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We’ve seen a multitude of new data privacy laws begin to flood the privacy landscape around the world, most of which borrowing standards of transparency and individual rights created by the GDPR in 2018. As a result, it’s become increasingly important for organizations to monitor, analyze, and act upon upcoming regulations to protect their business.

As with any change, this shift towards data privacy comes with its fair amount of challenges, including coordinating across time zones, ensuring the proposed compliance plan aligns with company goals, calculating the impact on bottom line, and more. That’s not to mention all the additional obligations for employee training and raising awareness within your organization. Each new law has the potential to touch every corner of your business – so preparation is key.

Some tackle this issue by creating data protection committees made of senior executives and board members. Others organize teams whose full-time responsibility is ensuring compliance for their business. Some may choose the path of plausible deniability — because “ignorance is bliss,” right? Nope — especially not for an issue as serious as data privacy.

No matter what approach a business takes, the goals of these internal individuals or groups remain the same — advise on upcoming regulations, monitor compliance processes, educate employees, provide sales and client support, and be the point of communication for regulatory authorities and data subjects who may raise an inquiry.

Achieving these goals, however, requires that data privacy specialists to know their business at the most intimate level. How is personal information entering the organization, and why? Who has access? Do they need access? Is this information important to the product, to sales and marketing, HR, to clients? Not only do they need to understand data inventory and flow throughout the organization, but also the potential operational impacts these new laws may have when changes need to be made to existing processes.

Keep reading as we take a closer look at the responsibilities of the data privacy officer, and how data privacy impacts the sales cycle of your business.

The Role of Data Privacy in the Sales Cycle

Internal data privacy professionals must have an extensive knowledge of both the business and all relevant data protection laws — making them the go-to resource when it comes to vetting external parties for regulatory compliance and potential risks. But, data privacy considerations tend to come up late in the sales cycle, often with little to no warning.

For those on the sales side, running into these individuals at a prospective account might strike fear into the heart of your manager or VP. The last thing a sales rep wants is to watch that month-end deal get dragged into next month due to a lengthy privacy questionnaire.

For those in marketing, you may hear from a customer or prospect’s privacy officer much less frequently — but you know that when you do, it’s most likely because you’re in trouble for a few emails that went out to the wrong folks and you most likely have some explaining to do.

The goal of the privacy professional is to get in front of potential issues around personal information or security before they have a negative impact on both businesses downstream. What this ultimately creates is a stronger mutual agreement between vendor and customer, which in turn means better retention and increased speed to signature at renewal time.

Most importantly, this brings trust through transparency to the relationship. Many customers will be more reluctant to switch vendors when an appropriate amount of time and effort have already been taken to approve that vendor’s data privacy and security policies. The vendor has been transparent with their privacy processes, and the customer’s data protection needs have been satisfied.

While the revenue impacts described above are more anciliarry in nature, and may add up to a measurable dollar amount over time, there are still ways that these same privacy pros can help drive revenue directly.

How to Leverage Data Privacy to Drive Sales Effectiveness

Data privacy plays a significant role in internal decisions and vendor management. Privacy officers know your business top to bottom, and they know the privacy space. What many organizations are failing to realize, though, is that these same qualities that make their data protection employees so valuable to internal compliance, also makes them a great resource for your go-to-market teams and can help bring more deals across the line — faster.

This type of  “compliance support” for sales can take many different forms depending on your org, but here’s a few of our favorites.

Provide proactive outreach.

Get ahead of any surprises by requesting data protection questionnaires or other privacy requirements up front. This allows you to continue to prove value and sell, while appropriate privacy documents are being completed. The result? A shortened sales cycle, and no last-minute roadblocks due to data privacy issues.

Offer call support.

If there’s even a hint of privacy related questions from a prospect or client, your data privacy officer can hop on a call and address the questions immediately. Having an open discussion can turn a week’s worth of emails into a ten minute conversation — and team selling has been proven to increase close rate by upwards of 2.5x (source).

Collect feedback from sales teams. 

This is the simplest benefit, but one of the most valuable. What does the sales team need from a privacy perspective? Create a survey for the team to collect valuable insights around where they may need additional training or assistance.

Create and distribute privacy-focused collateral.

Have your privacy team create alternate versions of well-performing collateral tailored to a compliance audience. These content assets will serve the purpose of answering questions before they come up, while still highlighting your offering and providing educational insights.

Expand sales training.

While HR-standard employee training on privacy is common, take it further by offering specialized privacy training for your reps. Get them knowledgeable about privacy regulations to increase their conviction when selling to a privacy persona.

Leverage industry associations. 

Arm the team with outside casework and whitepapers to validate your position on specific aspects of data privacy regulations. Insights that come directly from a regulatory body and support your position are very powerful, and should be leveraged where possible. 

Create an open line of communication within your organization.

As employees from any department — not just sales — familiarize themselves with data privacy regulations, they’ll likely encounter a number of questions or concerns. Having a dedicated data privacy officer or team allows for constant communication, so any employee can get their questions answered as quickly as possible and then get back to selling or marketing to ideal prospects. 

Final Thoughts on Data Privacy Officers and Revenue Growth

No matter what the approach, it’s becoming increasingly clear that these types of actions are becoming equally as important as the traditional policy and risk management aspects of the privacy profession. The establishment of a forward-thinking business focused data privacy and compliance  team that can enable and support your sales team will only become more important as the privacy landscape continues its rapid global expansion. 

Learn more about the intricacies of business data and privacy regulation by contacting our sales team today. Our B2B contact database and corresponding technologies not only help you reach your next customer faster, but we also help keep your business compliant with regulations like the GDPR and the CCPA.

About the author

Taylor Dronen

Taylor Dronen is the Director of Data Practices & Data Protection Officer at ZoomInfo.

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