Molly Walsh
Jul 5, 2016

You have a million dollar idea for an app… Now you want to move with jetpack speed. With a new app installed every minute, AppExchange is the leading enterprise ecosystem of apps and components. You understand the value of leveraging the power of the Salesforce platform, but are just not sure where to begin. Having developed 220+ custom apps for the AppExchange, we are constantly asked, “what do I need to know before I get started?” We’ve got you covered. From our personal experience, working closely with the Salesforce ISV team, here are four important, non-technical milestones.

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There are three general types of custom application development:

  • Connector App – An app that connects Salesforce to your SaaS application. Examples that we’ve developed include MailchimpDemandbase, and Lattice Engines.
  • A fully native AppExchange App – An app built entirely on the Salesforce platform. 
  • Embedded – White label Salesforce and sell to customers that may not use the platform. Examples we've developed include For the Record (Auscript), Virtual Regulatory Solutions, and ICIX.

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


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.

  • 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 embedded applications.
  • ISVforce – Limits you to sell to existing Salesforce customers. This is the most common of all models.
  • Embedded / OEM – Allows you to sell your app as a standalone and resell licenses along with it.


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


One of our favorite resources to recommend (especially for beginners) is Salesforce’s Trailhead, an in-depth series of tutorials, tips and training modules designed to help users quickly learn skills that benefit their businesses.

The more aligned you are with Salesforce’s process and methodology, the easier the journey to launching on the AppExchange and, ultimately, the more customers you’ll have using your product.

Trailhead is an awesome, FREE resource for training, whether you have less than an hour or time to devour it all. Think of modules like lessons, and trails like courses. There are trails for aspiring ISV partners that’ll get your project started on the right foot.

Information is being added or updated all the time, and employees can earn certifications in the form of badges for completing trails.

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

  • 9 Steps to Navigating the Salesforce ISV Process
  • The Essential ISV Partner Roles

Remember – going from idea to launch can be daunting. There are many resources available at your fingertips. A Product Development Organization (PDO) like CodeScience can help you fly through the process. Don’t go it alone! 

Get to market faster with AppExchange Accelerator.

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