Getting an App on Salesforce AppExchange – Part 3: Publishing

Posted by Srinivas and Rajani | Posted On October 5th, 2017 | App Development, AppExchange, Custom Development, Salesforce

This is the final part of a three-part series to help you get an app on Salesforce AppExchange. Part 1 discusses planning for getting an app on AppExchange. During this phase, you’ll define the scope by considering key questions.

Armed with your answers and a plan, you move forward with developing your Salesforce AppExchange app. Part 2 guides you through development and the critical security review process required by Salesforce.

Salesforce AppExchange Publishing App

Then you’re ready to publish your Salesforce app to share it with the world. This article outlines how to go about publishing your app on AppExchange.

Complete Ongoing Security Review

Once you pass the first security review, it’s not over. The security review guidelines must be followed every phase of development. Furthermore, Salesforce also requires periodic security reviews that occur six months to two years after the initial approval. Security vulnerabilities change daily, making it a necessity to require ongoing security checks.

Every version of the app must undergo the security review process. Salesforce also requires that developers test their offering before submitting for security review. This increases the app’s chances of passing the review. This is one reason that AppExchange is the No. 1 business app marketplace. Organizations trust AppExchange as a safe, secure place to download apps. The security review steps are covered in Part 2 of this series.

Publish on AppExchange

To get your app on AppExchange, you’ll need to:

  1. Connect the packaging organization to AppExchange.
  2. Set up a provider profile.
  3. Create a listing for the app or component.
  4. Submit the app or component for security review.
  5. Publish the listing on AppExchange.

The purpose of the listing is to help users understand what your app or component can do for them. If your app uses SOAP or REST APIs, you can request an API token.

In creating your listing, you’ll add:

  • Offering description
  • Contact information
  • Media: images, videos, and branding
  • Free trial or test drive information
  • Pricing
  • Listing categories
  • Select installation option
  • Choose license settings
  • Manage email notifications
  • Set up payments for app

Stripe can handle credit card payments and subscription plans. It also works with the Checkout Management App (CMA), a dashboard with subscription updates, revenue, and other insights.

How Does Versioning Work?

Most apps and components will have updates with enhancements and to ensure compatibility with current technology. Whenever you upgrade your app or component with a new version, you’ll submit it for an AppExchange Security Review and register the package with your license management app.

You will not need to pay the security fee to have your updated offering reviewed. After you upload the new package version to AppExchange and associate it with your listing, Salesforce runs a source code analysis for security vulnerabilities. There is no charge for this scan as it’s part of the annual listing fee. However, be aware that you will be asked to confirm your payment information when running the security review wizard.

The License Management App (LMA) can help you identify which customers need to upgrade to a new version of your app or component. Users can also check for updates when they log into AppExchange to view their account.

Updates to your app can either be a major release or a patch. For any quick fixes and releases to be published on AppExchange, create patch org from the main release. (Package Versions use this format: majorNumber.minorNumber.patchNumber. For example, the patch org version will start with 1.00.1, if the patch org is created for the main release 1.00.)

Merge the fixes completed in patch org into the main development org to ensure that all fixes are part of the next main releases. Also, update test cases with the issues or enhancement to make sure all of them are tested in the next phase of testing.

How Does License Management App (LMA) Work?

Stripe integrates LMA for managing leads and licenses for your AppExchange apps and components. This means you won’t have to manually update license settings when customers renew, upgrade, or cancel.

Integrating LMA in your sales and marketing processes makes it easier to engage with customers and prospects as well as grow your independent software vendor (ISV) business.

In setting up the LMA, you should determine the licensing model and the level of licenses (individual user-level or company-wide). Licensing models are configured in Stripe.

Salesforce Partner Program for ISVs

The Salesforce Partner program for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) provides training, tools, and resources to ISVs to help them serve their customers and be profitable. There are four ISV Partner tiers based on the partner’s revenue contribution to Salesforce: Registered, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Each tier merits a set of benefits. For instance, all tiers get an AppExchange listing, listing analytics, and eligibility for the AppExchange marketing program. Only Gold and Platinum partners get AppExchange Customer Spotlight and AppExchange Demo Jam. Visit Salesforce Partner Community for more information about the partner program.

Providing a Free Trial

Giving customers the opportunity to try before they buy increases your chances of reaching more customers. Customers may be reluctant to buy something without knowing how it will work with their Salesforce system.

You have four ways to provide a trial:

  1. Install your app or component from AppExchange.
  2. Configure a test drive on AppExchange.
  3. Use Trialforce on AppExchange.
  4. Use Trialforce on your website.

Trialforce offers you a way to provide free trials and roll out your Force.com app from your website or any other website.

You can also use Trialforce to:

  • Run a marketing campaign
  • Customize your offering’s branding, functionality, design, data, and trial experience
  • Manage trials for multiple apps and components in one place
  • Allow users, including non-admin users, to try your offering without logging in their production environment
  • Create trial organizations for sales demo
  • Create test organizations with sample data for internal quality assurance (QA)

You can manage your trial through the Trialforce Source Org (TSO). This is where you configure your managed package, create demo data, and set up demo user accounts.

Customization Requests

Your customers may make requests for customization of your app to better meet their needs. How will you evaluate these requests? Will they become part of the next version? Only one version of an app or component will be out there.

You may consider customizing the app and providing that to the customer who requested it. However, this results in having multiple releases in the wild. Perhaps, you’ll do a merge on a quarterly basis.

With AppExchange, you can monetize your idea, grow your brand, or both. Salesforce offers APIs and mobile-ready tools to help you build Salesforce apps that you can sell and market on AppExchange. This three-part guide walks you through the process from planning through publishing to ensure your app reaches the more than 75% of Salesforce customers who use AppExchange.

How to Get an App on Salesforce AppExchange series

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To learn about Salesforce development, which includes helping your organization develop Salesforce apps and get your app on AppExchange, please contact us at customersuccess@appshark.com.

Srinivas and Rajani

While Srinivas serves as the CEO of AppShark, Rajani oversees AppShark’s Salesforce projects as the Director of Cloud and CRM Services. In this blog series, they collate their expertise to tell us all about AppExchange App Development.

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