“Nobody likes to be sold to, but everyone likes to buy.” – Dr. Earl Taylor
Undoubtedly, the biggest change in data legislation in 20 years, GDPR isn’t just a buzzword anymore. Unless someone has been living under a rock, everyone in the global market has seen, read, and heard plenty about the European Union General Data Protection Regulation. The goal of GDPR is to shore up the data subject rights by establishing greater transparency and authority over personal data and to provide a single best practice for data handling and compliance. If you’re a sales, business development or relationship management professional, you’d be affected.
We’re here to address the ‘GDPR-Sales’ elephant in the room. Read on!
What kinds of Sales Situations would be affected by GDPR?
- Cold Calling: Although GDPR does not directly address cold calling, it may be against the regulation to not know who to call. You’d need to get explicit consent to call and to hold the data of your prospects, even the data that’s unreservedly available on the web and that anyone can comfortably access. When prospecting in the EU, you’d need a legal basis and a legitimate interest for handling their data.
- Cold Emailing: The GDPR chronicles permit direct marketing to be deemed as a legitimate interest for sales people to collect data. However, once the ePrivacy Regulation comes into effect, more specific rules will be established. Any Opt-In lists that you sustain would potentially contain leads of greater quality, resulting in smaller databases but more impactful, nonetheless.
- Social Selling: GDPR is less likely to have a direct impact on your social media marketing since consent is automatically present on all social media networks. This, however, in no way, implies that you’d blast content on social media at the speed of light. Elevate your company’s social presence by personalizing content for a highly targeted audience and then monitor and engage this audience.
- Email Tracking: The data that you collect about the prospect’s interactions with an email that you sent to them will be subject to GDPR as it would now be categorized as personal data. It’s a major downside for the sales people since a tracked email provides them with important information on how to proceed with a particular lead. Until a definitive regulation comes along, it’s best to play safe and find a way to get consent for email tracking from the prospects.
What bases should you cover in a jiffy?
To stay on top of the GDPR game, sales people need to get informed of the GDPR implications and why it is necessary for their business and customer relationships. Audit all personal data that you hold to ensure it is within GDPR guidelines. Review how you receive and document consent, and determine the steps you need to take to ensure compliance. Get strategizing on the kind of content you need to put out there to engage customers through different stages of the sales cycles. Take on a privacy impact assessment on all systems and procedures with respect to the data subject’s rights and record how you’d address them. Have a contingency plan in place to detect, investigate, report, and manage any personal data breach. Lastly, make sure that everything you do is marketed on social media in a magnified fashion so as to draw more customers who would want to give you their consent.
How would your Sales Team need to change?
GDPR empowers individuals with 8 fundamental rights to help them be assured of the privacy and protection of their personal data. Grasp those rights and build your GDPR strategy to accommodate them. Choose to have smaller contact lists and you’d notice your perpetual “quantity versus quality” conundrum fading. This also means letting go of your dependency on soft Opt-Ins and implied consent. Since sales operatives deal with prospects on the front line, the probability of them receiving queries about data protection is higher. To address these queries effectively, sales and marketing teams should undergo regular trainings on how their systems handle the customer’s requests under GDPR, including consent, access, erasure, portability, and processing. Ensure safety of the data that you keep and discard it when you’re finished using it.
How can you spin GDPR to your ‘Sales-vantage’?
Establish a dedicated Data Management team that consists of core stakeholders and is focused on maintaining the integrity and privacy of your prospect database. Recognize the nature of the data that you collect and store in your database and be sure to distinguish between simple business contact information and sensitive information. Understand the existing Data Protection practices of your sales and marketing systems. If you use a CRM or a Marketing Automation platform, find out what your selected vendor is doing to protect your prospect and customer data. These practices should turn the GDPR mountain to a molehill.
As unbelievable as it may seem, rather than setting sales, marketing, and business development back, GDPR is, in fact, a splendid opportunity to fashion relevant and targeted campaigns and strategies for prospects and customers who are actively engaged with your brand. You’d have a stronger understanding of what they are really interested in and a deeper insight into their preferences. If you are GDPR compliant, prospects are more likely to do business with you over the companies that are not. So, gear up your sales team in a way that you glow where others merely shine!