Select an App Type

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • List the key features of an ISVforce app.
  • List the key features of an OEM Embedded app.
  • Describe considerations when building an OEM Embedded app.
  • Describe the license options for an OEM Embedded app.

Choose the Correct App Type for Your Customers

Being an AppExchange partner is a bit like being a furniture designer. You could design a complete set or individual pieces that work with a client’s existing furniture. To be successful as a furniture designer, you first identify your customers so that you know what they need or want. Similarly, as an AppExchange partner, you figure out who your audience is to have a successful AppExchange product.

As an AppExchange partner, you can build either an ISVforce app or a Lightning Platform Embedded app, commonly referred to as an OEM Embedded app. These apps are aimed at different types of customers, so it’s one of the first choices you make. In this unit, you learn the type of app to build based on the customer you want to reach and the functionality you want to deliver.

What Is an ISVforce App?

If you want your app to extend Sales or Service Cloud, build an ISVforce app. You can sell ISVforce apps only to existing Salesforce customers. These apps are typically designed to augment Sales Cloud or Service Cloud business functions.

Which Features Can an ISVforce App Use?

Because customers install ISVforce apps into existing orgs, your application can use the Salesforce features that the customer has available. For example, if your app augments Sales Cloud, you can use Lead, Opportunity, Campaign, and Case objects. Some features are optional, and customers must purchase licenses to access them. If your app depends on functionality available only with specific licenses, such as Customer Communities, customers must purchase those licenses from Salesforce. In the next unit, you learn to identify which features are optional so that you can make an informed decision before adding them to your app.

What Is an OEM Embedded App?

Are you ready to build an app that revolutionizes financial accounting? Or provides extraordinary enterprise resource planning (ERP) for manufacturers? If your app doesn’t rely on Sales Cloud or Service Cloud functionality, you want to build an OEM Embedded app.

You can sell OEM Embedded apps to existing Salesforce customers or “net-new” customers who don’t use Salesforce at all. Existing Salesforce customers purchase and install OEM Embedded apps just as they would ISVforce apps. A net-new customer buys your app, and you deliver an org with your app installed.

Which Features Can an OEM Embedded App Use?

OEM Embedded apps have access to the Salesforce Lightning Platform, including standard and custom objects, workflow, reporting, and security. Although they also have access to certain Sales and Services Cloud objects, such as Leads, Opportunities, and Campaigns, they can’t surface those objects to customers. So you must be careful how you use them. If it looks like an OEM Embedded app is the way you want to go, review the full list of considerations. Revisit this list often as you develop your app.

A note of caution around OEM Embedded apps. Contractually, Salesforce doesn’t allow you to rebuild or replicate Salesforce products or product functionality within an OEM Embedded app. This restriction includes Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and our industry-specific solutions. Let’s say you start to build an app that seems to have the same functionality as Lead and Opportunity objects. You could be venturing into perilous territory. If you find yourself in this position, log a support case in the Salesforce Partner Community. We’ll connect you with a business coach who can help answer your questions.

Log a Support Case

To get help with a specific issue, log a support case in the Salesforce Partner Community. You don’t have to be a Salesforce partner to log a case, but you do need a Partner Community account. If you don’t have an account, sign up for one. Follow the instructions in the Salesforce Partner Community Trailhead module. If you have an account, you’re all set.

To log a support case:

      1. Log in to the Salesforce Partner Community.

      2. Click the question icon and then click Log a Case for Help.

      3. Select Salesforce Partner Program Support.


If you don’t see the Salesforce Partner Program Support tile, use the org picker to select the org that's associated with your Salesforce partnership account.

      4. For product, enter and select Partner Programs & Benefits.

      5. For topic, enter and select AppExchange Partner Program.

      6. Provide any other required details and then click Create Case.

A business coach will get in touch with you, and provide support.

Editions and Licenses

The edition, user licenses, and feature and permission set licenses determine the Salesforce functionalities in an org. When a company decides to purchase Salesforce, it first must choose an edition and then purchase licenses. User licenses give access to different features within an edition. Feature or permission set licenses provide access to features that are not part of the base edition.

When customers purchase your app, they are purchasing one or more AppExchange Application licenses from you. You can choose whether those licenses are for individuals or if they are site-wide. When customers purchase your OEM Embedded app, they are purchasing AppExchange Application licenses and embedded Salesforce Lightning Platform user licenses from you.

Let’s compare a customer’s experience for purchasing and installing your app when they are an existing Salesforce customer versus a net-new customer.

A diagram of the customer process for purchasing and installing an ISVforce app

A diagram of the customer process for purchasing and installing an OEM Embedded app

Determine the Salesforce Licenses for Your OEM Embedded App

If you’ve worked with Salesforce before, you know that Salesforce has many types of licenses. In broad strokes, a license determines what people can do and which data they can see.

When building an OEM Embedded app, you can make three types of user licenses available to your customers: Lightning Platform, Customer Community, and Customer Community Plus.

Let’s say you are planning to create a ticket management app. The proposed app will track venues, events, and ticket availability. Regular customers and ticket resellers use it to purchase tickets. You want to offer all three types of licenses for the following reasons.

Who are they and what can they do?
What type of Salesforce license type do they need?
Your customers’ employees manage venues, create events, designate ticket prices, and so on.
Lightning Platform (also known as Salesforce Platform)
These licenses enable them to use all the features of your app. OEM Embedded apps always include this license type.
Individual ticket buyers search for events, log in, and buy tickets. They gather customer loyalty points that they can use for discounts.
Customer Community
Customer Community licenses allow ticket buyers to interact with a limited part of the app and see only their own data.
Ticket resellers access events that they can resell, view details around the lower and upper limits for the types of tickets they can purchase, and buy tickets. They also have a person designated to manage contractual details, while other employees manage ticket blocks after they are purchased.
Customer Community Plus
Customer Community Plus licenses allow ticket resellers access to more than Customer Community licenses, but don’t provide access to everything. Also, users with Customer Community Plus licenses can be included in role hierarchy permissions.

Your OEM Embedded app can include Salesforce Communities, allowing your customers to work with external users like their customers and partners. And the more users you have, the more licenses you sell!

It’s a lot to think about, we know. If you’re considering building an OEM Embedded app, definitely check out our ISVforce Guide for a complete overview of its capabilities and restrictions.


Previously, AppExchange partners could offer Partner Community user licenses with OEM Embedded apps. This license type isn’t available to new AppExchange partners, but existing partners who currently sell Partner Community licenses can continue offering them.

Quick Comparison of App Types

Before we dive into the remainder of this topic, take a moment to review what you’ve learned about the two types of apps.

ISVforce app
OEM Embedded app
Existing Salesforce customers
Net-new customers
Existing Salesforce customers
Source of user licenses
Purchased from Salesforce
Embedded in application
Embedded in applicationCustomers can choose to assign their AppExchange app licenses to users with existing licenses rather than using the embedded user licenses.
License type around which app is built
Depends on solution and targeted customers. Sales and Service Cloud are most common.
  • Lightning Platform
  • Customer Community (optional)
  • Customer Community Plus (optional)
AppExchange Application licenses
Provided by partner
Provided by partner

Pricing Implications of App Types

As a Salesforce AppExchange partner, the Salesforce app you build is using resources within our infrastructure. To cover our costs, you share a percentage of your revenue with Salesforce. As you sell licenses, you pay Salesforce. Did you notice that sequence? It’s only when you sell licenses that you pay Salesforce, not before.

To help you grow your business, our percentage-based revenue share enables flexibility in how you price your app. For example, you can have a tiered approach. Customers who purchase over 100 licenses get a 10% discount, and customers who purchase over 500 licenses get a 15% discount.

ISVforce app customers have already purchased user licenses from Salesforce, so our costs are largely covered. Therefore, if you build an ISVforce app, you have the most flexibility in how you choose to price your app. The situation is different for OEM Embedded apps. Remember those embedded Salesforce user licenses that are part of your app? We have a higher cost because they are included in your app. Though you can still choose to discount your app, there are guidelines around pricing for embedded licenses.

To learn more about how pricing works, log a support case in the Salesforce Partner Community. For product, specify Partner Programs & Benefits. For topic, specify AppExchange Partner Program.

What Type of App Should You Build?

A diagram with icons for the three types of apps we will consider

Now let’s look at a few scenarios and do some decision-making. The critical question for choosing the type of app to build is “Does the app augment Sales or Service Cloud?” If we decide to build an OEM Embedded app, we review who will be using the app to see if we want to include some type of Community user licenses.

Scenario #1: Event Management

App type:

OEM Embedded

License type:

Lightning Platform, Customer Community Plus, Customer Community

App functionality:

Help event planners stay organized by handling:

  • Details around venue bookings
  • Ordering food and decor
  • Various other aspects of events, large and small

App roles:

  • Event planning staff
  • Suppliers with whom the staff works
  • Customers (of your customer) reviewing key details of their events

Does the Event Management app augment Sales or Service Cloud? Although your customers might use sales or service functionality, it’s not a requirement for using your app. So an OEM Embedded app is the best choice. You also want to include Customer Community Plus and Customer Community licenses for suppliers and customers.

Scenario #2: Deal Progress Forecaster

App type:


License type:

Not applicable

App functionality:

Add insight to opportunities in Salesforce by:

  • Analyzing past related deals
  • Analyzing overall usage
  • Tying analysis into the current state of a sales rep’s opportunity lifecycle

App roles:

  • Sales manager
  • Sales reps

The Deal Progress Forecaster app augments Sales, and it can’t stand on its own. So you want to build an ISVforce app. Your customers already have Sales Cloud licenses.

Scenario #3: Support Agent Time Tracking

App type:


License type:

Not applicable

App functionality:

Provide support agents with a time-tracking calendar within the Service Cloud Console. The calendar maintains awareness of an agent’s:

  • Schedule
  • Working cases
  • Availability

App roles:

  • Service managers
  • Service reps

This app enhances the Service Cloud experience, so you want to build an ISVforce app. The Service Cloud Console is included with the Service Cloud licenses that your customers have already purchased, so your app appeals to a broad audience.

Wrapping Up

To build functionality that enhances or naturally fits with Sales or Service Cloud, build an ISVforce app that you can sell to existing Salesforce customers.

If the app you want to build has new functionality and can reach beyond Sales and Service Cloud customers, build an OEM Embedded app. You can choose to embed Lightning Platform, Customer Community, and Customer Community Plus licenses in your app. But remember, don’t recreate Sales or Service Cloud functionality within your OEM Embedded app.

Regardless of the app type you build, as you design the app, keep in mind the features that are available in your target customers’ orgs.

The next unit takes you further in your decision-making. Take a deep breathe. Do the quiz. (You’ll ace it!) And off you go!


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