Salesforce AppExchange Success Blueprint, Jakub Stefaniak

Salesforce AppExchange Success Blueprint, Jakub Stefaniak

I must admin that I’m constantly drawn to AppExchange and application development.

It might be my product owner working experience, desire to develop something useful, seeing the potential of delivering SaaS solution or something else, I don’t know. But at each CzechDreamin we have at least one related session and I developed a few applications for Salesforce (SmartEmailing integration, skloňování jmen, kraje a okresy), even though they aren’t published there, mainly because I didn’t want to become a partner.

Not a surprise then, that when Jakub published his book about AppExchange development I wanted to read it. Was it worth it?

Setting the stage

As we embark on this journey through the book, I’ll be your trusty guide, writing down all the interesting bits which catched my attention.

Ok, the language at the beginning and end of each chapter was a bit tough to read for me, Jakub said it at the end as well („laughing at my own jokes, a niche sense of humor, I know„), but besides that the writing style is great, clear and easy to follow.

The book is full of information I didn’t know before, some of them are probably easy to find and I just never had a motivation to look for them (did you know there was a dedicated website to demo jams or that there are regular Office Hours), some are obviously lessons learnt.

For every dollar Salesforce earns this year, the ecosystem will make $4.96, and by 2026, that number will rise to $6.19.

When I see how much Salesforce makes, the ecosystem will make a lot. And if an app is the path … I’m looking for idea!

5000 solutions, more than 10 million installs, 260+ Salesforce Labs apps – apps developed by Salesforce employees.

I also found the Ask Your Document in the book, which I recommended in my latest newsletter, Kaptio or Formula Debugger.

Idea or need first? Aka why projects fail

He speaks a lot about figuring the needs and pain points, but later on he speaks about the analytical part of the AppExchange as well, where partners can see what works, what customers use, etc. But it looks like there is no way how to analyze what they are looking for at AppExchange, so you can take some inspiration what they need. So you need to take Johann’s approach who searched IdeaExchange where he can add some value.

Jakub speaks about JTBD framework (jobs-to-be-done) and how it’ll help you focus on what is important, about differences when you develop product based on your needs or based on your feeling, and in such case there is nothing wrong to build a simple landing page to capture the interest and when it looks good develop and follow-up. Practice I saw and heard several times as a way to minimize risks.

Tips for developers

I do have the PD2 certifications, so I should know something, but real practice is real practice. You’ll learn about the important detail of global classes (they cannot be changed and I’ve been surprised by this once, when developer unintantionally made this change and I was surprised, why we cannot go back), about dynamic apex, dependency injections, extension packages, flow templates versus overridable flows, platform cache, why prioritize LWC standard components over SLDS tags (saw LWC which was just full of tags and didn’t use the components at all), and much more.

Salesforce Connect for ISVs, where each partner receives three licenses per customer. What, we can use that for free? Wow!

The small details, such as the fact that Activities can have only one lookup to any standard object, so if customer already one created and your package wants to add another to the same object, it’ll fail. Bummer.

Push upgrade and its benefits, I still don’t know why plenty of providers don’t do it and why it is also hard to subscribe to any newsletter about updates. They do have my contact details, why they don’t communicate on their own and why they don’t auto update as there is an easy way how to allow customers to disable these auto updates.

12 Chapters of great content

Spread across 300 pages covering everything from becoming a partner, through application design, finding the niche, developers tips and areas to focus on, security review, release management, onboarding of new customers, effective processes (including information about fractional CTO and their benefits), how to leverage analytics or manage technical debt.

I would say this book is a must for anyone who wants to develop an application which will communicate with Salesforce. It doesn’t have to run on Salesforce or be listed on AppExchange, there is plenty of information also for those who just want to connect. You might obviously find that the process might be complex and tricky and get in touch with PDO partner, who will develop the app for you. Jakub’s company is obviously mentioned a few times in the book, at Actum we do have the experience as well and my team developed most of the apps available on the Czech market.

All in all great book to have in your library, so jump over to Packt and buy it!

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