How the GDPR will affect sales departments

Salespeople rely on personal data, often collecting it indiscriminately and keeping their own cache of contacts and leads. However, the way this data is handled will have to change when the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect on 25 May 2018.

The GDPR aims to strengthen individuals’ rights and freedoms related to their personal data, requiring organisations to identify and document a lawful basis for collecting data. Although this will comprehensively change the way sales departments generate and pursue leads, it also presents them with the opportunity to become more efficient and gain more respect from current and prospective customers.


Making the GDPR work for you

The GDPR’s restrictions on most unsolicited communications (telesales are unaffected) mean organisations will no longer be able to use email lists, pre-ticked boxes and outbound sales. To understand why these rules are in place and how organisations can adjust, law firm Nathan Trust describes a scenario in which a company that sells carbon dioxide alarms learns of a new law that forces large organisations to have such alarms in every room of their office.

The company researches which organisations are affected by this rule, and wants to contact the people who are responsible for buying the alarms. However, there’s only one lawful basis to do this – consent – but the laws for getting it are tricky. The organisation can’t contact people unless they have consent, but, of course, they can’t ask for consent (because that would mean contacting them).

Discover more about the GDPR in our free green paper, EU General Data Protection Regulation – A Compliance Guide

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This green paper is also available in French and Spanish.

For consent to be valid, salespeople need to find ways for people to discover the organisation and give their permission to be contacted. This might seem like counterproductive bureaucracy – particularly when both parties appear to benefit from the interaction – but EU lawmakers have determined that it’s essential to regulate the way data is stored and transmitted.

Data breaches have become an everyday occurrence for all organisations, and as increasing amounts of data are collected and shared between organisations, the risk of breaches increases.

The GDPR’s requirements are intended to keep personal data as secure as possible, but still give organisations plenty of ways to attract business. They will have to shift their attention from contacting people to finding ways to get people to contact them.

Anything that gives organisations a platform to communicate with people will be a viable option, including white papers, videos, infographics, blogs, webinars and social media posts. If you can interest people, they will contact your sales department and consent to sharing their personal data.

This will give sales departments a dense list of people who are all interested in the organisation’s products or services, and salespeople can spend more time selling to people who want to be targeted.


Get ready for the GDPR

With six months until the Regulation takes effect, and many organisations desperate for qualified staff, there has never been a better time to invest in GDPR training.

Our Certified EU General Data Protection Regulation Foundation (GDPR) Training Course provides a comprehensive introduction to the GDPR and a practical understanding of the implications and legal requirements for organisations.

This one-day course is delivered by an experienced data protection practitioner, and is suitable for directors or managers who want to understand how the GDPR affects their organisation, employees who are responsible for GDPR compliance and those with a basic knowledge of data protection who want to develop their career.

Find out more about our Certified EU General Data Protection Regulation Foundation (GDPR) Training Course >>


  1. Peter Connell 30th November 2017
    • Luke Irwin 6th December 2017

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