In reflecting on the past decade on the AppExchange, we are in awe of the growth of the Salesforce platform and blessed to have joined the AppExchange.
Who would have guessed growing from $500 million to more than $8 billion in revenue for Salesforce? All I can say is that we made a commitment to be all in, and Salesforce delivered! Throughout this journey, there are some lessons learned from this incredible experience.
1. Build for Your Customers
We didn’t understand what it meant to be a customer-focused company. As a new app on the AppExchange, you can mistakenly think you are building the service for Salesforce. No, you are building it for the customer.
Don’t worry, your v1 App on the AppExchange will likely be a miss.
Be diligent to align with customers and your sales team. Listen, adapt and evolve. The AppExchange platform gives you the foundation to deliver enterprise-grade solutions on a flexible platform to adapt to what the customer needs.
2. Trust Salesforce
Sometimes it is difficult to anticipate what’s next and where to focus.
A key lesson learned is to plan and align with Salesforce. As the platform grew with Chatter, Service Cloud, Salesforce1, Marketing Cloud, Lightning, and now Einstein, we have benefited by aligning our product development with Salesforce product releases. This started as an ad hoc conversation as the months went by and has formulated into a product alignment to release three times per year on the AppExchange at a cadence with Salesforce.
3. Be a Salesforce Expert
More critical than understanding your product is understanding the Salesforce Customer and how they use Salesforce.
A lack of Salesforce expertise will likely guarantee a failed AppExchange app.
The customer doesn’t care about your application. The key is for your sales, support and product team to understand Salesforce first and your product second. Your product is valuable in how it works within Salesforce and enhances the customer’s investment in the Salesforce platform.
4. Be Easy to Work With
Life on the AppExchange is fast.
You need to be easy to work with. This means easy to install, easy to start a free trial, easy to move from sandbox to development to production orgs, and easy for prospective customers to work with your team. This extends to support, sales, legal and finance teams. Customer success only works when the entire team is well-organized with shared values aligning to your customers’.
5. Pay Attention to the Details
You must be diligent to look at your AppExchange listing – keep your content fresh, communicate your value and make sure you have a regular cadence to update your listing. This extends to being responsive to customers reviews, including any negative feedback.
Be hyper attentive to track your ranking, review content and test links on your listing – pages for Overview, Details, Reviews, and Provider information.
6. Work with the AppExchange Team
There are critical phases in launching an App on the AppExchange. Salesforce has the resources and wants to help at each phase. Make sure you build a solid relationship with the Salesforce AppExchange team. They want to help and will not be shy in giving you advice.
It’s your job to ask, listen and implement.
7. Invest in Your Team
Encourage your team to constantly learn. Support and fund so they can attend Salesforce meetings, get Salesforce certifications and get involved in local Salesforce user groups. The benefits back to your business and AppExchange app will be ten-fold.
8. Nurture Your Free Trials
Offer a free trial. If not, stop reading. Use your free trial to delight your prospective customer. This starts from the minute the managed package is installed into their org. Deliver emails, content and interaction with your team that is focused on listening and helping them evaluate your service.
Don’t show the customer how you want them to use your service. Rather, listen to the customer’s problem and enable your service to solve that problem.
9. Enable Your Customers
When a customer says yes, the next 90 days will define whether you have a customer for life or a customer that will say goodbye.
Investing in proper customer enablement at the start will reduce your churn, deliver tangible ROI and turn a new customer into your biggest fan. The customer will recommend you to everyone he or she touches when you invest to properly enable them for success.
10. Have Fun
Whether your AppExchange app is a start-up or you are a successful company offering a new service on Salesforce, establish an environment that is fun, rewarding and measured. A team having fun is infectious and felt by your customers, Salesforce and Salesforce partners. No one likes working with negative people.