GDPR – 10 practical steps for B2B marketers

Firstly, some context from a B2B Marketing perspective.  The definition of personal data under GDPR covers “any information that could relate to an identifiable, living being”.  Therefore, B2B marketing data which contains gender, name, surname, work address, email address, phone number should be considered “in scope”.

GDPR is principle based and the ICO are looking beyond compliance and toward a commitment to managing data sensitively and ethically.  Therefore, as an industry we need to use this event as a catalyst to improve processes and adhere to the best practice principles.

Consent is a hot topic in the B2B marketing world, some firms are so concerned that they plan to delete their existing CRM data and start again!  The view from others, which I subscribe to, is that there are a number of grounds for processing of personal data in the context of B2B marketing. From a legislation/legal perspective there are six, including “legitimate interest”.  For example, if a person is listed on LinkedIn as owning a Solvency II project for an insurance company, there would be a good case for “legitimate interest” being to contact them and make them aware of an automated software solution to their problem.  A rule of thumb we should employ as B2B marketers is, would this be something the individual would expect to be contacted about.

G2M Solutions has always operated on the basis of a quality and professional approach, in fact I referred to our approach in a previous blog in Feb 2017  At G2M, our clients are marketing complex software propositions.  When executing a calling campaign on behalf of a client, our mantra is that if you target the right prospect within a business and have understood the technology solution correctly – you are simply educating the prospect on the existence of a product or service which may be of help in their daily role.  Having the right B2B sales and marketing partner whom you can trust, is therefore now more important than ever.

Here are 10 practical steps you can put in place now to start your journey towards best practice

  • Be professional and courteous when contacting prospects by phone, always state where you are calling from and display the number. Always allow prospects the opportunity to “opt out” of email communications. Even for 1-to-1 email contact, ensure your email footer has an “opt out” or unsubscribe option.
  • If you don’t have a CRM for your sales and marketing team, now is the time to implement one! It is no longer optional.
  • Move away from using spreadsheets as a datastore. “Unstructured data” is a nightmare to track and to ensure deletion if requested. Stop creating copies of data and emailing them to multiple recipients.  If you need to use spreadsheets, use secure collaboration tools to share data and have a policy to delete after use.
  • Capture consent. Create new tags if needed in your CRM and capture details of consent both oral and electronic.
  • Stop capturing “personal” information about prospects. Always consider what the individual would think if they were to see it (potentially in a court of law).  Perhaps if you record that they “played golf” this is “fair” and “relevant” however if you record that Bob Smith has two children called Jack and Millicent and their birthdays are October 1st and March 14th. This starts to become more personal and not appropriate, to stop misuse, you can remove your free format “any other information fields” in your CRM.
  • Quality Control. Before launching any new marketing campaigns.  Pause and review your data, is it clean, is it relevant for the contacts on the campaign list, have you TPS/CTPS checked the data… A smaller universe of the right contacts will make the campaign more productive as well as adhere to the principles of GDPR.
  • Frequency of contact. Don’t let your contacts go cold.  Your legitimate interest will be diminished if you haven’t contacted an individual in a year.  ICO states consent doesn’t last forever.
  • Don’t send blanket cold emails out to a list of cold prospects. Do the research on the firm and the contacts.  Engage on relevant topics, confirm interest, get opt-in orally and confirm with a receipt.
  • Scale back your marketing database. Cleanse your data.  Having a smaller number of accurate, well engaged contacts is far more manageable and productive.
  • Never re-use data relating to other products/companies – it would not be expected and is not ethical.

At G2M we will be working with our clients to ensure they are ready for GDPR.  If you would like to learn more about how we can help, contact us on 0203 857 5970 or 01993 224350 or via email [email protected].