Guest Post: Prioritize Privacy & Propel Profits
In this guest post, Jodi Daniels of Red Clover Advisors discusses how organisations can get more ROI out of your privacy programme than you ever thought possible...
If your sales team is like most sales teams, they’re hyper-focused on honing a compelling sales message that explains why your company is better than anyone else at providing them what they need. Sales strategy meetings are probably all about how to build relationships by fixing your customers’ problems with your solutions.
And if, one day, you told them you had something you wanted them to add to their sales strategy, emphasizing your new privacy program is probably the last thing they’d be expecting. They might even say your idea wouldn’t work.
But they’d be wrong.
A proactive privacy approach can close deals
Strict privacy regulations protecting the use of consumers’ sensitive information collected online have been around since the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016.
The GDPR wasn’t alone for long, though. By the GDPR’s 2018 effective date, multiple national and regional governments had followed suit, including Bermuda with the Personal Information Protection Act. In the United States, California led the charge and passed two laws (California Consumer Privacy Act [CCPA], Consumer Privacy Rights Act [CPRA]). Virginia and Colorado both passed laws in 2021, and more than 30 states and 128 countries currently have laws either proposed or in committee.
Because the laws are so new, and because they are frequently changing, most companies have spent so much time trying to get compliant that they haven’t realized these new laws are an asset, not a liability.
Building a proactive data privacy program can help your sales teams close new deals by deepening the trust between your customers and your team, which in turn can improve customer loyalty and retention rates.
Additionally, focusing on privacy can make your marketing team more efficient, increase the accuracy of the data you collect, and reduce your risk.
Here’s how to make it all happen.
More trust = higher retention
Here are four facts every business that collects personal data from their users need to know:
According to the Pew Research Center, 79% of Americans are concerned about how their data is being used by companies.
84% of consumers want more control over how their data is being used.
Almost 33% of consumers are considered "privacy activists," or people who are willing to switch companies to have more control over their personal data.
90% of privacy activists believe strongly that the way a company treats customer data will mirror the way a company actually treats customers.
Some leaders might look at these statistics and see a major challenge. But every good salesperson knows every challenge is also an opportunity. Consumers may have some serious concerns about how their data is being used online, but they are also willing and ready to reward companies that do it right.
Likely, most businesses will eventually be subject to some type of data privacy law. And even if there are a few that somehow slip through regulatory cracks, enough companies will be using privacy best practices that consumers will expect everyone to use them.
This means your business has a small window of opportunity to use the privacy program (that you’ll probably have to have anyway) as a differentiator instead of a bandwagon jumper. If you start now, your sales teams can frame your privacy program as a value-added service that pushes their pitch over the top.
Better data = better efficiencies
When it became clear that data privacy regulations are here to stay, marketers around the world let out a collective sigh of despair.
Used to collecting insane amounts of consumer data, some of which they won’t even use, marketing teams were afraid they had lost their ability to develop accurate customer profiles. But limiting the data you collect can improve your efficiency and productivity by forcing teams to figure out what data is absolutely critical to your operations.
And while it’s true that both privacy laws and best practices require companies to minimize their data collection practices, companies that adhere to and advertise their privacy programs are less likely to have a database full of fake names, phone numbers, and email addresses.
Another advantage to building up your culture of privacy now? Privacy laws will continue to evolve, and companies that have started early will be able to quickly adapt and adjust their processes rather than scramble to build from scratch.
In the first half of 2020, 36 billion records were exposed in data breaches. Whether through malware, hacking, or phishing attacks, 68% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing.
IBM found the average data breach costs $3.92M, and that’s without stiff, per-record fines established by privacy laws in some countries if consumer information is exposed in a breach.
In addition to the financial cost, the reputational cost of a data breach can be severe.
Compliance with privacy laws will reduce your company’s risk of exposure in two ways:
Privacy regulations stipulate businesses take reasonable security measures to protect consumer data. Going through the process of establishing compliance will likely bring to light any vulnerabilities you didn’t know were there.
Minimizing your data collection and limiting the amount of time you store it means you’ll have less data to collect, which will limit the exposure risk you’ll have.
Having a proven track record of protecting data is another tactic your sales team can use to move your customers from “We’ll think about it” to “Where do we sign?”
Make privacy your superpower
You can’t have a good privacy program if you don’t get input from every department, including your sales team, as you build it. Involving them in the process will help you all find ways to maximize the impact privacy has on your sales, and your business as a whole.
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