Salesforce apps are a way bigger deal than you think they are. Some projections say Salesforce’s AppExchange market share will be worth millions of dollars by 2028.
Salesforce is the biggest name in the customer relationship management (CRM) game. It’s been around since 1999, after all. One thing that makes it so easy to adapt to changing tech needs? Its app ecosystem.
But these apps can be built in several different ways. The most common apps tend to be custom-coded by a third party, or built elsewhere and connected via an application programming interface (API).
We’d argue that the best are native Salesforce apps. They’re built entirely within the Salesforce platform, and let admins expand the software’s core functionality without compromising on speed or security.
There are tons of benefits to native salesforce apps, and we’ll get to them in a minute. First, let’s go over some basics.
Table of Contents
Types of Salesforce Apps: A Rundown
There are over 4000 apps listed in Salesforce’s AppExchange. There are even more custom possibilities that can’t be counted. Those numbers are mind-boggling, but these apps typically fall into one of three categories: third-party, non-native, and native apps.
These integrations can’t be found in AppExchange. That’s because they need to be custom-built for a very specific use case.
They’re entirely separate from Salesforce’s main platform, and only connect to it through API calls. Because they’re custom-built, they’ll need some dev attention to maintain and run.
These are the most common types of Salesforce apps you’ll see in the AppExchange. Since they are usually listed in the AppExcahnge, they tend to be a little easier to manage than bespoke third-party solutions, especially for common tasks.
Non-native apps are built specifically to talk to and share information with Salesforce, but they “live” elsewhere in the cloud. Some parts of the app might be hosted by Salesforce, but at least part of the app is external.
Many of these are common business tools that relate to marketing, email, and document functions that aren’t included in Salesforce’s original toolset. Some good examples would be Marketo, Mailchimp, and Adobe Sign.
Some of the more popular apps can even integrate call data — call records, notes, and more — directly into Salesforce records.
Fun fact: these telephony-related apps make up the largest subcategory in the Salesforce AppExchange’s “Customer Service” category.
These apps connect to Salesforce’s servers through APIs, which allow them to import information directly into the Salesforce platform.
The third type is native apps. These apps are as close to Salesforce’s main platform as you can get. They’re built within Salesforce itself — with tools the company has developed to allow it.
But it’s a very tight dependency. If Salesforce isn’t working, then a native Salesforce app won’t work either. The app can’t run independently of Salesforce.
Because of those close ties, there are tons of benefits to using native Salesforce apps in your business.
Why Do I Need a Native Salesforce App in the First Place?
We’ve already established that Salesforce is the big name in CRM technology. But there’s a lot that goes into managing customer relationships that Salesforce’s core platform doesn’t let you do.
Some allow you to share and sign legal documents and add that information to your Salesforce record. Some apps can spin up contracts at the click of a button and attach them to prospect records as well.
Other apps connect Salesforce directly to phones. For sales teams using Salesforce to reach out to prospects, connecting phone functionality to the information in their Salesforce entries is a no-brainer. Even for customer success teams looking after their client relationships, accurate information on how many times a client has been in contact is a crucial resource.
Others help you use your customer database information to send timely communication emails — or even SMS text messages.
Keeping all of this information in one place is crucial for helping businesses use fewer platforms to get work done. While this doesn’t seem like a big deal, it has hidden benefits.
For example, in this new era of distributed teams, limiting the number of new tools to learn can help new hires onboard faster. Instead of having to learn multiple software platforms to get up and running, new team members would only need to learn a few.
Strategic app use can also help distributed teams stay coordinated by centralizing information in one CRM. Combining both sales outreach and marketing communication in one Salesforce record is critical to understanding how often your company is interacting with its customers, and how.
In short, it’s much easier to build on top of software you have through an app, than it is to connect two very different tools.
Benefits of Native Salesforce Apps
Now, on to the good stuff. For stakeholders, don’t worry. If you don’t know much about APIs or technical terms, we’ll do our best to explain the complex stuff clearly!
Native Salesforce apps provide a higher level of security to users. Because Salesforce is a large and trusted industry name, they have the resources to ensure customer data is very secure. This includes the money, time, and staff to retain security experts, run regular audits, and thoroughly test network and server security.
Native apps are built within Salesforce itself. This means they get the added benefits of Salesforce’s centralized security without needing to build the infrastructure themselves. The app’s developers don’t need to put quite as much time and effort into securing data in a third-party platform — Salesforce has already done that legwork for their app builder.
This includes authentication information. Salesforce users can easily become native app users, without generating a separate set of credentials. There’s no need for layers of authentication, just sign in and go.
The multiple logins associated with a non-native app aren’t necessarily challenging to manage. It’s just that it’s much, much easier with a native app.
With a non-native or third-party app, your information is on a separate platform from Salesforce.
The provider, even if they have a non-native app with an easy API connection, might have very different data security practices than Salesforce. Sharing your valuable information between systems with different security protocols might put your valuable information at risk.
Native Salesforce apps are much quicker to run than other Salesforce apps.
This is because non-native apps rely on making API calls, which take time.
Here’s how it works: one platform has to send a request to the other for specific information. Then, the receiving platform translates that message and sends back the requested data.
Once that information makes it back to the first platform, it now has to translate data into something the platform will recognize.
To the average user, this might not sound like much. In fact, in many cases, it only takes a few moments at most — often just a second or two. But for a computer making hundreds of these calls every day, these “calls” can add up and slow the system down.
This is especially true if you’re working with huge chunks of Salesforce data or very big customer databases. All that information needs to be translated, sent, stored, and mapped correctly. The sheer volume can slow down the processing time for a non-native app’s API.
However, native Salesforce apps don’t need to make as many API calls — because they’re built right into Salesforce itself. This means that the time each system would take to request, wait for, receive, and translate data is cut way down.
In the end, using a native app will get you a faster, more accurate integrated Salesforce experience.
Because they’re built on Salesforce, native apps are more reliably online.
Ever had web-based work software go down in the middle of a workday?
Yeah, it’s not fun.
Larger tech companies like Salesforce, Amazon, and Google, have invested a LOT to keep this from happening. They typically have the time, money, and staff to ensure that outages rarely occur. Even if an outage occurs at a large web service provider, they have the resources to resolve it quickly.
With smaller companies, like many who offer non-native apps through Salesforce’s AppExchange, an outage can be devastating. This is because smaller operations may not have the same resources to dedicate to keeping the servers up.
Outages can last for longer, which can hurt your ability to get things done in Salesforce (and generate revenue).
With a native Salesforce app, however, your app will be up as long as Salesforce is. You don’t need to worry about a third party’s service outage affecting your Salesforce workflows.
Imagine not being able to use your Salesforce-integrated phone system for a day. Your team would have to manually enter call logs and notes in your CRM, costing you precious time. And that’s a best-case scenario.
For more reliable and consistent uptime, a native Salesforce app is the way to go.
Ease of Use for Non-Developers
Salesforce’s internal app-building frameworks make it easy for anyone to make native apps. For example, their Lightning App Builder provides a drag-and-drop experience to create mobile apps within Salesforce itself.
For those committed to the Salesforce platform, this is an excellent and business-user-friendly way to customize your app ecosystem.
Even for someone with a lot of Salesforce expertise, this is a helpful tool. It’s an easier way to develop and deploy your native apps, without sinking precious time, money, and other resources into DevOps. Or worse, custom-building a solution that probably already exists in AppExchange.
Business stakeholders: this benefit is going to be a bit technical, but stay with us. Because they’re built in Salesforce, native apps don’t need the additional translation that non-native apps require.
Most software functions like this: a system creates an object in a programming language. The system then assigns a value to that object and uses it to create complex functions.
This is why the APIs we discussed earlier are so important. They translate messages from a different system or language into a language the recipient can understand, and fulfill the request.
Thinking of an API as an interpreter is a good analogy. They translate and pass information between two systems having a conversation.
If you’re working with a native Salesforce app though, the interpreter becomes unnecessary. Because the app is built within Salesforce itself, the app is already speaking the same “object language” as Salesforce.
In other words, the translation via an API does not need to happen. The data and information shared between the app and Salesforce can be instantly understood by both platforms.
This means you can spend less time making code sensible to the Salesforce API, and more time optimizing your CRM database.
Try a Native Salesforce App For Yourself
As you can see, there are many benefits to choosing native Salesforce apps to beef up your Salesforce instance instead of a non-native or third-party app. Whether you’re looking for marketing, analytics, or telephony apps to add to your Salesforce instance, there’s a solution for you.
This is where Fastcall comes in. Our platform seamlessly integrates your phone functionality with Salesforce (including inbound and outbound calls).
What’s even better — it’s a fully native Salesforce app. Which makes it secure, reliable, and guaranteed to mesh well with your existing Salesforce ecosystem. To try it yourself, request a demo today!