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The Best Approach to Salesforce ISV Application Design

Dec 14 · 5 min read

The Salesforce customer base and ecosystem is an enormous market for CRM-adjacent solutions. ISV partners who leverage Salesforce can grow faster through the expansive AppExchange ecosystem with millions of users. So what is the Best Approach to Salesforce ISV Application Design?  Read on to learn more about it.

“AppExchange is the Salesforce store, empowering businesses to extend the functionality of Salesforce across every department and industry. It’s an ecosystem of over 5,000 ready-to-install solutions, 80,000 peer reviews, and 6 million customer installs to help solve any business challenge.”

You can expedite your time-to-market by choosing a PDO partner with deep experience in navigating the complexity of the Salesforce ecosystem- product, sales relationships, legal, and technology. You can also ensure a successful go-to-market strategy with a partner that can help you navigate and understand Salesforce product management and field alignment.

Building products on the Salesforce platform is very different from other platforms. Salesforce requires deep technical expertise about best practices, patterns, and approaches that work and scale. Getting set up as an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) is a very opaque, difficult process. Additionally, passing the Security Review is extremely complex; the process is slow and preparation is very difficult.

Salesforce ISV application design can be done in many ways but there are some tried and true principles that can be applied to safeguard your product success.  Here are some of the principles you need to follow to launch a successful product on AppExchange.

1) Establish Market-Fit

The best Product Development Outsourcers (PDOs) help their burgeoning ISV clients validate their idea so that it has the best chance of achieving product/market fit. To launch a successful product, you need to identify the right product-market fit for your solution and you should expose the features that will make your app indispensable for Salesforce users.  It starts with asking questions and then developing market analysis to generate evidence that the answers are as accurate as possible. Here are some of those questions you and your PDO should be able to answer:

What business problem are we solving?
For whom are we solving it and why are we solving it now?
What alternatives are out there in the market?
What happens if this problem doesn’t get solved?
How will we get this product to market?

2) Mapping Project Tasks and Estimates

You establish product-market-fit with a deep dive into business use cases, product roadmap, user flows, go-to-market strategy, and ISV Setup. Then, you focus on architecture alignment with products for integration. It is critical to design a sound, best-practice architecture for a complete solution and user experience. From there, you can map out an implementation plan, an MVP roadmap, and build out associated costs.

The functional and technical architecture is monumental in the success of your product. There are many considerations you need to take into account.  For example, multi-tenant platforms require applications to be carefully designed so that user-facing failures are avoided at all costs. Disrupting the user workflow can also be a fatal mistake. You need to have a performant architecture that scales elegantly and can handle large data volumes.

3) Design Thinking

With a design thinking perspective, you can ensure a holistic mobile and desktop experience that speaks to your users.  Design thinking can be established with a few stages- discovery, definition, UX design, testing, and auditing.  The discovery stage should include qualitative research and process observations to understand users and identify their needs. The definition stage is what aligns internal and external employee experiences with process and technology capabilities to inform solutions. The UX design & test stage incorporates collaborative Iteration and validate designs in crew design workshop sessions. Lastly, the audit stage validates development deliverables with design.

4) Salesforce Compliance and Security

Staying compliant with the Salesforce ISV team is one of the biggest delay challenges faced by potential ISVs. Doing everything perfectly, the process can take months. Working imperfectly might double or triple the duration until the AppExchange go-live, putting potential strategic return at risk. Client APIs will be scanned to identify OWASP Vulnerabilities with the same vulnerability library SFDC uses. Most ISV applications have allowable known vulnerability issues that need to be approved by Salesforce. Pre-clearance will prevent unnecessary delays from the Security Review team.

What You Need to Consider in Selecting a Salesforce PDO

Choosing a Product Development Outsourcer that has repeated proof of success navigating the Salesforce ISV process and the team takes the unknown out of application development. We focus this capability to be leveraged by our customers included with our application development services.

  • Navigate ISV, Product, Legal & Sales team complexity without delays: Understanding how to break through to key Salesforce team members can prevent unnecessary schedule delays. The best PDOs unlock those relationships to drive schedule efficiency.
  • Align go-to-market strategy with field alignment: ISV Partners with the best chance of success will solve an industry problem that Salesforce natively does not. Aligning with the field enables the distribution of your application and Salesforce core synergistically.
  • Compliance with ISV team requirements: Beyond delivering an ISV solution, ISV’s need focus to remain compliant with the AppExchange team operational processes. From Order Entry to Reporting to Security Review resubmissions, don’t put your listing at risk for non-compliance.

Why work with theCodery

theCodery puts senior Salesforce expertise in your hands.  Our product development services include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Market Opportunity & Competitive Landscape Analysis
  • Setup as a Salesforce ISV
  • Application Architecture & Development
  • Managed Package Development
  • DevOps Setup & Management
  • End-to-end Application Prototyping
  • Release Management
  • Security Review Assistance
  • Full-Service Quality Assurance (QA) Testing


Some of the key benefits our previous clients have seen:

  • Shortcut Time and Cost
  • Guaranteed Security Review Pass
  • Secure Development on the Salesforce Platform
  • Follow Best Practice and Most Well-Known Design Patterns

If you are just getting started in this process, we encourage you to read some of our other blog posts on PDO: “Why Use A Salesforce Product Development Outsourcer (PDO)?” or “What Is A Salesforce Product Development Outsourcer (PDO)?

Contact Us to Get Started

To learn more about theCodery as a PDO or our approach to Salesforce ISV Application Design, please contact us  We have helped many ISVs establish product-market-fit and get to market faster with our proven methodology and our trusted senior staffing.

theCodery’s PDO Services for Salesforce ISVs: Achieve rapid speed-to-market, meaningful user engagement, and high-growth for your Salesforce AppExchange product by leveraging our proven delivery methodology, deep Salesforce architecture expertise, and holistic approach to the product life cycle.

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