GDPR – How will it affect your Sales process?
GDPR regulations will be one of the most sweeping and potentially disruptive changes for business for a generation. The way in which an organisation handles information will change dramatically, from the point of receiving a business card to closing a customer account: the whole information flow must show regard for an individual’s right to privacy. The act will take us way beyond just reporting a data breach and covers the whole gamut of authorization, transparency, retention and access to an individual’s record.
In this series we will be teasing out the possible implications of this legislation for your business to assist you in preparing for being compliant when the legislation is comes in to effect in May 2018.
THE HUMBLE BUSINESS CARD
For many organisations the first link in the chain for capturing information is the Contact Management System. For some this could be a humble spreadsheet, while larger organisations will have more complex arrays of sales tools and data capturing mechanisms. The main issue people are going to face is the relative state of the library of possible clients we have built up over the years. Some of these may show potential while others are just “maybes” left on the back burner to chase at some stage. For nearly all of them you would not have had consent either to contact them or even to hold their information.
A few examples. Say I keep every business card from people that I meet at networking events. I make notes about where we met, maybe what we talked about, their field of expertise, and whether they may be interested in any of our services. It may seem strange to some that I would keep everyone’s details but sometimes you never know when you may need a good lawyer or you could even help someone out by recommending someone who may have a particular need. (I recently passed on details of mechanical/engineering associate to a customer of mine even though this is not my area). I now have a library of 2500 business contacts from all works of life and from different countries.
All these details are entered into outlook and any that have a particular software requirement goes into my CRM system as a potential lead to be followed up. Currently I actually don’t have formal “consent” to contact any of them. Just because I have a business card does not give me explicit approval to contact that person even though the right is implied. I could have picked up the business card on a train and tried my luck.
Now it’s not all bad news. I usually send out an introductory email to the recipient on the business card, and if that person responds then that naturally assumes there is a line of communication that has now been opened. Emails, letters, records of phone conversations all would justify that there is an existing relationship that both sides have every intention of continuing. Even so I am thinking of some way of being able to “prove” that right to connect with that person. However embarrassing it may sound, I am getting them to sign an invitation to contact them on their business card. My next set of business cards will have that imprinted on it so at least the recipient is protected. For more information on GDPR check our summary on our FAQ page.
Next in the series: GDPR – how does that affect my CRM system?
About the Author:
Malcolm Ford has had 25 years business experience, over 2 continents and has worked in a variety of sectors. Currently he installs, implements and trains staff on best practice for in using CRM systems. IT-EBS developing a holistic approach data protection involving HR, legal, documentation as well as cyber to be complete package for business. We are trailing this with a few clients at present and will release details shortly.