In May 2018, any company that collects personally identifiable data on European Union citizens will have to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Ideally, your company is already taking measures to protect the security and privacy of the data you gather, but the ramifications of this set of regulations are important to know.
The following is a look at how GDPR will affect the activities and performance of your sales organisation.
Compliance with GDPR is mandated in the EU by May 25, 2018. The basic premise of the rules is to give consumers and business buyers greater control over their data, including who uses it and how it is used. People have the right to refuse your collection of data and use in direct marketing to the extent they desire, and must explicitly opt-in to give your business permission to store and use their data. Any business found in violation of GDPR could face fines of up to four percent of their annual turnover.
Implications for Your Sales Team
One of the key provisions of GDPR is the right for people to know when and how your organisation uses their profile data. Your company should include a privacy disclosure on its websites, but sales reps should also offer more direct communication on data usage in person or in written documents when connecting with new prospects.
Other key changes that will affect your sales team include:
Opt Out and Erasure: Prospects have the right to opt out of data processing and direct marketing initially, and they can also rescind permission granted to your business at any point. Consumers can also request that your firm erase any profile data gathered at any point in time. These provisions make it imperative that your company target qualified prospects who will see the greatest need for your information and solutions. People can place limits on how you use their data to communicate too.
Access and Correction: You must provide consumers access to data you hold in a preferred electronic format upon request and make changes to inaccurate data immediately. This provision is especially important for companies that handle financial and credit records used by third-party providers to make decisions. If your team doesn’t already, it should place renewed emphasis on data quality.
Transferability: People also have the right to request that you transfer all data held to a new provider. This provision ensures simple transition for the customer, and it places increased importance on your marketing and sales teams to retain customers after acquisition.
The clearest takeaway from GDPR is that you must communicate early and often with your prospects and customers about the data you gather and how it is used. Reps should disclose data collection and usage intent early in the process to project transparency and integrity. To avoid alienating customers, ensure easy access to data through a customer portal. Taking these steps is not only about compliance, it is about building trust in the marketplace.