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According to Marketing Week, a whopping 35% of major brands expected not to be fully GDPR-compliant in time for the May 2018 deadline. Now, with only weeks to go before the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) kick in, marketers who haven’t already done so need to move quickly to comply with the new data laws.

This means reviewing your marketing technology and processes including data management, marketing automation and CRM systems. Unless you’re ahead of the curve, chances are you’ll need to invest resources into updating them for GDPR compliance.

Which leads to this question: how do you get sign-off on your marketing budget and your business on board – and fast?

Seven steps to achieving stakeholder buy-in

There’s no one-size-fits-all for achieving stakeholder buy-in, but there are a few basic rules to follow to make sure you get what you need for a successful GDPR project.

1. Understand your environment and outline your project

Before you do anything, make sure you understand how your business currently uses data and any potential negative impacts. As a marketing team, work out:

  • What data you collect today
  • How you use that data
  • Where you use it
  • Who you share the data with
  • Your current data protection framework

2. Include all stakeholders in the process

Don’t limit your approach to the main budget holder alone.

Susie McFarland, business strategist and mentor for marketing agencies, said: “For the best outcome, it’s important to work collaboratively across the business. The more involved your stakeholders are, the more likely they are to invest money and time in your project.”

For example, you’ll need buy-in from IT if they need to design or implement new infrastructures or technology. Your finance and HR teams will have an interest, too, where money and training or new recruits are required. Sales and customer service teams are also key as they’re heavily involved in data entry, management and communications with customers and prospects. And if the business has appointed a Data Protection Officer (DPO), they’ll be a godsend for your plan.

3. Engage with stakeholders early

The earlier you engage your key stakeholders, the better chance you have of gaining their buy-in. It will help you progress more efficiently, as any objections, concerns or queries around GDPR can be addressed quickly without causing problems later down the line. And you’re more likely to find the best solution for the business.

4. Consider each stakeholder’s concerns

Different stakeholders will have different questions about your project. Anticipate their concerns and address them as collaboratively as possible.

5. Provide a roadmap for discussion

Start off with your draft project roadmap so you can clearly explain your desired outcome. Give your teams an overview of the basics of GDPR, the pitfalls of ignoring it and why your project is key for the business. This will be your springboard for discussion.

6. Focus on business benefits

Different parts of the business use data differently, so outline the benefits of GDPR for them. For example, if you clean up your CRM system, your finance department could reduce billing time and incoming queries. For the sales team, it avoids your pipeline drying and up and, while the volume of leads may decrease, the quality should increase.

7. Highlight any address potential risks

Make your stakeholders aware of any risks surrounding the project. For example, if your business can’t resource the manpower, or if deadlines are missed.

If your marketing team needs help with GDPR, check out these e-learning courses. Me Learning, in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has developed a series of tutorials specifically for marketers. Click here to find out more.

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