GDPR refers to the General Data Protection Regulation passed by the EU in 2016, though it will not take full effect until 2018. This legislation is intended to help streamline and strengthen digital data protection for those in countries included in the European Union. Due to the 2 year transition period, businesses have some time to learn about this new regulation and what it means for them specifically. Fortunately, those who deal internationally will find the process easier since GDPR completely unifies the process in the EU.
An interesting point is that this new regulation seems to make little distinction between B2B and B2C as it pertains to data restrictions. Personal data is simply defined as any information that can be used to identify an individual. As anyone in business will immediately recognise, this has direct implications for marketing strategies such as email campaigns, physical mailings, and even certain social media activity. It will now require explicit consent from the individual in order to maintain their data. So this is basically a 180-degree reversal of how the process usually works; things are shifting from an opt-out system to an opt-in system. Naturally, this leaves businesses with no choice but to change their marketing and sales strategies.
How will the GDPR Change Telemarketing?
If your organisation currently staffs an in-house call centre, the GDPR means you’re in for a rude awakening. GDPR has been marketed as a simplification to the data regulation process, but there’s a good chance it won’t feel that way. With the rumours of substantial fines, any act of non-compliance could very realistically result in bankruptcy. The regulation is intended to protect EU citizens: period. This means it doesn’t matter where your company is located. If you are dealing with any resident of the EU, the rule applies to you, and you’d do well to be prepared for added oversight from its compliance officers.
You may have noticed above that the freshest definition of “personal data” is now significantly broadened. It’s a double-edged sword, of course, because while the business is able to receive more data under a more vague definition, there is such a heightened responsibility to guard it. In telemarketing under GDPR, you now need to record every conversation in case you need to prove something in court. Additionally, the regulation places a time limit on your capacity to make calls. If a customer has not been contacted by your firm in a certain amount of time, you actually need their explicit permission to call back. Business to Consumer telemarketing will deplete over time, but in the Business to Business arena, if handled correctly, it will thrive.
How it affects Business to Business Lead Generation
It’s no secret at this point that the B2B marketing landscape will also change dramatically. The following are a few direct implications:
There’s a chance that current data lists will have to be destroyed, which will take a heavy toll on B2B prospects. As previously noted, GDPR does not draw a distinction between B2B and B2C marketing. This gives the individual to whom the information belongs significantly more control over whether you have it or not. This has led some businesses who focus heavily on B2B sales to wonder if this cause a return to “personal business”: establishing quality personal relationships with clients instead of amassing an incredible quantity of ones who may or may not buy.
How outsourcing the Lead Generation/Telemarketing is Beneficial
Even with the new dynamic that GDPR has created, many of the same benefits of outsourcing lead generation and telemarketing are still applicable. It still saves your business money by having to hire a lot fewer employees, rent/buy physical space, etc. Organisations that specialise in providing these outsourced services for businesses are already experts on the subject, so there is no learning curve to worry about. While cold calling may be a thing of the past, professional telemarketing companies will still be able to find your customers who are interested in the product or service you have to offer. It will take even more time after GDPR is fully implemented to locate these consumers, which is yet another reason that outsourcing the task can be quite prudent. It’s very efficient to have your outsourced company hand you a pile of “warm leads” for your salespeople to work on. It is simply good business practice to let someone else handle the “busy work” aspects of the work cycle, leaving your hand-selected in-house talent free to focus on matters of greater importance and profit.
As it pertains to the post-GDPR business world, it can be expected that lead generation outsourcers will be the quickest to become GDPR compliant because it impacts the data industry so acutely. The penalties for non-compliance are so dire that it affords peace of mind to pass off the responsibility to others whose job it is to comply properly. With the proper paperwork, this saves you from unlikely but potential legal ramifications. Working with data companies who know the GDPR rules inside and out can help you streamline your own processes.