Data Protection in Sales – GDPR-Compliant Lead Management in Indirect Sales 

Katharina Krus
CEO & Managing Director of leadtributor GmbH. We support companies in managing their multi-level sales in a transparent and targeted manner.

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Data Protection in Sales: On the Safe Side With Us

Data protection in sales is essential: Anyone who contacts leads or sends them information or advertising material electronically knows that this is only possible with the written consent of the respective contact person. The manufacturer must state exactly for what purpose the data will be used - and by whom. So far, so good. So what do you do if you want to hand over one of your prospects to a sales partner for processing?

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GDPR: Passing on Leads to Sales Partners

What if the sender does not contact the interested party himself, in short: the lead, but forwards his data to a third party? To a sales partner, for example? A reseller, distributor, specialized trade partner?

 
This is where things get more complicated. In this case, too, the consent of the prospect/customer/lead is required. However, it is not sufficient to obtain a blanket consent. Consent to forward personal customer data for contact purposes only applies if sales partners are identified by name.

It must therefore always be precisely determined to which companies and products the consent refers.

But what to do when there are over a hundred distributors who could be considered?

The legislator regulates that:

It must be possible and, above all, reasonable for the person giving consent to review the list of all possible sales partners. If the customer discovers a sales partner on the list to whom he does not want to give his data under any circumstances, he does not confirm the consent or cancels it.

Data Protection in Sales: The Consent to Data Processing

GDPR Marketing: But what does "reasonable" mean? The legislator leaves this open. Reading a list of 500 or 1000 sales partners to the lead or prospective buyer for review and consent will meet with rejection.

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One possibility would be: The sender includes a link that refers to a list. But the problem remains: The recipient still has to look through all the distributors to make sure they can give consent - without their contact information getting to an unwelcome distributor. What to do?

A Correct Consent Text in Indirect Sales for GDPR Leads

"I consent to receive information on product xyz from one of XYZ's distributors on their behalf. I further consent to such distributor requesting me to contact me myself in the future for the purpose of further providing information on the above products." 

With the leadtributor: GDPR-Compliant Forwarding of Leads

GDPR Marketing: The sales management software leadtributor solves this problem. And it does so completely automatically:

  1. 1
    Once the prospective buyer expresses interest in a product on the manufacturer's website, he usually has to fill out an appropriate form to be recalled.
  2. 2
    If he does so, an interface between the manufacturer's website and leadtributor enables a list to appear with the sales partners relevant to the prospective buyer. These are usually assigned regionally to the prospective buyer:
  • If the prospective customer comes from the region around Munich, for example, he will only be shown the sales partners that begin with the postal code 8.
  • If he is from the Cologne area, he will be shown sales partners with the postal code 5.
  1. 3
    He then only has to check the box that one of these sales partners may contact him.

The advantage: The prospective customer no longer has to read through endless lists before giving his OK to commissioned data processing!

The list is reduced to the reasonable level (the customer can determine this himself). Generally, this is 5-15 distributors.

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As soon as the customer ticks the checkbox and clicks on Send, his data is either allocated to a single sales partner. Or they are offered on an "open" pick list to exactly those sales partners that the customer has explicitly approved.

Tip GDPR Leads:

Of course, other criteria can also be entered a priori by the manufacturer. Instead of distributing leads according to the zip code criterion, the manufacturer can also allocate leads according to the sales size of the sales partner. Or by certification level. Or by partner status (gold, silver, platinum, etc.). The important thing is that only a manageable list of "reasonable" channel partners appears.

Most lawyers agree that 5-15 sales partners are reasonable for the customer. However, blanket releases are no longer covered by the law, at the latest after the European General Data Protection Regulation. They are invalid.

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