Dreamforce 2014 opens its doors today. With 135,000 registered attendees from 91 countries, the streets of San Francisco will become awash with marketers, salespeople, business owners and a vast array of Salesforce partners.

With the launch of a special GridScape for Dreamforce ’14 today, G2 Crowd is taking a particularly close look at the latter; those vendors that produce products that work within the Salesforce ecosystem.

And following Salesforce’s announcement yesterday of its new analytics cloud, Wave, we’ve found some interesting trends in G2’s data. Analysis of customer reviews underlines the fact that business intelligence is top of mind for the CRM behemoth’s users.

The Salesforce AppExchange is the virtual home to all these third-party add-ons. The store has over 2,500 apps that plug into the Salesforce environment.

Of those partners, around 350 will be taking exhibition space on the Dreamforce show floor. G2 Crowd’s GridScape breaks that number down even further to the 70 solutions that have received 10 or more customer reviews via its surveys.

I asked G2 Crowd via email why the numbers on its GridScape only cover a small percentage of the available exhibitors.

GridScape for Dreamforce 14“It is correct to say that many of the smaller vendors do not have 10 reviews yet. However, from this we can’t simply conclude that many are struggling with gaining a foothold,” said Tim Handorf, president and co-founder at G2 Crowd. “There could be many reasons they don’t have more than 10 reviews.”

Those reasons?

Many of the partners in the AppExchange are small and, as a result, have a smaller customer base.

Others have products in areas where customers are less likely to write a review, such as those solutions involved with security, payments, HR, and financial reporting.

“Furthermore, many vendors just don’t have customer advocacy programs as part of their marketing approach to date,” Handorf said.

Of the 70 solutions that do appear on G2’s Gridscape for Dreamforce ’14, 62 of these are true third parties. The remaining eight are Salesforce products. Looking at the grid, it is clear that some product types are much more popular than others.


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Sales Intelligence is the most represented category, with Business Intelligence coming in at second place. Clearly, Salesforce users are keen to understand and extract the underlying data in the system and interpret what it means for their business.

This interest in analytics and data intelligence is not a big surprise to me. As a long-term user, I can tell you that pulling relevant data and insights from Salesforce is one of the more difficult and time-consuming tasks you can perform without a third-party tool to smooth the process. That complexity increases as you delve deeper into the marketing cloud.

Salesforce Wave is designed to make gathering insights easier for everyone. It is too early to tell what impact its launch will have on the dozens of analytics partners currently supplying solutions within the AppExchange, 11 of which sit on G2 Crowd’s GridScape for Dreamforce ’14.

In third and fourth place come the Configurator/Quotation Builder solutions and E-Signature systems. It is fair to say that Salesforce users see a lot of value in solutions that can help salespeople build quotations quickly and get them signed off without mess or fuss.

Fifth and sixth place go to the areas of Cloud Data Integration and File Storage. As CRM solutions like Salesforce continue to evolve into full-blown, customer-centric databases, integrating third-party cloud data and allowing for the storage and control of files is an area users find particularly interesting.

Finally, seventh and eighth place go to marketing automation vendors — seen by many as a nice-to-have rather than a must-have solution — and the area of sales compensation products.

Dreamforce visitors can change the GridScape live at the event. G2 Crowd will be collecting customer reviews at the show (booths N2238 and W809). If you’re not one of the “lucky” 135,000 people at Salesforce’s premier customer event, you can keep up with the changes in real time over at G2’s website.