Data security remains a hot topic among enterprises across all industries. This is because many companies still need consumers’ personal data to improve customer experience and tailor ads to their preferences. However, customer information has become more susceptible to data breaches and other unethical use cases.
For Charlotte, North Carolina businesses, processes on data regulations are changing. Before, sales reps could easily obtain personal information to call consumers to offer products and services. In today’s data-driven world, this is no longer allowed. Various regulations now impose strict rules on proper data use with dire penalties on their misuse. In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was passed by the European Union. Regardless of where your business operates, you and your sales team should know how the GDPR impacts your use of consumer data.
What is GDPR?
The GDPR is a framework that prohibits companies from collecting, storing, or using personal data belonging to EU citizens without their explicit consent. It affects organizations — including those outside of Europe — that process personal information of EU citizens.
If your enterprise has customers and business partners in the EU, you must comply with the GDPR, primarily if you and your staff frequently deal with sales data and other consumer information. Salespeople need to understand how this impacts their work, so your organization can avoid consequences. However, it’s important to remember that the purpose of the GDPR is to protect data privacy, not hand out penalties.
Instead of going through all 99 legislative articles of the GDPR, allow us to summarize what you and your sales team need to know about compliance with this framework and how that relates to sales.
How does GDPR impact sales?
The GDPR has the most significant impact on prospecting or any outbound sales outreach in which a sales representative contacts a prospect who did not voluntarily give out their information.
For the GDPR, there are six different “legal bases” or requirements for the lawful use of personal data. In other words, your sales representative, or data controller (a GDPR designation), needs to fulfill at least one of the following requirements to store or use prospect information: consent, legitimate interest, the performance of a contract, legal obligation, protection of vital interest, and public interest.
Let’s talk about consent
Getting explicit consent from a prospect is not always possible. Consider this example: A person mindlessly fills out a form to request a product demonstration. Before the GDPR, it was safe to assume that by providing that contact information, they were willing to be contacted by a salesperson.
After the implementation of the GDPR, it’s no longer the case. A company can no longer assume that someone is giving their consent by providing their contact information. Under the GDPR, the following requirements must be met:
- Consent must be freely given.
The prospect had a choice and was not cornered by threats or insinuations of detriment into agreeing to have their data used.
- Consent must be specific.
It was clear what specific data activities were going to be carried out.
- Consent must be informed.
The purpose of the data processing activity is explained in plain language.
- Consent must be unambiguous.
There should be no question about whether the prospect has consented.
- Consent can be revoked.
The prospect understands that they have the right to withdraw consent at any time.
Such details related to consent will definitely affect your marketers since they are responsible for creating lead capture forms and other lead generation tasks. At the same time, your salespeople need to be familiar with all aspects of the sales funnel, especially where data and consent are collected.
Let’s talk about legitimate interest
There are times when sales staff interacts with a prospect who did not explicitly give consent. In such a scenario, a prospect must give an express statement of consent before your staff uses that prospect’s data.
Your sales team also needs to explain why they are reaching out and why the product or service is relevant or beneficial to the prospect. Although a product’s or service’s relevance and benefit to prospective customers are subjective, there are appropriate ways to argue for or against it. But to be safe, always consider whether your actions are infringing upon their rights or freedoms.
At SpectrumWise, we provide expert advisory services and personalized approaches to increase productivity and profits for businesses in Charlotte, NC. Ensure regulatory compliance by simplifying your compliance program. Improve your marketing and sales processes through best industry practices and cutting-edge IT. Find out more about the SpectrumWise advantage.