What is Salesforce AppExchange: In-depth review

One of the critical factors behind Salesforce's success is its rich ecosystem, which includes Salesforce AppExchange and the ability to work with custom applications. Salesforce AppExchange marketplace is often called the "App Store for Salesforce."

What is Salesforce AppExchange: In-depth review
Table of contents

This app store currently hosts more than 7K applications, and the number increases every day.

Despite being the number one CRM platform, Salesforce doesn't have a solution to every business process. In such cases, businesses have two options – create a custom Salesforce solution or get one from Salesforce AppExchange.

In this article, we'll take an in-depth look at Salesforce AppExchange, including:

  1. What it is
  2. The various types of solutions it offers
  3. The benefits of using it
  4. How it functions
  5. Its pricing models.

What is Salesforce AppExchange?

Salesforce AppExchange is a marketplace of Salesforce apps that was launched in 2005. It is an essential extension of your Salesforce CRM system and offers diverse solutions, tools, and services. With Salesforce AppExchange, you can search and install apps like Outlook Salesforce integration, LinkedIn for Salesforce, etc.

AppExchange is an application marketplace tailored specifically for Salesforce applications. Its primary goal is to help businesses to optimize their Salesforce experience.

If you look at stats from Salesforce, more than 90% of the Fortune 500 companies use AppExchange applications. Also, with over 10 million installs, AppExchange applications serve more than 91% of Salesforce customers overall. Let's now look at the types of Salesforce AppExchange solutions.

Salesforce AppExchange solutions

Due to the number of options being more than 7K, AppExchange might feel confusing. To help you navigate the platform, here are the primary types of solutions available on AppExchange:

Types of Salesforce AppExchange solutions

Description

Applications

Collection of apps for various business needs, from marketing automation to customer service. They consist of both free and paid applications.

Lightning Components

Modular building blocks for application development within Salesforce. Lightning Components make UI customization easier and speed up development.

Bolt Solutions

Industry-specific pre-built templates for Salesforce communities, ideal for healthcare, finance, and nonprofits.

Lightning Data

Solutions providing clean and up-to-date data for seamless integration into Salesforce, benefiting marketing and sales processes.

Flow solutions

Tools to simplify building and integrating workflows without coding, saving time and resources through automation.

Experts and consultants

Access to certified Salesforce consultants for tailored advice and solutions.

Apps

As the name 'Salesforce AppExchange' suggests, it hosts an extensive collection of apps designed to solve your unique business needs. These apps cover a broad spectrum of business needs, from marketing automation and project management to analytics and customer service. You can find many of these for free and ready to install.

🖥️
In addition to the diverse array of apps, there is a lesser-known category of solutions known as API-only apps. These apps provide integration and data exchange between your Salesforce environment and external systems, applications, or services.

One of the API-only solutions is Hutte. It simplifies Salesforce development and DevOps, eliminating the need for code and offering a user-friendly visual interface. Hutte does not require a managed package and is a Salesforce ISV partner.

Lightning Components

Lightning Components are modular building blocks that help with application development within the Salesforce ecosystem. These pre-built components make creating and customizing user interfaces easier, resulting in faster application development and an improved user experience.

If you're looking for custom pages with no code, you'll need Salesforce Lightning Components. App identification and a few drag-and-drops are all you need.

Bolt Solutions

Bolt Solutions are industry-specific pre-built templates that accelerate the creation of Salesforce communities. They are particularly valuable for healthcare, financial services, and nonprofit organizations, providing a solid community-building foundation.

Salesforce AppExchange hosts a dedicated section for Bolt Solutions, including apps, Lightning Components, industry process Flows, and communities. Salesforce employees and partners build all these solutions.

Lightning Data

Reliable and up-to-date data is a crucial part of CRM processes. Lightning Data solutions on AppExchange offer clean data that can be easily integrated into your Salesforce environment, ensuring data accuracy and integrity.

This solution specifically benefits marketing and sales processes requiring real-time data updates.

Flow solutions

Automation is a fundamental aspect of Salesforce, and Flow Solutions helps you take care of just that. These solutions help you simplify the process of building Flows and integrating them with third-party systems.

Flow solutions fast-track the Flow automation process, allowing businesses to save time and resources by automating workflows and reducing manual tasks.

Experts and consultants

For organizations needing expert guidance to optimize their Salesforce implementation, AppExchange provides access to certified Salesforce consultants. These experts can offer tailored advice and solutions, ensuring your CRM aligns with your unique business goals.

Through Salesforce AppExchange, you can access more than 1K Salesforce experts and consultants. These experts come from authorized organizations and can help you with tasks like building custom solutions, project implementations, integration, and migration.

Benefits of Salesforce AppExchange

Efficiency

AppExchange solutions simplify and streamline business processes, reducing the need for manual work. This enhanced efficiency translates to cost savings and improved productivity.

Customization

The 7K solutions available on AppExchange enable businesses to customize their CRM according to their specific requirements. You can adapt Salesforce to match your unique business processes and objectives.

Scalability

As your business grows, Salesforce AppExchange solutions can grow with you. This scalability ensures that your CRM can adapt to your evolving needs without requiring an overhaul of your systems.

Expertise

Access to certified Salesforce consultants and experts via AppExchange ensures you maximize your CRM investment. Their expertise can help you navigate complex implementations and fully utilize Salesforce's capabilities.

Innovation

AppExchange is a hub of innovation, constantly evolving to offer access to the latest technologies, features, and integrations. This enables your CRM to stay competitive in a rapidly changing business landscape.

Install or build

Whether you should install or build a custom AppExchange solution depends on your business needs and circumstances. Here are some considerations to help you make the decision:

Complexity of requirements

If your business needs are relatively straightforward and can be met by existing AppExchange apps or solutions, installing an off-the-shelf solution is often quicker and more cost-effective.

Cost and budget

Building a custom solution can be expensive and time-consuming. If you have budget constraints, installing an existing solution that aligns with your requirements may be more practical.

Time constraints

Custom development takes time. If you have urgent needs or tight deadlines, an installed solution can be implemented quicker.

Scalability

You must consider the long-term scalability of your solution. A custom-built solution may offer flexibility if you anticipate significant growth and evolving needs.

Integration requirements

If your solution needs to integrate with other systems or databases, custom development may provide a more tailored solution for integration needs.

Maintenance and support

Custom solutions require ongoing maintenance and support. Ensure you have the resources and expertise to maintain a custom solution if you build one.

If you need guidance, the easiest way is to consult with Salesforce experts or consultants to assess your needs. In many cases, a combination of both approaches is more suitable. You can start with an existing AppExchange solution to meet your immediate needs and then consider custom development for specific enhancements.

Salesforce AppExchange for different user personas

Salesforce AppExchange caters to two primary user groups. The first is buyers and users seeking solutions to enhance their Salesforce experience. The second is product listers, which include Developers and vendors who create and list their applications on the platform.

Here's an overview of how Salesforce AppExchange operates for each of these user groups:

For users and buyers

Users and buyers start by visiting Salesforce AppExchange, where they can explore a catalog of applications, components, and services. Users can search based on keywords, categories, or specific functionalities, allowing them to find solutions that align with their business requirements.

Here are other examples of how you can use AppExchange as a buyer or user:

Evaluating and testing

You can access in-depth information for each listed solution, including user reviews, pricing details, and any available demo versions. This information enables you to assess and test the suitability of the solution.

Installation and integration

Once you choose, you can install the solution directly from AppExchange into your Salesforce environment. The installation process is typically straightforward, with many solutions offering step-by-step guidance for a seamless integration.

Configuration and customization

Following installation, you can configure and customize the solution, ensuring alignment with your unique business processes. This customization allows you to integrate the solution with your existing Salesforce setup.

Ongoing support and updates

AppExchange solutions come equipped with varying levels of support from product listers. This includes free community support and premium support packages. You can also expect regular updates and enhancements, ensuring the solution remains up-to-date and efficient.

For product listers

As a product lister, you start by listing your applications, components, or services on Salesforce AppExchange.

Before you list your solution on AppExchange, you must join the Salesforce Partner Program. Once you have joined, you'll have to sign a partnership agreement.

Security review and compliance

Salesforce imposes a mandatory security review for all solutions featured on AppExchange. This review process ensures that listed solutions meet Salesforce's security and compliance standards, thus guaranteeing the safety and integrity of the platform and the user's data. Your role is to test the solution thoroughly before listing it.

Publication and visibility

After the security review, your solution is published on AppExchange, granting it accessibility to millions of Salesforce users. You can also opt to provide free trials or offer paid versions of your solutions.

User engagement

As a product lister, you also get the opportunity to engage directly with AppExchange users through the platform. This includes addressing inquiries, extending support, and responding to user feedback. Remember that positive reviews and ratings enhance the visibility and credibility of your solutions.

Continuous enhancement

You should continually update your listed solutions to cater to evolving user needs and Salesforce's regulations. Regular updates and feature additions attract and retain users on the platform.

Salesforce ISVs and OEM partner apps have to give a revenue share to Salesforce. Interestingly, despite the revenue share, OEM partner apps don't mandatorily need to be listed on AppExchange.

Salesforce AppExchange pricing models

Pricing of Salesforce AppExchange solutions is not uniform – it varies depending on the nature of the application. Common pricing models include:

Free

Many apps and components on AppExchange are available for free. These can be excellent options for businesses looking for CRM solutions without a significant financial commitment.

Subscription-based

A considerable number of solutions operate on a subscription model. Users pay a recurring fee to access the solution, often monthly or annually.

Subscription options include:

  • Pay-as-you-go: Some solutions follow a usage-based pricing model. In this model, businesses are charged based on their actual solution usage.
  • One-time purchase: You pay once and get the usage license. Lightning Components and select apps may be available for a one-time purchase fee, which grants perpetual usage rights.
  • Custom pricing: For expert consultant services and specialized solutions, pricing is often customized based on the business's specific requirements. This can be a beneficial option for businesses with unique or complex needs.
💸
As a business user or buyer, review each solution's pricing and associated terms, considering your budget and specific requirements.

Salesforce AppExchange awaits you

Salesforce AppExchange is a one-stop shop for businesses of all sizes and industries. If you want to learn more about it, make sure to visit these Trailhead lessons: