6 ways the GDPR will affect VAR Sales People

We all know the inevitable GDPR is approaching and whilst organisations prepare for the incoming legislation, many haven’t considered its effects on daily operations, particularly for Value Added Resellers within the IT security channel. Here we’ve collated the 6 most significant changes which we expect resellers to encounter from May 2018.

1. Significant decline in outbound cold calls

The GDPR specifies that you require an “opt-in” to contact someone. This includes permission to contact, the method of contact (e.g phone or email) and the length of time you can hold the contact data. The inability to prove any of this could cause you serious trouble and as a result, you need to become more specific with who you call as oppose to taking a broad brush approach and calling everyone. Plus, it’s no longer an efficient use of the reseller sales person’s time to call end users just for the sake of getting your numbers on the board.

2. More dismissive customer attitude

In recent years we’ve seen the persistence of things like Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) massively impact customers attitudes because they’ve received so many unnecessary calls relating to this. Also, operating in a cluttered marketplace which bombards prospects with unsolicited cold calls and emails has pushed them to the point where they simply don’t have the patience anymore. This seemingly dismissive attitude will only get worse when GDPR comes into force as it will provide end users as the data subjects with more legal stance than ever before.

3. More tactical and mindful approach

Stringent laws behind the GDPR mean you’ll need to think twice before you contact anyone. Gone are the days of the rogue salesman picking up the yellow pages, calling through and hoping for the best. Instead, you’ll need to become tactical with your data and understand which end users have opted in and for what reasons. i.e have they opted in for a call? Or have they just opted in to receive some basic information? What types of content have they downloaded? What products or solutions have they demonstrated an interest in? It is these questions and this thought logic which needs to be exercised before contacting a client or prospect in order to make a more intelligent, informed call.

4. Higher productivity rates

To the average salesman, GDPR may seem like an inconvenience with its severe restrictions on outbound calling but in the long run it will prove to be far more beneficial for organisations. Time and resources will no longer be wasted on making pointless or disheartening cold calls and can instead be saved for more worthwhile business ventures such as focusing on warmer prospects who are more likely to close deals.

5. Increase in lead quality

We will see a “quality over quantity” approach with leads post-GDPR and prospects will have engaged with an organisation across multiple touch points (e.g attended an event, downloaded some whitepapers, visited the website a number of times etc.) for a longer period of time before they are contacted by a salesperson. As they will then have to actively opt in to receive a sales call, the conversation will undoubtedly be much more productive than the average cold call, simply because you’re engaging with someone who has already shown an interest and is ready to speak with you.

6. Reliance upon inbound channels for pipeline

Smaller organisations who rely on cold calling or other outbound methods as their main vehicle to drive business opportunities will need to change their methodologies completely. Instead, they will need to look at more targeted inbound strategies to generate business pipeline. In recent years we’ve seen a surge in inbound marketing from educational blogs to whitepapers to social media and so on. This is because today we see the prospect choosing what they consume and actively seeking information from these sources, especially with it being so accessible. As a result, organisations have adapted or should adapt to this new process of drawing “in” prospects by delivering educational content which demonstrates thought leadership.

To conclude, on the surface GDPR seems like a huge burden to Value Added Resellers as not only does it require intense preparation, but once it’s in place, it will restrict their rights to contact an end user without their permission significantly. However, after a while GDPR will be an opportunity for the channel as it’ll provide a platform to showcase thought leadership and we will see a shift from time spent wasted on cold, dead-end leads to nurturing warm prospects who are more likely to generate pipeline.

Originally posted by Michael Tye
Sales Manager, Infinigate UK