Tim Stevens
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

GDPR Compliance for Marketing and Sales

GDPR Compliance

One of the main reasons GDPR was created was to encourage more companies to be transparent to their data subjects. And since its arrival in May this year, GDPR has vastly altered the way businesses communicate with prospects and customers, but what exactly is GDPR and why has the new privacy law only recently been introduced?

What is GDPR?

GDPR, which stands for General Data Protection Regulation, was introduced with the aim of strengthening data rights for residents across the EU, whilst also making protection law across all member states consistent.

In short, it works to ensure that those companies who insist on misusing data and ignoring the newly set GDPR rules, face the risk of significant fines, not to mention putting their reputation in jeopardy.

Why Has It Only Recently Been Introduced?

Similar rules to GDPR were defined in the EU’s Data Protection Directive 1995 (i.e. Data Protection Act 1998) but having been created prior to the age of social media and also prior to the internet significantly changing the way we live and work - its rulings were somewhat outdated.

GDPR as such offers an updated outlook based on the recent changes in the technology market, including adaptations that the Data Protection Act simply wouldn’t have considered, or considered relevant.

So, why is GDPR Required for Marketing & Sales Teams?

Business data is collected at an incredible rate, data including the websites customers visit, the messages they send, the places they go, and even the photos they take – and this data is all recorded, measured and leaves a digital footprint. Sounds a little scary right? Well, the scariest thing about it is such business data falling into the wrong hands.

This data is after all, very valuable. It provides businesses with better customer insight that enables them to communicate with their customers more effectively. But with such value comes the need for misuse, or even theft. GDPR was introduced to assist with such challenges, as it demands to know how businesses use and store their business data, in an aim to keep it secure.

Consider the level of interaction a business has with individuals and their data each day, and it’s no wonder that a large number of business activities fall under the GDPR scope, often hitting the likes of marketing and sales teams the hardest, so how do such teams cope?

GDPR for Sales and Marketing Teams

Sales and marketing teams are continuously in need of finding new prospects legally, i.e. without breaking the law. In a speedy, sales driven environment however, it’s only natural that strategies proven to quickly turn strangers into customers are eagerly pursued, irrespective of their non-compliant GDPR context.

So, how do you make sure your sales and marketing team’s strategies are and remain GDPR compliant? Well, there are three key areas that require attention:

Data Permission

For the likes of sales and marketers, data permission requires honesty about their actions and to always be prepared for data subject requests. Sales employees, and marketers can’t simply assume that everyone wants to be contacted. The use of data permissions, which include the likes of how email opt-ins are managed i.e. data being sent only to the people who request to receive promotional material from you, ensures the businesses you are contacting are both targeted and appropriate.

Data Access

The right to be forgotten has become one of the most talked about rulings in EU Justice Court history. It gives people the right to have their out-of-date or inaccurate data removed and has, in some cases, already been implemented by companies like Google. For marketing and sales teams to comply, keeping data safe and deleting it when no longer needed is a necessity. This means regularly cleaning and maintaining your database is a must in order to remain GDPR compliant.

Data Focus

Your sales and marketing teams should only gather data that they require and should have lawful grounds to process such data. GDPR requires sales staff and marketers to legally justify the processing of the data they collect. This means that, in order to comply, they will need to focus on the data they actually need by gaining consent, and stop asking for additional, non-essential data.

Data Unsubscribes

For those sending cold email campaigns, you will need to inform your recipients how to exercise their right to restriction and erasure. An ‘unsubscribe link’ at the bottom of your email is the easiest way to automate that process and ensure compliance across your lists of contacts.

GDPR – We’ve Got you Covered…

Because regulators have lacked in enforcing data protection principles previously, for years many companies have ignored best practice in how they treat personal information. As a result, such businesses are now being forced to review and define how they handle customer data and prospects.

As specialists in supplying prospect data to technology companies that delivers sales and marketing success, GDPR is central to all processes at i-4Business. We understand the importance of this legislation and are fully compliant with GDPR by completing the following;

Data Permission - we obtain consent from data subjects

Data Access - we regularly clean and maintain our database

Data Focus - we enable customer to target precisely the correct audience they should be communicating with

Data Unsubscribes - any changes in communication preferences we receive from data subjects are passed across in an automated process to each of our customers each week

For those choosing to partner with us, we strive to ensure our clients understand the principles and knowledge we hold on GDPR, and we hope that our latest blog post has helped to communicate this. For more information, feel free to contact us here