How to Stop GDPR Destroying Your Recruitment Sales Pipeline

There’s still a lot of confusion amongst recruiters regarding what they can and cannot do post GDPR. The worst-case scenario we’re seeing at the moment is that the hunt for new business is slowing down as many recruiters are worried about putting a foot wrong. But don’t let GDPR get in the way of your business development strategy!

GDPR and clients-minNow that the GDPR storm has calmed, let’s get back on track and refocus on the fact that GDPR should not be negatively impacting your recruitment sales pipeline – if anything, it should be making your client networks more valuable.

Here are some things you can do to stop GDPR from destroying your recruitment sales pipeline…

Pick up the phone

This might come as a surprise (and maybe even a disappointment to some of you!) but no, GDPR does not stop you from making calls to prospects.

The only thing you do need to consider before picking up the phone to call prospects is whether they’ve objected to your calls in the past or if they’re registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or Corporate TPS – if the answer to either of these is ‘yes’, you need to score them off your call list.

Here’s the ICO’s to-do checklist for making your business development calls:

live call list

And sure, prospects still might not answer your calls and they’ll probably give you the same excuses they did prior to GDPR, but the phone is there to be used!

Just be smart with it: Work out why you’re calling the person, what you have to offer them and why they should take your call. If the answer to any of these questions is about achieving your KPIs, you will undoubtedly fail.

Take this test to find out what your recruitment sales calls sales call say about you.

Recognise your legitimate interest

The ICO clearly states ‘it is likely that much of [business-to-business contact] processing will be lawful on the basis of legitimate interests’ - provided that you perform the legitimate three-point test (we have a whole section on this here).

The three points you need to consider before sending a BD email are:

  1. Would the client/prospect expect you to use their details for BD (invariably your answer will be ‘yes’)
  2. Is there a potential nuisance factor for them in receiving unwanted marketing messages from you? Perhaps, but as long as you give them the option to unsubscribe, this shouldn’t be an issue
  3. Think about the effect your chosen method and frequency of communication might have on more vulnerable individuals (again, this shouldn’t be an issue in the circumstances of business development)

If you can assess that none of those three points apply, and that you are giving each prospect/client the option to unsubscribe any time you reach out to them, your business-to-business marketing emails are entirely legal on the basis of legitimate interest.

So don’t let your GDPR fears get in the way of your emails, either!

Get back to basics

blog-image-handshake-1Remove the word ‘GDPR’  from your head entirely as this will be functioning as a blocker. Just concentrate on best practice recruitment.  

Get back to the basic principles of building awesome networks with clients and candidates – this is what recruiters have always done best!

As difficult as it might be to imagine, recruitment still existed back when there were no mobile phones, emails, IP trackers or demographic profiling tools.  You had to just get out there, meet people, #BeHuman and work your connections to be the recruiter everyone wanted to work with.

Remain valuable to your network

Offer no value to your network and you’re essentially just stuck with a bunch of names on a database. GDPR is all about giving clients and candidates a reason to remain on your database, so if you’re not doing that you can expect to see your sales pipeline fritter away before your very eyes.

Segment your client database into groups (I refer to this as the ‘relationship ladder’ – learn more about this in this eBook): your evangelists, clients, prospects and leads and start to ask yourself what value you’ve offered each of these groups of people with in the last 6 months.

If the answer is not much … as they say in #loveisland, ‘get grafting’!

Let clients know they’re in control

One of the key things that’s changed when it comes to recruitment sales is that the client or prospect is absolutely in control. No matter how you try to communicate with your network, they need to be able to opt out at any time if they deem it necessary.

If you’re still sending emails with no way to unsubscribe, all you’re doing is picking a fight with a frustrated prospect.

Respect the fact that your prospects and clients call the shots now, and just accept that busy people will sometimes choose not to hear from you when you reach out to them.

However, an unsubscribe from a sales email doesn’t always necessarily mean they don’t want to hear from the company entirely - it just has to be on your client’s terms.

So give them options: Do they want to hear about events your agency will be running, still receive updates when you post new market insights on your company blog, potential candidates on the market or have a nosey about your company news? You could be surprised by the results.

Be visible

A good recruiter is by nature a fantastic communicator and will often have an infectious personality that people warm too. You ‘get’ people and love working with them – so use this to your advantage in BD by letting people see this.

As soon as a prospect gets a call, receives an email or opens an invite to an event they will check you out online. 94% of businesses will research a company they’re buying from before they engage your services, and recruitment is certainly no different.

Therefore, you need to acknowledge this and make sure that when they search for you online your online footprint not only impresses them but gives them with a reason to talk to you too.

Sure, we’ll get hit every day with challenges, but when has that not been the case in recruitment? And don’t forget that with every challenge there is an opportunity, and if you go in with this mind set, you’ll be the winner.

Don’t just follow the crowds and become a slave to the LinkedIn InMail (or as I refer to it as ‘InJunk mail’) – think differently, follow the data and continue to provide value to those in your pipeline. The results will come in tenfold.

Go get ‘em tiger!

How to use GDPR to your Agency's Advantage

Wendy McDougall

Wendy McDougall is Chief Fish of Firefish Software. In her spare time, you'll find her playing squash or feeding her inner geek with the latest technology!

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