Today’s guest post is an interview with Selling Power editors and Patrick Welch, president of sales enablement company Bigtincan.
Salespeople routinely jot down critical notes during meetings with prospects. This just makes sense: Details about a prospect’s demeanor or her sentiments about her boss can be invaluable for moving the sale forward.
With that in mind, how will the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rulings affect how salespeople are allowed to use such critical data? Do such notes have to be destroyed? Do they have to be logged somewhere online? Should salespeople get filing cabinets and fill them with ripped-out notebook pages saying, “Send Lisa the Greenfield case study, cc Bill”?
Ahead of GDPR (which went into effect on May 25) Selling Power editors sat down with Patrick Welch, president of sales enablement company Bigtincan, to break down how B2B sales professionals can manage their data about prospects and customers without a GDPR misstep.
Selling Power (SP): How will sales folks have to change the way they store the notes they take during sales calls and meetings with prospects and customers?
Patrick Welch (PW): Sales folks can still keep a record of information like this as long as it’s not personally identifiable information (in GDPR parlance). But it’s a good practice to get consent by asking your prospect or customer, “Is it OK if I have your contact information and store it?” Sales reps will be in compliance if they gather implicit consent, which is as simple as asking the prospect directly, “Can I follow up with you by emailing or calling you using the contact information you’ve provided to me?”
SP: Do you get the sense that the sales profession is prepared for GDPR? How so/not?
PW: At the data collection level, the answer is yes. However, there still is not a full awareness about the data and different types of data subject to GDPR, and a lack of awareness of the consequences at this point. We don’t know exactly how the regulations will actually convert to business functions, as the GDPR has not yet been tested in court. What we do have are best practices from other regulatory measures and recitals that were written from the authors of the GDPR, which will hopefully be followed by judges.
SP: How can third-party software solutions (data importers, under GDPR) help software exporters prepare?
PW: Speaking from the experience of being an importer (by GDPR’s definition), the importer can best support exporters by providing full insight and transparency to that exporter so they can be aware of where their data and consumers’ data is processed and how it is treated in transit and at rest.
SP: How much can exporters lean on the promises and services of importers to ensure compliance?
PW: This is critical to complying with the regulation, as much as any other mission-critical system that any exporter customer would rely on. These entities need to ensure their vendors are in compliance when using those systems, and the vendors also have a responsibility to properly handle data and support the regulations.
SP: What are the main concerns of data exporters? What are you hearing in the industry?
PW: We’ve heard few concerns in the sense of worry; rather, many clients are working to ensure that importers are in compliance with the regulatory guidelines and that their partners/vendors have proper procedures and processes to protect consumer data. This is a little different from the past, because the individual has recourse – unlike with other directives or guidelines.
SP: How are different industries affected by this? For example, do you see a difference between heavily regulated industries (such as healthcare or finance) experiencing GDPR prep differently from, say, retail?
PW: The regulated industries are already accustomed to being prepared for in-depth audit and data trails. The timing of the GDPR comes with a heightened awareness of the social media data processes and really making retail and other consumer-facing industries take a hard look at their own practices – not only to comply but ensure consumer confidence in their brand as well their consumer engagement.
SP: Anything else you would like to add about data management for sales folks as GDPR approaches?
PW: GDPR shouldn’t really change the day-to-day process of a good salesperson. However, it’s something to be aware of and should have more of dramatic effect with marketers who will need to establish trust in the chain custody of their consumers’ data. Outbound marketing – especially when marketing to European audiences – will be much more difficult as awareness of GDPR grows; but, if marketers are more diligent, their marketing programs should be more effective as they will, by nature, target folks that have already consented to proper engagement.
For more information about GDPR compliance for sales and marketing, contact Patrick Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org.