Here are our 5 top tips to help you choose a solution on the Salesforce AppExchange.
With over 5,000 solutions and growing, the Salesforce AppExchange has definitely earned the title of the world’s leading business app marketplace. There are solutions that enhance Salesforce’s existing functionality, there are apps designed specifically for certain industries and Salesforce Clouds, and there are nifty components that you can drop into Lightning pages with little customisation or configuration required.
It’s safe to say that the Salesforce AppExchange is the place to look when you’re shopping around for a solution. But with so much choice available at your fingertips, how do you know what you should be looking for? What are the steps you can take to make sure you choose an AppExchange solution that’s right for you.
So without more preamble, here are our five top tips to help you choose an AppExchange solution!
1. Read the reviews
Whether you’re heading to the cinema, buying a new phone or picking a restaurant for dinner, your first instinct is probably to read some reviews. It’s the same with the AppExchange.
The AppExchange gives customers the opportunity to rate a solution 1-5 stars and leave a written review. When you’re choosing between solutions on the AppExchange, take time to read each solution’s reviews. Does one have significantly better reviews? What are the recurring messages in the reviews? If there are any negative comments, do these suggest a one-off experience or do they point to a more concerning trend?
If a solution has no reviews, that’s not necessarily a reason NOT to investigate it further. It might be brand new to the AppExchange, or built by a tiny ISV who don’t have resource capacity to dedicate time to asking for reviews because they’re too busy delivering a great product!
Whether the reviews are great, worrying or non-existent, there are more steps you can take to help you correctly choose an AppExchange solution… so let’s take a look at them!
💡 The AppExchange is as good as we make it. We really encourage you to leave reviews on the AppExchange as they really help the Ohana understand first-hand experience with a product. It only takes a couple of minutes and you’ll be helping so many people in the future!
2. Check the releases
Each AppExchange listing will show the date of the solution’s most recent release under the More Details tab. How recent the latest release is or is not can be a great way to understand how well the developers are keeping the product updated with the Salesforce platform. Salesforce operates triannual releases and is often introducing new, exciting functionality. Often these changes need to be reflected in AppExchange products, so check how recent the most recent release is.
Don’t just stop on the listing if its last release was way in the past. You may be able to check the product’s release notes directly with the vendor; there can often be supporting services that can be updated without the need to issue a new package to the AppExchange. New version information may be published on the vendor’s website so keep your eyes peeled!
Overall, there is no clear-cut answer to ‘how long is too long’ between releases, but this is definitely another important data point to consider when evaluating different solutions and ultimately choose an AppExchange solution.
3. Try the documentation
Most solutions on the AppExchange will come with some amount of documentation. As a minimum, solutions generally provide installation and configuration guidance. At the other end, some solutions by bigger vendors give consultancies and end users demo kits with use case-specific documentation and orgs configured ready for testing.
Is the documentation provided sufficient for your needs? Can the team in charge of implementing a solution understand it? Is the documentation up to date for the most recent release of the solution?
If you find yourself trying to install a solution and getting lost in the documentation, it might be a sign that a certain level of knowledge is expected to use the solution (e.g. the target audience may be developers not admins). This is something you need to consider when you’re reviewing who will need to configure and/or use the solution and therefore possibly its documentation too.
But there’s always the support team on hand to help…
4. Test the support team
This is one of my favourite quick tests you can run whilst you’re evaluating any sort of purchase. Send an email query over to the support team and see how quickly they respond to you. Is it hours? Is it days? Is it ever?!
As one esteemed contact said on LinkedIn recently, “if you reach out as a prospective customer and don’t love the response/timeliness/etc, don’t expect it to get better after you buy.”
5. Run a trial
If you’ve gone through steps 1-4 and you’re still considering purchasing the solution, it’s a good sign!
At this point, it’s time to try out the solution for yourself. Install the solution in a sandbox, try to build out a small Proof of Concept (PoC) to help establish how easy it is to use and to see if it can meet your requirements. Reviews, releases and documentation are important, but nothing beats getting your hands on a solution. Your org will have its own nuances and your business will run things in a certain way. You need to be confident that whatever solution you purchase can work seamlessly for you.
It’s time to choose an AppExchange solution
We can’t make the choice for you, but there are our five tips for making sure you’re choosing the right AppExchange solution. None of these steps in isolation should form the basis of your purchasing decision. However, as you work through them, you’ll find yourself building an impression of the solution and the team behind it.
Remember, if something doesn’t feel right, ask!
- Ask if you can extend your trial of the solution.
- Ask the question that’s been bugging you.
- Ask around the community to see if anyone who uses it is happy to share their experience.
Good luck and enjoy the process of finding your latest favourite solution!
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