• Emily Malone

How to choose the best apps for your Salesforce org

The AppExchange has over 3,400 Salesforce apps available, with over 5 million installs. No wonder people get overwhelmed with the amount of choice. It’s easy to get caught up with the excitement of new technology, but it’s also super important not to get too carried away. To help, here are some things to think about when planning your app installations.

How to search for the best apps in AppExchange

Based on your Salesforce user profile, Einstein AI brings the apps you might be interested in into first view on the Home tab. This will likely be a blend of other apps you might have used/reviewed in the past or based on your industry. There will also be some apps that have paid to sponsor their app on this page.

But don’t just rely on Einstein to do the work for you. You can use the AppExchange keyword search to find relevant apps for your organisation. Try several keywords, and you’ll be shown the first ten apps that match your keyword search. If you want to view them all, just click ‘view all’. The apps will be listed based on activity from the last 30 days to determine rankings. But make sure to scroll through the apps so you don’t miss a hidden gem.

How to judge an app by its cover

  1. Is it lightning ready?

You want an app that’s Lighning ready and can still support classic, because that shows the company is investing its resources on a more modern design and user interface.

  1. When was the latest release?

If it was more than two years ago, it’s clearly an app that doesn’t get updated regularly. This could mean it has some unresolved bugs, and shows it’s not keeping up-to-date with any new tech. You’ll want to watch out for something that’s been updated within six months or so.

  1. It is secure?

Each AppExchange app gets checked for security by the Salesforce team rigorously, but you might want to get your own peace of mind regarding stuff like permissions, where data is stored, if it’s processed by a third party etc.

  1. Is there an installation guide?

If the app doesn’t have a document walk-through on how to implement it, step by step, that’s a red flag. Poor or no support documentation might mean you’ll have to depend on the app’s support team, which can take more time than necessary.

  1. Is customer support available for the app?

Some developers might release apps out into the world without really thinking about how they’ll provide support if things get buggy. Always figure out what support is available for your chosen app. For example, is there a support email? Phone number? Online forum? Knowledge base? And always see what the response time is by asking others how helpful and responsive the vendor’s support is.

  1. Are there any screenshots and reviews?

I know that I personally like to preview any app before having to go through the bother of installing it to see what it looks like. It lets you know what to expect and shows the company has put that extra effort in to showcase it to their prospects.

You also definitely need to be able to read at least 10 reviews to see a diverse opinion. If an app doesn’t have any, that’s a bit of a red flag. Watch out though, if there are multiple reviews that look like they were all left on the same day, they could have been nudged or promoted by the app company. Just take them with a pinch of salt.

Remember, you don’t have to get all the apps at once

I know, I know, you want to try out all the shiny new tools, and why wouldn’t you? But introducing a new system like Salesforce to your organisation is tricky enough, let alone layering more on top. It’s super easy to go overboard with all the excitement. Slow down, take a moment, and know that you don’t have to introduce your team to all of these new apps at the same time. You’ll have a much better chance of getting your team on board with the new platform if you break your project up into multiple steps — including installing the apps and integrations you have your eye on.

Is it a ‘must have’, a ‘want to have’, or a ‘nice to have’?

Have a think about which apps are needed now, and which could be added to your Salesforce later. You can break this down into these three categories to help with this.

  1. Consider what’s absolutely necessary for your organisation, add them to the ‘must have’ list, and implement those first.

  2. Then take a look at what you ‘want to have’; this could be something you want soon, but isn’t absolutely crucial to your business right now.

  3. ‘Nice to have’ apps are those that would be kind of cool to introduce to your team eventually and without having, won’t hinder any department’s work.

What apps have you used before?

What technology are your users used to? Perhaps they’ve been using an email marketing or survey tool with your old solution. Remind yourself of when those app contracts might expire. This way, you can determine costs, what could happen in later phases, and decide the overall timing for your app integrations.

Or, you can see if these familiar apps are able to integrate with your Salesforce — more often than not, they can!

Are your users going to get along with it?

There are a lot of apps out there that are so easy to use, your grandpa could get the hang of it. But there are also some that have more complex user interfaces and technology ahead of most users’ current capabilities. If you need an app that’s as complex as this, you have to take into account how you’ll manage training to make sure your users don’t give up on it. Equally, you need to make sure the app actually adds value to your organisation. If it’s something that isn’t totally necessary to do their job, users might not even bother with it.

Also, Consider how your users have taken to the apps you’ve used in the past, and what their general habits are around adopting a new product. This can help you figure out how long it might take for them to get the hang of a new app, in turn helping you prioritise implementation timings.

Do the Trailhead module!

If you’re still stuck on how to navigate AppExchange and choose your apps, you can take the AppExchange Basics trailhead module. It’ll help you get started with the AppExchange, navigate it ‘like a superhero’, and install packages (apparently also like a superhero).

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Yes, there are lots of great apps that integrate with Salesforce through the AppExchange which won’t require a developer. But there are also the more specialist integrations that businesses like us can deliver through APIs. These require a developer to custom-write them to make sure they do exactly what your organisation needs them to. If you’ve got any questions about this, our expert Salesforce developers can give you the answers. Just ask us!

*Featured image sourced from Salesforce*