Although the Salesforce platform comes with tons of useful features, it’s not able to cover every business process that comes to mind. In situations where the lack of features is present, a business owner can either invest in building a custom software solution to handle a specific business process or find the most suitable existing one on Salesforce AppExchange – a leading enterprise cloud marketplace offering, at the moment of writing, over 7000 apps, components, and consulting services.
Want to learn more about this marketplace and how it can save you time, money, and effort while extending the functionality of the Salesforce CRM? Keep on reading!
Famous for providing apps used by Salesforce customers, AppExchange is a cloud computing marketplace launched in 2005. Through the marketplace, you can search for and install applications such as LinkedIn for Salesforce, Salesforce Outlook Integration, and so on.
What makes this marketplace so much more special than the rest? Well, firstly, the apps on it are customized for Salesforce. Secondly, the marketplace serves as an app ecosystem with millions of downloads and plenty of trusted customer reviews.
On top of that, if you’re looking for more than just apps, AppExchange offers components, experts, and other solutions all intended to solve business challenges, but more on that in a bit.
Now, you might be thinking, “But my business challenges are unique. Are you sure AppExchange has what it takes to solve them?”. While we can’t say for certain that this app store will have exactly what you’re looking for, you can rest assured that it hosts apps ranging in departments, industries, and use cases. To browse this vast collection of apps, there are even guides conveniently named “App Guides”, which can help you find customer favorites for specific business challenges or specific departments.
For newbies, Salesforce AppExchange might be a bit overwhelming due to the number of options it offers. So, to make it easier for you to go through everything and find what you’re looking for, we’ll now go through the offered solutions by type.
Apps are simply third-party applications created by the team at Salesforce or AppExchange partners. They are also ready to install and, in some cases, free.
If creating apps or custom pages with no code is what you are looking to do, Salesforce Lightning Components are what you’ll need. These responsive and reusable building blocks can be used through a drag-and-drop mechanism in the Lightning App Builder and enable you to come up with your own custom components for unique uses. The components are built by both Salesforce employees and partners.
Bolts represent pre-built templates for Salesforce Communities used to deploy industry solutions and communities quicker. The Bolt Solutions section of AppExchange contains industry process flows, apps, Lightning components, as well as Communities, all built by an ecosystem of partners and seamlessly integrated with Salesforce.
For pre-integrated data solutions that come with real-time updates, you should check out Lightning Data. Using them, you can find the right data and create a connection with it through data enrichment and then give your sales and marketing a supercharge.
Under Flow Solutions, a growing collection of partner-built integrations can be found. These integrations simplify building flows, including flows that connect with and perform actions on third-party systems without any additional code or integration. Examples include adding a video player, accepting payments by card, etc.
To make flows work, the use of Flow Designer is necessary.
Over 1000 experts/consultants, including those providing strategic guidance, technical skills, as well as relevant expertise, are also accessible through AppExchange. These experts/consultants, of course, come from companies that have been authorized and can develop as well as deliver custom solutions, integrations, project implementations, migrations, and more for the Salesforce ecosystem.
From what we have said about the marketplace thus far, it’s clear that using AppExchange can be beneficial. But what exact benefits does it bring? Quite a few, including:
Through AppExchange, Salesforce users can add more functionalities to the CRM platform and thus tailor it to their needs. This means that instead of having to use separate platforms for different business challenges, users can potentially resort to Salesforce once they enhance it with the right AppExchange apps. And since these apps are made to be seamlessly integrated, a smooth user experience and data consistency are guaranteed.
With AppExchange, Salesforce users don’t have to build custom solutions they require but are not part of Salesforce by default. This can prove to be a safe and cost-effective alternative to creating something from scratch.
Solutions on AppExchange are distributed in unmanaged or managed packages.
AppExchange usage can completely remove development costs, as we’ve already mentioned. But on top of the development costs, maintenance, licensing, support, and other costs can also be avoided by going for an AppExchange app instead of coding your own software.
Business needs and challenges change, and with AppExchange, you can accommodate this by adding and installing new apps or even simply upgrading existing ones when necessary. What’s more, if there is a need for customization, doing so is easy in Salesforce, thanks to its intuitive customization and configuration options.
Salesforce AppExchange apps all go through rigorous reviews and testing before they can be installed. In other words, all the listed apps fulfill certain quality standards and adhere to security protocols.
Users, devs, and partners communicate all the time through AppExchange thanks to reviews, ratings, and community forms resulting in valuable feedback, insights, and of course, support for all parties.
Only a few clicks are needed to install an app from AppExchange. This allows big and small businesses to extend Salesforce functionality, adopt new solutions, and solve their business challenges without a lengthy implementation process.
As a Salesforce Partner Community member, you can publish and manage apps you created through the Salesforce Partner Business Organization. This can provide you with access to a market consisting of millions of verified buyers and potential customers. On top of that, you would be able to track performance metrics for your applications and be featured in AppExchange Digest – a monthly ad for applications.
For those wanting to publish apps on AppExchange, building from scratch is not the only option. Instead, they can use components, flows, Bolt Solutions, or unmanaged packages to create something unique.
Apps installed from AppExchange are cloud-based, and so their updates are provided through the cloud as well. For an app user, this means that when updates are released, all your Salesforce admin/you have to do is accept them.
When talking about the ins and outs of Salesforce AppExchange, we have to look at two perspectives – product users/buyers and product listers.
The process of buying/installing from AppExchange is pretty simple and consists of a few steps:
Listing an app on AppExchange is, as one might assume, a bit more complicated than buying it on the same marketplace. Still, the process can be relatively easy if all the steps outlined below are properly completed:
The ideation stage, like in most projects, is the first and most crucial one. This is where you define the app’s purpose, features, and the target audience.
Once you have this down, you can then easily proceed to the development process and pitch your idea to Salesforce AppExchange.
Being part of the Salesforce Partner Program is a necessity for creating an AppExchange listing.
Joining the program is simple and entails:
Once you’ve joined, you’ll need to sign a partnership agreement defining the terms and conditions of your relationship with Salesforce.
This step will vary from business to business but will, in essence, be where your app idea becomes a reality.
During the app development process, you can use Salesforce development tools such as Apex, Visualforce, and Lightning Web Components, but you must follow security and coding standards and guidelines.
Prior to listing the app, testing it thoroughly is advised. This means conducting unit, integration, and user acceptance testing for functionality, performance, and usability in order to find bugs or essentially anything that needs improving.
When you have built and tested your app and feel like it’s ready to be released, it’s time to list it. At this point, you’ll have to provide information about the app (description, screenshots, demo videos, etc.) and its pricing plans. Also, depending on the app, other documents might be necessary, such as a step-by-step guide, solution architecture explanation, etc.
You’ll also have to pay a listing fee (if any) and sign a listing agreement.
Before the app becomes public, it will have to go through a security review done by Salesforce. During the review, the app’s code will be tested for vulnerabilities along with its compliance with Salesforce security policies.
Your job isn’t over once your app is live. On the contrary, that is when you will take on the tasks of responding to issues raised, bugs reported, and reviews left. Along with that, you’ll have to work on delivering updates regularly to provide new features or simply enhance existing ones.
AppExchange apps, like most products, come with varying price tags depending on what they offer. The pricing model is usually set by the app vendor or developer and can be any of the following:
Along with an app’s listed price, it’s important to keep in mind that additional costs might need to be paid, such as consulting, implementation, training, and support costs.
Taking Salesforce to the next level and using it to solve business challenges as well as implement process automation becomes easy with AppExchange.
This marketplace has, since its inception, grown immensely and will surely keep the same momentum by providing new apps and other solutions for organizations of all kinds. So make good use of it, whether it be to publish something of your own or simply upgrade your Salesforce CRM!
To learn how to get the most from Salesforce AppExchange, make sure to also visit Trailhead – Salesforce’s free online learning platform. And if you’re hungry for more Salesforce content, we suggest reading the following articles from our Mailtrap blog:
This article on what is salesforce appexchange, was initially published on the Mailtrap blog. Thank you for reading!