Jumping into a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform like Salesforce can feel a little bit like shopping for groceries in a foreign country where you don’t understand anything written on the label.

AppExchange is Salesforce’s all purpose grocery, and it offers more than 700 ingredients for your perfect CRM. But what to choose? Just as you make a list before you to the grocery, you need to consider what your business really needs before you make a trip to AppExchange. There will be many powerful apps that will beg you to throw them in your cart, but if you won’t use it, the cost won’t be worth the gain. Many of the apps are charged on a per user per month basis, so know your needs in advance.

Here are a few you might want to consider:

Great Ingredients for Marketing

Daddy Analytics for Google Adwords is incredibly useful for tracking the leads generated by your Google advertising campaigns.

Eloqua Marketing Automation allows you to create, coordinate and automate multi-channel marketing campaigns, and then track campaign progress, using a variety of analytics tools.

iContact Email Marketing is a great way to send mass emails from Salesforce. One of the easiest apps to learn how to use, iContact allows you to send and track mass emails from Salesforce in real time.

Administration Basics

DemandTools is a must-have for administrative organization. It prevents duplicate records, compares Salesforce data with external data, backs up records and allows users to work with batches, for easy management.

Dupe Blocker eliminates duplicate leads the moment they’re entered.

ShareNow, by ShareMethods, allows people across departments to easily share documents and has the option to pass docs through an approval process.

Enriching Sales

Sales Activity Dashboard allows managers to easily track sales activity for each rep and make comparisons between sales and opportunities.

For a sales team on the go, Salesforce Mobile allows users to take CRM with them.

EchoSign manages electronic signatures and contracts in a complete contract management system that tracks, files and updates contracts. It also shares PDFs of contracts with Salesforce accounts.

Accounting—Easy as Pie

 DataSynch: Quick Books Edition gives away its function in its name—it synchs QuickBooks to Salesforce, eliminating potential errors caused by duplicate data entries. It’s published by Pervasive Software.

FinancialForce is a full-blown application that handles billing, invoicing, accounts receivable, collections and a ledger, among other things.

Some Plugins to Spice up Salesforce (Bonus: Plugins are sometimes free)

Cirrus Insight integrates Salesforce with Gmail, Google Apps and Google Calendars, for easy synchronization.

Conga can pull information from Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe PDF and email programs to generate custom proposals, contracts, presentations and account plans.

G2 Maps allows you to map leads, opportunities and assets (among other things) so that you can better understand demographics and market segmentation.

Survey Force makes survey creation and distribution to customers a snap, allowing you gather feedback in seconds.

Salesforce for Twitter and Facebook keeps you connected to social media, allowing you to automatically create leads based on tweets and comments from Facebook and Twitter.