HomeBlog Are You Ready to Sell in a GDPR World?

Are You Ready to Sell in a GDPR World?

August 02, 2018 | By Claire Kennedy

  • Sales reps are looking for new ways to prospect within the restrictions of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Social media can be used to create opportunities to engage and nurture prospects while staying compliant
  • Using the SiriusDecisions MEAD Model enables sellers to map buyer behavior and needs to specific social media activities

Everywhere I look, people are talking about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and how it’s affecting B2B organizations. As Julian Archer details in his blog post, companies need to “define which personal data will be collected and for what purposes it will be used” – meaning that a contact’s consent to provide data has to be gained at every selling step.

As you can imagine, the past year leading up to the May 25 implementation of GDPR was stressful, as companies consolidated their data to comply with the new restrictions. From what I’ve seen (and heard), companies have only been able to salvage between 15 and 20 percent of their contact database. This means we can only call, email and market to – at most – 20 percent of the prospects we worked so hard to identify.

linkedin screen ipad laptop smartphoneSo, what’s the outcome? Marketing functions focused on outbound are worried about exhausting their email lists, social media teams focused on inbound are under even more pressure to produce quality leads and brand awareness, and sales reps are looking for new ways to prospect legally. Internally, my manager and I saw this as an opportunity to teach our EMEA sales team about digital (or social) selling. Why turn to digital channels? For starters, social media is inherently personal. Receiving a Twitter notification or a comment on a LinkedIn post feels more intimate than finding a templated email in your inbox. If the point of GDPR is to establish a lawful basis for processing your contacts’ personal data, you should be using a channel designed to create sales-ready relationships!

Digital selling isn’t a new concept, and everyone at SiriusDecisions has heard me talk about it plenty. While running my social enablement and onboarding trainings, I always try to be as audience-centric as possible. I take note of each audience member’s schedule, where social fits into his or her list of priorities, and how I can adapt my language and content to better suit each person’s specific needs – whether he or she is a new sales associate or a seasoned analyst. This process is exactly how sales reps should approach prospecting on social media.

Before GDPR, many reps used the following prospecting practices:

  • Taking email addresses from LinkedIn
  • Cold-emailing people who hadn’t expressed consent
  • Sending emails about topics the contact hadn’t signed up for
  • Aiming to hit a targeted amount of emails per day or week

With the enactment of GDPR, a socially minded rep can create opportunities through these prospecting practices:

  • Contacting people directly on LinkedIn
  • Using social media to engage and nurture prospects
  • Tagging people in content the rep thinks may interest them
  • Building a personal brand to create relationships with contacts

B2B digital selling is about building trust, your personal brand and, ultimately, relationships with your prospects. The SiriusDecisions MEAD Model, as explained below, sets forth how sales reps can map buyer needs and behavior to specific social media activity. If you’re smart about how you use social in your prospecting and selling, it can be a very effective channel.

M – Monitor = Social Listening

Social listening is great for prospects and clients who have ignored your previous outreach. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to comb through these contacts and any mutual connections to find:

  • Pain points
  • Business development
  • Personal interests (e.g. technology, alignment, enablement, leadership)
  • Promotions/job title changes
  • Awards

Don’t just home in on the first post you see – really try to understand what each person cares about.

(Note: If you have access to LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can set up alerts for individuals, lists and companies. On Twitter, you can create private lists to keep tabs on multiple prospects at a time.)

E – Engagement = Sharing Relevant Content

Digital prospecting is all about strategic orchestration. Once you’ve learned enough about all of your prospects, begin to post content you know would interest them. Examples include:

  • Posting company content (e.g. your organization’s own blog posts, research, webinars, events)
  • Sharing articles about their company and/or employees
  • Commenting on other people’s posts with your insight
  • Tagging prospects in content you think would interest them

A – Awareness = Showing Your Knowledge of the Marketplace

At SiriusDecisions, we look at buyers holistically to create a solution-selling approach. As a sales rep, you should not only understand the product you’re selling, but also the marketplace it serves. Whether you’re selling a technology, platform, physical product or knowledge/consulting, you need to stay current on the news and trends in your field. Showing this knowledge proves you really can help a potential buyer with a solution when you eventually go in for the sale. Examples of trends in the marketplace include:

D – Demand = Selling

Now that you’ve engaged your buyer in a digital journey, how do you propose next steps in your relationship? Follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure your tactics have truly created interactions with your prospects – don’t just “like” a few posts and expect to grab their attention.
  • Send a connection request on LinkedIn, including a note about your desire to continue the conversation.
  • Ask for permission to set up a phone call or accept an opt-in to receive emails.
  • Map the correct products/solutions and partners (e.g. analysts) to accelerate an inquiry.
  • Ensure you have enough information to effectively sell to this buyer.

One of the most important aspects of digital selling is maintaining your social media presence after closing a deal. Being a champion for your client after the close not only helps your social brand, but also helps create client evangelists that can generate more business. Contact your marketing and sales enablement departments to make sure you’re following your organization’s internal social media policies.

Julian Archer said it best: “At the end of the day, GDPR challenges sales reps to be more relevant and diligent about the relationships they seek to build.”

Interested in learning about how we help organizations with social selling and sales enablement? Read about our Sales Enablement Strategies service.

SiriusDecisions Resources:

Living With Data Privacy Compliance

Access e-book

Claire Kennedy

Claire Kennedy is the Social Media Marketing Manager at SiriusDecisions. She also manages the employee social enablement and social selling training programs. Follow Claire on Twitter @claireakennedy_ and connect with her on LinkedIn.
Digital Transformation: Not Just a Buzzword

Digital Transformation: Not Just a Buzzword

<p>Currently, digital transformation is the buzziest set of buzzwords in b-to-b. In fact, it's difficult to fi... Download e-book
<p>Currently, digital transformation is the buzziest set of buzzwords in b-to-b. In fact, it's difficult to find an organization that is not engaged in some kind of transformation. The question is, do organizations truly understand what digital, transformation and digital transformation really mean? </p> <p>In this e-book you'll learn how to assess and develop a digital transfor... Download e-book
Back to top