Why Marketing People Still Use Cold Calling

Cold calling and the GDPR: allowed or prohibited?

Is cold calling prohibited or allowed? What influence do the GDPR and the UWG have on this question? And is the legal situation with cold calls in the private customer environment different than with business-to-business contacts?

Difference between GDPR and UWG

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation that has been valid in the European Union and has been binding since May 2018 to safeguard the rights and protection of natural persons and their personal data.

The law against unfair competition (UWG) forms the basis for combating and preventing unfair competition in Germany. Paragraph 7 “Unreasonable Harassment” regulates whether and under what conditions cold calls and cold calling are prohibited or permitted.

In summary:

  • The GDPR regulates data protection.
  • The UWG prevents unfair competition.

What will change with cold calling under GDPR?

Cold contact by telephone as such is not indirectly affected by the GDPR. Because in Germany the UWG regulates whether this is forbidden or allowed. However, the handling of the data collected during acquisition will change. The old Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) was already very well established in Germany, but the GDPR is a good step forward in terms of the right to self-determination over one's own data. The new BDSG supplements the GDPR in a few points and regulates, for example, the specific criminal liability for violations beyond pure fines.

Contact cold: prohibited or allowed?

Are cold calls prohibited or allowed? First and foremost, a distinction must be made between whether private customers, i.e. B2C (Business to Consumer), are acquired cold or whether the acquisition is carried out in the business customer environment, i.e. B2B (Business to Business).

B2C cold calling on the phone is initially prohibited by law. Unless the person has given express consent in advance. The same applies to cold contact via email or other electronic contact options such as WhatsApp or SMS.

According to the law against unfair competition (UWG), B2B cold calling (business-to-business) is subject to different regulations and requirements than in the end customer market. It is true that it is also prohibited here, but among business customers it is sufficient if at least presumably consent is given in order to acquire cold over the phone. This is the case if the product to be advertised or the corresponding service is presumably of interest to the cold-contacted company (like the telephone contact) and the person called presumably agrees to be contacted by telephone at the current time. Of course, this passage again leaves room for maneuver and confronts the sales person with the question: “When can I assume presumed consent?” Unfortunately, the risk of a misjudgment is borne exclusively by the advertiser or the cold acquirer.

Appointments by telephone under GDPR and UWG

As an example of legally secure cold calling in the B2B environment, we take one of the telemarketing projects from triveo Telemarketing.

We have been working successfully with the Dutch company CSi Palletising for years. One of the leading manufacturers of palletizing systems. As you can read in our detailed experience report, it is our task in Germany to acquire new customers by cold call. Many of the companies have not yet had any contact with CSi, or only briefly. So it is a so-called cold contact to schedule field service on-site at the potential customer. Of course, we do not call software houses or pharmacies, but companies that correspond to the target group of CSi, as they produce goods in shape and quantity that suggest that automatic palletizing could be useful. With this, CSi and triveo Telemarketing have fulfilled the requirement to conduct cold calls by telephone in conformity with UWG.

Email marketing without prior consent is also prohibited. Therefore, during the telephone acquisition, we ask whether we can send further information by email or whether the contact person would like to be informed about relevant events in the industry by newsletter in the future and validate a “yes” also with a confirmation link for registration. We are therefore on the safe side with email marketing as well.

Is cold calling now prohibited due to the GDPR?

A huge uncertainty factor as to whether cold calling is prohibited or allowed under certain conditions is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into force in 2018.

Even after the GDPR has come into force, only the law against unfair competition (UWG) regulates whether cold calling is allowed or not. A legally compliant cold acquisition in the B2B market is still okay with the GDPR. The protection of the data itself now enjoys an even higher priority with the GDPR. In Germany, however, the data protection standard was already extremely high before the GDPR, so that we generally only had to make minor adjustments at triveo Telemarketing.

What we pay attention to when cold calling under GDPR

  • Address and contact details that are made available to us by our customers are also transferred directly from them to the Customer Relations Management instance of salesforce.com. This means that no more data of this type will be sent by email or other means.
  • We only use data from companies and contact persons who are related to their work. Information about vacations, illness, maternity leave and similar private things are not recorded.
  • Our sales professionals lock the PC when leaving the workplace in order to prevent third parties from accessing the data.
  • The PCs do not allow the insertion of external storage media.
  • Our offices are only accessible to employees of triveo Telemarketing. Visitors and customers are only granted access after registering.
  • We train our employees and sensitize them to compliance with our guidelines and the GDPR or the BDSG.

6 facts about the GDPR

Data obtained through the acquisition must be stored and processed in accordance with the GDPR. Below are a few facts about the GDPR that are relevant in this context.

  1. All companies that process personal data in the EU are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation. This regulates the type of collection, storage and further use as well as transfer to third parties.
  2. The data can also, under certain conditions, be stored outside the EU.
  3. The collection of personal data is prohibited, but can be permitted by laws such as the new Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG), the Telemedia Act (TMG) or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Naturally, natural persons can also give their permission.
  4. Personal data are e.g. For example: name, address, email address, telephone number, birthday, account details, license plate number or location data.
  5. In principle, only the data that is absolutely necessary for the performance of a contract or service may be collected and the data may only be used for this.
  6. Persons whose data has been collected and stored can request the deletion of the data or a complete extract from the stored data.

GDPR and salesforce.com CRM

Salesforce.com's CRM is number 1 among cloud-based software solutions of this type. We use this sales database for our telemarketing projects. Our customers store their address data there, which we should approach and process as part of a telemarketing campaign. Salesforce itself ensures the best possible data security within the framework of what is technically feasible and has a number of relevant certifications. Among other things, the certification according to ISO 27001 for the constant further development and improvement of the underlying information security management system of the respective software solution.

The data is therefore safe and the storage and handling meet all the requirements that the GDPR and the new BDSG place on us and salesforce.com.

Implement cold calling in compliance with GDPR

Triveo, your telemarketing agency for cold calling B2B has already successfully implemented hundreds of acquisition projects in various industries and for a wide variety of customers. Put this sensitive topic in the hands of acquisition professionals. Call us or send us an email. We will be happy to advise you and show you how you, too, can reach more customers and thus generate more sales with the help of an experienced telemarketing and cold calling agency in the difficult B2B environment with professional acquisition.

With the CRM from salesforce.com we use and our sales experts, who are also trained in data protection, we can guarantee that the cold calling carried out by triveo Telemarketing complies with the GDPR requirements.

The topics of GDPR, UWG and cold calling by telephone are rightly subject to special interest. Of course, we take the time to show you specific possibilities in your business and are happy to answer your questions regarding data protection and other questions. Contact us by phone, email or chat and let us convince you.

* This article is not intended to be taken as legal advice. We do not take responsibility for actual completeness. This text does not replace legal advice.


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