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GDPR – what it means for marketing in the B2B IT industry

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Mark Ogden
Mark Ogden

Come May 2018 the marketing world will change and there has been an uprising of fear and comments of how GDPR will affect business

For many its still unclear what this will mean, one thing for sure is the rules relating the databases held electronically are changing. Although with Brexit many have wondered if it still applies to the UK, the government has now confirmed that it will adopt the GDPR rules.

Certain organisations, such as public bodies, will be required to have a Data Protection Officer who reports to a Director and ensures compliance. However, many organisations are unprepared, even in large corporate organisations a recent survey by the Technology Law Alliance found that only 41% had a detailed GDPR compliance plan in place.

‘It won’t apply to B2B though will it?’

The law does not distinguish between B2C & B2B markets, it purely relates to information on an identifiable living individual and protecting the usage of their information and requiring them to opt in to your marketing. Most legal commentators therefore believe that named contacts, or emails which contain an individuals’ name (even if it is a work email) are therefore covered by GDPR.

Much of the current focus is on achieving compliance to avoid potentially large fines and reputational damage, however beyond May 2018 there are some very important questions you need to answer now if your sales pipeline is to survive this change.

  • What is the current state of your database? Can you identify who has opted in to communications?
  • How are you currently generating prospects and enquiries? Will you be able to do this after May 2018? For example, do you use databases from third parties or list brokers? Arguably it’s likely that you won’t be able to do this in future.
  • How likely is it that a prospect will provide their details and permission to use their contact information in your marketing?

Do you use emails to individuals as primary source of prospecting?

GDPR is not an IT issue, it is a sales & marketing issue.

You need to prepare now to ensure your sales prospects are still there and engaged.

Here are just a few ideas on maintaining your pipeline:

  • Confirm which customers on your database can be contacted under the ‘legitimate interest’ provision. It is likely that you can contact existing clients with similar products and services. Cross selling will be increasingly important.
  • Where possible it may be advantageous to rely on ‘legitimate interest’ provisions to keep details on your database. Asking someone to opt-in is likely to produce a low response rate and will mean they have to be removed if no positive opt-in is received.
  • Understand the difference between opt-in & opt-out and consider alternative methods of communication. A new ePrivacy law is also being drafted, until then telesales activity is likely to be opt out, that is, as long as you screen against the Telephone Preference Service (there is a business opt out list too) then you can call a prospect unless they opt out of receiving information from you.
  • Consider direct mail. Remember that? Again, this is currently an opt out service. If you screen against the Mailing Preference Service then you may be able to show a ‘legitimate interest’ reason to justify contacting named prospects via mail.
  • Perhaps most importantly work to increase inbound opportunities. The world is changing from suppliers pushing, to buyers pulling, through the information they need, and then inviting a selected group of potential suppliers to discuss the opportunity. GDPR will hasten this change.

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techtick provides value to IT buyers by helping them find IT partners who are delivering exceptional results, validated by client research. Nothing is so compelling to a client than seeing others, like themselves, have a positive experience. Our independence and credibility, as well as our value added activities such producing knowledge guides for buyers, means that a prospect is much more likely to opt-in to receive information from techtick, than multiple individual suppliers.

For B2B IT suppliers techtick membership is about increasing inbound sales leads from our Supplier Finder, and increasing the likelihood of winning business through the differentiation provided by our independent client satisfaction standard.

With the clock ticking towards the GDPR deadline techtick have issued a discount promotion code for applications made before 31st Jan 2018 – this code will provide a discount of 50% on the first year’s fee – simply add GDPR50 when applying in the offer code section at www.techtick.org.

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