You Don’t Need to be Meta to Carry GDPR Risk

As the General Data Protection Regulation Framework (GDPR) nears its fifth birthday, Ireland has given Meta Platforms a gift that it will keep on giving.  

As reported in Bloomberg earlier today, the European Union (EU), via the Republic of Ireland (where Meta Europe is domiciled)  fined Meta Platforms Inc. a record-breaking €1.2 billion for failing to shield user data from American security services. The fine follows a protracted controversy over US data protection policies. According to the Irish Data Protection Commission, the risks to people’s fundamental rights and freedoms were not effectively addressed by Meta’s data transfers to the US. In addition to the penalty, Meta has been given a deadline to stop processing and storing transferred personal data illegally in the US, as well as to stop all future data transfers to the US.

With regard to major infractions, the GDPR has given EU regulators extensive authority to levy fines of up to 4% of a company’s annual revenue. As most of the market’s major internet and data vendors consider Dublin their European HQ, the Irish Data Protection Commission has come under fire for taking the primary role in privacy regulation for big internet companies having a presence in Ireland..

Exploring the implications of user consent and data access in contemporary advertising channels, in this article we discuss the  intricacies of GDPR compliance, and highlight what organizations need to consider when collecting and utilizing customer data in the pursuit of effective marketing and sales strategies.

Understanding user engagement on advertising platforms: The Consent Conundrum

It’s crucial to analyze the connection between user engagement and permission to access personal data in the world of digital advertising, where platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, and Instagram dominate.

Informed consent: GDPR requires organizations to obtain explicit and informed consent from users before processing their personal data.

Transparency: Users should be adequately informed about the specific data being collected, the purposes for which it will be used, and the entities involved in its processing.

Consent: Opt-in requests must be written in clear and concise language so that anyone can understand what they’re agreed to opt-in to.

Necessity and Proportionality: Determining the Scope of Data Access

When considering the extent of data that can be accessed upon user engagement, organizations must adopt a necessity and proportionality approach, meaning that they collect and process only the data required to achieve their marketing and sales objectives.

Minimal data principle: Organizations should collect and process the least amount of data necessary to achieve the desired outcome.

Context matters: The scope of data access may vary depending on the context of user engagement. For instance, collecting just the name and email address may suffice for a newsletter subscription, while a more comprehensive dataset may be required for a product purchase.

For example, a number of data tools have an enhanced or update feature that opens in a new window; Allowing you to fill in the data blanks with critical demographic and firmographic information that can drive your go-to-market motions.

Data Privacy by Design: Building Trust in Marketing and Sales Practices

Embedding data privacy into marketing and sales practices is vital for organizations to foster trust with their users and compliance with GDPR.

Privacy-centric design: Implementing privacy by design principles ensures that data protection measures are incorporated into marketing and sales processes from the very beginning.

Data minimization: Limiting the collection and retention of personal data to what is necessary for marketing and sales purposes reduces the risk of non-compliance with GDPR.

Secure data storage: Organizations should adopt robust security measures to safeguard the personal data they collect, ensuring its confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Still think that GDPR doesn’t apply to you?

I’m sure you’re saying this to yourself as you read this article or maybe you sought some legal counsel in 2018 when GDPR was being rolled out and were told the same.  Perhaps you should ask the team at Clearview AI that were recently fined €5.2 million for not complying with France’s inquiries relating to how they manage their data (Clearview is a series C start up with 30 employees on Linkedin).

And while a fine and your name smeared all over the internet as being not careful with client and prospect data is likely bad for business, imagine what will happen when you’re not allowed to operate in the world’s third largest trading zone.

For some clarity and fun check the GDPR Enforcement Tracker for a list of fines and other compliance violations.

Creating Safe GDPR Sales and Marketing Motions

So, given the current litigious environment, how do we ensure that our sales and marketing motions are safe 

As businesses strive to thrive in today’s digital landscape, it is crucial to create a balance between successful marketing and sales tactics and GDPR compliance as firms attempt to prosper in the digital environment while protecting user privacy in the European Union. In addition to navigating the GDPR’s complexity, businesses may forge a route to sustainable growth and long-term success by adopting transparent permission processes, engaging in data minimization, and prioritizing privacy by design.

These firms should make sure that their marketing and sales operations follow GDPR best practices and make use of GDPR compliant contact data sources.  

This means that each opening email for a cold outreach campaign should:

  1. To ensure GDPR compliance in your cold emails, prioritize targeted prospects and have a valid reason for contacting them. Only collect and use necessary data relevant to your purpose. Avoid requesting unnecessary information, such as phone numbers or addresses.
  2. Obtain explicit consent or rely on one of the lawful bases for processing data under the GDPR (consent, contract, legal obligation, vital interest, public interest, or legitimate interest). Clearly explain how you acquired the prospect’s email and provide a reason for contacting them.
  3. When using legitimate interest as a lawful basis for processing, ensure your reasons align with the ICO’s guidelines. Mention specific factors, such as how your product supports their goals, recent investments, shared industry, networking, or relevant expansion plans.
  4. Make unsubscribing easy and provide an automated unsubscribe link. Instruct recipients on how to remove their data or opt-out. Promptly delete data upon deletion requests.
  5. Regularly maintain and update your database, removing inactive or incorrect leads. Keep track of how you collected and processed personal data. Notify subscribers when collaborating with other companies and sharing subscription lists.
  6. Prioritize data security by keeping records of authorization levels, retaining data only as long as necessary, and ensuring the systems and software you use are GDPR compliant. Encrypt and anonymize data where possible.
  7. Be responsive to prospect complaints and inquiries regarding their data usage. Address their concerns and be prepared to answer questions about data sources and information you possess.

For those who use the phone as their primary outreach tool here’s a list of best practices that should be followed:

  1. Prioritize compliance with do not call lists: Before making any calls, ensure that all phone numbers are screened against TPS/CTPS in the UK and other European do not call lists. Remember that respecting individuals’ preference not to be called is more important than any legitimate interest.
  2. Document the source of phone numbers: Maintain a record of how you obtained each phone number in your CRM. It is crucial to be able to demonstrate that you acquired them legitimately.
  3. Simplify opt-out process: Make it easy for prospects to opt-out of future contact and provide a clear mechanism for erasing their data upon request.
  4. Communicate privacy policies: Include privacy policies that clearly inform prospects about their rights under the GDPR.
  5. Leverage technology for call management: Utilize technology tools to effectively manage your calls, including maintaining a call history and tracking the frequency of calls to specific numbers.
  6. Safeguard personal data: Ensure that your prospects’ personal data is protected at all times, adhering to the highest standards of data security.
  7. Provide data protection training: Train your salespeople on data protection practices, GDPR regulations, and how to conduct compliant cold calls.

Remember that these adjustments may seem challenging initially, but they only require slight changes in approach. In outbound sales, the focus should always be on solving a prospect’s problem. Successful sales teams do not waste time contacting individuals unless they genuinely believe they can offer assistance.

By implementing these suggestions, along with partnering with compliant B2B data providers (we know a few), your team will consistently maintain GDPR compliance while achieving sales success.

Summing up

Startups and businesses of all sizes that choose to ignore GDPR rules should do so at their own peril.  And don’t think that just because you’re not located in the EU that GDPR doesn’t apply to your EU data set (because you’re dead wrong).  As described above, there are methods and mechanisms to complete effective initial or cold outreach and be GDPR compliant, the only question is: when will you be examined by the authorities and will you pass their examination?


WTF is Intent Data and How Can I Leverage it to Drive Sales

67% of marketers say their number one challenge with intent data investments is making intent data actionable.


Are you struggling to identify potential customers who are interested in your products or services? Do you feel like you’re wasting time and resources on cold calls and generic email campaigns? 

Utilizing a powerful form of Sales Data known as intent data can help you identify sales opportunities and target potential customers who are actively searching for what you have to offer.

By understanding the intentions of your potential customers, you can tailor your sales approach and increase the likelihood of closing a sale.

So let’s go down the rabbit hole called Intent Data.

Understanding Intent Data

Only 39% of organizations leverage buying signals to select target accounts and prioritize how to deploy marketing tactics against those accounts.


At its core, intent data refers to the actions that potential customers take online that indicate an interest in a particular product or service

Intent data is a critical tool for marketing, sales and business development folks, as it enables them to identify potential customers who are actively seeking solutions or services related to their industry. 

Buyer Intent Statistics, Trends And Facts 2023

Intent data includes a wide range of activities, such as searching for relevant keywords, engaging with content related to your industry, and interacting with your website or social media channels. By analyzing these activities, sales and business development professionals can gain valuable insights into their potential customers’ interests and needs, allowing them to tailor their approach and messaging accordingly.

One of the primary benefits of intent data is its ability to help sales and business development professionals identify and prioritize high-quality leads. By analyzing a potential customer’s intent data, sales professionals can determine how far along said prospects are in their buying journey and what type of solutions or services they are most interested in. This information can be used to tailor sales pitches, develop targeted marketing campaigns, and prioritize leads for follow-up. Ultimately, leveraging intent data can help sales and business development professionals increase their efficiency, close more deals, and drive revenue growth.

For example, if a prospect has been consistently engaging with content related to a specific solution or product on review sites, social media and competitor sites, it may indicate that they are close to making a decision. Sales and business development professionals can use this information to prioritize follow-up and tailor their approach to better address the prospect’s needs and interests. By leveraging intent data to identify buying signals, sales professionals can improve their conversion rates and drive revenue growth through fine-tuned messaging.

Companies can leverage intent data to fine-tune their messaging by analyzing the behavior and activity of their prospects and customers to gain insights into their interests, preferences, and buying behavior. By understanding the specific needs and pain points of their target audience, companies can tailor their messaging to speak directly to those needs and position their product or service as a solution. 

This can be done through personalized messaging, targeted offers and promotions, and relevant content that addresses the specific concerns of the prospect or customer. By using intent data to fine-tune their messaging, companies can increase engagement, build trust, and ultimately drive revenue growth by converting more prospects into customers.

Building an Ideal ICP

In their seminal work on marketing segmentation, Stull, Myers and Scott describe the process to help identify your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) (Tuned In, Wiley & Sons 2008).  This analysis refers to the characteristics of the ideal customer for a business, including factors such as industry, company size, geographic location, and more (commonly referred to as firmographics).

One of the ways that intent data can be leveraged to build a more detailed ICP is by analyzing the online behavior of current customers and identifying commonalities in their behavior patterns (there are a number of tools that provide that data, but we’ll save the topic for another post). 

By analyzing the websites they visit, the content they engage with, and the keywords they search for, sales teams can gain valuable insights into the types of businesses and individuals that are most likely to be interested in their offerings. This information can then be used to refine and update the ICP, making it more accurate and actionable.

There are a number of methods that are commonly used to analyze this data:

  • Use a third-party data provider: You can work with a data provider that specializes in intent data to get insights into the online behavior of your current customers. They may use a combination of tracking cookies and pixels, as well as other sources of data, to build a profile of your customers and identify patterns in their behavior.
  • Implement tracking cookies/pixels on your own site: You can use tracking cookies and pixels to collect data on the behavior of visitors to your website. This data can then be used to identify patterns in the behavior of your current customers and help you refine your ICP.
  • Use a combination of both: You can work with a data provider to get insights into the behavior of your current customers, and also implement tracking cookies and pixels on your own site to collect additional data on the behavior of your visitors.

It’s important to note that there are legal and ethical considerations to collecting and using this type of data, particularly in light of privacy regulations like GDPR and CCP (Look out for our upcoming series uncovering these type of privacy issues). You should consult with legal counsel and follow best practices for data privacy and security when collecting and analyzing customer data.

It’s also important to note that there are some limitations to pixel tracking at present like those on IOS. You can read about it here.

Analyze This!

Another way that intent data can be used to build a more detailed ICP is by analyzing the behavior of potential customers who are in the early stages of the buying cycle. By identifying patterns in their online behavior, sales teams can gain valuable insights into the types of businesses and individuals that are most likely to be interested in their offerings, even if they have not yet made a purchase. 

Using these methods will  help sales and marketing teams build a more detailed and accurate ICP, which can then be used to guide their outreach efforts and ensure that they are targeting the right audience with their messaging and offers.

Overall, leveraging intent data to build a more detailed ICP can help sales teams improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their outreach efforts, leading to increased revenue and business success over time.

Applying Intent Data to Sales: Cross/Up Selling

Intent data can also be leveraged to identify opportunities for cross-selling or upselling to existing customers. By analyzing the behavior of current customers, sales teams can identify which products or services they have shown an interest in, or which complementary offerings they may be likely to purchase in the future.  It’s like reading your customers’ minds before you’ve even had a serious conversation.

This can help sales and customer success teams create targeted messaging and offers that are tailored to the specific needs and interests of each customer, making it easier to upsell or cross-sell additional products or services. 

For example, if a customer has recently purchased a certain product, intent data can be used to identify which complementary products may be of interest to them, and a sales team can then reach out with targeted messaging highlighting these options

Another benefit of using intent data to identify cross-selling or upselling opportunities is that it can help sales teams build stronger relationships with existing customers. 

By proactively reaching out with personalized offers and messaging, sales and customer success teams can demonstrate that they understand the unique needs and interests of each customer, and are committed to helping them achieve their business goals. This can help build trust and loyalty, and ultimately lead to increased revenue and customer satisfaction over time. 

Additionally, by identifying cross-selling and upselling opportunities, sales teams can uncover new revenue streams, increase stickiness thereby increasing the lifetime value of each customer, contributing to the long-term success of the business.

A Tale of Intent

A bit over a decade ago, I was a sales leader for an online marketing company that specialized in providing solutions for the senior living industry. I had always been passionate about helping these operators increase their occupancy rates and improve digital brand awareness, but I struggled to connect with potential customers in a meaningful way.

That all changed when I began utilizing intent data. By analyzing online behavior patterns using Google Trends and Heatmaps, I was able to gain valuable insights into what senior living consumers and operators were searching for online and what problems they were trying to solve. With this knowledge, I could tailor our team’s sales pitches and marketing messages to address their specific pain points and offer solutions that met their unique needs.

For example, I discovered that many senior living operators were looking for ways to improve inbound lead management and streamline their administrative tasks. Armed with this information, I was able to showcase our solutions as a way to automate routine tasks, reduce paperwork, and enhance patient interactions. This approach resonated with our target audience and helped us win more business.

Over time, I became a master at leveraging intent data to drive sales. By staying up to date on the latest trends and constantly analyzing customer behavior, I was able to anticipate their needs and offer solutions that truly addressed their challenges. As a result, our company’s sales numbers soared, and we became a trusted partner to many healthcare providers around the world.

In the end, it was the power of storytelling that truly set us apart. By crafting compelling narratives that spoke to our customers’ pain points and aspirations, we were able to build meaningful relationships and win their loyalty. And it all started with a simple insight – that intent data could unlock the key to selling more effectively in the medical profession and as I have noticed for many years, beyond.

By utilizing intent data to identify sales opportunities, you can save time and resources by focusing on potential customers who are actively interested in your products or services.

What type of sales data are you using to target your customers? We’d love to hear. Feel free to reply in the comments section.

The Role of Contact Data in Business Development and Sales Success

Sales Contact Data is the Fuel Companies Need to WIN

Your sales pipeline health getting you down? I speak to a  lot of sales leaders each month and we all agree on the critical impact of having accurate and updated contact data is to Business Development, Sales and Outbound/Inbound Lead Generation. In fact, it’s the foundation of your outbound success. And without a good foundation of contact data, like a building, your pipeline can crumble pretty quickly.

Having the right relevant sales data can be the secret sauce you’re missing in your outbound sales development success. When you’ve got the right contact data for your prospecting you can move mountains. Remember, the List IS the strategy!!

Overall, bad data can leave you drowning in a sea of irrelevant and unproductive leads, rather than swimming in a crystal clear blue ocean of high-quality prospects. 

As a sales expert, those of you living with bad data – I feel your pain. I know the challenges of outbound sales development firsthand having made hundreds of thousands of cold calls. I’ve experienced how having the right contact data can make all the difference in hitting your targets and growing your business. Time has come to STOP CHASING.

The Power of Relevant Sales Data


With the right contact data for your sales team you’ll be able to target the right people and thereby optimize your sales efforts. With accurate and up-to-date data, you can identify your ideal prospects and prioritize them based on factors such as their level of interest, buying behavior, and budget. 

By focusing your efforts on these high-value targets, you can save time and resources that would otherwise be wasted on bad discovery meetings that go nowhere or endless follow-up calls and emails.

Without these NON-discovery meetings, your pipeline efficiency improves (because you’re not talking to NON-prospects) and  also enhances your credibility and reputation with prospects, as you can demonstrate a deep understanding of their needs and preferences right from the start. 

Having the right sales data allows you to work smarter, not harder, and achieve better results with less effort. By demonstrating an understanding of your prospects’ specific challenges and how your product or service can address their pains, you can build trust and credibility with your prospects, leading to higher engagement rates and ultimately, more closed deals.

Getting Personal

Personalizing your messaging can help you stand out from the competition, as it shows that you have taken the time to get to know your prospect and tailor your message to their unique situation.

Having the right sales data can help you create targeted and personalized messaging that resonates with your prospects and increases your chances of success in the sales process.

Personalized messaging not only helps you stand out from the competition but also makes your customers feel valued and understood, leading to higher levels of engagement and satisfaction.

Reaching Higher

Personalization based on data leads to higher conversion rates. Customers are more likely to buy from a business that understands their needs and preferences, and personalized messaging shows that you have taken the time to get to know them.

By using customer data to personalize your messaging, you can create a stronger connection with your audience and build trust, which ultimately leads to higher conversion rates. 

Having the right sales data is key to personalizing your messaging and creating a more engaging customer experience that can lead to higher conversion and lower churn rates and long-term customer loyalty.

Higher quality = Higher Reward

High-quality sales data is an essential tool for tracking and measuring sales performance. By utilizing accurate and comprehensive data, sales professionals can identify trends, analyze customer behavior, and monitor their own performance to identify areas for improvement.

With this information, sales teams can optimize their sales strategy, adjust their approach, and focus on the areas that are most likely to drive revenue. High-quality sales data is critical to achieving success in today’s competitive business environment, and those who invest in the right tools and processes will undoubtedly reap the rewards of a more effective and efficient sales organization.

Wrapping up with a Sales Story 

In closing (Pun Intended), I’d like to share a story that delivers a powerful tale regarding the importance of having the right sales data as the fuel businesses need for effective outbound sales development and growth.

In a previous role as a sales executive for a B2B software company, we were looking to expand our customer base and target larger prospects. We had a list of potential prospects, but we quickly realized that the data we had on them was outdated and incomplete. We spent hours making cold calls and sending emails to unresponsive leads, which led to low conversion rates and wasted resources.

Fortunately, we decided to invest in high-quality sales data to improve our outbound sales efforts. We partnered with a data provider that offered accurate and up-to-date information on our target prospects, including company size, industry, revenue, and key decision-makers. 

With this data, we were able to create targeted lists of high-quality leads that fit our ideal customer profile, and we tailored our messaging to their specific needs and pain points.

As a result of using great sales data, our outbound sales efforts became much more effective. We saw an increase in engagement rates, with more prospects responding positively to our outreach efforts. 

We also saw higher conversion rates, with more prospects converting into paying customers. Moreover, we were able to optimize our sales strategy based on the insights we gained from customer data, which helped us refine our messaging and improve our overall sales performance.

So, having the right high-quality sales data is essential for effective outbound sales development and growth. Without it, you’re  wasting time and resources on unqualified leads, resulting in low conversion rates and lost revenue.

With accurate and up-to-date data, you can create targeted lists of high-quality leads and tailor your messaging to their specific needs, which can lead to higher engagement rates, higher conversion rates, and ultimately, business growth.

By investing in high-quality data and leveraging it effectively, you can drive significant sales growth for your business. The cost of gathering and analyzing data is minimal compared to the potential ROI of increased sales and revenue.

About the Author

Blair Carey is the Principal of InsideCRO. In this capacity, he has run hundreds of outbound campaigns using high quality contact data since 2017 for himself and industrial technology clients using a variety of tools and proprietary methods.  To Learn more about how the LIST can be your prospect strategy send Blair a DM on LinkedIn.