What Legitimate Interest Means To B2B Sales [And Your GDPR Survival Kit]

What Legitimate Interest Means To B2B Sales [And Your GDPR Survival Kit]

Now the General Data Processing Regulations (GDPR) have come into force, you might be living in fear of the predicted pipeline drought, and grappling with how you’re going to meet your goals once the standards for achieving consent on your prospect and customer list becoming much higher.

Of course, there has been much talk about GDPR legitimate interest, the big “get out clause” if you like. But is it really as simple as that?

I have some useful legitimate interest guidance to help you understand what it is and how to use it, both compliantly and to best effect.

Let’s start with three legitimate interest examples of relevance to use with B2B sales and marketing:

1. You have an interest in ensuring sales and marketing approaches are relevant and tailored

2. To personalise services and improve communications/engagements to the benefit of customers and prospects

3. To determine the effectiveness of sales and marketing strategies and campaigns.

Sounds simple, so why not make legitimate interest the default basis for all B2B sales and marketing data processing, you may ask?

Although legitimate interest is a flexible concept and will often be relevant, it does not apply to everything and you will not be able to use it as the default basis for all your processing.

The ICO recommend you carefully consider whether legitimate interests is the appropriate lawful basis for your purposes. You should not look to rely on it simply because it may initially seem easier to apply than other lawful bases. It is not always the easiest option, and in fact places more responsibility on you to justify your processing and any impact on individuals.

This is where I can really help – the importance of real-time insight.

As we are talking about customers or prospects in a B2B environment, legitimate interest should be pretty straightforward given people are more likely to reasonably expect the processing of data in a business context.

That being said, you need to avoid presumption of needs, pain points, benefits and value, and instead always act in an insight-driven manner if you are to be able to adequately explain your reasons for processing data based on the principle of legitimate interest.

A constant supply of real-time, up-to date, validated and relevant insight is the key to ensuring data processing for the purposes of legitimate interest is handled correctly.

Let’s look back at the three legitimate interest examples above:

Relevant and Tailored

Post-GDPR, buyers are even more likely to be turned off by untargeted, untimely, untailored, irrelevant and poorly-delivered engagements.

Knowing what your customers want, why and when they want it, and how they want you to deliver it to them will always be a fundamental of good B2B sales and marketing practice, and for me it’s the foundation of true legitimate interest. There is a clear benefit to your customers and prospects for you to truly understand what’s important to them, the challenges they face, and their goals and expectations.

By furnishing your business with rich, real-time insights you are better placed to ensure that when you reach out, you’re doing it with pin-point relevance, timing, contextual awareness, and just as importantly that you are offering products and services tailored to real, rather than perceived, needs.


We work in an age where customer experience and hyper-personalisation rule – this won’t change post-GDPR, in fact it will become more important than ever.

Sellers and marketers can rely on legitimate interest in order to harness the insight they need to constantly serve the changing needs, preferences and behaviours of buyers, and continually look for opportunities to innovate in terms of experience, deliver superior service, and achieve superior outcomes.

Constantly gathering and acting on insights from news reports, public financial and corporate information, social media and so on improves your real-time understanding of the customer and what’s driving them at any given moment, and enhances your ability to deliver personalised content and engagements.

Want to use legitimate interest to your advantage? Here’s how we can help.

GDPR legitimate interest reinforces the importance of using reputable third-party business intelligence sources that are not only compliant with the regulations, but can also demonstrate consistent data capture across multiple channels and best practice in terms of data quality and validation.

As the Chartered Institute if Marketing so correctly points out – “now is the ideal time to invest in new data analytics tools – even those with predictive analysis and artificial intelligence (AI). By populating these tools with only the most important, useful and legally compliant data, organisations will be able to operate in a far smarter manner than anything that has gone before”

How Artesian can help you achieve sales and marketing excellence post-GDPR:

  • Uncver the insight that drives customer centric activities: Artesian delivers a constant supply of relevant and validated insights from both structured and unstructured data sources across the internet, news and social media that will inform all sales, marketing and business development activities – greater personalisation, improved engagement, enhanced demonstration of value
  • Build a 360° view of the customer world: Understand their immediate and future needs, the problems they need to solve, and the wider internal and market influences affecting customer and prospects by harnessing Artesian to demonstrate how your product or service addresses their current needs and problems
  • Track buying signals and trigger events with confidence: Utilise our tools to hone in the type of insights you want to receive such as expansion news, management changes, legislative, regulatory, compliance and risk management changes and triggers, acquisitions etc
  • Build value into engagements: Harness contextual reasons to reach out – ready made research, door openers and engagement topics for higher open rates, click throughs, opt-ins and improved levels of engagement
  • Get better at predicting customer needs: Harness the power to determine in advance what a customer needs, and what product or service will have the greatest impact. Use Artesian to identify patterns of event types, market challenges and new opportunities
  • Build value into nurture campaigns: Keep that loyal band of customers happy, and more importantly consistently opting-in by using Artesian’s advanced intelligence to drive deeper understanding, demonstrate contextual relevance, and build value into marketing campaigns at all stages in the funnel
  • Augment real-world activities: Integrate Artesian with your calendar to see the latest insights about customers and prospects you’re meeting with. Marshal exactly the right facts at the right time (up-to-the minute insights about everyone sitting around the table, their sentiments and expectations) to capture and hold the attention of the room and ensure that when they leave they tick that opt-in box.

Business leaders like you are already looking at the opportunity GDPR presents and seeing the bigger picture in terms of delving deeper into the needs of their prospects and customers.

Invest 10 minutes in one of our short papers below to see how to leverage GDPR in your role.

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