One of the biggest questions for SaaS companies thinking about their first AppExchange build is, how quickly can we go live? There are a million factors involved, but in many situations, new ISVs can cut their development window and time to launch significantly by partnering with an experienced PDO that knows the ins and outs of Salesforce’s complex ecosystem.
A great example of succeeding within an accelerated build window is FullStory, which went from start to finish in just two months (with some help from us)!
We shared FullStory’s “full story” at Dreamforce, but wanted to translate the panel insights into a blog so everyone could benefit. Here are highlights from a conversation between FullStory CEO Scott Voigt and two of our awesome CodeScientists: Product Manager Kevin Houk, who oversaw the entire build, and our CEO, Brian Walsh. Read on, or watch the video here:
Why Build on the AppExchange?
Voigt chose the AppExchange to launch FullStory’s first app for two reasons:
- Salesforce Ventures participated in FullStory’s Series B funding, so it made sense to fully leverage the Salesforce ecosystem.
- Voigt saw a strong use case for his solution on the Service Cloud.
What’s the Launch Process?
Brian broke down the launch process for all apps as the following five steps:
- Design and Test
- Contract with Salesforce
- Security Review
- AppExchange Listing
A Step-By-Step to Launching FullStory’s App:
1. Design and Test
Before FullStory had partnered with CodeScience, they had discussed building the app in-house but had not had great success in the past with other projects, so they elected to work with CodeScience. The framework for the initial conversations with CodeScience, according to Voigt, was: “Here’s what our product does; help us think through how those things could connect.” With the information Voigt provided, Houk was able to get a clear vision of what FullStory wanted and moved straight into a prototype.
“It was pretty exciting to go from a quick conversation to proof of concept. Seriously, it was like less than a week,” Voigt stated. FullStory was able to internally vet the prototype with their sales and support staff to validate it would be a good use case and be successful.
Now some people may think that since there is already a prototype and proof of concept built, there is no need to build further. But Houk explained that when building the prototype, not everything that will be on a full build is covered. Prototypes focus on the most valuable aspects to make sure the app as whole will be successful; then, a full build fills in the gaps, focusing on areas like security, installation processes and the admin experience.
Through an InstallScience package (basically, pre-developed Lightning component code packages that streamline the launch process), CodeScience helps companies speed up the process of administrators installing and configuring the app. These tested, secure components allow admins to quickly move data onto the platform, streamlining the configuration. The easier it is for administrators to install and configure the app, the more likely they are to go from trial to purchase -- increasing your app’s conversion rates.
3. Contract with Salesforce
The contracting process with Salesforce was not as easy Voigt expected. He thought that FullStory was going to have the fastest implementation ever, but Walsh (having seen 250+ AppExchange builds) pumped the brakes because he knew there was more work ahead.
Voigt described the process as “lengthy to say the least.” He said that it would not have been easy for them to figure out what type of plan to start out on if they did not have the help of CodeScience.
Brian and Kevin talked through the four partnership options available -- OEM, ISVForce, Checkout, and Connector -- then recommended the best plan for FullStory. FullStory chose to start out as a Connector app because it offered the easiest and fastest path to begin, while also providing the flexibility to move to the more fully-featured ISVForce partner type when ready.
4. Security Review
The dreaded penultimate step, security review can be very challenging for companies to gain approval on their apps. We’ve done this quite a bit (and guarantee our products pass Security Review), so FullStory was able to secure approval without a hitch -- a huge win in a step.
Houk ran the standard checkmark scans and manual code reviews inside Salesforce, while also making sure that the off-platform functionality was secure (one of the major pain points for many new partners is that it’s not just their app that’s reviewed, but their entire product offering/company’s security).
Voigt’s advice for companies soon to face Security Review? “Plan ahead.” Though he knew that internal security for FullStory was up to par, he didn’t realize the lead time needed for approval within Salesforce.
5. AppExchange Listing
FullStory was able to launch immediately after passing the security review. This process was so quick because of CodeScience’s urging to do all of the marketing for go-to-market of the AppExchange listing and launch plans. Voigt had the copy and images ready for the listing ahead of time and also recorded videos with the early builds.
The whole 5-step process, from initial conversation to launching on the AppExchange, took just 134 hours of development and less than two months total. CodeScience always starts developing apps with lightning components, and switches to a different component if necessary.
The advantage of Lighting components is the potential to work across additional objects with no additional work or development needed, as was the case for FullStory. Voigt started out focusing on just the use case of customer success managers who work on cases, but ended up working across what Brian calls the “people objects,” meaning the app supports contacts and leads. This flexibility allowed FullStory to expand their target market to multiple segments, identifying new revenue opportunities from the single build.
FullStory had a really hard time building Salesforce integration before because they are not familiar with the ecosystem, therefore they did not know where they would stumble – such as security review. Voigt said that CodeScience was able to guide them through the process while always being available for any questions they had.
It is possible to build a quality app on the Salesforce AppExchange on an accelerated timeline. If you need help developing something great and navigating the ecosystem, we’re your go-to PDO -- just contact us to start the journey!