With changing times and technology, the B2B industry has a vast range of changes happening right now and even more in the coming future. Although changes 'have been accepted by the B2B market, the traditional techniques and methodologies won't change that fast.
However, one of those unchanging concerns in the industry would always be B2B data protection.
The Changing Dynamics of Data in B2B Space
Sales in the B2B industry run majorly on cold calling and cold emailing. But EU citizens are protected by GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation from 25th May 2018. By which the privacy and personal data of EU citizens are protected.
In the B2B industry, having personal data is the key to reach your target audience and therefore the sales team is highly affected due to this. In large organizations that use outbound sales to grow use B2B data every day. And hence the large quantity of data needs B2B data protection.
Including both cold calling and cold emailing, Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulation restricts unsolicited direct marketing. Both the regulations need to have complied with in your B2B sales and marketing. Hence, GDPR 'can't replace the PECR for EU citizens. However, both GDPR and PECR come under privacy plans.
But if you are dealing with B2B sales and marketing through cold calling and cold emailing in Canada, then you must be familiar with the CAN-SPAM & CASL.
You can still use the B2B sales and marketing practices of cold calling and cold emailing that is GDPR compliant, considering the following points.
Who are You Contacting?
If you are not contacting anyone from the EU, then you 'don't have to worry about the GDPR. Only ensuring the CAN-SPAM and CASL will be enough.
But if you are contacting anyone located from the EU, you must take care of GDPR and make sure that you are compliant. Note that it applies even if the business is not in the EU. And this is majorly for the purpose of business data protection.
How are You Sourcing the B2B Data?
Since you can use the data collected in B2B sales, it is important how you source the data. So when collecting data for B2B use, data privacy compliance is of utmost necessity.
If you are collecting data for some In-house purpose, then you need to make sure that the process used to collect the data is GDPR compliant and that you are sourcing the data with all security measures in place.
When you get the data from a third party or an external source, ensure that the B2B data exchange is GDPR compliant. There are many B2B data services that would offer you the required data, but getting a data privacy compliance check is your responsibility.
Why Data Privacy is Crucial in B2B Market
Privacy and data protection are essential in B2B. You are already dealing with a lot of data that has been self-generated. And effective data management and data mining are the essential things that you are already dealing with in B2B.
Therefore you should be more careful about customer data privacy and customer data security. All the companies that deal with B2B marketing data are needed to comply with privacy laws and regulations as per the regions you work in.
Legitimate interest is the term that you should be familiar with if you know enough about the GDPR. This term is generally referred to around the permission of processing someone's data as it falls under the legitimate interest of the business. Businesses can use this as a reason for processing the data in the following conditions:
- A clear benefit to their businesses is evident through the shared data.
- The privacy of the individual is hampered to the minimum.
- The expectation of the business could be reasonable about sharing the data for this purpose.
It is essential to keep a record of someone's data when you are using legitimate interest to process. Also, you should retain their personal information in case you have asked for consent.
8 Golden Rules for Consent and Legitimate Interest
- If people wish to Opt-out, provide clear opportunities for them.
- Respecting your Opt-outs, make sure you remove them from your emailing lists.
- The content sent from you should be relevant to what people have signed up for. And that your content is compliant with all legal and ethical standards.
- Do not email too frequently.
- Vulnerable individuals are not supposed to be targeted.
- If you plan to do something new, check once if that fits into all the legal and ethical boundaries.
- Retaining data should be recorded and should be justified when needed.
There are obviously some differences when it comes to business data and personal data while dealing with big data. But it is always considered a best practice to handle all data you have with the same consciousness and care. In case of any doubts at all, you should give active consent to the person before you would add them to the emailing list or even before retaining any data. You might get asked for this information, so be prepared, and you should have a process to delete that data too if needed.
New & Future Data Compliance Law
With the EU setting the GDPR for data compliance, every other country wants to set standards and follow the same.
CCPA, the California Consumer Privacy Act comes into effect in the US state of California, on 1st January 2020. Any for-profit entity doing business in California which meets any of the following terms needs to comply with the CCPA:
- Gross revenue greater than $25 million
- Buying, receiving, selling, or sharing personal information of more than 50,000 customers, households, or devices for commercial purposes on an annual basis
- By selling customers' personal information, derives 50% or more of its annual revenues.
- If other businesses are controlled or covered by you
- If common branding is shared, such as name, service mark, or trademark with covered business.
As similar to GDPR, CCPA requires companies to identify the personal information of their customers as well as the reason for how do they have sourced the information. They are ought to provide the unsubscribe link on the company communication and also delete the personal data if the customer demands it.
CCPA covers the B2B marketing activity although until 2021 B2B companies do not have to comply with some part of the act. CCPA granted the maximum penalty of $7,500 per violation if any international violation is found to have happened.
Maine and Texas
Since CCPA is applied other states are seen to bring out their laws about customer data privacy. In Maine, a new law regulates what broadband providers can do with the data of their consumers, including the browsing history.
In Texas, at the same time, a law is been stated that the companies need to notify their residents if they suffer a security breach that could lead to the stealing of personal information. GDPR has a similar provision, too.
LGPD in Brazil was activated in August 2020. The new law applies to the companies that hold the data of the citizens of Brazil whether they have a physical presence in Brazil or not. LGPD governs the same way as GDPR, but the law does not apply to the B2B companies.
It is a good example of how countries around the world are tightening their data privacy policies for maintaining data security.
How Brands are Making Use of Data for Their Benefits
In B2B companies, a lot of data is collected from people of various niches. All B2B companies go through a data-driven decision process but do you know how they use the data that has been collected by the company?
Here are a few major things that are driven by the big data in B2B companies.
Making SEO Strategy from Data
Each company in B2B knows its prospective buyers. And that is important because Search Engine Optimization targets prospective buyers for the organization, which generates a more qualified link to the business. Some businesses have a very effective SEO strategy, but others have no SEO strategy at all and that makes every business unique. No matter what SEO strategy has been followed, but if the business knows their prospective buyers and understands their personas, they will generate more traffic just by ranking the relevant keywords.
But the smaller companies in B2B might not have the marketing resources or SEO specialists. That means people who have less knowledge of SEO are driving the strategy. It is not that easy, sometimes businesses that are familiar with SEO also might not get ranked in the Google Search Engine Result Pages. Because SEO in itself is a very time-consuming process, and it is daunting for businesses.
The most important data that Google needs from a company to get noticed is the customers' data.
According to BrightTALK, 42% of the B2B marketing professionals said that the biggest barrier to lead generation for them is the lack of quality data.
Some companies have the buyers' persona ready on paper only, and some companies just understand their buyers. In B2B, when a company knows who they are selling to, then they will be able to rank on the keywords that interest their customers.
Here are the three steps to success in SEO:
Decide on Your Prospective Customers.
In B2B business, this is the step where they all understand who is buying their products and services. Businesses can be more specific about their clients when they have specific information about their clients, which helps tailor the content with desirable keywords.
Determine the Keywords that will Target Your Potential Clients.
Any keyword with a high traffic rate, the ranking near that keyword will be difficult to top. So you need to be very specific with your keyword selection. B2B company selling software, for example, shouldn't necessarily rank for the keyword 'software.' Instead, they should look out for the people who their software will help and target those keywords in the space of the market. You can try some tools to get help with keyword research to make your task easy.
Generate Content that has a Long Lifespan.
For any keyword, take a look at the top three search keywords position for your business. A business has published a website with content-rich web pages about certain keywords. Posting a new blog or article on the website or using the same keyword repetitively in several web pages on your website or related keyword or its synonyms trick into ranking the blog faster.
Then creating internal links in the two blogs supporting each other makes the arrangements more helpful and proves useful.
This is how Google's algorithm finds the source of information of some particular niche.
Data for Research and Development.
'It's no secret that companies are beginning to invest in R&D now. In Germany, especially, there's a mind-boggling amount of your time and money invested in research and development for businesses in various industries. The expansion of a business, in some cases, relies on an ' 'organization's ability to use data.
With access to technology and innovations in data analysis, data is more accessible than ever. Not only is data incredibly easy to use, but it's getting easier to use and understand with online tools. Free tools are everywhere, and with innovative technologies like Google Analytics or Google Data Studio, this data is becoming more comprehensible to the typical users.
Since there is a lot of data floating in the space of the B2B market, you should have proper knowledge of how are you going to use the data and get benefits out of it? Also, it is not only getting the data to be used but also maintaining the privacy of the people, since you have their personal data and not only the name-phone number-address.
As important part as collecting data and having a huge account of data plays in the B2B space, it comes with the responsibilities and the laws by the government to govern the privacy and safety of the people.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why is data privacy important in B2B?
B2B industry mainly runs with the amount of data that they have. The company can have data of the potential customer sitting across the globe. But the biggest asset of any business is the loyalty of the customers so when people provide you with their data, they trust you with not misusing their data. And so, you should maintain data privacy in B2B. There are laws if you 'don't follow the data privacy norms, so legal action could be taken against you.
Does GDPR apply to B2B data?
Yes! General Data Protection Regulation, i.e., GDPR is applicable for every B2B business for EU citizen, no matter from where your business is operating. You will get a penalty if not followed.
How Data Privacy helps B2B brands?