The 25th of May marks the three year anniversary of the original GDPR legislation coming into force. At the time, these new regulations caused businesses a lot of anxiety, as everyone tried to understand and interpret the various stipulations (and some grey areas) and the effect that compliance would have on their business.
Since then, we’ve also more recently experienced Brexit, which has resulted in further updates to the law – specifically the creation of UK GDPR and the distinction between this new rule and the existing EU GDPR.
It’s vitally important to understand these regulations, especially in the B2B sector, in order to remain on the right side of the law and create marketing and sales campaigns that will be successful. In this blog, we’ll discuss what’s changed and help you to understand what you need to do to make sure your B2B CRM data is and remains compliant post-Brexit.
What’s the difference between the new UK GDPR and EU GDPR?
The recent addition of the UK GDPR means that in the UK we now have stipulations about the collection, use, processing and storage of personal data that are in line with our national or domestic laws. If your business only operates within the UK then your focus should be on complying with this new legislation. If your business operates within or targets prospects across the UK and EU, then you ALSO need to comply with the EU GDPR.
The UK GDPR was drafted from the EU GDPR so is in essence very similar but there are some differences. These changes can be found in the UK government’s Data Protection, Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation (DPPEC) but to help simplify things we’ve put together a summary of who you can call, email or contact by post on our GDPR page.
Step 1: Assess your current database
The new UK GDPR has been in force since January 2021, so if you haven’t yet taken any action, we absolutely recommend that your first port of action for compliance is to review the data in your CRM to check how it may have been affected since the introduction of the new regulation. You’ll want to check if you need to comply with the EU GDPR as well as the new UK legislation.
Depending on the size of your database you could do this manually, but this is an important yet painstaking process. There is a lot at stake if you get this wrong (Fines of £17.8m or 4% of global turnover) so we recommend getting help from the professionals. We know how important this first step is, so ask us about our GDPR Data Checker tool.
Step 2: Cleanse your database
Whether you have used our Data Checker tool or assessed your CRM database yourself, the next step is to have a thorough clean up. This step can be split into two actions, marking contacts as ‘do not market’ or removing contacts from your database. Part of the UK GDPR regulation stipulates that you should not keep personal data for longer than is required. If during your CRM assessment you discover you have lots of old/cold leads with no purchase activity, these should be deleted as they are highly unlikely to be covered by ‘legitimate interest’ which is a clause in the UK GDPR, meaning you could legitimately contact these prospects.
The second action is marking contacts in your CRM as ‘do not market’. If you are ever unsure about whether or not you can market to a contact it is better to be safe than sorry. Marking contacts as ‘do not market’ allows you to keep the details in your CRM until you can get clarification on their status and segment them from any of your marketing campaigns or sales outreach. If you’re using marketing automation, this type of flag on a contact record can be very helpful for creating suppression lists.
B2B data degrades by as much as 40% each year so we always recommend performing a regular cleanse of your CRM database to make sure you’re only keeping high quality contact data – this ensures UK GDPR compliance and a higher success rate for your marketing and sales activities.
Step 3: Managing email unsubscribes
A really simple step as part of UK GDPR compliance is to make sure you are effectively managing your email unsubscribes. If you’re using marketing automation software then some of them can handle this for you automatically, you’ll just need to check your settings. Some platforms automatically suppress any previous unsubscribes and also automatically place unsubscribe links in the footer of your automated emails.
If you don’t use marketing automation then it’s important to plan, build and execute a suppression strategy to ensure you don’t continue to email contacts that have requested to be removed from your mailing list. For more tips, check out our blog Email marketing and GDPR – how to succeed at compliant email marketing.
Step 4: Implement best practices with new prospects
The easiest way to remain compliant is to set up excellent data habits. Some ideas include:
Create a data retention plan to flag up when data in your CRM is close to its expiration date
Set up email nurture journeys or contact cadence activities to ensure you maximise your leads when they are fresh
Offer prospects options for interest-based email communications through a preference centre and create email nurture segmentations based on those interests
Use a ‘double opt in’ process for content downloads or email subscriptions from your website
When using forms to collect lead gen data be very clear about what you will use their data for – and abide by this!
Step 5: Acquiring quality compliant B2B data
After you’ve completed all of the above you might be feeling like your CRM database has reduced in size and pipeline opportunities – but this is a good thing as it means that the data you do have is usable, compliant and high quality. If you’re nervous or apprehensive about lead generation then we have the tools and expertise to help.
Our unique master database of UK businesses includes over 4.1 million decision-makers across more than 2,000 markets, meaning it offers more depth and reach than any other. It works by combining five top data sources and is rigorously updated and quality checked each month to provide the highest deliverability warranties in the B2B data industry, which means you can be sure that the data you get can be trusted.
Whether you’re a new or existing business, GDPR compliance is a must. If you’re looking for a simple and quick way to improve or grow your CRM database and be GDPR compliant then get in touch to discuss all the options available.