B2B telemarketing GDPR: Generating leads without consent

B2B telemarketing GDPR: Generating leads without consent

Sitting with your feet on the table, chillaxing, waiting for the 100th order of the day to come through on the phone isn’t something many B2B companies have the luxury of doing. For most businesses, they have to get out there. Show grit/determination/hustle – however the latest fad-book would put it – you’ve got to get out there!

Sometimes that can be sales-led – at networking events, or outbound cold calling. It might be because you’re a real inbound success story – driven forward by an incredible marketing function.

Wherever these leads come from, ultimately they tend to end up in a CRM system of some description where some other stuff will happen with varying degrees or planning, collaboration and indeed success.


What happens after 25th May 2018?

The whole process of who you can market to, and how, is changing in late Spring 2018. We’ve written enough about GDPR and the ePrivacy Regulation already, so if you aren’t yet up to speed – check out this, this, and this.

How do things look for B2B telemarketing, GDPR and ePrivacy Regulation? Well, to answer that question we need to get into the weeds on the process. GDPR and ePrivacy Regulation is all about protecting the privacy and personal data of citizens living and working in the EU. In posh legal words, it’s about Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Company data, like switchboard phone numbers for example, don’t contain any PII.

This means you can legitimately keep company data in your CRM system as you do now. You will have to screen against the Corporate Telephone Preference Service, but obviously you’re already doing that. Right? RIGHT? This would allow for the usual trimming and merging of your marketing lists using industries, number of staff, technology and the like.

Once you know who you want to target, you have to get on with the business of engaging them. Suffice to say, GDPR and ePrivacy Regulation is set to make the whole process of calling out into these B2B organisations more difficult. That’s because when this generic company data turns into PII, then it’s covered by everyone’s favourite legislative double act.

PII includes, well, anything personal: names, phone numbers, email and more. Suffice to say this is exactly what’s got every MarTech vendor sweating over the past year, as obviously these are the cornerstones of marketing automation and CRM systems the world over. Marketing for the longest time has been about targeting individual contacts and getting as much granular insight as possible.


Consenting adults

If you’re using PII, you better sure as hell make sure someone’s given you their consent to do so. Legitimate interest can be grounds for processing under GDPR, but it would appear not to be for ePrivacy regulation, which covers more of the marketing side of matters.

If you’ve not already started, now’s the time to be addressing your existing data – working your way through trying to proactively opt-in as many as possible before D-Day. We covered how to do this in a recent blog post as we’ve been asked by so many clients to help them protect what can be one of a business’ true prized assets.

This is where telemarketing may actually prove to have some kind of renaissance. It’s been on the downward spiral of recent years, owing to increases in popularity from inbound and the like. Maybe the old dog will have its day once more?

You see, calling a company when you have no PII, assuming you’re screening to CTPS is perfectly legitimate. You can courteously ask for the individual responsible in a department that’s relevant to your product and service.

You can qualify this individual to your heart’s content. But, if you want to carry on the party some other day, you’re going to have to consent them in to receiving future stuff from you. All the usual bells and whistles apply to the consent too, as we covered some time ago now.


A scripted ending

As you need an auditable process, it’s best practice to have a standard way of doing this. At least then if you’re ever audited by the ICO as part of an investigation, you can clearly evidence it. For those marketers like me who’ve been around the block a little bit and experienced more than their fair share of prawn sandwiches, telemarketing scripts are rarely a good idea – for numerous reasons. But in this case, they may actually be warranted. Much in the same way if you happen to have the misfortune of buying broadband or utilities over the phone, they reel off standard terms and conditions line – so they can tie it up with their call recording process.

Something like:

“Thanks for your time on the phone today. We take the utmost care in the processing of  data and I wanted to check you’re OK for me to store a note of our discussion to help me next time we chat and for me to call back on [insert date here].

“We have a great newsletter too which helps keep you in the loop on our latest news. Are you happy to receive this by email once a month?”

Being disciplined in this process at the end of each call should see you building a decent database up of consented contacts in no time. Obviously you’ll need an ongoing way of managing this, but I’m sure someone of your intelligence will figure that out no sweat. If you want a little help, then we’re happy to chip in and do our bit to in the best interests of getting you to where you need to be. Just reach out and drop us a line.

Suffice to say, there’s a good chunk of work here. But what’s the alternative? You need to be able to get out there and B2B telemarketing GDPR-style is very much part of the conversation now. Why not explore it as part of your mix going forward?