5 tips for choosing a solution on the Salesforce AppExchange

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! 

Enjoyed this blog post? 

Check out our 4 easy steps to upgrade an AppExchange app

About ProvenWorks

Founded in 2008, we’re one of the longest-established British Salesforce ISV partners. We build solutions exclusively for Salesforce CRM that empower you and your users to be data heroes.

What is Salesforce Government Cloud and what can you do with it?

Welcome back to another dive into the Salesforce Clouds! If you’re new to our Head in the Clouds series, you can take a look at the full list of Clouds we’ve covered.

This time, we’re looking at Salesforce Government Cloud so stick around to learn more!

What is Salesforce Government Cloud?

Salesforce Government Cloud is a bespoke, securely partitioned instance of the Salesforce 360 platform which offers an integrated customer relationship management (CRM) platform. It’s aimed at:

  • US federal government
  • Local government customers
  • US government contractors
  • Public sector
  • Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs)

Why does Salesforce Government Cloud exist? 

Salesforce explains the challenges facing government authorities and public offices in a Trailhead module:

“In the modern digital landscape of online applications, customer self-service, and automated workflows, government authorities and public offices must rethink and reinvent their task flows. The ultimate goal for any public sector authority is to increase constituent engagement and streamline internal workflows. Public Sector Solutions from Salesforce do just that.”

Government Cloud’s main objective is to provide government entities with an industry-leading, security-compliant platform on which to scale and secure resources in order to complete their mission effectively. We’ll dive into the specifics of how it does this later.

Quick glossary

Let’s take a minute to dive into some helpful terms and definitions:

Government Cloud: a bespoke-for-government and public sector suite of tools built on the Salesforce CRM platform. Government Cloud is designed for agencies around the world including central government, local government, police and healthcare. Salesforce Government Cloud maintains a FedRAMP Agency Authority to Operate (ATO) at the Moderate Security Impact Level.

Government Cloud Plus: runs on AWS GovCloud (US), a dedicated instance of Salesforce’s Government Cloud designed to support the security needs of U.S. government agencies and contractors. It has achieved a FedRAMP Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) at the High Security Impact Level.

Check out this comparison chart of the differences between Government Cloud and Government Cloud Plus.

FedRAMP at High / Moderate Security Impact Level: a differentiator between Government Cloud and Government Cloud Plus. Government Cloud Plus is compliant to the highest level whereas Government Cloud is compliant to the Moderate level. This means FedRAMP has evaluated these cloud services via a significant, thorough security and compliance review that is annually reassessed. In short, having authority to operate at this highest security level allows Salesforce Government Cloud Plus customers to use Salesforce for the most sensitive, unclassified data.

What can you do with Salesforce Government Cloud?

Since Government Cloud is already built on Salesforce and its 360 CRM, it casts a wide net in what it can provide for the public and government sector. Salesforce offers out-of-the-box security-compliant applications designed for government service.

Here are some of the applications and functionality available with Government Cloud:

  • Emergency response management
  • License and permit approvals processes
  • Inspections management applications
  • Grants management applications
  • Contact Centre functionality
  • Scalable call, web, chat and text response systems
  • Centralised communication with stakeholders across email, SMS and social platforms
  • The power to give public servants a 360-degree view of citizens, stakeholders and partners in a single source of truth – Salesforce CRM!

💡 Did you know: The UK Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Salesforce to enable the UK public sector to benefit from access to Salesforce products and citizens.

Why should you use Salesforce Government Cloud?

Overall, there’s clearly a lot that you can do with Salesforce Government Cloud and Government Cloud Plus. Since governments are vast, multifaceted, and public-facing institutions, Salesforce provides a single source of truth digitally with Government Cloud to empower governmental and public sector employees to accelerate their mission impact. There are other benefits too:

  • Low code / no code Saas platform that integrates with legacy systems
  • Gain access to a broad range of solutions from contact centres to case management to citizen engagement and many more
  • Security-first infrastructure compliant with the demands of government
  • See time to value in days not years

Learn more from these Salesforce demo videos.

Salesforce Government Cloud and ProvenWorks in action

ProvenWorks is a Salesforce Partner offering a number of solutions that enhance out-of-the-box Salesforce functionality. We have customers around the world who are government entities with interesting use cases around importing.

Empower external stakeholders, business entities and programmes to import data to your Salesforce org quickly and securely.

Whether you are reporting on local outreach programmes, analysing state-wide employment data or outsourcing contracts for efficiency, you need to collect all that data into your single source of truth – Salesforce CRM.

Our spreadsheet data importing solution, SimpleImport, empowers government entities who want to streamline data input by removing manual workload and empowering users to import themselves. Unlike security-compromising solutions access via third-party website or inefficient admin-only tools, use SimpleImport directly from your Salesforce org or a digital experience.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your mission impact!

Reach out to the ProvenWorks team and find out more about our solutions and how we can help meet your Salesforce needs.

So what’s next? The choice is yours.

You can either go back to the first blog in our Head in the Clouds series: What is Experience Cloud and what can you do with it? Or… you can access all the blogs in the Head in the Clouds series.

The Renfrew Center stays mission-focused with clean address data thanks to AddressTools 

“The customer service has been excellent – a team who goes above and beyond.”

Teri Curtin, Business System Analyst, The Renfrew Center

Working with clean Salesforce data means that The Renfrew Center can focus on its mission

The Renfrew Center has been the pioneer in the treatment of eating disorders since 1985, with a core focus of empowering women to change their lives. As the nation’s first residential eating disorder facility, Renfrew has helped more than 85,000 adolescent girls, women, transgender, and non-binary individuals move towards recovery by providing them with the tools they need to succeed in recovery and in life.

The Renfrew Center was challenged by data management issues. They wanted to ensure that the mailing addresses of their person accounts in Salesforce were clean so that they could focus on effectively communicating their mission.

Clean address data for business operations

The Renfrew Center needed quality address data for a number of different reasons.

Data management

The Renfrew Center was looking for a solution that could resolve CRM data issues. They wanted to have better trust that the data in their Salesforce org was a single source of truth. They needed a way to effectively and efficiently capture accurate address information.

Marketing mailings

They wanted to be able to verify the addresses of bulk mailing lists before sending out marketing materials to ensure successful delivery, reduce failed delivery costs and build important channels of communication with referring clinicans.


They wanted to use the ‘County’ field for reporting in order to make business decisions, so therefore needed to be certain that this data was accurate.

Implementing and onboarding staff quickly

“It’s super easy to use AddressTools.”
Teri Curtin, Business System Analyst, The Renfrew Center

Once installed, AddressTools provided a solution that would empower The Renfrew Center to manage their address data. Since AddressTools is native to Salesforce, it only took minutes to train team members on how to use the tool.

Running operations with clean address data

“AddressTools allows for quick address validation and less time cleaning up incorrect or insufficient address data.” 
Teri Curtin, Business System Analyst, The Renfrew Center

With AddressTools in place, The Renfrew Center is able to clean up and maintain accuracy in its address data, helping them grow trust in their Salesforce CRM as their single source of truth.

When sending out marketing materials by mail, they are confident in the fact that their communication will reach the intended audience.

Thanks to AddressTools, The Renfrew Center can now be confident in the accuracy of its address data as the basis for reporting, improving business analysis and decision making.

Why The Renfrew Center recommends ProvenWorks

In her own words, Teri shares why The Renfrew Center has worked with ProvenWorks for the last six years:

“The support team is always quick to respond, helpful and pleasant to work with. AddressTools has worked as expected and helps tremendously with data management. The Customer Service has been excellent – a team who goes above and beyond.

Learn more about The Renfrew Center

Find out more and support the important work of The Renfrew Center to empower individuals struggling with an eating disorder.

Clean up your data with AddressTools

Get in contact with us to discuss how AddressTools could be your in-Salesforce solution for exceptional address data quality. It’s that simple.


Our award-winning package for address validation, standardisation and verification. Learn more and book a demo.

ZIP+4 Codes for Salesforce: why you need them and how to get them 

This is the second part of our deep dive into ZIP+4 Codes for Salesforce. If you’re not sure what ZIP+4 Codes are and why you should care, here’s where you can read the first blog post.

A recap in 3 sentences

Want to get up to speed quicker than that? Here’s the 3-sentence version.

ZIP+4 Codes were created by the USPS to provide even more precise address matching to a more granular level, since they represent only a handful of houses or even a single building.

So, ZIP+4 Codes are incredibly useful because they help the USPS more effectively sort and distribute mail.

For you and your business, this means faster deliveries, reduced misdeliveries, granularity even down to a specific PO box, and all of this translates to saving money and time!

Salesforce CRM and ZIP+4 Codes

Salesforce as an organisation is quick to highlight the importance of ZIP Code data

“Without geographic data to structure and enhance existing CRM data, and no market data to track against current market share, it’s impossible to effectively manage sales territories for growth.”

What does bad geographical data look like in practice?

  • Allocating sales resource to geographic areas with little potential
  • Spending time marketing to places where ROI is unlikely
  • Struggling to report on market share across regions, leaving your organisation without a clear forward-looking strategy

All of this boils down to an alarming amount of time and money wasted.

You’re probably thinking that we’ve spent enough time preaching about the perils of inaccurate or missing ZIP Code data for your organisation. So, let’s take it one step further; let’s look at why you need Zip+4 Codes for your Salesforce CRM. 

We’re going to use Salesforce CRM as our case study here, but you can easily swap out Salesforce for your CRM of choice. The information remains completely relevant.

Why you need ZIP+4 Codes for your Salesforce CRM

1. Give yourself the competitive advantage

“Poor quality data costs businesses around $700 billion a year, or 30 percent of the average company’s revenue” according to Salesforce.

If you’re working in a competitive industry (and aren’t we all these days?), have you considered how cleaner, more precise datapoints like ZIP+4 can give you an advantage over your competitors?

As we work through the points below, we’ll see how more granular data sets you up for a better understanding of your market, clearer reporting and business analysis, and greater opportunity to succeed in your niche.

💡 Bear in mind that here we’re discussing the ‘big picture’ wins. We’re not even going to cover how a cleaner, more accurate CRM database empowers your users to to do their daily tasks more efficiently, increases CRM adoption and allows for faster, simple business processes – all things that can give your business the advantage over your competitors.

2. Many integrations require a ZIP+4 Code

It’s worth considering that, along with the list of benefits we’ll be investigating, for many integrations and delivery services that you use alongside Salesforce CRM, ZIP+4 Codes are not just recommended but required. So why not make your integrations smoother by retrieving ZIP+4 Codes within your CRM?

3. Combine ZIP+4 Codes with market data

We’re completely aware that a ZIP+4 Code alone is not going to provide you with useful market insight. However, when you think about that ZIP+4 Code as the data backbone of your market analysis and white space strategy, you begin to see its potential. Let’s imagine the power of having every CRM record associated with a specific ZIP+4 Code.

Taking a B2B example, imagine displaying the number of companies within a region by NAICS industry code*, connecting this data with a ZIP+4 Code directly on a record in your CRM. As a B2C example, imagine combining a dataset related to age, income and spending habits with the granularity of a ZIP+4 Code to have the most accurate consumer targeting available.

Hopefully you can see that by combining a ZIP+4 Code with market data, you’re creating micro-markets that are giving you the best available information about your white space for growth. A more exact idea of the number of businesses in a ZIP+4 area, a truer picture of the demographic breakdown of an even smaller region… Sales territories, targeted marketing and allocation of resource just got more intentional.

*We’ve got a Salesforce-native tool for looking up industry codes! Check out IndustryComplete.

4. Dig deeper into your analytics

We’ve seen how ZIP+4 Codes can underpin other market datapoints for detailed planning and allocation of resource in your market. Now let’s look at how ZIP+4 Codes can improve your analytics and reporting.

With a ZIP+4 Code associated with each Salesforce record, whether it’s an account, lead, opportunity or something else, you can track sales performance and identify with even more geo-specificity your areas of success. With that information, you know more definitively where to focus your time, resource and efforts to maximise your success.

💡 Once you take into account the possibility that two cities may share the same five-digit ZIP Code, you can see how ZIP+4 Codes empower you to drill down more than your competitors to identify your high yield regions.

5. Succeed in your industry niche

It’s always helpful when talking about niches to avoid generalisations. So, let’s dive straight into a case study for this one.

We have a client who supplies parts in the aerospace industry. They need to ship parts to aircraft hangars that are often situated in the middle of nowhere. Providing a ZIP+4 Code for these airport hangars is the best possible way they can ensure their parts will reach their destinations quickly and efficiently.

Whether you work in a niche aerospace sector or something completely different, getting ZIP+4 data into your Salesforce CRM means you’re setting yourself up with the best possible data for success in your (extremely specific!) business processes.

6. Avoid paying excess tax

No one likes talking about taxes, thinking about taxes or doing taxes. Yet it’s what Benjamin Franklin famously called one of the two certainties of life. It’s worth considering that ZIP+4 Codes can take some of the sting out of your tax process.

Did you know that if your address isn’t accurate enough, you could end up paying more due to local boundary lines? Having a ZIP+4, from which you can establish an exact County, is a sure-fire way to ensure you provide the most accurate address data possible.

How to get ZIP+4 Codes for Salesforce

Now that you can see why ZIP+4 Codes are incredibly powerful in Salesforce CRM, it’s time to start using them!

You can easily retrieve ZIP+4 Codes for your addresses in Salesforce using AddressTools, our award-winning package for address validation, standardisation and verification.

Book a free demo

In case you can’t tell(!), we love talking about all things related to address data in Salesforce. Why not schedule a call with one of our team to chat about your ZIP+4 and wider address data requirements for your Salesforce org.

When does a developer recommend a managed package? 

Here at ProvenWorks you’re going to find some of the biggest advocates for buying a solution off the shelf, or what we call a ‘managed package’. We’re fully aware that when it comes to the Build versus Buy debate, we’re pretty biased. We’re a Salesforce ISV (Independent Software Vendor) so we make a living off creating managed packages that businesses using Salesforce CRM can find on the AppExchange.

This is why we look to get other people into the debate too. We’ve done a number of sessions working with developers to raise awareness over the debate around Build Versus Buy – just watch this session we ran with Bitwise Industries at CenCal Dreamin’ 2022.

You will find an endless amount of content from Salesforce ISVs advocating the choice to buy a managed package. You will also find the same number of developers in favour of developing a custom solution. 

What takes us by surprise is when developers speak out in favour of managed packages. And this happened to us recently. 

helpfulbits, a German Salesforce consultancy who implements custom software and delivers training, recently wrote an in-depth review of our data import solution SimpleImport. 

As a system integrator that writes custom software, but also offers a prebuilt standard solution, helpfulbits are the perfect case study for understanding better the choice between build versus buy.

An interview with a developer on managed packages

We sat down with David Felkel, Salesforce Developer / Architect at helpfulbits to ask for his perspective on build versus buy.

As software developers (who typically fall into the “build” side of the build versus buy argument), what’s your 1-minute elevator pitch for choosing custom development?

Well, if your business has very complex processes that are unique to your segment or industry, it can be difficult to find a software that fits your company off the shelf. The larger your company is, the more likely this will be. Moreover, the larger your userbase is, the higher the return of investment of custom software. For example, it does make a lot of sense to develop a custom software for support agents if you can shave off 1 minute of processing time for hundreds or even thousands of agents – that’s a huge ROI.

Using data imports as an example, we typically choose custom development when there is business logic or any kind of data transformation involved. For example, a customer might have an excel layout that does not directly translate to records in Salesforce. Other clients might need to join data from multiple sheets into single records.

That said, a lot of the time, service providers and their clients internally simply shy away from the process and the bureaucracy involved in procurement, even if there is a good standard solution, because the developers have already been hired.

On the flip side of that, can you share the story of what led you to develop your own out-of-the-box solution, helpful sync?

I’ll gladly do that! Basically, my buddy and me were having a beer and thinking hard about a product that would solve a real-world problem. We figured that we’d need an easy way to push complex data around Salesforce Orgs and Sandboxes, to debug errors in production for example. The situation escalated quickly and we built a sandbox seeder and anonymizer that we and our clients like to use. Back when we started, we didn’t even know such tools already existed and that there was competition. Had we known, we probably wouldn’t have done it. However, we tried some of the existing software and most solutions were not to our liking, as they were either too complicated and cumbersome or too narrow in their scope.

In your review of our solution SimpleImport, you mention that “custom code is not always economical”. What do you mean by that? When do you find that custom development is not the right decision?

Custom software basically has two price tags. One for the solution itself and the other one for maintenance. Custom development is expensive. For the price of a custom solution, you can probably pay the license fees of something like SimpleImport for a few years. Moreover, it is likely that the custom solution will have to be modified and maintained every now and then, for example, when a new Salesforce release is published. Those costs can be comparable to license fees.

Personally I think custom development can only be justified when your business logic is really special and complex and, in the case of importing, the data has to be transformed before it is imported into Salesforce. The latter can often simply be done with an additional excel sheet, though.

Is there anything you think customers don’t give enough consideration to during the build versus buy argument?

I think most customers are already working with their development teams and rely on their opinions and counsel. However, developers in general often don’t like to look for existing solutions. There’s even a name for it, the so called “Not invented here” syndrome. I am guilty of that myself! Most of the time, when it comes to standard tasks, there are off-the-shelf solutions that simply are better and less expensive.

Looking towards ISVs like ProvenWorks, what do you want managed package providers to know? What do you want to tell them?

Pitch your products more to consultants and developers! They are the ones who implement the solution for the customer and who will receive the user story requesting the “Excel Import” for implementation. If they know about your product and like it, they will recommend it during backlog refinements and the like.

About helpfulbits

helpful bits has been pioneering software development in Salesforce since its inception. They are specialized in making large and complex Salesforce orgs easy to maintain, extend and administer.

About SimpleImport

SimpleImport is our spreadsheet data import solution for Salesforce. It’s designed to empower your Salesforce users to import so your business can scale. Learn more about our managed package and get a free trial.

Back 2 Work, BCOE centralises their subcontractor data in Salesforce thanks to SimpleImport

“SimpleImport solves something that’s not possible out of the box.”

Jeremy Bruce, Information Systems Analyst, Back 2 Work, Butte County Office of Education

Promoting Salesforce as a single source of truth

The Back 2 Work program, run by Butte County Office of Education (BCOE), is a transitional employment program for underserved and disadvantaged adults.

With a number of subcontractors collecting client data on disparate spreadsheets, Back 2 Work wanted to use their new Salesforce CRM implementation as the centralised place for this information. Back 2 Work needed to enable subcontractors to upload spreadsheet data to Salesforce through an Experience Cloud digital experience – something that out-of-the-box Salesforce does not offer.

Importing subcontractor data on a digital experience

Subcontractor spreadsheet data was siloed, and each contractor used their own formatted spreadsheet. There was no way for Back 2 Work to report on the data without manually looking at vast numbers of disconnected and unstandardised spreadsheets.

A new Salesforce CRM implementation

Back 2 Work chose Salesforce CRM as their single source of truth for this client data. Once the data was in Salesforce, Back 2 Work could create real-time visual dashboards of their subcontractor data, enabling the team to report accurately and make informed business decisions.

The main hurdle was getting the subcontractor data into Salesforce.

Using SimpleImport on a Salesforce digital experience

Back 2 Work, at the recommendation of their implementation partner, Bitwise Industries, installed SimpleImport.

With the solution configured and the data import ‘mapping’ saved, all the team had to do was place SimpleImport’s ManagedImport Lightning component on their Digital Experience. Subcontractors could drag and drop their spreadsheet files into the component for a fast and secure import.

SimpleImport compliments Back 2 Work’s custom solution for standardising spreadsheet data. Together with Salesforce CRM, Back 2 Work has a successful implementation for empowering their subcontractors to import their data to Salesforce via a digital experience.

Expanding out-of-the-box Salesforce

Now, Back 2 Work can confidently report on accurate client data in Salesforce and use this data to shape their strategy. Their crucial import requirement is solved without requiring subcontractors to visit third-party websites or download external tools. The subcontractors don’t even have access to the import configuration within SimpleImport – it’s preconfigured for them!

From spreadsheets to a world-class CRM

With Salesforce CRM in place, Back 2 Work is digitally transformed. They’ve moved from working with disparate Excel spreadsheets to operating on a leading Customer Relationship Management platform. Alongside this powerful functionality, Back 2 Work has leveraged the power of the Salesforce ecosystem. By working with an experienced Salesforce system integrator partner (Bitwise Industries) and a Salesforce independent software vendor (us!) to fulfill their requirement of importing spreadsheet data to Salesforce through a digital experience.

Empowering external users to import to Salesforce

Back 2 Work has found a solution that enables subcontractors to import their own data themselves, saving precious admin time while keeping the import process secure and simple.

A quick to adopt solution

Thanks to SimpleImport’s preconfigured drag-and-drop component, Back 2 Work has in place a scalable method for centralising client data from their subcontractors. If their list of subcontractors expands, Back 2 Work doesn’t need to worry about changing the process since little onboarding time is required.

Why Back 2 Work recommends ProvenWorks

BCOE Information Systems Analyst Jeremy Bruce says: “We didn’t have many support requests as an end customer. When we asked for help with configuration, together we solved it.”

Why Bitwise Industries recommends ProvenWorks

“The solution fit the client’s requirement perfectly. It meant we saved significant time and costs on custom dev and we found the ProvenWorks team extremely responsive and a pleasure to work with. We’ve worked with them since and I’m sure we will do again!” Says Jacob Aguilar, Salesforce Solutions Architect at Bitwise Industries.

Do you need to import data via a Salesforce digital experience?

Do you have external users who need to import spreadsheet data to Salesforce via a digital experience (community)? Whatever industry you work in, SimpleImport is the only managed package in the Salesforce ecosystem that has got you covered! 

Get in contact with us to discuss how SimpleImport could be your solution for data imports on a Salesforce digital experience. It’s that simple.

Find out more about Back 2 Work

Learn more about the Back 2 Work program and the vital work they do in California.

How to succeed with a Salesforce ISV partner

As a Salesforce ISV partner since 2009, we’ve seen every kind of org, customer and implementation. Of course, each ISV partner in the ecosystem operates slightly differently but here we’ve compiled our cheat sheet of how to succeed with a Salesforce ISV and make your next purchase the most successful yet!

So, let’s jump into the questions you need to ask and the tips you need to action to succeed with a Salesforce ISV partner. 

1. Do your prep internally first! 

Once you recognise that there’s a need at your organisation for purchasing a solution from an ISV, it’s all too tempting to jump straight onto the AppExchange or start filling your calendar with product demo calls. 

Don’t fall into the trap of looking at specific solutions too early! It’s vital to do your internal research and stakeholder consultations first. You need to understand the longer-term plans of your organisation to make sure any solution you choose can scale and meet the needs of changing processes. Not to mention you need to understand who will be involved in purchasing approval. 

What kind of questions should you ask? 

  • How urgent is this need? 
  • Is there a budget? 
  • Are there non-negotiables? 
  • What other integrations do I need to consider with this tool? E.g., marketing platforms, fundraising platforms, events platforms 
  • Who will need to “see” this tool, either in demo or poc, before sign off? 
  • How do we anticipate this process to look in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years?

💡 Top tip: There are free templates online like this one for helping you evaluate software and making sure you cover the non-negotiables

2. Communicate with the ISV

Once you’ve done your internal research, it’s on to the fun bit… shopping around for solutions! During your prep, you’ll have established the right stakeholders who need to be involved with demos, testing and procurement from your organisation. It’s time to put that knowledge into practice.

Effective meetings 

Make sure the ISV is aware of which roles, responsibilities and seniorities you are bringing to calls so that they can mirror this. There’s no point bringing your CRM Architect to a call being run solely by an ISV’s Account Executive. Make sure your attendees and agenda are known in advance to make the most out of the time you’re spending on calls with ISVs. 

Set expectations clearly

We also recommend setting expectations early with the ISV on the project duration and urgency. Examples of this could look like: 

“I’m the only person actively involved right now so I’ll check back in after a month when I have more time to dedicate to this.”  

“This is not an urgent priority for us. I’m just having a look around for now.”  

“This is extremely urgent and our go live is the end of next month. Can you dedicate resource to us to help us reach that deadline?” 

Price transparency 

Pricing opacity is far too common in the software industry. We’ve all been on introductory calls where we’ve wasted 25 minutes of our time only to find out that a solution is way out of our budget. It’s a good idea to ask directly about pricing upfront to save yourself time evaluating solutions you have no intention of buying. 

“I see that there is a license cost of x per user. Are there any additional or hidden costs on top of this price?” 

💡 Top tip: We have the benefit of being part of a super friendly and accessible ecosystem. Ask around the Salesforce Community to see if anyone uses the solution you’re evaluation. Most people are happy to jump on a quick call to share their experiences, good or bad, of their purchase. 

3. Test the solution 

You’ve done your internal research and you’ve started to identify specific solutions that you want to evaluate. There is no better way of evaluating a solution than getting hands on with it. 

Get a test drive or free trial of your solution and start playing around with it. This is also a great time to ask more about the product and the team behind it. ISVs vary in how much support they offer and at what price point. Salesforce encourage all ISVs to offer at least some level of free support but it’s worth understanding exactly what you can expect – a dedicated mailbox or maybe even a dedicated point of contact. 

What kinds of questions should you ask? 

  • How much does support cost (if anything?) 
  • Is there “premium” support available, and if so, what does that include? 
  • Are there any other features in the product that can be beneficial? 
  • Is there much of a product roadmap?

💡 Top tip: Sandboxes provide perpetual site licenses in Salesforce so it’s a great idea to install trials in a sandbox. 

4. Clarify post-purchase support 

It’s easy to think that the moment you purchase a solution, you’ve completed your project. However, the nature of Salesforce ISV partner solutions and SaaS software means that this will be an ongoing relationship! Testing a solution is very different to pushing it into production and onboarding your users. It’s worth making sure you understand what happens if you do decide to purchase. 

What kinds of questions should you ask? 

  • What is your customer onboarding process like? 
  • Do you have a dedicated customer success team? 
  • How long from purchase to implementation? 
  • Do you use your own product? 
  • Will you notify us of upgrades to your App?  
  • How many releases do you do a year? Do we need to do anything to upgrade?  
  • Do you stop supporting older versions?

💡 Top tip: Make sure you have another point of contact at minimum that isn’t sales. Aim to have at least 3 contacts from different departments. 

It’s time to succeed with a Salesforce ISV partner 

There you have it – our introduction into the world of working with ISV partners. This is by no means a complete list of questions and considerations when purchasing an ISV solution, but this is a great place to start. Like with most things, clear communication and expectation is at the heart of how to succeed with a Salesforce ISV partner. 

So, with this in mind, we wish you the best as you make your next ISV purchase armed with our questions and top tips. 

You’ve got this!

About ProvenWorks

We mean it when we say we’re Salesforce experts. We work exclusively in the Salesforce ecosystem and our products are built 100% for Salesforce.

Find out what Salesforce Ben has to say about SimpleImport

Salesforce Ben has published their review of SimpleImport, our data import solution for Salesforce! 🚀

Andreea Doroftei, writer for Salesforce Ben, talks through the key features of SimpleImport as well as ideal use cases, setup effort, and how this importer could be a great addition to your Salesforce org.

“SimpleImport is a powerful time-saving tool for anyone – power users, end users and partner users. Whether it’s importing order forms on opportunities, handling deal registrations in a partner portal, or something completely custom, SimpleImport opens the door to a new approach for importing data.”

Lucy Mazalon, Salesforce Ben

Check out this in-depth review of SimpleImport by Salesforce Ben.

Interested in seeing it for yourself?

If you’re interested in finding out more about SimpleImport, use the scheduler below to book a demo with our team.

Can you import data in a Salesforce digital experience?

It is not possible, with standard Salesforce functionality, to allow digital experience users to import data to Salesforce.

SimpleImport is the only managed package in the Salesforce ecosystem that solves this common problem. Setup is quick and easy so continue reading to find out how!

We’ll look at both:

  • the business value (👋 hello C suite, ops managers, other people who have been sent this link to review)

Why is it useful to allow partner users to import data into Salesforce?

Salesforce Digital Experiences (Communities) built on Experience Cloud have been growing in popularity. It’s easy to see why they’re so popular, since digital experiences can be used in so many contexts: partner portals, e-commerce sites, help centres and even franchisee hubs.

With so many different digital experience audiences come lots of reasons why external users need to import data into Salesforce CRM:

  • Partners submitting deal registrations 
  • Franchisees uploading quarterly / annual sales information 
  • Retailers importing point-of-sale data 
  • Offices and field units reporting stock management

Organisations need a simple, fast and secure way to enable external users to import data in a Salesforce digital experience.

How to provide import functionality to a Salesforce digital experience

This is where SimpleImport comes in! SimpleImport is our exclusive-to-Salesforce spreadsheet data import solution.

SimpleImport is available on the AppExchange. Start your 14 day free trial and empower digital experience users to import data to Salesforce CRM.

Once you have installed SimpleImport, the steps are simple:

1. Configure an import ‘mapping’ for the partner data and save it.
  1. We‘ve got a handy User Guide to help you configure your import. 

💡 Top tip: To make things easy for the partner, provide a downloadable template spreadsheet file that matches this import mapping.

2. Copy the import mapping ID.

The saved mapping results in an import mapping ID. You just need to copy the ID.

3. Paste the mapping ID in SimpleImport’s Lightning Component.

Place SimpleImport’s Lightning Component on your digital experience and paste the mapping ID to configure the component.

The results 

When it’s time to import, the partner users simply need to drag and drop their completed templated spreadsheet onto the component… 

and that’s it… the import is done! 

What are your other options? 

Let’s take a closer look at one example. An organisation can use a digital experience for enabling partners to register multiple deals. 

With standard Salesforce, the organisation has three options: 

  1. Register these deals one at a time using the Deal Registration Global Action 
  2. Add multiple deals to a spreadsheet and send them to an internal user to import 
  3. Develop and maintain a custom solution 

Empower partner users to import data in a Salesforce digital experience 

SimpleImport is the only managed package in the Salesforce ecosystem that solves the problem of external users importing data in a Salesforce digital experience. 

And if you need more convincing: 

  • Partner users can import their spreadsheet data themselves – no more relying on admins which can result in bottlenecked tasks! 
  • There is no onboarding time – partner users just need the spreadsheet and a drag and drop. There’s no more fiddling with CSVs. Users won’t even realise they’re using an import solution.
  • You’re not compromising minimum-access security – don’t compromise the permissions you have in place. Limit object and field mapping access by user or profile. 
  • Imports take less than 20 seconds on average* (varies on the file size). 

How much does SimpleImport cost? 

We price our SimpleImport digital experience implementations on a case-by-case basis depending on: 

  1. Number of digital experience users who will be importing 
  2. Number of admins who will be managing the back end of the solution 
  3. How frequently you’ll be importing 
  4. Average size of file you’ll be uploading 

That’s why we’d recommend scheduling a demo call with us to discuss your requirements and create an accurate quote.

Book a demo of SimpleImport 

Do you need to empower external users to import on a Salesforce digital experience? 

Check out SimpleImport for yourself on a live demo with one of our team.

Import donations into the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP)

Giving back to the community is a big part of our culture here at ProvenWorks. We are a proud member of Pledge 1% and offer nonprofit discounts on our solutions!

Each year we find ourselves working with nonprofit organisations looking to expand their Salesforce implementations. This case study is one of the most common use cases we see when working in this sector with our tool, SimpleImport.

It’s no surprise that donations are at the heart of many nonprofits. It is not uncommon that they might be managed in another database, accounting system, or with spreadsheets. For these organisations who use Salesforce CRM, it’s vital to try and get as much of this data into your org so you can cultivate a single source of truth.

The Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) leverages the Salesforce-standard Opportunity object to track and manage donations. These Opportunity records are related to donors which are maintained in the Account and Contact objects.

How can SimpleImport simplify importing to the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack?

SimpleImport is the perfect companion for importing donation data, providing a drag-and-drop experience to import the donation spreadsheet file. It can be set up in just a few minutes to create a reusable, scalable, and secure import process meaning your teams don’t need to be tech experts to get donation data into Salesforce.

Do you need to load records with a master-detail relationship? No problem we have you covered. The ability to load child records at the same time and save the mapping is perfect for handling donors and recurring donations. This can be set up for non-admins too since the ManagedImport component can be placed on a Lightning App page. Provide your Salesforce users with everything they need for importing the data – they then only need the file!

Immediate benefits of using SimpleImport

  • Centralise your donation data into one platform instead of storing it across multiple external websites/systems. Cultivate a single source of truth about your supporters.
  • Remove time-consuming, complex repeat activities by leveraging saved mappings in the SimpleImport application.
  • Reduce time spent onboarding new staff on your donor administration process – they only need to learn how to drag and drop!
  • Streamline the whole process of maintaining and creating the donations into a single task by using the upsert operation.

What’s next?

Learn more, book a demo and get a trial of SimpleImport by ProvenWorks.