If you haven’t heard about GDRP, then you and your business must have been operating off the grid for the past year, but just because you’ve heard of it does not necessarily mean you fully understand it.
Simply put, General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) came into effect in May 2018, and it is regulation that protects EU citizens’ data when being used by any company who wants to collect it. Any company found to be going against this new regulation can be fined up to €20million or up to 4% of your annual turnover, so it’s more important than ever to be aware of data protection laws.
GDPR protects anything from name and email address to home address, personal interests, digital footprints, and any other personal information. This means that anyone collecting information for their business, be it a name and email for an email list or bank information, must have consent from the EU citizen to store that information.
If you are trading in the digital age, it is almost a certainty that you are collecting some information on your customers and prospects. In fact, a study by Winterberry and GDMA found that 92% of businesses use databases and CRMs to store information on prospects and customers. So, whether you use MailChimp for your weekly newsletter or a custom build CRM, you need to know the facts and comply, if any of your customers reside in the EU.
Now is the time to ensure your systems reflect the need to comply with GDPR, and it’s easier than you think, especially with CRMs and services ensuring compliance is built into your prospect and customer management systems. It also greatly impacts the way you market, how your sales team can prospect, and even customer service departments need to be aware of the way they handle and share people’s data amongst one another.
You must, by law, have a defined purpose for collecting data and information on EU citizens. This purpose must be supported by a legal basis, which really just means you need to prove why you collected the data and that you received some consent from the prospect or customer to store their data.
The benefit of becoming GDPR compliant, and generally, more aware of the data your business is storing and using, is that you can clean out your databases and CRMs and get rid of old leads, email addresses that no longer work or haven’t opened your emails in a year. These are all leads you don’t want. It may bulk up your numbers, but they are worthless. Smaller, realistic lists of prospects will help you target your marketing and make better, dedicated sales pushes.
Becoming GDPR compliant does not affect your ability to chase cold leads; it just means you cannot bulk-cold-email prospects, they must be personalised. Another loophole sales teams are utilizing is that social selling (using Social Media) is not covered by GDPR and you are free to contact prospects through social media, though it would be unwise to start bulk-cold messaging prospects this way as it can only lead to bad feelings. Sales teams who can do this correctly and develop relationships with prospects will see results from this method.
Chasing dead leads wastes your time and money, so spending the time ensuring that your prospects consent to being within your field of vision will pay off in the long run. If you still need guidance, Shredit.co.uk does a free complementary check, and they also offer a free white-paper if you require further reading. The majority of CRMs integrate GDPR compliance and data security, and SuperOffice.com is a CRM system designed to take the stress out of GDPR and has written a lot on the subject.
Streamline your customer and prospect management systems, clear out the dead leads, and work towards targeted marketing and sales campaigns that will give you a far better rate of return than before. Your relationship with your customers and prospects will be more positive, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing you are compliant.