Implementation 101: How to choose your Salesforce apps

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By: Lila Pigott | 3.27.18

One of the biggest reasons people move to Salesforce is the ability to integrate third-party applications (apps for short) with their CRM. With over 3,400 Salesforce apps available and over 5 Million installs, the Salesforce AppExchange is a real powerhouse for any organization looking to find apps to customize their Salesforce.

There’s even a Trailhead module to help you learn how to use the AppExchange.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement of new technology. Understandably, you want the best (with all the bells and whistles) for your organization. But take a deep breath--you don’t have to install or introduce your team to all of these apps at the same time. Below we’ve outlined the strategy we recommend our clients take when planning their implementation and app choices.


Don’t integrate all of your desired Salesforce apps at once

It’s easy to go overboard and integrate too many apps when you first decide to move to Salesforce. We’ve found that clients have a better chance of getting their users to adopt the new platform if they are willing to break their project into multiple phases, including app installs and integrations.

According to Brian Berns, CEO of Knoa Software, “91.6% of errors are related to the user, design or process. It’s not that employees aren’t working hard — they’re just busy dealing with rapid technology changes and constant workflow interruptions.”

Taking a thoughtful approach to when and how you introduce your users to new technology can make all the difference in adoption and use.


Consider timing

If you can, outline apps and their functionalities that can be added to your Salesforce instance later. You’ll want to break down these third-party apps into four categories. These can also just be a “type of app” and not an exact product.

  • Must Have - Right now
  • Want to Have - Soon
  • Nice to Have - Later, will want and need eventually
  • Future Phase - Later projects, doesn't hinder any department's work


Don’t leap too far ahead

Additionally, beware of leaping too far ahead technology-wise with your app choices. You don’t want to pick an app whose interface is so complex and ahead of your users’ capabilities that they might not use the tool.

Consider how your organization will handle change management and training, and make sure your users don’t get left behind. This helpful article from the Power of Us Hub, a Salesforce Community for users, lists 10 questions to ask when choosing a Salesforce app.


Evaluate the current technology and your user

Review the current apps you’re using, whether integrated with a CRM or not. Common examples could be a form solution, storage solution, and a mass email tool. Keep documentation on when your contracts with those apps might expire. This can help with determining costs, what could happen in later phases and overall timing for integrating those apps or new solutions into your Salesforce instance.

Next, review how your users have taken to the apps you use and their general habits of adopting a new product. By reviewing user adoption, you can evaluate and prioritize your third party app selections.


Looking to implement Salesforce and Salesforce apps?

We released our How to Budget for a Salesforce Project whitepaper. Our updated budgeting version will include helpful information, like how to pick and plan for your Salesforce apps, to help you strategize your Salesforce implementation. Plus, we’re including a handy worksheet so you can create a realistic budget, preparing you for conversations with your team and implementation partners.


Download the whitepaper



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