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What is GDPR, and What Does it Mean for Sales Enablement Professionals? | Part 3

GDPR is an EU Standard.  What Could a Similar Standard in the US Look Like?

It’s May 2018, and the new GDPR standard is about to come into operation in the European Community.  At the same time, we have the CEO of Facebook presenting to Congress here in the US about privacy for their over 2 billion users.  With all of the concern about privacy on the Internet, the need for additional regulation in the US is being discussed both at the state and federal level.

The question for businesses and their Sales Enablement practitioners is “Will regulation similar to the GDPR come to the US? And if yes, how do companies adapt, and what is the role of sales enablement in that transition?”

Before we review the role of Sales Enablement, and how any new regulation could impact businesses, it’s worth doing a review of the GDPR in the EU and the impact it’s having on how companies are set up, and how their teams are utilizing a new approach to dealing with prospects and customers.

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force throughout the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) on 25th May 2018.  The GDPR is a set of regulations and defines a set of responsibilities that organizations that deal with the personal data of any person or are “monitoring” the behavior of individuals.  GDPR puts the responsibility on companies to ensure that they are implementing systems that give individuals full control of how their information is used. These key capabilities for customers and prospects include a) the explicit use of consent before personal data is collected, and b) the right to be forgotten after that data is collected.

Given the overall legal structure of the USA, the concerns around privacy of Americans, and a number of laws that already exist to protect privacy and how corporations deal with their customers including the CAN-SPAM act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and laws and controls put in place by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), it’s unlikely that a law exactly the same as the GDPR will be created in the USA. However, it is looking likely that there will be additional regulation applied to ensure that people are able to have more control over how their personal data is collected and stored in the future.

GDPR Concepts that Could Come to the US

Several of the key concepts of GDPR could come to the USA with a potential new regulation.

Core to that could be the controls that must be put in place over personal data, and how that data is stored and processed.  This would increase the compliance requirements that a business has to implement, partially with relation to how the company’s sales people work with their prospects and customers. This extra compliance requirement would have an overhead impact on sales enablement practitioners who could be seen as the core team to both train sales people on these new laws, and to create systems to monitor their compliance.

In fact, for many organizations, Sales Enablement professionals are ideally positioned to be able to take up this responsibility.  They are already engaged in the daily efforts to onboard and train sales people, and empowering them with the right information and content – which is exactly where the rubber will meet the road of this new legislation.

Learning and Onboarding

Under a new program as could be created in the US, salespeople will need more skills and technique development than ever before. They will need to be educated about how they can engage with customers, how internal systems work, and what access to personal data will be needed to be available to customers and prospects.

This will require a new approach to on-boarding and learning – no longer will it be acceptable to run these initiatives as separate tasks that occur infrequently, and in disparate systems. Sales Enablement will need to create systems that make the process of ongoing knowledge development available right inside the core sales enablement platforms that sales people use every day to engage with their customers. This may require new investments in next-generation platforms that are built for the mobile-first way that sales people like to work today, and new approaches to how learning is consumed like in-the-moment micro-learnings.

Opt In – Opt Out

Should a similar set of regulation to the GDPR be applied in the US, it will impact how salespeople work with their prospects and customers. A key principle would be expanding on the concept of opt-in and opt-out. It may occur that for the future, all sales enablement engagements would be based on an assumed ‘out-out’ status.

Data Processing

Sales Enablement professionals in the US will also have to make sure that the systems and tools that they are implementing are treated as a ‘data processor’ as defined in the GDPR.  Organizations would no longer be able to use any old Cloud software providers – they will need to ensure that the provider has the data controls in place to ‘remove’ all entries for a specific customer or prospect that chooses to be forgotten.

A Unified, Global Platform

For companies with global operations, getting ahead of the curve and thinking about systems that can support the ongoing development and implementation of new laws like the GDPR is top-of-mind. For sales enablement professionals, this is a unique time to take advantage of platforms for salesperson empowerment, and to ensure that their company is well-positioned for this ever-changing world.

Putting increased privacy controls in the hands of consumers should be viewed as an opportunity, rather than a hindrance or concern. These regulations allow for new levels of trust and connection between customers and businesses. With Sales Enablement at the core of managing this change, the future looks bright for increased sales and better, more engaged salespeople all around the world.

In case you missed it:

Part 2

Part 1