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We know what you’re thinking, outbound in EMEA? No way.

But even with new privacy laws, B2B prospecting is possible in Europe, if you’re taking the right steps. 

That was the main message from Founder and CEO of ZoomInfo, Henry Schuck, for the audience at the 2020 SaaStock EMEA conference.

At this year’s virtual event Henry Schuck, delivered a keynote presentation called “Hit Your Number: How To Fast-Track Your Outbound Sales and Marketing in Europe.” 

It was a powerful talk that covered: 

  • How current regulations play into business strategy.
  • How future changes with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect go-to-market motions.
  • Best practices for going to market across Europe. 

So, if you’re looking for opportunities to grow sales, to grow revenue and to hit your number, this post is for you. 

How Do Current GDPR Regulations Play Into Business Strategy?

To start, we’ll talk about some current regulations. And the one that is most top of mind for folks is GDPR. 

And the first thing people usually think is: can I even do outbound sales in Europe? 

The answer: yes.

GDPR has laid out six different grounds for processing personal data. 

  • Consent from the user. 
  • A contract with the user. 
  • Compliance with legal obligations. 
  • Protection of vital interests. 
  • Public tasks.
  • A legitimate interest. 

This legitimate interest component is where outbound sales and marketing lives.

What is Legitimate Interest?

What the legitimate interest is designed to help you do is determine when private sector organizations have a genuine or legitimate interest.

That legitimate interest construct is designed for direct marketing. Recital 47 of the GDPR says that the processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as a legitimate purpose.

However, you do need to consider if your marketing purposes could be outweighed by the interests or rights of data subjects. And that’s everything. 

You can use personal data to go to market under the GDPR and to do direct marketing, but you have to balance the interest of the data subject in order to be able to do that. 

So how do you do that?

By making sure that the messages you’re sending are targeted and relevant. 

Perfect example: I send an email message to the chief information officer at a Fortune 500 company. First things first, I better not be talking about a marketing initiative or a finance initiative. I have to be targeted with my outreach, so that it’s relevant to the receiver of that information. 

The information is specific and targeted.

What are some other requirements?

You need to give notice to data subjects within 30 days of collecting any of their information. This means you need to include the following information: 

  • who you are, 
  • what you’re using the data for,
  • where the data originates.

From there, you must give the person the right to correct, erase or withdraw their consent as well as provide an easy opt out (something like an unsubscribe link, ideally if that’s one click).

Best Practices for Going to Market across Europe   

There’s a lot of ways to be targeted and segmented. All of these different field criteria are available inside of ZoomInfo and (hopefully) in any platform that you’re leveraging. 

But let’s talk about the company side first. 

We sell to businesses who sell to other businesses. We do not sell to businesses to consumer businesses. 

So, we don’t have a reason to send an email to Coca-Cola or Pepsi, to sell ZoomInfo’s products or services. 

We do have a reason to send an email to Google or to Amazon (AWS) or to Microsoft who sells to other businesses. I do have a reason to contact them. And so specifically you want to make sure that when you’re reaching out to people that you’re incredibly targeted. 

Here’s some characteristics you can look at: 

  • Size of company. 
  • Industry of company. 
  • Growth rate of company. 
  • Location of company, are they in the UK or in the U.S. 
  • Technologies that a company uses. 
    • If you have a product or service or a piece of software that integrates well with Salesforce or NetSuite or Microsoft Azure, Amazon(AWS), targeting with technographics is incredibly valuable and makes your message more relevant.
  • B2B intent, aka the data that tells you what companies are researching on the B2B web.

So you can see when a company is increasing consumption on research-related topics. If you’re reaching out to people when they’re increasing their consumption on those related topics, your message becomes more relevant. 

It’s pushing you over on the legitimate interest side of the equation. 

We also include over tens of thousands of long tail company attributes: 

  • Benefit plan end dates. 
  • Whether or not a company has a mobile app. 
  • How many 401(k) participants they have. 
  • The number of employees by department.

You can use all of these different characteristics to build an ideal customer profile that’s incredibly relevant. 

On the professional side, what is their seniority level? Are they C level, a VP, a director, a manager, an individual contributor?

If you’re sending the same message to an individual contributor as you’re sending to a VP or a C-level executive, you’ve got it all wrong, your message is not going to be relevant and it’s not going to pass the balancing test.

You have to be smart about the way you’re crafting these messages. 

There are tools out there that allow you to be incredibly targeted with how you do your outbound efforts. So make sure you’re taking advantage of this level of granularity for your prospect segmentation. That’s incredibly important. 

Final Thoughts on EMEA Outbound Sales

So back to the beginning, outbound prospecting under the GDPR, here’s how you should think about this: 

To limit the nuisance factor and to properly balance legitimate interest of the vendor with the privacy interest of the individual being prospected, cold outreach, including email must be: 

  • targeted, 
  • relevant and 
  • use accurate data.

So assuming you start with the curated list, can you do the following? 

Email a prospect once as part of outreach? Yes, likely permitted. 

Email a prospect multiple times with an opt-out list? Yes, likely permitted. 

Email a prospect 10 times, whether or not they respond? Likely not permitted.

Curate your list to be specific. 

B2B prospecting is available in Europe if you’re taking the right steps. 

More on GDPR Compliance from ZoomInfo

Learn about sales prospecting

About the author

Sabrina Dorronsoro

Sabrina Dorronsoro is the Head of Corporate Blog Strategy at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact database and sales intelligence solution for go-to-market teams.

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