Disclaimer: This post is not legal advice, this is for discussion purposes only. This is PFS’s interpretation of the current available research. To understand how the GDPR or any other law impacts you or your business, please seek professional legal advice from a qualified legal counsel.
GDPR Does Impact B2B
If you are a US business selling B2B, you may feel that GDPR, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation effective as of May 25, 2018, is not your problem. Think again.
For starters, GDPR is trans-territorial and applies to all companies servicing residents within the EU. The more pressing reality, though – it’s only a matter of time until these regulations make their way stateside.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018 is already having similar implications to that of GDPR and will undoubtedly be picked up by additional states and even the Federal government in the near future. Though there are some confusing differences between GDPR and CCPA, one thing is clear; governments are taking data privacy very seriously.
Stop Avoiding the Inevitable
What does your B2B business need to do about this? What you should not do is perhaps more clear.
- GDPR should NOT be ignored. Business consumers are protected GDPR data subjects, therefore, traditional practices for collecting and processing prospect data need an update.1
- Withdrawal from the EU, while an option, is merely delaying the inevitable. Running away from countries with this new privacy legislation is not a long-term solution.
Tim Walters of The Content Advisory provides another way to spell out GDPR – Global Data Protection Revolution. It is time to embrace GDPR, not just as a requirement for doing business in the EU, but as a global standard for business operations.
Modernize Your Approach
Following are some key selling attributes adapted from a recent Forrester report highlighting the impacts of GDPR on the B2B seller.2 Implementing these practices for your business can modernize your marketing approach, build trust with clients and prospects, and, most importantly, keep you on the right track towards GDPR compliance.
- More personalized contacts – value quality over quantity
- Leverage multi-channel engagements (targeted advertising, direct mail, social – mix it up)
- Focus on clearly interested prospects
- Get creative! (forget email blasts, time to revisit direct mail campaigns)
- Embrace social selling
As one sales leader puts it, start “becoming more human.” Embrace the new realities of GDPR. Place the prospect’s interests first for more relevant contacts that result in relationships grounded in trust. By operating your marketing and sales approach with a “customer first” focus, you will most likely find that GDPR compliance falls into place.
 The GDPR and the B2B Marketer, March 13, 2018, Forrester
 GDPR and the B2B Seller, August 27, 2018, Forrester