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…or perhaps “5 Things Sales People Will Have to Do Differently after May 2018″!

by Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

Regardless if you are a US based company or a European company if you sell into Europe then you have to comply with GDPR.  Of course you may decided not to comply, but it’s the European Union that you will have to answer to, the data breach penalties that will shortly come into place are either a fine of up to €10m or 2% of turnover, or up to €20m or 4% of annual turnover.

GDPR shouldn’t be seen as a negative, in fact the opposite, as it means that companies need to treat our data (as consumers and customers) with the respect we would expect.

So for example, the UK Pub group, Weatherspoon’s has deleted any database holding emails so not to be fined.  They have told their clients they will talk with them on social media.  Digital Leadership Associates (DLA), takes your data seriously and we have done the same and have strict data compliance processes that we follow.

But GDPR is for Marketing I Hear you Say!

So How Does GDPR Transform Sales?

  1. Well actually it’s for all the company, if your business hasn’t run a pan company wide training program, it’s highly likely you will be in breach. There can be no more sales people spreadsheets sitting on their laptops that they email out to periodically. These have to be deleted.
  2. In a recent article “GDPR Will Fundamentally Change Marketing via @jimpanagas” there is a statement buried away

“So now you’re not trying to entice people, to push them and move them reluctantly to the next stage of the sales funnel or something like that. But you are engaged with people who from the outset have made a conscious decision to be engaged with you. They’ve said, ‘Yes, I’m going to give you consent to use my personal data because you’ve convinced me, or I’m at least hoping that you will carry out your promises to benefit me by the use of my personal data.’ So you can begin to get into exchanges where there is a mutual benefit.”

This assumes of course, that “Marketing” start conversations with clients, Top of Funnel, in all the sales jobs I worked in.  Marketing didn’t generate me any leads or very few, I had to do all the demand generation myself.

This switches the demand generation process from push to pull.  You cannot keep pushing people / bombarding people with emails hoping they will move along the pipeline.  This will force salespeople to personalise and for people to trust you, your personal brand is going to be critical.

If you are already social selling and using social then this already offers a personalised way of lead nurturing and moving deals through the pipeline.

  1. Will it Impact on Cold Calling? – Cold Calling in Europe has now pretty much died out, it seems to be only a relict in the US. Well it depends what data you are holding on that individual and as long as you are only emailing them on a one to one basis. As above, bulk mailing or “warming up” is out.  Also as above, sales people cannot hold excel sheets of customer data unless the customers have opted in and they are held and comply with the internal data protection rules.
  2. Forecasting – With companies already switching over as part of the May deadline, we for example already run DLA on GDPR principles, this with from a push to a pull process may have an impact to your demand generation and pipeline as you change your processes.
  3. Sales Hacking is Dead – In a post GDPR all of these apps that allow you get get hold of people’s email wont be able to exist. Mass emailing (unless people have opted in along GDPR lines) will need to be stopped. This will have a massive impact on the ability of people to undertake cold outreach, not only in terms of researching data but how you use that data.

There has never been a better time to start a social selling program that will get around all of this so you are GDPR compliant as well as providing the sales people with a long term demand generation self sufficiency.

People who read this article also read these articles:

How as a Small Business We Became GDPR Compliant

Why We Will be Requesting our Data Under GDPR and You Should Too!

GDPR imminent as 33% of consumers say they will erase personal data

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