GDPR – what the F**k is that all about?

B2B marketing is being rocked by threats of losing whole databases and being unable to market services after 25th May 2018 – just 9 months away.

Really?

No, not really.  But there are some seriously hefty fines floating around and with the Government short of money, you don’t want to be on the wrong end of a fine up to a maximum of €20 Million or 4% of worldwide turnover, whichever is the greater!

So it makes sense to pay attention to GDPR and make sure you cover off the basics.

The aim of this article is to give you an update as of now (August 2017) so that you can start making some changes that will position you well when 25 May 2018 rolls around and GDPR descends on the UK like a toxic cloud of EU Bullshit that kills your sales and marketing efforts.

Limited Scope

I’m talking here about how GDPR affects your B2B sales and marketing: your data; email campaigns; social media; telemarketing, etc.

There are different aspects to GDPR that cover other areas of business such as: holding data on staff; employment contracts; payroll; logistics and so on.  I don’t know enough about these to advise you appropriately but we do know people, so get in touch if you want help.

If you hold any data on young people or anything deeply personal on individuals, get good, expert advice as there are changes in these areas.

What are the new rules when applied to B2B marketing?

This is the easy bit.  As things stand now, GDPR rules will be broadly similar to the Data Protection Act but beefed up with massive levels of fines and a focus on compliance:

  • You can email contacts in Limited Companies, LLPs, PLCs and Government institutions without needing an opt in as long as you give them an opt out. This does not actually rely on GDPR rather PECR (Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations).  Also see the “Disclaimer” below regarding the future of PECR.
  • You need opt in permission to email sole traders, partnerships and other unincorporated businesses / individuals based on the new GDPR requirements.
  • The rules about the opt in have changed so you have to be open about what you are going to do with their data, not use coercion to get them to opt in and not pre-fill tick boxes or make service delivery conditional upon opt in.
  • There is a load of stuff about the “right to be forgotten”, only holding data while you actually need it and profiling data but frankly the issues in the three points above are far more pressing.

As you can see, not that much has really changed for B2B marketing and that’s not surprising as we are not the target of this legislation; this is data privacy legislation so it’s focussed far more on giving citizens rights to control what data is held on them and what is done with it.  The legislation is very different to the Canadian “Can Spam” rules that were specifically targeted towards email marketing and B2B businesses.

So why the fuss?

Because most businesses are not compliant with the toothless DPA and will get caught by the much fiercer GDPR.

You should be able to carry on using most of your data without getting everyone to opt in or double opt in as long as you understand the concepts of compliance and get your data in order.

But you have to get your data in order…

Your sales and marketing

If you are anything like most B2B businesses, you have a database of contacts in a CRM with your sales people holding other data in spreadsheets and email; while marketing have their own email marketing system and hold contact data from shows and events all over the place.

Whatever the case, you have a mess of contact data in systems and files.  Not only is this data duplicated all over the place but it’s also incomplete, out of date and generally shite.

Your biggest issue in complying with GDPR therefore is to get your data into good order and up to date so that you can prove you are following the rules.

You are likely to be tripped up by:

  • Duplicate data
  • Unstructured data (spreadsheets, csv exports, etc, etc)
  • Incomplete data
  • Old data
  • Wrong data

Action

The good news is that you can actually use GDPR to make money!  Yes, really…

Imagine for the moment that your data was all held in one central CRM system with complete records de-duplicated and used by both sales and marketing types.

Not only would compliance be a breeze, but you could also make great use of the data to run campaigns, generate leads, track engagement and close sales far more effectively than you are now.  My advice is to use GDPR as a reason to get your data in order; put it into a truly effective sales system then work it hard to generate you sales.

Sorting the data

You probably need external help to get your data in order.  Fact.  The people that got you into this mess won’t be able to get you out of it; you need outside help to sort your data.

(shameless plug)

The right help will be able to get all your data into one place and de-dupe it against a sensible field like email address.  Then you need to segment your data.  Limited Companies, LLPs, PLCs and Government institutions you can ignore for now as you can carry on marketing to them under legitimate Interest/PECR.

The rest of your data is either unknown or unincorporated sole traders or partnerships.  This needs the most urgent attention as you MUST NOT email them after May next year.  A smart person will be able to help you reduce the unknowns through data appending.  Now you have a pile of contacts that you want to get opted in to your marketing.

Sensible precautions

No one expects rules on data permission to be relaxed; it is more likely rules will tighten over time.  My advice to you is to get as many of the contacts on your database as possible opted in to your communications.  Then you are covered as rules change into the future.

Finally, once you have your data in order, don’t let your team screw it up again!  Load your data into a sensible CRM system with good duplicate detection processes and make it a capital offence to store any data in a spreadsheet ever, no matter what the special case.

What now?

I hope you found this overview and action plan on GDPR useful.  It is presented “as is” and the usual disclaimers apply around taking proper advice blah blah blah…

But you have some decisions to make and action to take.  I’d love the chance to help you and maybe some of our services will be useful to you as you seek the elusive compliance gold star while creating a world class sales system on its back.  Get in touch if this sounds interesting.

Disclaimer – please do read this

The opinions I have expressed above are based on current legislation and what is known of GDPR at this point (August 2017).  However there is talk that PECR (the law we rely on to be able to carry on emailing B2B contacts without opt in) could be amended at the same time as GDPR, possibly requiring opt in for B2B emailing.

If PECR is changed, the basis on which the opinion above has been offered changes completely.

Such is the madness of this legislation!

Three reasons your sales team miss target

sales statsThere are many reasons a sales team can miss target.  The three that we come across most often are these.  Do you suffer from any of these?

Not enough leads

Sales people generally fall into one of two categories: those that love generating their own leads and those that don’t!  Most don’t.

The rare salesperson that is comfortable generating leads also tends to be poor at qualifying those leads into the pipeline.  This person has worked hard to get leads into the pipeline so does not want to just dismiss them if they don’t quite fit.  So you will often find their pipeline full of hopefuls that are never going to turn into business.

If you are lucky enough to have a salesperson that is good at generating leads, try switching them to only generating leads for the rest of the sales team and compensate this person for lead generated.

Should you not have this person in your team, dedicate resource and budget to generating good quality leads.  You can do this by hiring into your team or use an external business like Nett Sales to bring you a regular stream of new leads for your sales team.

Poor or no CRM

How do you track your sales prospects?  Can you identify all live prospects by sales stage, next action, predicted revenue and know why you lost and won every deal within a minute or so of being asked?

If not, you’re wasting time and working inefficiently.  This information and so much more can be at your fingertips without wading through spreadsheets or lengthy reports.

CRM vendors don’t really help as most systems are complex, fully of unnecessary junk and don’t let you do what you want to do – progress prospects through a defined process and know where you are with each one.

Nett Sales deploys CRM systems that actually work, supporting sales teams to achieve their goals and giving them the information they need when they need it.  Our CRM guru is happy to spend an hour on the phone with you helping you to get the most out of your current system.

No re-engagement of old leads

This is the biggest failing of every sales department we come across.  Of the leads that you worked on in 2015, how many turned into customers?  Maybe 10%.  What about the other 90%?  They had a requirement but the time was not right or they bought from a competitor or someone just forgot to call them back.

You don’t have time to call each of these leads every month or so – and you’d probably upset them anyway.  So enrol them into a regular “engagement” strategy where you share relevant and interesting knowledge, hint and tips with them so that when they are ready to consider a purchase, you are front of mind.

When we run these campaigns for many businesses, we will do them in such a way that we know which old leads are engaging with the campaign and so can identify these to your sales team to get back in touch.  Where we run these campaigns we often get another 10% to 20% of the old leads back into live sales situations within months.

You’ve already paid for these leads either with money or the effort of your team, so why not optimise the return on them?

You will also benefit from an integrated CRM system so that leads can be scored and tracked effectively.

Helping you succeed

Above are three areas where sales teams tend to fall down.  It’s relatively easy to fix all three of these challenges with the right help.  Nett Sales was set up 9 years ago to provide sales teams precisely this support – that’s all we do.

So please do get in touch if you want to regain control of your sales team and your life.

5 point checklist to select the right sales system for your business

footprintsIt is more important than ever to seek out practical, impartial advice to ensure that you choose the right system to match your business needs. Nett Sales is a ‘user’ of these systems, rather than a vendor. As such we can provide you with all the help and support you require to select the best software and system vendor for your business.

Here are 5 tips which will help you select a sales system that meets the needs of your business:

  • Build a selection committee from the decision makers within your business
  • Interview stakeholders from all levels to gather their system requirements
  • Document your requirements in particular anything which is specific to your business
  • Agree project objectives and deliverables
  • Research the marketplace and engage with vendors early in the process

How Nett Sales can help you?

It is more important than ever to seek out practical advice, which is why Nett Sales has teamed up with  a number of vendors and brokers.

Nett Sales offers impartial advice to ensure that you choose the system that matches your business needs, rather than just what that specific vendor offers. You can get all the help and support you require to select the best system for your business. And if you’d like independent advice on selecting the right system for you, email us at enquiries@nett-sales.com or call 01672 50 50 50.

Getting full value from your business control and sales systems

IMG_3310_lgRecent years have seen many improvements and developments in the market place for MRP, ERP, sales tracking and CRM systems, but a new system still represents a substantial investment. Deciding which system will be best and getting full value from it remains a complex and sometimes daunting task.

Over the next couple of months you will see help and advice here to help your business select, implement, and succeed with business, manufacturing control and sales systems.

Choosing the correct software and having a proven process for creating value and getting sales and profitable business is critical for a successful project. A structured approach will help to protect your investment and get good returns on it.

If you are about to embark on a new system or wanting more value from an existing one, there are a few things to consider on this Preparation Checklist before you start:

Preparation check list:

• Do you have the right level of board commitment to the project?
• Is the project in line with your corporate growth strategy?
• Is there enough funding in place?
• What other initiatives are already underway?
• Do you have the right skills level available internally to support the project?
• Is the business resistant to, or supportive of, change?
• Once the system is built, how will it help you get more business or control time and costs?
• Is your head of sales supportive. Do you have a mobile interface and buy in from the sales team?

Nett Sales believes your business and sales needs should be the absolute priority when choosing a new ERP, MRP, CRM or sales system for your business. And if you’d like an independent review of your business systems and help to realise their full potential, email us on enquiries@nett-sales.com or call  01672 505050

Should the DMA know better?

We’re all human and make mistakes, but if you set yourself up as the arbiter of correct behaviour in a market, should you not live up to some sort of minimum standard?  Or am I just being a grumpy git? 🙂

Got this email from the Direct Marketing Association today:

dma1

So it looks pretty reasonable without images loaded, although I do think that they could use a wider template.  I suspect they are trying a “one size fits all” to work on mobile devices as well as email clients – responsive design guys??

dma2

So the primary link is clearly the blue URL right at the top of the email.  That’s what they want me to click on as it’s at the top of the email – right?  erm no…  This is where the link takes me:

dma3

Ok so they’ve put in a bad link.  I’ve done the same (more than once) so can forgive them that.  But the story looks interesting so I read on and click the link in the body of the email and it works – I get to the DMA’s website.

Excited to read the content, I’m frustrated to find I now have to register with the site to view the content.  Oh well, I’m sure I’ve registered before, so I eventually have to register again as I can’t find the login.  I get sent an email that needs me to click on a link (yes, double opt-in, good practice in action).  So now to view the content I’ve tried so hard to get to…

dma4

What!!  I’ve just registered.  Now I’m told that the registration I was offered was not enough to give me the content I was offered in the email they sent me.  I give up…

However there is an important message here.  If you have content to share with a segment of your newsletter audience, create a segmented list and only send articles that the recipients can access to them – or risk royally upsetting them.

 

 

 

Two MS Dynamics CRM books worth a look

We’ve been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM for 3 years now as the backbone to our business.  It stores all the contacts for our email marketing campaigns, integrates to our email sending system and provides the system by which we do all our telephone follow up.  So to say it’s an important part of our business is an understatement!

We therefore need a good “expert user” competence in MS CRM in order to be able to meet various client requirements of our systems and to be able to drive our business forward.  Two books that I have found useful recently are:

cookbookMicrosoft Dynamics CRM 2011: Dashboards Cookbook

Dashboards are a growing feature of MS CRM.  They allow data from all over the system to be pulled together into one place.  We’ve seen various examples of dashboards before and thought “that would be good” and using this book, we now know how to build our own elegant dashboards.

Unusually, this book is written in the form of “recipies” that you can dip into and out of as you wish, taking the particular bit of knowledge you were looking for.

Chapter 3 took us through the whole process of creating a dashboard from start to finish with great results.  We now know what we are doing with dashboards!

Great book, well worth it if you want to know how to use dashboards in MS CRM.

 

 

 

scriptingMicrosoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Scripting Cookbook

Now, I’m not a programmer of any variety, so the idea of me writing JavaScript is not a comfortable thought!  However… this book take you through the basis of JavaScript and how to use it within MS CRM so that even I feel like it is possible!

I’ve tried a few of the more basic “recipies” within the book and had good results.  So this is something that I am starting to feel comfortable with and definitely will be doing more JavaScript for our CRM in the future.

However I can see that that if you are a CRM developer, this book would be invaluable.