The world is changing. And as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) approaches, businesses are facing a new set of challenges.
If you are in a sales role, you probably haven’t been too concerned about data protection matters before. With the regulatory landscape changing however, processing of personal data is becoming a hot topic.
Compliance and information security is a necessary priority for any business that wants to thrive, including B2B vendors.
GDPR affects the entire spectra of your organisation; your sales team included. And it is going to require changes in the way you work.
Before we dive into this topic, let’s get clear on two definitions.
Businesses are typically split up in two camps, depending on their role when it comes to processing of personal data.
If your company is a B2B vendor, you are typically a data processor. This is a term legal experts use to describe a business that processes personal data on behalf of another company. Your customer then, is typically a data controller.
What will change under the GDPR?
Two important changes for data processors, i.e. B2B vendors, are about to take place:
- More pressure from data controllers, i.e. the B2B buyers, and,
- Extensive direct regulatory requirements.
Data controllers have lived with regulatory requirements for a long time, but will now face even more of these. This in turn will have a great impact for their choice of and relationship with product and service providers – i.e. data processors.
If they are not sure a B2B vendor will process data in accordance with their expectations and the GDPR, chances are slim the vendor will get the deal.
And if you work in sales for a B2B vendor, you will have to spend much more time in the future convincing your prospects that your services are safe to use from an information security and compliance perspective.
In addition to the pressure from data controllers, data processors will face extensive regulatory obligations and liability. Breaches can result in fines of up to 4% of global turnover or 20 million EUR!
So in short, if you are not in full control of how you process your customer’s data, your business will take a beating from well prepared competitors and fines.
How do I use GDPR to my advantage?
Your company needs to ensure compliance, which is not done in a heartbeat.
We have talked to hundreds of data processors throughout the years, many of which have already experienced tightened control from business prospects.
There are shortcuts to take to ensure you don’t fall behind competition and actually give your sales team a chance to thrive thanks to the GDPR.
What you need is a way to gain your customer’s confidence, a tool to show your customers and prospects that you are in control and take data protection seriously. And that tool needs to be easy to use, also for your sales team.
Delivering this message to your customers and prospects can help your team reach shorter sales cycles, win business and increase customer satisfaction.
By doing this, you will show that you respect the needs of your prospects and that you take data protection seriously.
Learn more about how your sales team can prepare and take advantage of the GDPR in our free whitepaper.
There is no quick fix to get ready for all aspects of the GDPR. Technology, however, can help your sales team remove data protection issues from the equation, and build better relationships faster with your customers.
Your first step in order to help your sales team and make your customers comfortable, is to map and document how you process their data; for example what data you process, how, where, which sub-contractors are involved and how you safeguard the data.
You will probably need support by your legal team or external advisor to figure everything out. An intuitive data protection management system, in combination with legal counsel, will make sure you and your sales team don’t have to become data protection specialists.
Documenting your processing of personal data also evidence that you care about the individuals whose data you process, as well as respecting the concerns of your customers.
Championing and caring about privacy is a smart move.
Your second step is to make sure your sales team can share the information about your data processing activities in a detailed, customizable and comprehensible manner for external parties, including your customers. That way, you ensure that transparency and control is provided to those most important to you – your customers.
If your salespeople can be part of positioning your business as a front-runner in data protection, this will help further in using GDPR to your advantage. Your sales team can spend more time focusing on sales instead of answering difficult and time-consuming questions about data protection.
Your sales team’s long term success lies in you setting a structure and plan for how to live under the GDPR. Get a head-start and start preparing today!