What can Canadian opt-in laws tell us about the real life implications of GDPR?

canada-flagThe new marketing opt-in laws commonly known as GDPR are due to come into force in May 2018. They’re plagued with vagaries, risk, and uncertainty and give marketers only a small window of opportunity to get consent from their prospects before the axe falls.

At such a time we often look round for help, someone who can reassure us that though the changes coming our way are terrifying, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. In this regard we turn to Canada.

We’ve been in contact with Adina Zaiontz, founder and director of Napkin Marketing to discuss the experience of gaining consent and opt-ins as well as some of the unforeseen bumps similar laws have brought along the way.

CASL

CASL stands for the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, which came into effect July 1st, 2014.

In a nutshell, it prohibits most organisations from sending electronic sales and marketing communications to any business or individual unless that person has given consent though some exemptions apply.

What’s more, after July 1, 2017, individuals will be able to sue any entity they believe is sending them unauthorised messages. Organizations that don’t comply risk serious penalties, including criminal and civil charges, personal liability for company officers and directors, and penalties of up to $10 million CDN. As you can imagine, this has had a serious impact on the way B2C and B2B marketing is done there.

Sounds a tad similar to GDPR right?

The implications for marketing are very similar, but the difference is that Canada is already treading the path toward opt-in only campaigns and here in the UK we’ve barely started.

What can we learn?

The insight Canadian companies such as Adina’s can offer will be absolutely invaluable in this unfamiliar territory and will provide a solid foundation from which you’ll be able to build your own opt-in campaigns. We sat down and discussed the four major implications the laws had for Canadian marketing campaigns and what the impact could be here in the UK:

Value is crucial

“CASL has made businesses realise that they have to be much more creative and strategic with the campaigns they send. You have to provide value in these campaigns and give people good reason to sign up or opt-in to your list, and continue delivering value so they don’t unsubscribe” – Adina Zaiontz

Giving a prospect a reason to sign up or continue reading is essential for any successful campaign; the same principle will apply to opt-ins.

For Adina, the most successful opt-in campaigns were the ones that offered prospects value, benefits or useful knowledge in the form of eBooks, advice or special offers.

They gave people a stronger motivation to sign-up or consent to marketing as there was a tangible benefit for them.

Opt-in rates will vary

“Opt in success rates often depend on what kind of company is asking for the permission and how important they are to their client’s lives. People will likely opt-in to an accounting firm’s mailing list so they don’t miss their tax filing reminder. Yet they may not care to opt-in and keep in touch with the company they ordered their office sofa from in 2008 as it is not a vital business relationship. If you’re that sofa company you’ll need to come up with more creative ways (coupons, specials, announcements) to prove your value, ensuring you gain and keep that client’s opt-in and engagement” – Adina Zaiontz

No business’s experience of opt-in campaigns will be exactly the same. For those that offer essential services it’s going to be about ensuring your offering can compete against other providers.

For more niche businesses, opt-in campaigns are an opportunity to promote and emphasise the unique aspects of your product.

We’re not all the same, and as Adina noted it’s about being creative and proactive with your campaigns and ensuring you stand out in what is about to become a very crowded market.

Being proactive will make a difference

“One week before the CASL deadline in 2014 Canadians got thousands of emails from everyone they’d ever met, done business with, or ever heard of all asking for consent. Imagine every professional, consultant, retailer or company you’ve ever done business with or given an email address to emailing you for permission to stay in touch. All in the same week. Any company asking for consent around this time likely got really low opt in rates because they were simply one of many hitting the customers’ inbox” – Adina Zaiontz

Starting early turned out to be huge advantage, particularly for the companies who had to work harder for opt-ins.

It can take a number of ‘touches’ before a prospect engages and the same applies to asking for consent – it takes time. With that in mind maximise on the time left with a series of emails that will:

Build up prospects’ awareness of your company and by extension their trust
Offer a broad range of content that will resonate with the different people within your campaign and ensure there is something everyone wants to opt-in to
Don’t let the opt-in request be the first time your clients get a promotional email from you. That opt-in request should come after they have received a few messages from you that demonstrate your business value and establish a relationship with them. So they have a reason to choose to remain on your mailing list.

Put in the infrastructure

“Companies have to live under the assumption that they may one day get audited by the government and they will need to be able to provide documented proof of consent, or face hefty fines. Smart companies are being proactive on this by maintaining opt in/ communication records or databases and tracking them through a CRM system.” – Adina Zaiontz

It’s all well and good if you manage to get your prospects to consent to further marketing contact, but what if you need to prove it?

Would you, when asked, be able to quickly and easily provide documented proof that a particular individual consented to your marketing along with the time and date that consent was received?

Corporations in violation of CASL are already being hit with significant fines and you can expect the ICO and EU to follow this precedent. As such, putting a CRM or email marketing software in place that will track client communication is highly recommended.

The million dollar question – will it be worth it?

“If you do a good job asking for permission then you can expect about 30-40% of prospects to consent. It does seem like a big hit to lose that much of your “prospect list”, but on the other hand if 60% were people who weren’t interested in hearing from you anyway, do you really want to keep communicating with them?” – Adina Zaiontz

It’s something we all want to know. Will the loss of at least 60% of our carefully cultivated databases be justified in any way? It could be.

A list of warm leads will always have a higher response rate than a list of cold data, always has, always will.

By default your opt-in data is comprised of people who have consented to your marketing and have done so for a reason – they want to hear from you and are genuinely interested in your offerings.

In summary

The most important thing here is to build a structured marketing campaign that offers value and good reasons for prospects to opt-in. Starting early will be a huge advantage and here in the UK we have a window of just under 2 years. As Adina emphasised to us:

“Because the law hasn’t yet come into force in the UK you can really use the opportunity of starting early and asking for mailing consent now to ensure you’re ahead of the curve. When the law does come into effect you’ll find yourself in a strong position with more of your list intact.

Use the time to put in place the infrastructure to gain and document consent, you’ll need an email provider, webforms, CRM, and a range of other processes to really maximise time you’ve got to get consent”

More info

Thanks once again to Adina Zaiontz for her time and expertise in this area. You can visit the Napkin Marketing home page here or take a look at some of the CASL related content available on their blog.

Alternatively you can check out the CASL homepage here…

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article then get in touch on 01672 505050 or drop us a line to gdpr@nett-sales.com

Protected: 4 reasons your organisation probably won’t escape the new data laws

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Consent: if it’s not ‘yes’, its ‘no’. There is no middle ground.

yes no greyGetting consent to send your subscribers emails and marketing information is fundamentally important, not only so that you can send your future campaigns legally but so you can be 100% sure that person wants to hear from you.

The clock’s ticking and with a zero-tolerance approach and heavy fines being introduced, you can’t take the risk of not being able to prove consent. Sending to someone who hasn’t explicitly told you they want your want your articles, advice, newsletter emails and other marketing will leave you in deep waters once the GDPR comes into effect.

Where B2B communication stands now

At the moment we’re able to assume consent if the person we’re emailing doesn’t unsubscribe or opt-out of those messages. If someone’s subscribed to you 2 years ago but hasn’t opened an email since, you can still send to them as they haven’t chosen to physically opt-out yet. In future, this won’t be enough.

What’s changing?

You can no longer assume you have someone’s permission
When the changes come into effect, consent can no longer be implied, and an indication or an assumption of consent will not be enough to keep you on a clear track.

“Silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity should not constitute consent” – Recital 32, GDPR

Stating: “If you don’t want to hear from us again, tick this box or click this link” in the small print at the end of an email will not be enough.

Consent needs to be explicit

The savvy among us will make sure they have explicit consent to use a person’s data or to send them emails and marketing. Explicit consent means the subscriber must take a positive action to consent to your marketing.

“Consent should be given by a clear affirmative act establishing a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of agreement” – Recital 32, GDPR

Not only that, but your subscriber must be clearly informed of how you will use their data and exactly what they are consenting to. This means no more hiding behind jargon full privacy policies. 

As a minimum they need to know:

  • The identity and contract details of whoever controls their data
  • The purposes of processing their data
  • How long their data will be stored for
  • Their rights to access, erase or to object to the processing

“The request for consent shall be presented in an…intelligible and easily accessible format using clear and plain language” – Article 7.2, GDPR

Consent needs to be provable
Because of the increased risk of fines and legal action, you want to be able to respond to queries and complaints quickly and easily.

“The controller shall be able to demonstrate that the data subject has consented to processing of his or her personal data” – Article 7.1, GDPR

This means when you gain consent you should collect it in a manner which shows where and when consent was requested and given, and what the context or detail of that consent was.

It should be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it
Controllers must inform data subjects of the right to withdraw before consent is given. Once consent is withdrawn, data subjects have the right to have their personal data erased and no longer used for processing.

“Consent should not be regarded as freely given if the data subject has no genuine or free choice or is unable to refuse or withdraw consent without detriment” – Recital 42, GDPR

What to do?

The important thing here is not to worry. This all sounds scary, but taking the right steps now will prevent this from becoming a major issue 18 months down the line. Take a look at these 6 steps, give us a call on 01672 505050 or drop an email to gdpr@nett-sales.com to chat with one of our specialist advisors.

How relevant are changes in B2B communication legislation to UK businesses?

night-city-1149601_960_720As the dust settles following the EU Referendum, many people’s thoughts have moved away from the frenzy of political and economic news, to how Brexit will affect their businesses’ day to day operations. In particular, the impact that Brexit may have on the GDPR passed in May. The short answer is that it won’t.

Since 2010, there has been a global recognition that the laws written in the 1990s are no longer relevant to the increasingly sophisticated world of B2B communication and marketing.

Canadian initiatives such as Bill C-28 (2010) and CASL (2014), the sudden rejection of the US-EU Safe Harbour agreement (2015) and the publication of the GDPR (2016) are all symptoms of this global recognition and indicate that significant changes to laws surrounding B2B and B2C communication are on the verge of being implemented on a global scale.

So where does this leave UK companies?

Fallout from Brexit

“The GDPR has offered a unified, blanket solution that all companies around the world could comply to. If the UK will not adhere to the GDPR after the Brexit, it will need to negotiate a separate data privacy agreement with the EU that continues to make it an attractive country to prospects.” – Amy Johnson, Emerson Network Power

The GDPR will come into force on 25th May 2018; before the UK’s likely withdrawal from the EU. Importantly, as a European Regulation, the GDPR has direct effect in UK law without the need for separate legislation by the UK Government.

Since Brexit seems unlikely to have an effect until October 2018 at the earliest, this means that all UK organisations will need to comply with the requirements of the GDPR for around 5 months at the very least.

The role of the ICO

“It is unlikely that the UK is going to want to start drafting a new data protection law, especially during a time when there will be so many other demands on parliamentary time, only to face the uncertainly of placing it before the European Commission for an assessment of its adequacy. More efficiently and, in our view, more likely, is that the UK will simply adopt the GDPR, a text which it had significant input on.” – Riannon Webster, Partner at DAC Beachcroft

It’s difficult to tell how the landscape will change over the next few years, but the expectation is that the GDPR will live on in some form under UK law after 2018.

What we do know is that the ICO is very keen to reform current regulations, arguing the need for uniform global standards in order to broach international trade agreements. Canada and Switzerland are already implementing parallel laws and you can bet the ICO will drive this forward in the UK even without the EU.

Moreover, it seems unlikely that the UK Government, acting on the advice of the ICO, would start from scratch in drafting a new data protection law, so expect large parts of the GDPR to stick around.

The alternative

“A failure to implement such equivalence will lead the UK down a path similar to the US, which is enduring the demise of Safe Harbour and a torturous agreement process with its replacement, Privacy Shield. This would severely affect UK firms’ ability to compete in Europe.” – Duncan Brown, European Security Practice

If the UK wants access to the Single Market, it’s going to have to align a lot of its laws with the EU’s. As Marc Dautlich emphasises “Norway complies with about three quarters of EU legislation but has very little influence over its content. Under this model, it would be unlikely that the UK would move significantly away from GDPR”

On a business level, we are unlikely to be taken seriously by EU traders if we don’t comply with the same standards. GDPR also applies to any organisation, whether located inside or outside the EU, if that organisation:

1. Offers goods or services to EU citizens
2. Monitors the behaviour of EU citizens

Therefore, in some way or another, UK businesses will need to abide by these laws (or a very similar set of laws) for the foreseeable future.

More information

You can find out more about GDPR here…
Or you can see the consequences of this for your business and the steps you can follow by clicking here…

If this is something which you’re worried about, give us a call on 01672 505050 or send an email to gdpr@nett-sales.com to speak to one of our specialists. 

We’ve put this together with the help of the following people, some of whom we’ve quoted directly. See more of their advice and opinions below.
Duncan Brown, Research Director at the European Security Practice
Riannon Webster, Partner at DAC Beachcroft
Amy Johnson, VP at Emerson Network Power
Marc Dautlich, Data pPotection Law Specialist, Pinsent Masons
Carla Arend, Program Director, European Software

 

3 ways B2B communication laws will change your business

cookie monsterThere’s a lot of buzz around the new B2B communication laws passed earlier this year, and the question on everyone’s lips is ‘What does it mean for my business?’

The short answer is a strong dose of change, but there are three areas in particular you may need to take note of:

Opt-in replaces opt-out
“If you don’t want to hear from us again, tick this box or click this link” – sound familiar?

We all use it! Yet under the new laws, the opt-out will be no more. Instead, opt-in consent will be required for all marketing communications.

Informed consent is the new minimum standard
“Our sales have always been solid. We own data lists, sometimes we buy more, we send them emails and we get leads. Why change now?” – Simply owning the data isn’t enough.

If you hold, contact or track a database then you’re going to need to get the consent of each person in that database. You’re also going to need to prove it.

Consent cannot be implied by inaction, it must be the result of a positive action by individuals. They must know exactly what they’re consenting to, and pre-ticked boxes aren’t an option. You can also find out more on consent here… 

No difference between ‘business’ and ‘consumer’ data
“Isn’t this only the case for consumer data? We’ve always been able to contact other businesses in the past…” – From now on the same rules apply to both.

The legislation also makes no distinction between B2C and B2B communication. All data is now personal and if you can identify a person from the data you hold then its time to get their consent.

We haven’t seen such significant changes to data legislation since 1995, when floppy disks were still used and a cookie was a treat you had with a cuppa. A lot has changed since then and reforms are well overdue.

But what do I do about it?

It all sounds scary, but taking the right steps now will set you up nicely for when these laws come into force in 2018. If you do this right, you could find yourself with a database of refined, engaged and relevant people with a genuine interest in your services.

The best thing to do at this point is take a look at these 6 steps and tackle GDPR head on. Check them out here…

Getting in the know now will give you time to prepare properly and ensure you gain an edge over your competitors. Brush up on your knowledge here…

Alternatively, give us a call on 01672 505050 or drop an email to gdpr@nett-sales.com

General Data Protection Legislation – What can you do?

footprintsThe GDPR was approved in May 2016 and is set to have a huge impact on the way B2B relations are carried out. Here are a few of the consequences and some simple steps to make complying a little easier…

So what do I do?

Decide whether you will be impacted
If you telephone or email prospects, or possess personal data chances are you will be.

Find out more
Understand exactly what these changes will mean for you. Take a look at the library of resources Nett Sales has collected here…

Review your practices & plan ahead
Establish whether your current level of opt-in meets the new terms. Amend your consent terms, contact every person you wish to communicate with in the future to upgrade their consent level to the new standard and start storing consent forms.

Implement the plan now
Start preparing now while no one else is. Consent is going to become scarce in 18 months’ time, so being ahead of the game could be a huge advantage!

Ask for help
It’s important you get this right, so start thinking about this today and get some help with it if you need to.

See the silver lining
With all the talk of hefty fines and legal action it’s easy to see only the negatives. However, by being forced to encourage prospects to engage you’ll boost both engagement and sales, and see a marked improvement in the quality of your data.

What are the consequences if I don’t?

You will be investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and if you are found to be in serious breach of the new law you could be fined up to €20 million or 4% of your organisation’s global turnover.

It’s a fact that the ICO is increasing its staff numbers in preparation for the GDPR, so don’t assume they lack the resources. They stand to profit hugely from this.

Implications of Brexit

The GDPR comes into effect in May 2018. The UK is highly unlikely to exit the EU formally by then, so you’ll still be subject to the legislation. Whilst the long term future of GDPR after the conclusion of Brexit negotiations isn’t certain, the ICO has highlighted that:

“With so many businesses and services operating across borders, international consistency around data protection laws and rights is crucial both to businesses and organisations and to consumers and citizens. The ICO’s role has always involved working closely with regulators in other countries, and that will continue to be the case… we will be speaking to government to present our view that reform of the UK law remains necessary”ICO, 1st July 2016. See the full statement here…

So in short, a legislation on very similar lines to the GDPR is likely to be enforced in the years to come. As such, preparation is essential.

More information

If you are unsure where to go from here, keep an eye out for future articles from Nett Sales, call us on 01672 50 50 50 or drop an email to gdpr@nett-sales.com

You can also see our article introducing some of the key concepts of GDPR here…

Whilst this article is meant to inform, it does not constitute legal advice. If you need details about GDPR’s legal implications for your business, please get in with your legal advisor.

 

This article together with the help of the following pieces, some of which we have quoted directly.

‘How the GDPR will affect B2B marketing’ – CPB UK
‘3 ways the new EU data laws will impact your B2B marketing’ – Claire Gardner, Cyance
’10 Must-know facts about the new EU data law’ – Graham Smith, marketinggraham.com
‘Infographic: How the EU plans to kill B2B marketing’ – Graham Smith, marketinggraham.com

’10 things B2B marketers should know about the new EU data protection regulations’ – Rob Diggle, Databroker
‘What does the GDPR mean for email marketing?’ – Cheryl Buckingham, Artisan Send

 

 

The ICO’s Response to Brexit and GDPR

At the annual report launch on 28 June 2016, Information Commissioner Christopher Graham updated the ICO statement:

“Over the coming weeks we will be discussing with Government the implications of the referendum result and its impact on data protection reform in the UK.

“With so many businesses and services operating across borders, international consistency around data protection laws and rights is crucial both to businesses and organisations and to consumers and citizens. The ICO’s role has always involved working closely with regulators in other countries, and that will continue to be the case.

“Having clear laws with safeguards in place is more important than ever given the growing digital economy, and we will be speaking to government to present our view that reform of the UK law remains necessary.”

Translation: GDPR is here to stay

Action: Access all the latest advice, interpretation and resources designed specifically for UK SMEs and B2B marketing here…

General Data Protection Regulation – What does it mean for you?

iStock_000016267659XXXLarge - CopyThe GDPR was approved in May 2016 and is set to have a huge impact on the way B2B relations are carried out.

In all honesty, no one knows exactly what it means, the legislation itself is plagued with vagaries and there seems to be little clarification on what it means for the world of B2B communications. But here’s what we do know, and how it will impact your business.

Who will be affected?

If your organisation:

– Possesses or processes data pertaining to an identifiable person
– Contacts those individuals via email, phone, SMS or post
– Tracks their engagement via e-shots, cookies, or landing pages for the purpose of profiling an individual

Then you need to start thinking seriously about how GDPR will impact on your business, and start taking immediate steps towards compliance.

What does it mean?

 What is personal data?
  • Full name
  • Job title
  • Work email address
  • Direct phone number
  • Data relating to an individuals actions or behaviours
  • Computer IP address

There is no longer any difference between “business” and “consumer” data
The GDPR makes no distinction between B2C personal data and B2B personal data. It’s all personal and subject to the same rules. B2B businesses will need to update their processes to ensure the same levels of protection are given to anyone they wish to contact.

Opt-in replaces opt-out
The opt-out is a familiar part of marketing communication these days: “If you don’t want to hear from us again, tick this box or click this link”. Under the new EU laws, the opt-out will be no more. Instead, opt-in consent will be required for all marketing communications.

Informed consent
Data controllers need to be able to prove that users gave unambiguous, informed, contextual consent and knew exactly what they were agreeing to.

Consent cannot be implied by inaction, it must be the result of a positive action by individuals. Soft opt-in may apply in some circumstances, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Right to be forgotten
Individuals now have the right to force data controllers to delete all information they hold on them, including any details retained on a “do not contact” list. Businesses will have to work out new processes to ensure all personal information is thoroughly and permanently erased.

Data on EU citizens will be treated the same wherever in the world it’s held
The Regulations grant enforcement bodies greater powers that apply anywhere in the world, not simply in EU member countries. If you hold data on any EU citizen then you’ll need to comply.

This is a Regulation and not a Directive
Directives are legal guidelines that EU countries must achieve by their own means, whereas Regulations have binding legal force and all come into effect at the same time. In other words, the GDPR is a pan-European law that won’t be influenced by the UK Parliament.

When do I have to comply?

The GDPR was published on 25th May 2016. It gives organisations 2 years to become compliant, so the deadline is 25th May 2018.

So what do I do next?

See the consequences of this for your business and the steps you can follow to ensure you comply here…

If this is something you are concerned about, why not give us a call on 01672 505050 or drop an email to gdpr@nett-sales.com

This article together with the help of the following pieces, some of which we have quoted directly.

‘How the GDPR will affect B2B marketing’ – CPB UK
‘3 ways the new EU data laws will impact your B2B marketing’ – Claire Gardner, Cyance
’10 Must-know facts about the new EU data law’ – Graham Smith, marketinggraham.com
‘Infographic: How the EU plans to kill B2B marketing’ – Graham Smith, marketinggraham.com

’10 things B2B marketers should know about the new EU data protection regulations’ – Rob Diggle, Databroker
‘What does the GDPR mean for email marketing?’ – Cheryl Buckingham, Artisan Send

The Biggest Mistake B2B Salespeople Make

Bryan Kreuzberger offers the following thoughts on the biggest mistake B2B salespeople make:

I’ve had 100’s of sales calls. Over 90% of the calls, never resulted in a sale. For years I didn’t understand why my customers didn’t buy.

The thing I hate about most sales systems is that they only talk about it from the seller’s point of view.

“What do I do to close them?”
“How do I increase my close ratio?”
“Why don’t MY customer’s get it?

The mistake? Thinking like a salesperson is inherently flawed. If you want to persuade or influence a customer, you should think about their point of view — not your own.

Here’s what we are covering:

  1. The 4 qualifications every prospect must have to become a customer
  2. The biggest mistake almost every B2B salesperson makes
  3. B2B Sales vs. Consumer Sales
  4. How non-decision makers (NDM’s) are ruining your pipeline

Let’s start by identifying the 4 qualifications prospects must pass to become a buyer. This will save you time and lead to more closed sales.

The 4 Qualifications Prospects Must Pass to Become Buyers Are:

  1. They must have the authority to make a decision
  2. They must have the ability to buy (i.e. The Money)
  3. They must be in pain
  4. They must be looking to make a decision now (or at least very soon)

Pretty simple right?

But most B2B salespeople make all kinds of mistakes with this.  Making a mistake here leads to long sales cycles, deals that never seem to close and endless follow up.

Out of the four qualifications, there is one qualification that wastes 80% of your time and leads to all kinds of frustration.  The first one…

1) Your prospects must have the authority to make a decision

In short, they need to be able to say yes to you.

The ability to “say yes” is the big difference between B2B sales and consumer sales. With consumers they are in charge of their own buying decision. In B2B sales, only one person at a company typically has the authority to make the decision.

Most salespeople make the simple mistake of assuming that they are talking to the decision maker.

However, in reality they are only talking to people involved in the decision. The salesperson is talking to stakeholders, researchers and users.

The one person they aren’t talking to is the actual buyer. They aren’t talking to the person who can approve the project.

Why does this matter?

If you aren’t talking to THE Decision Maker the likelihood of closing a sale goes down by 50%.

The primary reason for this decrease is that you have little influence on the sales process.

When working with sales people I start by evaluating their pipeline.

I was working with Rich, a salesman last week. He was frustrated because his sales cycles were taking forever to close. As we looked at his pipeline, two thirds of it was made up of non-decision makers. He projected that these same deals had a probability of closing anywhere from 65% – 80%.

The reality is more like 50-50.

Rich was wondering why these deals weren’t closing. It’s not a mystery — it’s because he is in the wrong room.

When I started in sales, I was just happy to be talking with anyone. I didn’t realise that I was wasting my time with guys who were a few rungs below the actual decision maker. I was taking meetings with guys who could say no to me — but they couldn’t say yes to me.

When I say they couldn’t say yes to me, it means they didn’t have the authority to say yes. They had to go to someone else (typically their boss) to approve the project.

To make matters worse — the non-decision makers would rarely introduce me to the decision maker. The non-decision maker reports to the decision maker. They have more to lose than to gain by introducing me to their boss. Why would they risk it? No one wants to look bad…

I didn’t want to go around the non-decision makers and risk the deal. But I also didn’t want to keep doing what I was doing.

 

Step 1: The first step is to acknowledge the problem.

Step 2: Identify where you have the problem in your own sales. Look at your pipeline ask yourself how many of these deals are you talking with the FINAL decision maker? How many of sales are you talking to someone who is just involved in the decision?

Step 3: If you aren’t talking to the FINAL decision maker, your next order of business is to get in front of him.

2) Your prospects must have the ability to buy

This one is pretty straight forward.

If you’re calling on a company that simply can’t afford your service or product — you’re calling on the wrong customers.

Why this matters.

Don’t make the mistake of working with people who are just getting started or have “cash flow issues.” (Customer translation they have no cash) The goal of this blog is to help you generate sales with customers who can pay you. Not to help you make connections with people who may be able to pay you in the future.

Wealthy companies are difficult to get into, but once you’re in, they make it much easier to get paid a lot of money. They don’t cause headaches that small companies do. They ask for less than small companies do. And if you do a good job, they will buy more.

The third element is the key to influencing or persuading someone.

2) Your prospects must be in pain

You should be looking for clients who have a “bleeding neck.”

The concept is simple.

Imagine you’re a surgeon who works in the E.R. and your prospects are all the people who are in the waiting room.

Who do you choose to work on first?

It’s not the guy who has a skinned up knee. He’s in pain, but he will live. It’s not the hypochondriac who wants information and to be assured that he is ok.

You want to work on the guy who is bleeding out from the neck and screaming for help.

I know that’s graphic — but that’s the kind of desperation you are looking for with prospects.

You need to focus on finding those companies that need your service so badly that when you find them, they see you as a lifesaver.

Why this matters.

When you work with companies that have a bleeding neck, not only will it be easier to close sales but you will also be providing a service that the customer will truly appreciate.

This leads to an easier working relationship, happy client interactions, creates immediate value for the client and opens up the possibility for future work.

4) Your prospects must be looking to make a decision now

A few years back I owned a 4 year old Audi.

The problem was my Audi kept breaking.

I found a garage to fix my car. A year passed, the Audi was still breaking. I was educating myself in car maintenance. I was interested in fixing my car but not motivated. I wanted a quick fix. I was making do, but more problems arose.

Fast forward. My car wasn’t leaving the garage.

I was losing business because I couldn’t reliably get to meetings.

I was motivated.

I made an offer on a new Audi. It was accepted!

Two weeks later the deal fell through.

Now I was scrambling.

Now, I had an urgent problem.

I couldn’t find the car I wanted. NOW, I had a bleeding neck.

I found a car I liked. I made three offers in three different dealerships.

I negotiated against all three of them.

I got a great deal.

Why does this matter?

Let’s look at the progression of our purchase.

1. Education –> 2. Interest –> 3. Motivation –> 4.Urgency

It wasn’t until we had an urgent problem that the deal was closed.

If you’re going to spend your time on a sale, you need to know the person is qualified. And if they aren’t qualified you need to be talking with someone who is.

The moral of the story. Don’t waste your time and resources on prospects who aren’t qualified.

In recap:

The 4 Criteria Prospects Must Pass to Become Buyers Are:

  1. They must have the authority to make a decision
  2. They must have the ability to buy
  3. They must be in pain
  4. They must be looking to make a decision now (or at least very soon)

Here is the action for you this week.

Step 1. Look at your pipeline and ask yourself how many of these deals are you talking with the FINAL decision maker?
Step 2. In how many of the sales are you talking to someone merely involved in the decision?
Step 3. If you aren’t talking to the FINAL decision maker, your next order of business is to get in front of him.

Email Marketing is dead – Long live email selling!

Death_to_stock_BMX1_9_600A recent LinkedIn discussion on the merits of email marketing showed the massive polarity of responses.  On one side was heard:

  • I hate spam. I never read any email from anyone I don’t know
  • It doesn’t work – I’ve tried and failed
  • Email is dead anyway, numbers using email are declining. Social Media is the way forward
  • No one read our marketing emails that we’ve spent a fortune having designed

And on the other hand comments like these appeared:

  • Email is a great channel to find new customers
  • We mainly use email to retain clients
  • Our email strategy gives the highest ROI of any of our marketing

So what’s going on?  How can a relatively homogenous group have such different views on the effectiveness of email as a promotions and sales channel?

I believe the difference is between those that see email as a broadcast medium and those that seek to engage contacts by sharing knowledge and advice.  To differentiate the two, I have coined the phrase email selling to describe this second activity.

The difference is stark:

Email Marketing Email Selling
Designed emails with lots of HTML and pictures Plain emails, often short with limited or no design
Content talks about the sender “we’re great”, “we’ve got lots of clients”, “look at our services”, etc… The content is focussed on the recipient:  Useful knowledge; valuable advice and relevant stories
Everyone gets the same message Recipients are segmented and receive different messages and customised content intended to be directly relevant to them.
Messages often originate from the marketing department Messages are usually created with the involvement of sales department or other line of business users
Focus is on propagating brand and being “on message” Focus is on giving great value to the recipients
Fire & forget Regular engagement with further email or telephone follow up around the topic the recipient engaged with
Campaigns don’t evolve based on user behaviour New messages are created and targeted based on engagement with past content
ROI difficult to measure Known ROI based on a regular stream of new leads and closed sales

So next time you are thinking about your email strategy think email selling over email marketing.