Updated May 8, 2017

“The new AppExchange Partner Program empowers the next generation of Salesforce ISVs with a single destination for everything they need to succeed—the training to create solutions on cutting-edge Salesforce technology and the programs to turn them into businesses with global reach.”

Leyla Seka, EVP of AppExchange, Salesforce

You have a great idea for an app.

You understand the value of leveraging the power of the Salesforce platform, but are just not sure where to start. Having developed 250+ custom apps for the AppExchange, we are constantly asked, “what do I need to know before I get started?” We’ve got you covered. As a Salesforce PDO (Product Development Organization), from our personal experience working closely with the Salesforce ISV team, here are four important, non-technical milestones.

1. Determine the type of app you want to build.

There are two general types of custom application development:

There are exceptions to these categories. For example, we developed a connector for Mitel’s on-premise phones. However, the two types outlined above are what we see most commonly in the market.

2. Determine your partner license type.

Your partner type is the critical item to determine before you get started. It affects the technical build and also the type of relationship you have with Salesforce as a partner.

  • Connector – A brand-new app type for API connections where the majority of the business logic exists off platform.
  • Checkout – Checkout is Salesforce’s self-service commerce portal. Customers must use credit card payment via the AppExchange. It is often the fastest time to market as it bypasses lengthy contract negotiations. Note: it is not applicable for force.com embedded applications.
  • ISVforce – Limits you to sell to existing Salesforce customers. This is the most common of all models.
  • Force.com Embedded / OEM – White label Salesforce and sell to customers that may not use the platform, by reselling force.com licenses.

3. Sign up for a Partner Community.

The Partner Community is designed to be the primary resource for all Salesforce partners. It helps you through the lifecycle of building your app, as well as your business.  Take advantage of the many features offered through the community:

  • Collaboration – collaborate with other partners and Salesforce
  • Education – one-stop shop for all partner content
  • News & Events – stay up to date on news, events & alerts just for partners
  • Support – submit cases for support from Salesforce
  • Search – integrated search across the Partner Community and Success Community

4. Take the App Academy plunge.

The APP Academy (AppExchange Partner Program Academy) is a free training program provided by Salesforce designed to help ISV and channel partners understand the full app lifecycle across 5 distinct phases: plan, build, distribute, sell (& market), and support. Participants include C-level leaders and executives, as well as managers in sales, business development, product management, operations, marketing, and support – basically anyone who has an active role in the success of your commercial app.You can learn more about the APP Academy on the partner portal at http://p.force.com/appacademy. You must be a member of the AppExchange Partner Program to receive the free training.

Completing the above four milestones will begin to set you on your journey. For more information, download our free Quick Guide: 9 Secrets to Building a Successful AppExchange App. It includes your “Cliffs Notes” for accelerating the course including:

  • How to navigate the complex Salesforce ISV ecosystem
  • The Essential ISV Partner Roles

Remember – going from idea to launch can be daunting. There are many resources available at your fingertips. Don’t go it alone!