, which negatively impacted their close rates
  3. The engineering resources required to maintain integrations due to vendors changing APIs would only increase as they added more integrations


Recognizing that these challenges would only exacerbate as they scale their integration roadmap, Garrett began to look for a more sustainable solution.

The solution

Since backlogging these integrations was not an option, Garrett started researching multiple embedded integration platforms and finally came across Paragon. As someone who doesn’t like to talk to sales as a first step, he decided to sign up for the free trial just to explore the Paragon app. To his surprise, he built a working Slack integration within 4 hours. 


“Paragon is very well documented,” Garrett says, “as I was playing with it, I naturally ended up with a Slack integration that was ready to go and built into our platform in less than 4 hours. Without Paragon we’d have to get our app listed on Slack, get permissions and store tokens for customers.


Feature flexibility

Initially, his engineers had some doubt as to whether or not Paragon could handle deeper and more complex integration workflows, such as allowing them to follow specific accounting standards. However, this concern was quickly put to rest as they realized they could access any and all API endpoints for every integration through Paragon.

“My dev team loves that we can call the API directly on Quickbooks. Paragon’s unified API middlemans the call, so my dev team didn’t have to learn all the connections to Quickbooks.”

As a result, the MainStem team had no trouble building out more complex business logic even when it came to accommodating the tail end of more complex use cases. “No other software supports fragmentation of customers using different versions of Quickbooks and different sign on. Our team easily figured it out thanks to the Paragon API,” says Garrett.


With the elegant managed authentication that Paragon provides, full endpoint visibility, and the clean, out of the box end-user UI, Garrett’s team was able to successfully “cut down the full time dedicated dev work by 70%.”


The outcome

Sales Confidence & Enterprise Deals

Now that the MainStem team has implemented Paragon, not only have they shortened their sales cycles and can close enterprise customers with accounting integration requirements, their sales team is no longer concerned when prospects ask about MainStem’s integration roadmap. 

“The confidence between our sales and dev teams have just gone through the roof on integrations. Now they know if they get a request, and it’s on the Paragon website, it’s a 100% yes.”

While not every integration they may eventually need is currently natively supported by Paragon, they are excited to use the Custom Integration Builder to build their own connectors quickly.


Better use of engineering resources

Paragon has completely shifted MainStem’s dev team’s sentiment towards integration requests. 

“It’s a huge relief for our dev team to not have to manage tokens and build databases and enable our customers to enable the integrations securely within a short amount of time.”

In fact, their engineering team enjoys using Paragon so much that they want to rebuild the existing integrations they built in-house onto the platform, to leverage the clean UI as well as offload the maintenance required.


Relief for the product team

Not only has Paragon made it much easier for their product managers to prioritize integrations due to the minimal resourcing trade offs required to ship new integrations now, they no longer need to worry about how customers interface with the integrations due to the clean built in end-user UI.

“It’s taken a lot of stress off the product manager to worry about how the customers interact with the integrations because we just use the Paragon end-user interface,” says Garrett.

Additionally, Paragon has made it possible for the product manager to edit and manage the features and workflows of live integrations on his own, which allows them to move much quicker for their customers. Garrett elaborates, “Our head of product is very technical, but he doesn’t write code. So for him it was a no-brainer because this was the first time he’s had the ability to change an integration without bothering the dev team“

Looking forward

On top of continuing to scale their integration roadmap and transitioning their e-commerce integrations onto Paragon, they are now able to double down and focus on expanding their core products with the freed up engineering resources. Their plan is to continue scaling the business while minimizing the amount of extra headcount they would need to add, and Garrett sees leveraging different technology solutions as the key catalyst towards achieving these efficiencies.

If you’re interested in saving months of engineering per integration while scaling your roadmap, let’s hop on a call! Otherwise, you can sign up for a free trial here.