Tag Archives: compliance

Our highlights from the European Data Protection Summit

We were among the 300+ delegates in attendance at the European Data Protection Summit last month to take in some great sessions on GDPR, privacy and more.

The two-day event covered GDPR 16 months on from its introduction, privacy in the era of AI and other emerging technologies and tracking cookies and the need for organisations to ensure that they are following lawful process.

Among the key takeaways from the latter session were:

  • Analytics cookies are not ‘strictly necessary’ and so can’t be used without consent;
  • A high level of (GDPR-compliant) consent must be obtained;
  • No cookies should be dropped until that consent has been given and all third parties should be named.

This will have a significant impact on how many organisations operate.

Another key takeaway from the Summit was that many companies have been waiting for the new ePrivacy Regulation before making any changes – but it may never become law in the UK if its date of application falls after the end of any transition period when the UK leaves the EU.

However, the UK will no doubt have to adopt similar rules even if the ePrivacy Regulation does not apply, so it’s important to be prepared and plan for these changes.

For more insights from the event, contact the TLA compliance team.

5 lead handling steps to conversion success: turn more third-party leads into new customer sales

A proactive approach to lead handling and lead nurturing can have a drastic impact on lead-to-sale conversions, removing frustration and maximising your commercial performance.

Last month, we won Best Lead Generation Campaign alongside clients Mindshare, GTB and Ford at the Performance Marketing Awards. Drawing upon the success of that campaign and our 17-year heritage in the industry, we’ve compiled five steps that can help you and your sales to get the most out of the leads you buy – whether it’s from TLA or another third-party company.

1. Provide context

Not all leads are generated equally. If you’re working with a reputable lead generation partner that goes to great lengths to ensure quality, communicating how these leads are different to the sales staff that receive them can have a huge impact.

By providing the context behind the lead – where it originated from, how it has been qualified, what information the consumer provided, what opt-in procedures were used and more – sales staff understand the quality of the opportunity they have. That ultimately means they can dedicate the appropriate time and energy towards engaging the consumer and converting the sale.

There are a number of ways this communication can be done, from presentations to brochures to videos. It will be down to you and your lead generation partner to discuss and agree on what works for you and the sales teams you need to engage.

2. Be quick

Leads cool quickly. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found that qualification rates drop by as much as 400% when consumers are contacted after 10 minutes of submitting an enquiry compared to 5 minutes. Now imagine if they haven’t been contacted for more than 24 hours. The impact of response time on conversions cannot be underestimated.

Our in-house team contacts consumers who have made an enquiry as soon as they’re received. If they are qualified as a lead and distributed to your CRM, we recommend that they are contacted at the earliest possible moment to ensure the lead stays hot.

3. Be persistent

The same Harvard study also concluded that by attempting to contact a consumer six times, contact rates increase by 70%. A qualified lead puts your sales teams in the driving seat to engage and convert a new customer. By allowing a lead to spoil, your sales teams could effectively be handing over the impetus to a competitor.

A qualified lead for us is someone who has arrived by way of an inbound enquiry and has double opted in to be contacted by our client’s team. In short, they’re expecting the call. So, if for some reason they can’t answer straight away, be persistent and keep trying!

4. Remain adaptable

Most third-party leads are consumers who enquire as part of their research and comparison journey – a journey they remain in right up until the purchase takes place.

While they may have expressed a clear interest in one particular product or service, it’s important to acknowledge that they could still making up their mind and remain open to different options. It therefore makes sense for your sales team to do the same.

They could arrive one of your products but now want to discuss other options you provide. Or perhaps they’ve had their head turned by one of your competitors. By staying open to different possibilities, your sales teams give themselves the greatest scope for providing what they want and need. Lead nurturing doesn’t end until the sale is complete.

5. Repeat and clarify

Don’t assume that because the script used as part of the qualification process has covered the key features or benefits of your product or service that the consumer doesn’t want more before committing to a purchase.

We go to great lengths to make sure the information shared with a consumer is understood, but it never hurts for sales teams to repeat and reinforce the message when first contact is made. Likewise, there is only so much information a consumer wants to hear or is able to take in on a qualification call or via a digital qualification.Having opted in to be contacted by your sales team, that consumer is now primed for more granular detail about what you can offer that others can’t.

In our experience, following these five steps can help you and your sales teams to get more out of the leads you buy and maximise your potential for conversion. If you’d like more information on any of the above, drop us a line and we’ll arrange a follow-up call.

TLA awarded with ISO 27001 certification

We are proud to have been awarded with ISO 27001:2013 certification, the internationally-recognised Information Security Management Standard that demonstrates our commitment to the security of all stakeholder information.

ISO 27001 is a viewed globally as a benchmark for trust, reliability and integrity – something we believe is fundamental for the future of customer acquisition and lead generation.

Above all, it demonstrates that we have identified risks and put in place systemised controls to protect the business and our employees, along with our clients, partners and consumers.

TLA has always committed to working to the highest standards across all parts of the business. But over the last two years, following the announcement of GDPR, we have moved to put in place more structured processes and policies to ensure we are leading the way within the lead generation space. ISO 27001, along with our award-nominated GDPR Programme, are great examples of how we have enhanced our approach.

To receive ISO 27001 certification, we were required to pass an in-depth assessment carried out by an independent auditor (accredited by UKAS) who reviewed all types of information that are received, managed and distributed by the business.

What does ISO 27001 mean for TLA and our clients?

One of the most significant benefits of meeting ISO 27001 standards is that other organisations – such as other lead generation partners or data enrichment companies – can input their data into Platform X with complete confidence that it will be handled and processed to the highest-possible standards.

This means you can…

  • Reach more in-market consumers by receiving leads from a broader range of sources
  • Enhance quality across all lead generation activity by qualifying and enriching leads to the same exceptional standards
  • Save time and energy by using one customer acquisition platform for all your leads
  • Gain peace of mind from knowing all your leads are GDPR-compliant and managed to ISO 27001
  • Have the confidence of knowing TLA is always identifying ways to improve and enhance its services

If you’d like more information about the ISO accreditation, contact us today.

The Age of Transparency: How consumer attitudes have changed, and why brands must do the same

From GDPR to social media, the world of information has changed. And so too have consumer attitudes, with increased awareness and interest in data protection, ethical behaviour and transparency.

GDPR, the most recent and highly-publicised change, has perforated the public consciousness as well as the business community. Consumers are now more aware and therefore more cautious over how their data is being used than ever before.

The new regulation was put in place to ensure a higher standard of consumer consent. Yet, despite the heavily publicised lead up, it was reported that 60% of EU businesses were still unprepared for GDPR when it came into effect on 25th May.

However, the shift in consumer attitudes goes far beyond GDPR compliance. Consumers now want and even expect businesses to be transparent about their intentions across the full spectrum of business activities.

Transparency, consent, authenticity and trust are central to affirming all-important long-lasting brand relationships but they remain a challenge for many organisations. A study carried out by measurement and analytics firm Integral Ad Science (IAS) revealed that 56% of senior marketing professionals cite transparency as a key concern in their advertising.

Transparency in marketing

There are many customer touchpoints throughout a consumer’s buying journey. Understanding and improving the points can enhance user and customer journey mapping. Yet, each one brings about greater risks for businesses if their intentions are unclear.

As our head of performance marketing Paul Court argues, “understanding all customer touchpoints and ensuring that compliant and transparent activity is consistently demonstrated will lead to stronger results”.

Social media is a great example with sites such as Instagram and Twitter allowing for direct contact to be made between a consumer and a company. Consumers can even go so far as connecting with company directors (if they so wish), thus demonstrating an even higher level of openness, transparency and cultural awareness.

Transparency in culture

But transparency is not a tactic to help companies attract consumers. Authenticity is key and that must ultimately come from within – a company’s core values and culture.

According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey, only 51% of respondents feel their values match their employer. Failure to be clear and ethical in business proceedings has a negative effect on staff, leading to decision-making that can damage the external brand image.

A company’s core values should be in harmony with not only their staff but with their consumers’ attitudes, cementing a clear and mutual understanding of honest and ethical proceedings.

Transparency in data

Considering all of this, GDPR should not be viewed as a blocker, but as an opportunity to affirm the relationship between your brand and your consumers. Transparent companies will be able to disclose the fair and ethical reasons behind their regulatory processes, building trust in the process.

Research carried out by Forbes showed that when a company uses data in a relevant way and can be trusted, the customer is more willing to share their data. Offering reassurance and providing customers with the real reasons behind information requests online will therefore nurture the brand-customer relationship.

The assistance of third-party companies in that endeavour, whether that be in lead generation or other parts of the business, must be founded upon responsible and ethical practices. Partners must be committed to putting transparency at the forefront of their business proceedings to ensure that the delicate trust between brand and consumer can be strengthened even further.

To learn more about our transparent approach, read what ASE Global had to say about our GDPR compliant leads.

Preparing for GDPR: Documentation of consent

In the latest in our series on GDPR, we look at one of the key aspects of the regulation: the documentation of consent.

In order to comply with the EU General Protection Regulation, companies will be required to keep a wide range of documentation. According to the ICO, the following bad and good examples provide an indication of the level of documentation of consent you will be required to maintain:

BAD: “You keep the time and date of consent linked to an IP address with a web link to your current data-capture form and privacy policy”

GOOD: “You keep records that include an ID and the data submitted online together with a timestamp. You also keep a copy of the version of the data-capture form and any other relevant documents in use at that date”

On a recent webinar, The DMA said that ‘relevant documents in use’ could, for example, refer to a telephone call script. As a lead generation company that manually qualifies leads via telephone calls, this is highly applicable to the way we work. Plus, as we introduce a more omni-channel approach to consumer communication, this would then extend to transcripts of online communications using channels such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp etc.

Consent documentation in lead generation

For some companies, this documentation of consent is potentially a high bar to meet. Depending on their technical infrastructure, they may be relying on a third party hosting/website company to implement the means to capture the correct timestamps, etc. at the point of data collection for example.

As a mature player in the industry, this is a low bar for TLA. All of our website assets are built and managed in-house, and enquiries are recorded in secure databases. This means that we fully in control of how we record this information, including text and policies that were seen, and the user’s choices. Where consent is gained in a telephone call, we use robust call recording technology, and our QA team are constantly checking for quality and compliance.

We are currently building a compliance portal where partners will be able to access complete and transparent audit trail information, showing the entire customer journey through our processes as well as providing access to call recordings.

Other documentation solutions

For a straightforward web-based data capture form, simple software solutions have entered the market, but these are not without limitations: for example, something that takes a screenshot of the enquiry form at the point of submission creates technical and storage overheads, and ultimately leads to non-database storage of data, which in itself creates risk. This approach also only covers a small part of the consent process in a more complex user journey.

With the progression of technology and changes in consumer habits, we are embracing new ways to communicate with our consumers. Many prefer an interactive enquiry rather than fixed, form-based approach and we are currently trialling our latest chatbot technology that engages with consumers through conversation in order to generate enquiries. Again, because these are built in-house, and feed directly into our own systems, we can obtain and record consent in these systems in a way which third-party software solutions could not.

Keep an eye out for more details of some of our latest tech innovations, as well as GDPR-related articles, via the News & Views.

Bill Lawrenson, business intelligence manager, The Lead Agency

TLA secures FCA authorisation

We believe doing right by our clients and consumers, which is why we took the decision to pursue and have since achieved our FCA authorisation.

Traditionally as a business, we have focused our conversations with customers on the product. For example, in automotive, we talk about their vehicle of interest. But increasingly often, a customer’s starting point is what they can afford, and how they are going to purchase.

Although our role is often that of lead generator on these campaigns, being FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) authorised gives us more flexibility on what we can speak to customers about, and allows us to gather more relevant information. Gathering more information in turn allows us to better qualify the customer, and ultimately means we create higher quality opportunities for our clients find their next customers.

In addition, we can broaden the types of campaigns we can take on. The QA framework we have in place means that we are set up well to ensure compliance with the regulatory framework of the FCA.

Highly professional

To assist us with the process of seeking FCA authorisation, we engaged Peak Consultants, a specialist in helping companies seek FCA authorisation.

“It was a pleasure working with The Lead Agency during the application process,” commented Peak director Mark Tumblety. “Their approach was highly professional and the senior management team demonstrated an eagerness to get things right and clearly wanted to enhance their customer proposition.”

Many companies see the process and ongoing regulation of FCA status as a ‘tick-box’ exercise, but we are working to embed principles such as Treating Customers Fairly into the very fabric of our business.