Data privacy instrumental in African lead management

A well-known saying states that if a company thinks compliance is expensive, it should try being non-compliant. Performing leads management across Africa at a time when data privacy is an integral component of regulation means organisations will do well to heed this warning.


Complying with personal data protection legislation has become a business imperative. Decision-makers must be cognisant of the impact this regulation can have on the growth opportunities to be had not only in their own countries but across borders. By keeping data protection top of mind, companies will need to reconsider how they perform leads management in this new normal.


Louise Robinson, sales director of CG Consulting, believes that this is not necessarily a bad thing.


“It has become far too easy for engagement to become an exclusively digital experience. Sending an email, posting a comment on a social network, or just relying on instant messaging software can result in sales teams losing that personal touch with their leads. Picking up the phone and talking to someone is still immensely valuable especially at the time of COVID where in-person meetings are being kept to a minimum. The main difference now is how companies process customer data to affect this personal outreach and understand what they can and cannot do with that information.”


Permission first


One of the best things about data privacy is that those leads who gave permission to be marketed to, are worth far more than the more widespread approaches of the past. These individuals have shown legitimate interest in what companies might have to offer them. This does not mean the communication does not have to be targeted. If anything, the digitalisation of personalisation means leads expect an even more tailored approach to what they might have been getting in the past.


“By its nature, leads management is a data intensive exercise. Thanks to the massive amount of unstructured information out there due to the growth of social networking, regulatory scrutiny has increased to mitigate the risk of personal information being misused. This is especially the case when it comes to those organisations who buy leads databases. If the service provider responsible for maintaining those databases does not comply with the data protection regulation, then the companies who perform their outreaches can risk significant financial and reputational damage,” she says.


Keeping it focused


But beyond having a quality and ‘clean’ database to work from, any good leads management strategy is ensuring there is proper data governance in place. This will help the organisation identify the data it collects, how it will be collected, and how it will be used. Data governance also ensures employees know exactly what is expected of them when it comes to data management.


Flowing from here is the need to keep focused on critical data. With so much information available, businesses must only collect the data that benefits the organisation. By asking who needs the data, what does it do, and whether the company can operate without it, there will be a better understanding of what must be captured.


“Even though each of these present unique challenges, one of the most difficult obstacles for most businesses to overcome is data siloes. For instance, if the social media team operates on their own without communicating to the broader customer service or product development teams, each department will engage with customers as if they are new as opposed to having a unified view of them. Data collaboration is an effective way of addressing this, but it must happen within the parameters of the regulatory framework.”


Scaling for growth


Ultimately, companies must understand the business context in which they are driving leads management. Centralising data systems are important, but more so is performing this in a focused way than in the past.


“Markets across Africa are dynamic with each country having its unique sets of challenges, regulation, and data privacy elements to consider. Being able to partner with a trusted service provider capable of delivering a database that adheres to all this will position the business for growth well into the future,” concludes Robinson.