Data Protection in Sales & Marketing

Data breaches, like the recent Facebook debacle, have put companies of all sizes under increased scrutiny when it comes to data privacy. New data protection laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, are being established to combat data breaches and provide increased transparency when it comes to data usage.

We sat down with Dorene Rettas, head of Cyber Security Hub for IQPC, a live events and digital media company, to discuss how an increased focus on data protection and cybersecurity will impact sales and marketing teams moving forward.

Cybersecurity – Not Just a Buzzword

There was a time not long ago when cybersecurity was thought of as an almost mythical behind-the-scenes curtain, one that sales and marketing professionals were rarely exposed to, outside of it being a buzzword. But things are changing, fast. The world is becoming fully digitized and connected online and industries and professionals without cybersecurity backgrounds are now suddenly being held accountable. “Regardless of what the industry is, the risk of exposure and breach is there,” said Dorene. “And with that comes an increasing need for cybersecurity.”

As an increasing number of industries are using the internet to store and share data, they need to effectively secure not only only themselves, but their customers as well, says Dorene. “It’s critical for employees and IT to be communicating so there’s a clear understanding of the goals for cybersecurity and how you’re going to protect not only the organization as a whole, but the customers’ and employees’ data.”

“Regardless of what the industry is, the risk of exposure and breach is there.'”


Impact on Sales Professionals

Sales and marketing professionals have grown accustomed to using online platforms and social media for targeting and communicating with prospects and customers. But with data breaches on the rise, it’s time to reevaluate the communication process. “From a consumer perspective, there’s going to be an increasing skepticism and fear,” said Dorene. “So that makes overall communication more difficult.”

As new data regulations, like the GDPR, are put into effect, professionals will be faced with a new set of challenges when it comes to communication. Obvious barriers such as email filters and double opt-in subscriptions will be more common, but companies will also need to review their contracts with partners and third-party vendors that may not be compliant with regulations.

“Having training in sales and marketing from the top down fully understand what they can and can’t do and have some policies in place in every organization for those sales reps to understand is going to be critical,” said Dorene.

“Having training in sales and marketing from the top down… is going to be critical'”


Team Preparation

We asked Dorene how sales and marketing teams can better prepare for new data regulations and cybersecurity initiatives. Here is what she said:

Be proactive.

Organizations need to evaluate existing contracts and cut loose ends if there are any doubts. “Not only do you have to be GDPR compliant, it’s critical you know that your partners are, because if they are not and you are interacting with their data, there’s a risk for you as well to be penalized.”

Use new protocols.

Teams will need to update their protocols to adapt to new challenges when it comes to data protection and privacy. Some of these practices may hurt communication efforts in the short-term, like double opt-in for email, but will establish better relationships in the long-term. “If the folks that really want to consume your content and interact with you are checking the box, do you really care about all those other people?”

“Not only do you have to be GDPR compliant, it’s critical you know your partners are too'”


What is Most Effective When Someone is Trying to Sell to You?

We like to ask our podcast guests this question. Here’s how Dorene answered:

“If you understand my challenges in my role, and you have a solution that’s going to help me, you have my attention, hands down. I can tell you for sure that my challenges four months ago were very different than my challenges today. And probably in six months they’re going to be very different.”

Acceleration Insight

In every episode of the B2B Revenue Executive Experience, we try to pull one nugget of wisdom from our guests that they would impart on a sales professional. Here’s this one:

“Really knowing your customer, whether you’re in sales or marketing, knowing who your customer is, knowing what your value proposition for them is. Not generally speaking what your value proposition is, but for that particular prospect. There’s no secret formula here – don’t try to sell, don’t try to push information. Talk to folks. Understand what their needs are, understand what their goal is and each individual that you’re interacting with – their goal is going to be very different. Their objective and challenges are different and I think just understanding those can go a long way.”

This post is based on a podcast interview with Dorene Rettas, Head of Cyber Security Hub for IQPC. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

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