If your organization conducts business with other businesses, you may be wondering: how does GDPR affect B2B sales? GDPR may apply to different processes along the marketing and sales pipeline, depending on the type of transactions you conduct. Read on to learn more about remaining compliant with the GDPR as you engage in business-to-business transactions.
How Does GDPR Affect B2B Sales?
As you market your products or services to other businesses and make sales, you must keep track of GDPR compliance. The last thing you’d want is to have your business practices reported as non-compliant with a wide-reaching framework like the GDPR.
So, how does GDPR affect B2B sales? Below, we’ll discuss the:
- GDPR business-to-business marketing requirements
- Impact of GDPR on business-to-business marketing and compliance
- Differences between GDPR and other marketing laws
- Best practices for achieving GDPR business-to-business compliance
With the help of a GDPR compliance consultant, you will be well-positioned to keep track of your processes and ensure they meet the GDPR business-to-business requirements.
Does GDPR Apply to B2B Marketing?
The European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aims to protect the personal data rights of EU citizens, ensuring that their data is kept private, confidential, secure, and available. GDPR applies to B2B marketing when marketing and subsequent sales transactions involve the processing of the personal data of EU citizens.
So who does GDPR affect?
Any business-to-business contact that your organization makes which involves the personal data of EU citizens must meet the GDPR B2B marketing compliance requirements to avoid non-compliance fines and penalties. For example, cold calls or emails to prospects using GDPR business contact information must comply with the GDPR.
How GDPR Impacts B2B Marketing & Compliance
When it comes to GDPR B2B marketing of services or products to prospects or established contacts, here’s how you can remain compliant:
- Manner of data processing – Any GDPR business contact information you collect and use for marketing purposes must be processed lawfully, fairly, and transparently, ensuring:
- Disclosures are provided for any use of GDPR personal data.
- Personal data is only collected and used for pre-determined purposes.
- GDPR personal data is not used for illegal purposes.
- Purposeful data collection – The legitimate marketing purposes for which GDPR personal data is collected must be explicitly and specifically stated during collection. Data subjects must also be informed of the purposes for which their data is collected.
- Minimal data collection – Only the minimum amount of data should be collected to fulfill marketing purposes.
- Accuracy of personal data – Any data used for marketing or related purposes must be kept up to date. Should you realize subjects’ data is outdated, it must be deleted promptly.
- Data storage limitations – Subjects’ data should not be stored longer than necessary if the marketing purposes for which it was collected have been fulfilled.
- Data integrity and confidentiality – GDPR personal data used for marketing purposes must be secured (using industry-standard encryption) to mitigate security threats that may compromise its integrity, confidentiality, and availability.
- Compliance accountability – When meeting GDPR compliance, you must remain accountable at all times, ensuring that compliance efforts are fully documented and up-to-date with the current GDPR requirements.
Safeguarding the GDPR business contact information you handle for marketing purposes will help you remain compliant with the GDPR in the short and long term.
How Does GDPR Affect Outbound Sales Processes?
When conducting marketing and sales transactions, businesses must remain compliant with the GDPR requirements. Any organization that connects with potential customers via outbound sales must ensure these processes are GDPR-compliant, regardless of the outbound sales process used.
Per GDPR Article 6, businesses may collect, store, or process subjects’ data during outbound sales processes if:
- Data subjects provide consent for the processing of their data
- Contractual obligations between the business and the data subject necessitate data processing
- Data processing is a requirement for legal compliance
- Data processing will protect the life or vital interests of the data subject or other such person
- Activities of public interest depend on the processing of subjects’ data
- The data is processed to serve the data controller’s legitimate business interests, except where such interests might infringe on the fundamental rights and freedoms of critical data subjects (i.e. children)
The best way to navigate GDPR compliance is to work with a GDPR compliance advisor, who can advise on best practices for conducting GDPR-compliant outbound sales processes.
Does GDPR distinguish between B2B and B2C?
The GDPR requirements explicitly apply to the processing of the personal data of EU citizens. When it comes to B2B vs B2C marketing and sales, it becomes a question of GDPR business data vs personal data.
Essentially, if a B2B or B2C organization is sending marketing emails to an email address (private, business, or otherwise) that specifically belongs to a person, GDPR compliance is required. However, without a clear indication that the contact information belongs to a specific person (i.e., a department within the recipient organization), then GDPR compliance may not be a requirement.
Differences Between CAN-SPAM, CASL, and GDPR
The main difference between CAN-SPAM, CASL, and GDPR is the consent requirements for sending messages to recipients for marketing or other related purposes.
Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) applies to any B2C marketing via commercial electronic messages (CEMs) (e.g., emails) sent from within, from, or to recipients in Canada. Under CASL, organizations must obtain written or oral consent from recipients before sending them marketing emails.
The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM Act) protects both consumers and businesses from unwanted emails and text messages, giving recipients the right to opt out of receiving messages. Unlike CASL and GDPR, businesses do not have to request consent from recipients before sending marketing emails.
Compared to CASL and CAN-SPAM, GDPR provides a much longer list of rights pertaining to data subjects, providing broader privacy protections. Failure to comply with CAN-SPAM, CASL, and GDPR can result in significant non-compliance fines and penalties.
How Can B2B Organizations Comply with GDPR?
When processing GDPR business-to-business data, it is critical for organizations to meet the GDPR compliance requirements to avoid non-compliance violations, especially if GDPR special categories of personal data are involved.
Compliance with the GDPR when conducting B2B marketing can be somewhat challenging if working with lists containing both GDPR business and personal data. However, applying GDPR-compliant best practices will help you steer clear of GDPR violations.
Best Practices for GDPR-Compliant Data Usage
Some of the best practices you can implement to ensure your B2B practices remain compliant with the GDPR include:
- Evaluate your mailing lists to ensure that any marketing emails being sent to recipients classified as data subjects under the GDPR meet the relevant GDPR requirements.
- Review all processes used to collect, store, or process data for compliance with the GDPR, especially if these processes are related to:
- Collection of data for marketing and sales purposes
- Processing of data by third-party vendors
- Transmission of data across unsecured networks
- Ensure that any forms of marketing and communication with data subjects explicitly provide them the option to opt-out or consent to data collection.
- Institute organization-wide policies that provide guidance on implementing GDPR-compliant processes during sales and marketing.
With the help of a GDPR compliance consultant, you can streamline all aspects of B2B and B2C sales and minimize the risk of violating the GDPR requirements as you conduct GDPR business-to-business or business-to-customer transactions.
Streamline Your Organization’s GDPR Compliance
As your organization builds its marketing pipeline and scales up sales to meet growing business demands, you will often be faced with the question: how does GDPR affect B2B sales? It comes down to who receives your marketing and sales communication.
Rather than taking chances and violating the GDPR requirements during B2B sales, it is best to consult with a GDPR compliance partner, who can advise on a range of services, including:
- Privacy impact assessments
- Penetration testing
- Personal data mapping
- GDPR audits
To learn more and get started streamlining GDPR compliance, contact RSI Security today!