The EU’s new privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), came into force on May 25th. As you probably know by now, it was developed to protect the online privacy of EU citizens to allow them greater rights and control over their personal data – including how it’s collected, stored, handled, and used.
At its heart, the regulation was developed and instituted to enhance relations between consumers and businesses, specifically when it comes to user data. However, business-to-user relationships go well beyond the transmission of data. In fact, data practices and the effects of the GDPR are only one facet of customer relationships.
One of the keys to how businesses handle customer relations is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – tools that manage contact activity and relationships with current and prospective customers. CRM applications help you track, monitor, develop, and leverage relationships to drive revenue to your business.
There are three types of CRM solutions:
- Lead and Deal CRM – focuses on turning leads into deals (closed sales) and keeps track of the progress and interactions along the way.
- Contact CRM – centers on gathering information about contacts and logging interactions. These are the easiest to use, lowest cost, and least complex of CRM solutions.
- Conversation CRM – tracks conversations between your business and your customers and prospects, and is essentially a robust email app.
Because 92% of companies utilize databases to store information on customers and prospects, the GDPR is a reality for most organizations that interact with anyone from the EU in the course of conducting business. Using a CRM can help you operate within the confines of these rigorous new regulations while optimizing your customer relations.
CRM software for GDPR compliance can help your business in several ways including:
- Tracking and implementing GDPR compliant policies
- Managing consent at all points of contact (online, email, and via phone)
- Defining and controlling access to data
- Overseeing data security (encryption, anti-hacking measures, multilevel security, etc.)
- Facilitating Right to Erasure
Here are our top six picks for CRM software applications to consider that can assist you in your GDPR compliance efforts:
Zoho is a multichannel CRM that allows companies to manage contact that takes place via email, telephone, chat, or social media.
- Organize emails in the CRM pipeline
- Click to connect customer calls
- Capture leads from social media
- Chat live with website visitors
- Portals for customer, vendor, and partner access
- SalesSignals real-time analytics
- Zia, the conversational AI sales assistant
- Sales automation and pipeline management
- Team collaboration and automation
- Mobile app
How Zoho helps with GDPR compliance
- Data source tracking
- Denotes personal data fields
- Data subject access requests
Zoho’s CRM costs $12-$100 per month per user (when billed annually), but offers a free option with fewer features, limited to three users for very small businesses. You can also try Zoho on a 15-day free trial.
Pipedrive is a CRM solution designed by salespeople, for salespeople, and is now available in more than 170 countries and 16 languages with an impressive international presence.
- Visualized sales process, from prospect to closed
- Drag-and-drop functionality to easily update customer status
- Multiple customizable sales pipelines
- Prioritize initiatives and set reminders
- Email integration into CRM pipeline
- Sales reporting, forecasting, and analytics
- Activity integration with Google calendar
- Sync contacts to Google contacts
- Connects with an array of third-party tools
- Mobile app
How Pipedrive helps with GDPR compliance
- EU data management
- Secure data transfer
- Deletable data
Pipedrive CRM runs $12.50-$62.50 per month per user, or in groups of six users, priced at $75-$375 per month. There’s a 14-day free trial available.
Prosperworks is the only CRM built for Google, designed for rapid adoption, and that integrates seamlessly with all aspects of the G Suite.
- Fully integrates with Google Docs, Sheets, Calendar, Mail, Slides, and Hangouts
- Minimizes manual data entry
- Alerts sent when leads fall out of process
- Seamless, instant Google sync
- Easy to use because it looks and works like G Suite tools
- Custom report builder
- Available Chrome extension for Gmail and Inbox
- Real-time tracking as emails are opened and viewed
- Smart bot sends CRM notifications to Hangouts chat
- Mobile app
How Prosperworks helps with GDPR compliance
- GDPR compliant incident response plan for security incidents
- EU Privacy Shield certified
- Proactive, periodic vulnerability and penetration tests of system security
Prosperworks CRM costs $19-$119 per month, with limits on fields, records, storage space, and support in lower-cost subscriptions. You can try the software on a 14-day free trial.
HubSpot is a robust CRM that’s priced free forever and offers features for which you’d pay monthly per user with other applications.
- Queue and send email sequences on a pre-defined schedule
- Auto-tracks customers sales and interactions across multiple channels
- Real-time notification of customer/prospect engagement
- Initiate calls from inside the CRM (15 minutes per user per month)
- Display availability so prospects can auto-schedule time with you
- Analytics dashboard
- Five email templates per account
- Five canned snippets per account
- Some features are quantity limited – others are bottomless
- Includes free, but limited, version of HubSpot Sales
How HubSpot helps with GDPR compliance
- Lawful basis of processing tracking
- Collection, tracking, and management of consent and withdrawal of consent
- Facilitates access and portability requests via machine-readable format export
HubSpot CRM is FREE, with no limit on users or contacts. They offer the software, at no cost, to entice users to adopt their Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub products, which are fee-based per user.
5. Sales Cloud by Salesforce
Sales Cloud is Salesforce’s CRM solutions product line that integrates sales, marketing, and customer support into one platform for B2B or B2C usage. It’s been around for years and has a strong market presence.
- All versions include account, contact, opportunity, and task management
- Einstein Activity Capture to eliminate manual data entry
- Real-time sales insights
- App builder
- Download pre-integrated apps via AppExchange
- Custom self-development of apps with drag and drop tools
- Partner lead registration
- Collaborative forecasting
- Configurable reports and dashboard
- Mobile app, offline functionality, and Inbox mobile app
How Sales Cloud helps with GDPR compliance
- Individual Object process to link consolidated preferences for one contact across records
- Enhanced deletion of all associated records based on a single request
- Platform-level encryption via Salesforce Shield
Salesforce Sales Cloud offers Lightning Essentials for as little as $25 a month per user, as an out-of-the-box CRM solution, for up to five users. Lightning Professional runs $75 per month per user for any sized team. The Lightning Enterprise solution costs $150 per month per user and is deeply customizable. For $300 a month per user, the Lightning Unlimited comes with unlimited support and power. You can try it with a 14-day free trial.
6. Freshworks CRM
Freshworks CRM (formerly Freshsales) is a powerful CRM tool that tells you everything you need to know about your leads, all on one screen.
- 360° customer view with auto profile enrichment
- Email integration with 2-way email sync
- Automated workflows that reduce manual tasks
- Visual sales pipeline for forecasting sales
- Built-in phone to call customers
- Sales campaigns email metrics
- Customizable sales reports
How Freshworks CRM helps with GDPR compliance
- Enable opt-in for web forms
- Enable opt-in and opt-out for emails
- Store consent details
- Export data easily
- Delete (forget) leads or contacts
- Restrict users from sending emails to contacts who’ve unsubscribed
- Restrict users from exporting customer data via reports
- Restrict users from permanently deleting (forgetting) leads or contacts
- Delete users
- Disable auto profile enrichment
Freshworks CRM costs between $29 and $125 per user per month. You can get the hang of it by signing up for a 21-day free trial or requesting a demo.
With fines of up to 20 million euros, or 4% of your annual revenue (whichever is higher), the penalty for failing to comply with the GDPR is potentially disastrous. Luckily, getting your business on the right side of the GDPR doesn’t need to be as costly or complex as you may believe. With online resources like the CRM software above, GDPR form tools, and a wealth of GDPR WordPress plugins, there are plenty of tools at your disposal for getting your business compliant with the GDPR.
The state of GDPR compliance of the proposed solutions/tools was checked at the time this article was written. Please do your own due diligence when choosing GDPR-compliant vendors/tools, and always sign a Data Processing Agreement (“DPA”) with your processors/sub-processors.