Ok, so this is something that you’re probably fully aware of, might not completely understand and are probably hoping (like the rest of us) it will go away at the stroke of midnight on May 24th just like the Millennial Bug did. Remember that?
Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that the effects of GDPR will either go away or won’t affect your business in some way. Especially when it comes to your new business efforts.
Furthermore, while there’s always the possibility that just like ‘Cookies’, people might not have the time or inclination to chase you down if they feel they’ve been targeted in a non-compliant manner, frankly the risks are too great.
The official statement on fines to businesses who break the rules are as much as 4% of Worldwide turnover or 20M€ – whichever is the greater. Is it really worth the risk? It only takes one of those ‘how did you get my details?!’ emails and it could all be downhill from there.
One of the biggest questions to date has been, ‘will this really affect B2B?’. Very probably, yes. Because personal data now includes work emails, social media information and an individual’s digital footprint, B2B sales & marketing lists will now count as personal data.
In reality, what are the options then? We think there are three.
- Ignore it
- Get compliant
- Delete and start again
We’ve already explained why number one is probably a daft idea so let’s move straight on to number two – becoming compliant. Here’s a guide to set you in the right direction.
Step 001 / Data Audit & Cleanse
The single most import thing moving forwards will be that you have received express consent or ‘opt-in’ to hold and use someone’s personal data.
This means it will no longer be enough to just offer an unsubscribe option at the bottom of your sales emails.
You should therefore speak to every prospect on your database to re-qualify that they are happy to receive information from your agency. Our recommendation is that over the next three months you put a dedicated resource in place with the specific remit of speaking to every single individual you have on file that meets your targeting criteria. Use GDPR as the angle, explain who you are and what you do and ask them about their current agency support. Create meaningful conversations.
Yes, you might have a smaller list at the end but it will be clean, qualified and, above all, compliant. Furthermore, this will allow you to focus your sales efforts in the future around highly-targeted, accurate data that really counts.
Step 002 / Lead Magnets
Or, good content…
Let’s face it, there’s been an elephant in the room for quite a while now; content.
Ask yourself, honestly, when was the last time you read a ‘White Paper’, had time to write one yourself, or won a £500k brief off the back of that infographic you put on LinkedIn?
Unless you’ve got a really decent strategy in place, and the resources to deliver it, we think there are pitfalls for new business teams when it comes to producing it. How much can you realistically get done? How do you really get it to stand out? Where on earth should it go? Above all, what is its true value?
However, in relation to GDPR, even the most time poor or pessimistic really don’t have any other choice but to look at new ways to make their content assets work harder.
Everyone has an authentic source of content already in place in the form of their website, and it’s fairly easy to push pieces of it out independently (such as case studies and opinion) to extend reach and attract new people. Consider these as your ‘Lead Magnets’. Make sure you have a system in place that manages Lead Magnets often and effectively and, above all, make sure this system is designed to suit you and your team. Here is ours…
Commit to producing only what’s practical and authentic
Post in your prospect’s world, not yours
Have the right tools in place to convert engagement to leads
Never forget the value of the human in the sales process
Review activity continuously and always identify attribution
Don’t just leave things to go stagnant, keep adapting the approach
Step 003 / Data Capture and Conversion
Finally, you need to be experts at conversion.
If you don’t already have them, put the necessary tools in place to capture prospect engagement and track that information. Hubspot is a great example of a tool that will help you do this well, in addition to a whole range of other sales management benefits too.
Then, ensure you have a proactive process in place to identify sales-ready leads at a human level. This means having a dedicated, qualified individual who is constantly monitoring what’s going on and knows exactly how to respond.
However sophisticated you are now, or intend to become, nothing will replace the importance of having a specialist BDM in place. One who truly understands your commercial criteria, manages data continuously, is able to refer to strategic content and build relationships that deliver results. With the extra sensitivities at play because of GDPR, this is probably more so the case than ever before.
Once you’ve got over the doom and gloom of it, GDPR is a big opportunity that, managed well, should be the start of great new things to come. However, it does need careful planning, the right tools & processes in place and the people to make it work.
Get in touch if you would like to know more about how to become compliant or need help in managing the process between now and May 2018.