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!

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 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.

The Maths of data

Darts_in_a_dartboardOften when we are planning an email campaign for a client, one of the biggest questions we face is “how many records are needed to achieve the results expected?”

Whilst we are firmly of the opinion that you can never have too many contacts to engage with, there are practical limits, especially if you are purchasing records or gathering them by telephone research.  So here is our rule of thumb for email campaigns:

  • Starting at the end and working backwards…
  • Campaign outcome: Require 4 good leads per month
  • Therefore need 20 interested contacts (1 in 5 can be classified as a lead)
  • Need to call 200 contacts following up the email campaign (one in 10 being interested) so we need to generate 200 interested contacts with the email campaign
  • Anything from 5% to 0.1% of contacts will engage with a good email campaign depending on the data used, message and market sector.

For well targeted, researched and opted in data you can achieve 1.5% engagement, for cold, purchased data, the figure is probably closer to 0.4%.  This means that if you want 4 good leads per month, you need:

For Good, warm contacts: 13,300 records and for cold but well targeted purchased data: 50,000 records.

The good news is that if you are willing to invest in your campaign and allow interest to build over a few months and be very rigorous with re-engaging the contacts that were “maybe”, you can reduce your data requirements by half, but this is still a lot of data to acquire, manage  and engage with…

B2B Buyer Behaviour: how to convert more quality leads

Derek Singleton - Software AdviceDerek Singleton of Software Advice has recently written a report on B2B buyer behaviour by in which a study found 3 key findings:

  1. Call leads fast- really fast
  2. Tuesday- Thursday is the best time to reach buyers
  3. Don’t underestimate the opportunity around the holidays

The findings show that calling prospects straight away can significantly improve your ability to qualify leads generated from a campaign. Also, there are certain times of the year, week and day when you need to plan your in-house sales team’s capacity to maximize your ability to turn click-throughs into leads.

The report suggests that if you call a lead within 5 seconds, the odds of qualifying them are 29% higher than if we call within 5 minutes.

Derek Singleton says “Our report shows that when a buyer contacts us directly for information—requesting a price quote or product demo, for instance—there is a significant benefit to calling that buyer right away. “It was amazing to see that if we call a buyer within 5 seconds of converting, we qualify that buyer at a rate 30 percent higher than our average qualification rate.”

At Nett Sales we think this research is definitely valid. We aim to follow up a message as quickly as possible by tracking who has clicked and opened the message. We follow up with a call to find out what prospects thought and how relevant it is to their needs.

The research also highlights leads that come in Tuesday through to Thursday qualify at twice the average qualification rate for other business days.

This makes sense and is something that we at Nett Sales already endeavour to follow. Calling prospects on a Monday or Friday is not as successful as the rest of the week, as these are day’s people of most likely to have off and be away from the office.

The week before Christmas is surprisingly active for conversion and qualification rates.

This may come as a surprise to some businesses, as you may think that in the run up Christmas and other holidays, businesses are starting to wind down and are not thinking about B2B buying. But during Christmas and New Year many companies and looking to allocate their budget and have the time to read emails and research online.

Derek Singleton gives some valuable advice by saying “Of course, it’s also important to understand that not every buyer deserves a call right away. If a buyer contacts you indirectly—by completing a form to download a whitepaper, access video content, or view other gated material—then you should consider nurturing, rather than calling, the lead. As sales and marketing professionals continue to compete for the attention of B2B buyers on the Web, understanding their online behaviour will be critical to success. Hopefully our data helps provide a fresh perspective for online B2B buyer behaviour.”

If you would like to read the report in full for more details, follow this link. 2013 Online B2B Buyer Behaviour Report. If you would like to learn more about what Nett Sales does and how these principles from the report can help you gain more sales more quickly contact our team on 01672 50 50 50.

When email frequency gets REALLY annoying

Ilogmein‘m a big fan of LogMeIn.  It works well and gives me great control of desktop PCs from an iPad.  I’ve got the free version and naturally the company are keen to get me to sign up to their Pro package and send me special offer emails to encourage me to upgrade.

BUT… how many “last chance” emails do they need to send me?  I’ve counted 5 in 2 days, which seems more than excessive.  Not to mention factually incorrect – surely it should be “only four more chances to save…” etc 🙂

I don’t know how many more times I’m going to be offered a last chance as I’ve now unsubscribed and they have had their last chance to influence me.

Am I going to uninstall their product and use TeamViewer?  No.  But I won’t be hearing from them again and doubt I will spend money with them.

So think carefully about what impact repeated offers will have on your subscribers.

The TRUTH about email subject lines

If you are in any way involved in email marketing, you will KNOW that the subject line is vital to the success of your email campaign.  And all the stats prove it.

But how long should your subject line be?  Well there is a strong body of evidence to help you here:

Econsultancy shows in this article that shorter subject lines are best:

mailer_mailer-blog-full

But then Email Audience says longer subject lines are best:

how_long_should_your_subject_line_be

… Confused?  Well just to finish off, Mailchip guru John Foreman says subject line length means absolutely nothing:

Graph11

As J0hn says “As your subject line gets longer, nothing happens. Cheers.”

So that’s cleared things up then.  There are three schools of thought, one promoting short subject lines, one longer subject lines and one neither.  So what I would urge you to do if you want to get your subject line working for you is to go back and read the detail of all three of these articles because they all really say the same thing in the end: “your audience is made up of individuals and will respond like individuals.  Figure out what interests them and what they respond to and give them more of that”.

The Peaks and Troughs of business. How to turn it into constant, steady growth

How has your sales and marketing activity gone this year? Has it been peaks and troughs or a steady stream of income?

A typical SMEs income cycle may look something like this:

typical_growth

You’ve just set up your business and you have been focussing your time on marketing to get your product/ service seen by your audience. Naturally, customers start to buy and you see sales increase. Your focus now shifts to handling these sales, processing the orders and sending out deliveries which leaves no time for lead generation and marketing.

As there is no active marketing going on, business starts to slow down.  So you kick off your marketing again. Now all your attention is on getting more people buying from you, as income has hit on all-time low. Your efforts work  but just like before you need to stop selling to get customers’ orders processed and delivered as promised…. And so it continues…. Marketing activity increases, customers buy, sales reduce, and income reduces and so on….

Is there a way where your business can get steady income from steady sales which are constant throughout the year? So your income looks something like this:

desired_growth

This would be achievable if you are able to concentrate all your time on business and not worry about lead generation and sales. Nett Sales could help. We  run your lead generation campaigns for you and find the people that are interested in buying from you now.

To learn more about the Nett Sales process and how this can generate you the business you deserve as well as giving you time to focus on business itself. Call us for a friendly chat on 01672 50 50 50 or read more about us here.

The perfect email

It’s not often that I get the perfect email – one that beautifully illustrates all of the various different points we go on (and on) about in designing effective emails that sell.  But I got one this morning!  And here it is.

So let’s look at this from the top…

  1. SpigenSubject line.  Arguably the most important part of the email, the subject line should entice the recipient to engage with the message and, if you are not viewing the content in your preview pane, to open the message. Fail.
  2. Sender name.  Different commentators argue that the sender name is now more important than the subject line in getting engagement.  At least this sender has included an alias but just the company name???  Surely something a bit more personal…  And take a look at the email address.  I don’t know about you, but that does not look to me like someone I know or would want to trust.
  3. Sent to.  I’ve not got the first clue who =?utf-8?Q??= is, but I don’t know how to pronounce it and I certainly don’t answer to it.  Is this personalisation gone wrong?  Who knows.  big fail.
  4. Content.  Finally!  Lets have a look at the message… Oh well.