Easily Adopted CDPs: The Difference Between Success and Shelfware

Leadspace Customer data platform

When it comes to tools, everyone appreciates the ones that work, and usually that means they are easy to use. Unfortunately, analysts report that at any time, 25%+ of our business software is actually shelfware. Shelfware refers to software or technology solutions that have been purchased by a business but are not actively used or adopted. If you’ve bought useful tools from major software companies, you’ve probably fallen victim to the promises of what software can do, then realized that actually implementing it was too difficult and slow to end up using it. Additionally, you’ve probably bought numerous tools that you didn’t need only because you were forced to buy them in a package deal with the tools you actually wanted. These are tools that we don’t want and certainly won’t use, but we buy them anyway because we need that other tool. 

Shelfware has become so common in software and IT agreements that we’ve come to accept it and even expect it. This is a sad state of affairs that deals a devastating blow to our wallets (and to society’s moral compass). The cost of shelfware can even act as a barrier to entry for smaller companies and startups. We believe it shouldn’t be that way. We want tools that are easy to implement, adopt and use.

Of course, not all shelfware is collected this way. Other major causes of shelfware include:

  1. Companies agree to buy each other’s products but don’t end up using them.
  2. Things get put on the shelf after a change in leadership or direction of a project.
  3. Implementations that failed or were not as productive as expected (i.e. for whatever reason the solution can’t work within your architecture).

Regardless of how you accumulated your shelfware, it’s still a problem that you’ll want to minimize going forward, especially when it comes to buying a Customer Data Platform (CDP). Tools with easy adoption in the B2B context can bring several benefits, particularly in terms of reducing shelfware. These problems and solutions to shelfware are compounded when choosing a CDP because of the incredibly high business value that a CDP provides. 

Remember, the best CDPs will (1) offer real-time data unification and identity resolution, (2) support buying groups and have buying group expanded capabilities on the roadmap, and (3) use AI for insights, journey mapping, and next best action. CDPs provide much more than all that, but the point is that these three capabilities alone are incredibly valuable and would be critical to helping you find, create and prioritize closeable business for revenue automation. Now, just imagine how devastating it would be if all of those capabilities ended up collecting dust on your digital shelf. How do you make sure that doesn’t happen to you? By choosing a CDP with easy implementation and adoption!

In Forrester’s The B2B Customer Data Platform Landscape, Q3 2023 report, Forrester analysts indicate that B2B CDPs have evolved into an established market that, “push successful vendors to focus on UI improvements and adoption,” explaining that, “Leading B2B CDP vendors understand that a successful sales and marketing tool is one that sellers and marketers can use. Although a B2B CDP deals with complex functions like data management, identification resolution, and journey orchestration, requiring an advanced technical or data science skill set to perform foundational functions creates adoption friction points and limits the tool’s overall efficiency gains, lowering its perceived value.”

What are the advantages of having a CDP that’s easy to adopt?

Increased User Engagement

  • More likely to be adopted by users within an organization.
  • Higher user engagement leads to increased utilization of the software, reducing the chances of it becoming shelfware.

Faster Onboarding

  • Simplified and intuitive tools facilitate quicker onboarding of new users.
  • Users are more likely to start using the tool immediately, reducing the likelihood of delayed or incomplete adoption.

Minimized Training Costs

  • Require less training for users, saving time and resources.
  • Reduced costs make it more feasible for businesses to encourage widespread adoption.

Rapid Time-to-Value

  • Allow users to quickly realize the benefits and value of the software.
  • Faster time-to-value encourages continued usage and decreases the chances of the tool sitting unused on the shelf.

User Satisfaction

  • Tools that are easy to adopt and use contribute to higher user satisfaction.
  • Satisfied users are more likely to actively engage with the software, avoiding the scenario where the tool becomes shelfware.

Flexible and Scalable

  • Easy adoption tools often have flexible and scalable features, making them more adaptable to different user needs and evolving business requirements.
  • Adaptability reduces the likelihood of the tool becoming obsolete and abandoned.

Data-Driven Insights

  • Tools with easy adoption often come with built-in analytics and reporting features.
  • Organizations can use these insights to track user activity, identify potential roadblocks to adoption, and make informed decisions to enhance usage.

Cross-Functional Collaboration

  • Encourages collaboration across different departments and teams within an organization.
  • Increased collaboration leads to a higher likelihood of sustained usage.

Simply put, easily adopted tools in B2B not only help to reduce shelfware but also contribute to improved user engagement, faster onboarding, cost savings, and overall satisfaction. This results in a more successful implementation and utilization of the software within the organization.

Unlike most CDPs available, Leadspace is actually ready to use out of the box and doesn’t require any other purchases to use – no extra partners or implementations. Your salespeople and marketers can immediately access the user-friendly interface to explore your Total Addressable Market (TAM), discover leads/contacts, find lookalike companies, create and activate segments, and leverage our 30+ embedded sources to enrich buyer profiles across hierarchies. With Leadspace, no downloads, coding, or training are necessary to gain significant business insights. To unlock the full potential of our Revenue Radar, of course, you will need to discover your ICP and build models off of your first-party data – luckily, our team is here to walk you through that part of the process.

Don’t believe it’s that easy? Check out Forrester’s scoreboard, The Forrester Wave™: B2B Customer Data Platforms, Q4 2023, where Leadspace is the only platform to score a solid 5 out of 5 in Adoption. When you invest in a powerful CDP solution, make sure it doesn’t turn into shelfware. When we say Leadspace is ready to use and that you will use it, we mean it.

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