Do you have a sales-based business or department that is CASL compliant?
Do you know what it means for your Sales team to be CASL compliant?
As a recap businesses are subject to the Canadian Anti-Spam Law for all ‘Commercial Electronic Messages’ or CEMs sent. (For a full description of CEMs please visit the government definition.)
This covers all marketing email communication but the emails that your Sales and Business Development teams are definitely subject to the rules regarding CASL as well.
Many companies have overlooked or not really paid much attention to this aspect of CASL compliance but CASL is going to have a much bigger impact as of July 1st, 2017 and businesses should definitely ensure that all areas of their business are within the confines of the law.
Currently only the regulators can issue a fine against company, but starting July 1st individuals get the right to “Private right of legal action” against unwanted communications. The result can be a $200 fine per person complaining, per email sent.
So for instance, if your sales teams are blasting away with emails and happen to have forgotten to remove 10 people from their one-to-one emails or group messages that’s potentially a $2000 fine (10x$200) per email they sent. This cost and risk to a business adds up quickly.
This upcoming change to the Anti-Spam Law should not be taken lightly.
So without further delay, here are the top 3 risks to Sales teams.
Collecting proper consent from new leads, prospects and contacts
- Collection process – Sales people are always looking for leads and new contacts to reach out to. They always want a steady stream of potential business in their pipeline. Whether they are provided emails through a well honed marketing process, have their own secret list or if they do their own work to source information for prospecting. Referrals are also a very common source of receiving new contact data. Regardless of where they receive the information of the individuals that they email they need to ensure that they follow the CASL rules which have very specific requirements:
- Consent status needs to be obtained directly from the person that is linked to the email address.
- All details of when, where and how the email address needs to be captured with the email address and managed in a central location that maintains a recent and up-to-date record of this information.
- Every CEM that is sent out by someone in your Sales team needs to ensure that it is CASL compliant. This means that the email addresses that are to be sent a message need to be checked for a valid and up-to-date consent status.
- If there is no valid consent status or their consent status has expired, then the message cannot be sent to an individual. This is difficult to manage for one salesperson let alone a whole team (especially for messages with multiple recipients) unless they have access to a central email database that manages this information.
- Also, each email sent out must include a working unsubscribe link. Ideally this would also be connected to one database to maintain consistent data.
- The last component of risk for Sales people and teams is proving compliance if the time comes that your organization is expected to prove that it is CASL compliant and not violating any of the rules.
- This can and should be validated with information on a number of different areas:
- First, a clearly documented CASL compliance process for your Sales team should be available.
- Additionally, a comprehensive audit trail and report should be available to clearly demonstrate statistics and metrics on emails sent by Sales people.
- Finally, the ability to produce summary level as well as detailed information on individual email address current CASL consent status, collection source and date as well as emails sent
Given the extent of these onerous requirements to ensure CASL compliance it is easy to see why many organizations do not have a full or proper CASL solution in place.
But can businesses afford to ignore the risk given the upcoming changes to CASL?
There is another substantial risk to companies that are actually managing CASL risk in their Sales department properly. Depending upon the solution and the processes that have been put in place, the time and effort that Sales people spend ensuring their emails are compliant could be impacting your revenue and sales results.
Any solution and process should cover off the risks noted above as well as be easy to implement with seamless friction to existing sales activities. Ideally your CASL management solution should work in the background and not be noticed by your sales unless required to deal with messages that are not able to be delivered to intended recipients.