How Momentive Explores the Possibilities of Its API with Postman
How Momentive Explores the Possibilities of Its API with Postman
Momentive empowers decision-makers at a wide range of organizations—from small, local organizations to the Fortune 500—to act with speed and agility through Momentive’s flagship solutions, SurveyMonkey and GetFeedback. The company’s stated mission is “to power the curious so they can shape what's next,” and curiosity is also deeply embedded in the Momentive’s DNA. Since 2015, the Momentive Solutions Engineering team has used the Postman API platform to help customers explore what they can do with the company’s API. Internally, Postman offers a low-code introduction to the Momentive API and an easy tool for non-technical teams to learn how the API works.
Software & Technology
Developer Onboarding, Exploratory Testing
Postman Collections, Collection Runner, Postman mock servers, Postman monitors, Newman CLI
One of Momentive’s sales goals—and one of the company’s most significant challenges—is to enable prospective customers to make their first API call within 10 minutes. In the evaluation phase of the sales cycle, the first API call experience is an important one. It not only sets a good first impression, but it also helps prospective customers better understand the value of the Momentive API and what they can do with it.
To achieve this goal, the Solutions Engineering team needed a way to quickly help customers explore API functionality while also collaborating with them on customization ideas for particular use cases. However, members of this team have varying levels of technical experience; some can code, and others can’t. Many sit in the middle, where they’ve had some code-related experience and mentoring through the years, but lack a computer science background or degree. The team needed a solution that was easy to use and didn’t require writing code. Similarly, other non-technical teams within Momentive also needed easy access to the API to improve their understanding and use of the technology.
Postman’s ease of use helped the team in two key areas of their business: answering question during sales support calls and teaching non-engineers about APIs. Let’s take a deeper look at exactly what they did in each of these two areas.
Answering questions during sales support calls
Momentive initially began using Postman as a customer support tool because of the platform’s ease of use. “Postman is super easy,” says Laura Houlberg, a solutions engineer at Momentive. “You don’t have to be a developer to make that first call to test out our API.” About 30% of sales support calls to the Solutions Engineering team are related to the API, and all team members use Postman to help answer questions during those conversations.
Once customers get a feel for the Momentive API, they often turn to the Solutions Engineering team to discuss ideas for a custom integration prior to making a final decision on adopting a Momentive product. The team helps the customer explore their proposed integration flow, both to make sure that what they want to build is possible and to help them determine the general level of effort required. Postman is their primary tool to determine the scope of work.
Using a Postman Collection that documents the Momentive API, solutions engineers can see what’s being returned at a particular endpoint or check if there’s a webhook that can trigger the customer’s system. Says Houlberg: “We’ll use Postman to put together a scrappy proof of concept to help potential customers understand the best way to build their integration.” They’ll then demo the proof of concept on Postman during a sales call or email a summary to the customer. They’ll also share the Postman Collection with customers so that they can continue exploring ideas.
Often, less technical roles within Momentive—like customer service, account executives, sales reps, and others—may not fully understand how the Momentive API works and how it provides value to customers. The company holds training sessions or brown bag lunches to give an “API 101” overview of the technology. Houlberg and other trainers use Postman to break down the different components of the API and demonstrate what API calls look like. “Postman makes it easy to visualize the API and makes it accessible to everyone.”
In addition to the two specific areas noted above, Postman has greatly improved productivity across many Momentive teams:
Solutions engineers can focus on the business solution (i.e., what the customer is solving for) without getting bogged down in unfamiliar code or lack of technical skills. This improves relationships with potential customers and helps drive the sales cycle forward.
Technical support teams don’t need to write code to test the API in order to see if a response is valid. This helps them quickly field and solve issues before they hit the engineering backlog, saving everyone time and effort. “Postman is very valuable for this team, because it democratizes the ability to reproduce and test for any issues with the API,” says Houlberg.
Engineering teams collaborate more easily around QA testing and validation of APIs during development. Two features have proven particularly useful: Postman’s Collection Runner runs tests on API updates to check for any issues, and Postman’s API monitoring capability tracks the performance of their production APIs and notifies the team if anything fails. They plan to start using Newman, which is a command-line Collection Runner for Postman, in the future to integrate the Collection Runner with their existing CI and build systems.
Non-technical teams have an easy way to improve their API education. Anyone can experience one of the company’s core products themselves, at any time, without having to request engineering support. This helps them learn the value of the API more directly so they can leverage that knowledge in their own work.
Going forward, Laura Houlberg and the Solutions Engineering team are excited to explore more of what Postman has to offer. They’ve developed quick-start guides for a couple of common use cases and they plan to make them available in Postman, enabling the team to easily plug in values and check results. They’d also like to save some proof of concept flows as templates for customers, which would save everyone time, and use Postman mock servers to test out the flows using mock endpoints. Like Momentive customers, Houlberg and her team are always curious to know what’s possible.