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

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,
‘Infographic: How the EU plans to kill B2B marketing’ – Graham Smith,

’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



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

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,
‘Infographic: How the EU plans to kill B2B marketing’ – Graham Smith,

’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 other 80%

Here’s something you will recognise… You’ve just finished a successful trade show. You have some great contacts to follow up and everyone is delighted.

The marketing department are pleased with the results and the sales team immediately begin following up to close the hot prospects – about 20% of all of the contacts.  The remaining 80% never receive another contact by phone or email!


Because neither the marketing or sales staff have the time or energy to follow up and weed out the 50% of “non-qualified” contacts and to nurture the remaining 40% that would eventually become future hot prospects.

This failure to remain in contact with these potential clients could result in a tremendous loss of sales. It’s only a matter of time before these 40% of would be clients buy from your competition.
Thankfully your company is blisfully unaware of these lost sales.  If it were you can imagine the discussion:

Marketing: “Sales are lazy – we work our butts off to produce great leads and you don’t follow them up.”

Sales: “Marketing produce time wasting weak leads.  No one has budget or is ready to buy.  We may as well just phone from yellow pages!”

I parody slightly 🙂

But.. the real loser is your company that has spent out for an expensive trade show for only 20% of the contacts to be sold to. When a further 40% of contacts could have become customers too.

The challenge is to identify and keep in touch with these 40% of contacts, feeding them relevant information and keeping your name in their mind so that when they come to buy, you are their natural choice.

This is not a role that either marketing or sales traditionally do.  But this is exactly what the Nett Sales process does for you: It takes leads that are generally neglected and carefully, patiently, methodically and automatically nurtures them until they are ready to become buying clients.  Building a relationship of trust until the lead is ready to become a dependable buying client.

Marketing and Sales departments really don’t have time to spend months upon months communicating with leads that aren’t yet ready to buy. But Nett Sales does. When the client is ready to buy, Nett Sales turns the lead over to your sales staff to close the sale.

This is not to be confused with some mass email marketing blast. Each lead will receive a personal campaign based on their individual needs and proximity to a purchase of goods and services.

6 steps to more business

Nothing here is complicated, clever or difficult.  It just needs to be done consistently.  Do these steps consistently and I guarantee you will be successful.

You will see that we have illustrated how we can help with each step.  Yes, this is a sales message, but you can also do each step for yourself without paying us or anyone else.  If you want help, call me, text me or email me – I won’t charge you for my time – promise!

Step 1 – Be visible
You will only get enquiries from people that know you exist!  That may be obvious, but how many times have you had the conversation with someone who said “if only we’d known you were here…”?

So, are you visible to your target audience if they choose to go looking?

  • Ensure that your website looks great.  If it doesn’t, change it or remove it.  No website is better than a bad website.
  • Have a blog that you update weekly, as a shameless example here’s ours
  • Consider other social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Friendfeed, etc.

So, follow these steps and you will be visible and credible should your ideal client come looking for you.

Step 2 – Be Credible
If your potential clients do go look at your public presence (website, blog, brochure, etc), will you look credible?  Will they feel like getting in touch?

Here is what we recommend:

  • Have great testimonials on your website, blog etc.  Nothing is more compelling than having others saying nice things about you.
  • Actively solicit testimonials from past clients.  (Hint: tell them what you want them to say.  Write it for them and just ask them to put their name to it.)  Most will happily oblige if you gave them a good experience.   From these testimonials create case studies that you can put on your website and send to prospective clients.
  • Make sure that your phone is always professionally answered by a human being who can answer questions about your business.  Answer phones and calls diverted to mobiles will lose you both business and credibility that you will never recover.  If you want help with this, we’ll happily put you in touch with a great telephone answering service.

So, follow steps 1 & 2 and you will be visible and credible should your ideal client come looking for you.

BUT you cannot rely on potential clients to find you once they have a need for your product or service.  They should know about you first so you come to mind when they have a need.

Step 3  – Be Memorable
It doesn’t matter how great your products or how wonderful your service, if no one knows about you, they are not going to buy from you.  So, step 3 is to make sure that your target audiences always think of you when they have a requirement.

Start with your target audiences: who are they?  Be specific.  For example:  Businesses within 40 miles of you with more than 10 employees; Accountancy practices in Southern England; UK charities; and so on.  It’s fine to have more than one target audience.  Next identify the people in these audiences that are likely to make an enquiry.

Once you know who you want to talk to, you can talk to them in lots of different ways.  My experience is that the most economical and effective method is to email them initially then follow up by phone with the ones that are interested.

Here is what we recommend:

  • Acquire lists of contacts in your target audiences to add your existing contact database. (We can help you find relevant contacts if you are struggling).
  • Email them regularly (each month) with short, simple messages linking to more information. DO NOT SEND THEM A NEWSLETTER this is the sales equivalent of getting a megaphone and shouting in a prospect’s face!
  • Analyse the responses to your emails, tracking who opens and clicks on the links.
  • Target the best responders for follow up in step 4 below.

There are many email marketing packages available but most are quite complicated to use.  We recommend a couple that work well. Contact me if you want to know more or if you want our help with email marketing.  We can do as little or as much of the process as you want.

Step 4 – Be persistent
You must send out these emails every month.  Your potential clients will only take action when they have a requirement, so you need to ensure that you are always in the front of their mind.  This is why you need to keep your emails short, light and chatty – so they don’t offend those who don’t have a requirement right now.  We can help you write these emails.

Step 5 – Be Personal
If you know anything about your potential customers, use this in your communication with them – make the emails as specific and personal as possible.  If you know their name, use it in the salutation and maybe even the subject line.  If you know someone is interested in one aspect of your business, send them content relevant to their interest.

Remember: it’s about them not you!!

The more personal and relevant you make your communications, the more interest you will generate.  But you need a more advanced system to add levels of personalisation to your emails.  And this can add cost.

We’ve developed a specialism that creates targeted and personalised emails to help clients generate more business from their email marketing.  If you want help, just ask.

Step 6  – Be consistent
Through your awareness raising in steps 3 & 4, you will have a list of people expressing interest each month.  Call these and record the outcome of the call.  Most importantly, if you have committed to doing something during the call do it!

The trick here is to set aside time each week to make the calls and take the actions.  Schedule it in your diary, turn off email and all other distractions and just get on with it.

Do it. Measure it. Evaluate it. Change it. Do it again.