4 Steps to Developing and Launching Products Successfully on AppExchange
By Rahul Saini
Sep 19, 20227 min read
When you come up with an idea for an app, you begin devising a plan that will turn your vision into a reality. You start identifying and finalizing the objects and the fields you want to add, shortlist the data sets you will need, and create a broader object model. You also spend time choosing the right interface and decide if you want to use Lightning Components or stick to standard record pages. Finally, you aim to start using VisualForce and add tons of fantastic features to your app.
However, before you embark on this journey, you must spend some time researching as you don’t want all your efforts to go in vain. Time spent finding answers to the right questions will help you get closer to developing a five-star rating app that incorporates all the right features and could be made available to users at the right price.
In this post, we will look at the different steps that you can take to develop an outstanding app for AppExchange. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Steps to Successfully Launch Your App on AppExchange
Step 1: Research
As mentioned above, evaluating your idea before you begin to code, is crucial. Take a close look at the competition and find out how well their apps are doing, what features they are offering, and at what price point they are offering them to their users.
Then, establish a USP that will encourage users to switch from your competitors’ app to yours. On top of that, it is a good idea to check marketplaces such as HubSpot Marketplace and Freshworks Marketplace for other apps in the same niche.
Why? Because even if you are not planning to list your app on these platforms, you can always find good ideas to gain a competitive advantage in your domain.
While at it, find out if you are planning to enter a super crowded space on AppExchange. Creating an app with unique features will do no good if the user has to click through 20 results or more to find it. It’s simple, without a solid presence at the top, you will not get the desired footfall in AppExchange. Aim to be in the top 10 apps as it will also improve your current listing on the platform.
But what if there is no real competition in your target niche? In that case, you will need to work harder. You don’t want to create a solution that’s looking for a problem; instead, you need to understand the exact reason why there are no apps in your targeted domain. No apps in a mature marketplace are a sign that there is no real need for an app and in such cases, simply winging it in the hopes that customers will search for your app is not enough.
Step 2: Validate Your Idea
Once your research is complete, start working on your app. However, do not get obsessed with the code immediately, and work toward creating something that can help you test the waters.
Focus on validating your app ASAP, even if you have to take a few shortcuts or incur some costs on technical staff. Yes, it would help if you strived to write a clean code that aligns with the industry’s best practices, but gaining validity for your app with a minimum viable product (MVP) should be a top priority.
Reaching the product-market fit early is crucial to understanding the exact future of your app. So, prioritize your efforts, time, and resources with brutal honesty. How? Here, take a look.
- Get your MVP that’s fit for purpose out ASAP
- Use marketing to get the listing in front of as many users as possible
- Allow some free downloads to increase installations and gather user feedback
- Consider pushing features such as a slick interface, using Platform Cache, and better onboarding to the subsequent versions of your app
- Keep track of your technical debts so that you can find the right way to do things and create a to-do list for later
The initial feedback and customer queries will help you dictate your next moves. It is here that you start listening to your customers and work on creating a strategy to help you ascend to the next level. Then, repay your initial technical debts and start working on the new version.
Step 3: Be Open to Changes
So, the MVP did not generate the desired results, and there are not many installations or customer queries; what to do now?
Don’t panic. Instead, find out what went wrong. Most users don’t like to pay for an unrated app. Did you offer your MVP for a price? If yes, that was the first mistake. But if it was free, you need to check out the analytics. Identify the reasons behind poor installation numbers or fewer views of your listing.
Find out if your message was clear enough to tell people about your app in the first three seconds. After that, it is time to move forward if you do all this and do not find any answers. The initial response is a great way to determine if you have created a winning idea or not. After that, you can choose to adapt, make changes, or perish.
Step 4: Fix the Problems
So, you understood the shortcomings and fixed things by tweaking your app. You now have your first 20 customers and five-star reviews to help your app climb higher in the search results. Amazing!
Yes, listening to customers is essential. But every time you want to add a new feature, find out exactly the problem it will solve. Do not blindly implement every ounce of feedback, or else you might end up with a wide range of fringe features that do not add any real value to your customer's experience.
Now, it is time to move toward version 2 of your app. Picture your app’s future as it sits amid the competition, and visualize where you want to be. Do you just want to be there, or do you wish to close any gaps to become a leader?
Following these initial steps will clearly help you do what you must do to launch a successful product on AppExchange. The idea is simple, start small with a set of guidelines, do not publish an overly complex app without knowing what your customers expect, and use the feedback to create a framework to spend your resources optimally.
And if you are in doubt, it is always a good idea to enlist the help of an extended Salesforce team to develop an app that performs well from the first day. Experts at Growth Natives conduct a thorough audit of your business needs and help you identify the gaps in your niche to create an app that appeals to customers.
To discuss your Salesforce development needs, email us at email@example.com. To learn about our wide range of automation and CRM-based solutions, click here.