The art of prospecting

SoPro offer the most effective prospecting format in the world.

We believe that prospecting is an art form. It has taken us years to perfect it. And we are evolving our systems and processes every day.

So we don’t offer a low cost DIY prospecting tool.

We offer a prospecting service. And it’s amazing.

Our extraordinarily talented individuals deliver multi stage prospecting campaign as a flexible, scalable service.

Welcome to the future of B2B sales

Ask us anything!

Prospecting FAQs

We’ve been offering prospecting as a service for longer than anyone in the UK. It’s all we do. And we love it. We’ve written some answers to common questions below.

How long does it take to set up a campaign?
Our team are on hand to start working on your campaign today. In most cases your prospecting activity will be live within in 14 working days. During this time we will build your targeted prospect database, we will de-list any exclusions, set up your prospect engagement templates, configure campaign volumes to meet your lead requirements and fully brief our prospecting team.
Is social prospecting a bit spammy?
Most marketing formats have evolved to rely heavily on the use of customer data. GDPR is a rule set governing the circumstances and manner in which data can be processed legally. It also introduces some scary consequences for falling foul of the law. GDPR also sets out the framework for which types of data are considered Private and should be treated as such. The GDPR-savvy phrase used to describe private data is Personally Identifiable Information. Most business are surprised by the amount of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) stored within their systems, often without any specific intent or purpose.
Does SoPro provide an automated or human process?
SoPro social prospecting is 100% Human to Human. Of course our platform will batch certain functions such as email append and email verification jobs, however even these batched processes are run manually by our team. In terms of the prospect experience, each qualified prospect is engaged on a one-to-one basis with a personalised introduction to your brand or business. We have years of experience getting the best results from every contact and our experts will identify interests, mutual connections and profile commonalities for every target and use these to craft the perfect introduction
Are there any minimum campaign dimensions?
Fear not. Our simple price plans support campaign based or rolling monthly activity. We have a modest setup cost and our minimum campaign duration is 3 months, after that just give us a months notice at any point.
Do you have any minimum volumes?
For reasons of practicality the smallest campaign size we can support is 50 prospect engagements per day, this equates to roughly 750 contacts per month or £1,500/month in budgetary terms. That’s £1,500 for 750 prospects. Every prospect identified, researched and fully engaged. Compare that with your internal cost per prospect engagement and the business case is a no-brainer. Every time.
What social networks/tools do you use?
We use all good social networks, leading search engines and a variety of integrated data brokers together with internal sources to build a clear picture of each prospect, then we engage prospects passively via social media and directly via email.
How do I see my campaign stats?
You can access all your SoPro campaign stats through our intuitive web portal, The SoPro Hub. Think of it as a one stop shop for everything you need to know about your SoPro campaign, the place where all your questions are answered in our beautiful, analytical manner. The Hub presents your campaign performance through clear dashboards and detailed reports, together with a multitude of useful tools including exclusions management, prospect approval, data extracts, email templates, GDPR FAQS, CRM integration settings and more.
What countries does SoPro support?
SoPro do not operate to any known geographical restrictions. We are able provide Social Prospecting services globally.
What languages does SoPro support?
We are currently prospecting in a number of languages and territories. We have no technical limitation with respect to language, we do ask that you can support the full sales process including pitch, proposal and contract, in any languages you are prospecting in.
Where are SoPro based?
SoPro have offices in London, Brighton and Skopje. We don’t actually need to meet you in person to set up a Social Prospecting campaign but we like to if we can.
What payment methods/terms do you accept?
We will invoice you monthly in advance. Pay whenever you like, your campaign will start/resume upon receipt of payment. We are happy to take payment by credit card, direct debit or standard EFT, just ask your account manager.
What if I want to pause the service?
No problem at all. Most SoPro clients have some form of irregularity in their prospecting requirements… whether it’s sales team holidays, seasonal peaks and troughs, event schedules… we are regularly asked to tailor your prospecting schedules and that’s absolutely fine. Pauses can be requested at any point and while on pause, monthly prospecting credits simply accumulate on your account, rolling over monthly until the campaign restarts.
Short pauses
In situations where you might want to pause a campaign for a week or two (I.e. less than a month) to accommodate holidays or other short periods of unavailability, SoPro will work our scheduling magic to ensure we deliver the agreed volume of prospecting activity within the active days of the month. We take a common sense approach here and if you’re active for 4 days of the month we won’t try to deliver a full months’ worth of prospecting in 4 days, naturally in that situation the remaining prospect credits simply roll over to the following month. Most clients find a slightly accelerated rate of delivery is the perfect way to get sales straight back to full speed after a break. Please provide 5 days’ notice for short pauses. Monthly prospect credits remain unaffected. Billing remains unaffected.
Long pauses
In situations where you might want a campaign paused for a month or two (I.e. to accommodate staff restructure or periods of seasonality, SoPro will place yuour campaign “on ice” for up to 3 months and retain the campaign in fully a reactivatable state. In these situations we require the usual 30 days’ notice, then on the basis of having a confirmed restart date SoPro will keep your campaign on ice, all messaging and technical setup will be saved, all account logins will function as usual during the pause and no setup fees will be chargeable on return. All data, stats, insights and analysis will be saved and the restart will be treated as a continuation of the same campaign. Please provide 30 days’ notice for long pauses. Activity will stop. Prospecting credits will cease during the pause. Billing will stop. Account logins will remain active. Requires restart date confirmed in writing.
GDPR/Compliance questions
Read our dedicated GDPR compliance FAQ.

GDPR Compliance

Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (Text with EEA relevance)

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was adopted on 27th April 2016 and brings all EU member states under a common framework regulating data protection.

By 25th May 2018, each EU member state must implement a local data protection framework that (as a minimum) complies with the master GDPR framework.

The UK Government has appointed the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) as the official body charged with ensuring national compliance with the GDPR.

It is important to take GDPR compliance seriously, since the penalties for non-compliance are rate-carded as 4% or €20m (whichever is higher).

How does GDPR affect Marketing?

Most marketing formats have evolved to rely heavily on the use of customer data.

GDPR is a rule set governing the circumstances and manner in which data can be processed legally. It also introduces some scary consequences for falling foul of the law.

GDPR also sets out the framework for which types of data are considered Private and should be treated as such. The GDPR-savvy phrase used to describe private data is Personally Identifiable Information.

Most business are surprised by the amount of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) stored within their systems, often without any specific intent or purpose.

How is our service GDPR compliant?

The aim of GDPR is to provide fresh governance on data protection. From that perspective we were already in a good place. From an email outreach perspective, GDPR guidelines oblige us to ensure that marketing emails are directed to prospects who are likely to find the content useful and relevant. So, we ensure that:

  • The topic of the email is clearly identified.
  • There is a clear way to opt out from future emails.
  • Each email comes from a genuine email address.
  • Our client’s identity is clear and within the email.

GDPR is lengthy and complex. There are many other things we’ve changed too. You can read about all of them in this Q&A section.

Why are some businesses concerned that social prospecting is not GDPR compliant?

There’s a misconception that you need a B2B prospects consent to email them. That’s because the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) require consent to email B2C prospects. B2B marketing communications are generally speaking – exempt from PECR consent requirements.

A few GDPR related SoPro facts:

We send millions of emails each year. As GDPR has got closer, we’ve noticed that more prospects mistakenly believe that social prospecting will be illegal after May 25th.
A: It won’t. Providing of course that the regulations’ various guidelines on data protection, relevance, targeting, etc. are followed. It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it has taken many months of blood, sweat and tears for us to say with 100% heart felt confidence that every SoPro campaign is and always will be 100% GDPR compliant.

We can save you time and money with GDPR compliant prospecting
A: If you’ve been running internal prospecting campaigns and you haven’t changed your process to comply with GDPR then we can save you time and money. We’ve done all of the hard work. Our email outreach campaigns are 100% compliant. And we follow every one of the many data processing requirements too.

What we have changed to become GDPR compliant
A: With a long history of social prospecting and hundreds of companies, there are hundreds of operational changes that we’ve had to make. We’ve read the regulations, received legal advice and training, nominates a Data Protection Officer who has led our GDPR mission, adapted our terms of Service and Privacy Policy, improved our database functionality and worked with our suppliers and clients in order to ensure every aspect of our operation is 100% GDPR compliant.

Can I do nothing and hope it goes away?

No.

Does PECR still apply?

Yes. The GDPR does not replace PECR – although it has amended the definition of consent. You need to comply with both GDPR and PECR for your business-to-business marketing.

The EU is in the process of replacing the current e-privacy law with a new ePrivacy Regulation (ePR). However, the new ePR is yet to be agreed. The existing PECR rules continue to apply (with the new definition of consent) until the new ePR is finalised.

Holy Sh*t. Do we need to appoint a data protection officer?

It is recommended that businesses appoint a data protection officer to oversee adherence to the rules however it is not a legal requirement.

As a minimum you should have a nominated individual able to act as your compliance officer on an immediate basis when needed, that person can be employed directly (I.e. perhaps a CTO or managing director) or employed through a compliance support service.

Am I the data controller or the data processor?

If you are a business conducting marketing activity to help sell a product or service, then you are the data controller with respect to the data associated with that campaign.

If you are a provider (business entity or freelance) of marketing services, employed to help a business sell a product or service, then the client is the data controller and you are employed as the processor

Is it legal to conduct B2B marketing activity?

With respect to data protection laws, B2B marketing campaigns are perfectly legal when conducted in a compliant manner.

To ensure marketing is conducted in accordance with all relevant regulatory frameworks we recommend you conduct an assessment to establish if the product or service, combined with the proposed targeting, meets the various GDPR and PECR rules.

This assessment is called a Legitimate Interest Assessment (LIA).

To determine if your activity is exempt from PECR under the B2B exemption, prior to conducting an LIA, a campaigns “B2C/B2B status” can often be determined by the following two questions:

“Will the product or service being offered benefit the businesses you are targeting, and not the individual?”

To qualify for the PECR B2B exemption, the product or service that you are offering needs to be of benefit to the target business, and when talking to any individual, relevant to their business role only. It can help to consider the following examples:

  • If you are targeting companies that sell widgets, to offer marketing services designed to increase their sales of widgets, then there is a clear, sole benefit to the company (this is legal).
  • If you are looking to contact business owners in order to help them invest their hard-earned wealth, then despite the links to their professional role, this is aimed at the individual not the company (this is not legal).

“Are the services being provided equally beneficial to whomever may be contacted about them?”

If question one can be answered positively then a further test to the business nature of your offering is to consider the target individuals that you would like to introduce it to. The only consideration here should be job specific – typically department and seniority. Your offer should be equally relevant to whoever fills these role(s) at any given time, and in no way targeting any given individual.

Does the GDPR mean we need consent for marketing?

No. Consent is one lawful basis for processing personal data, but there are alternatives. In particular, you may be able to rely on ‘legitimate interests’ to justify your business-to-business marketing.

B2B marketing communications are generally speaking – exempt from PECR consent requirements.

B2C scenarios will generally require consent to comply with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).

Here is a link to the ICO’s Guide to PECR for more on when you need consent for electronic marketing: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/electronic-and-telephone-marketing/

What data am I allowed to store?

GDPR heavily regulates the storage and processing of Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

You should map your business systems to determine the data fields you store, and categorise these in terms of their GDPR status.

Generally speaking company information is not considered PII and can be stored and processed freely, as needed. This means you do not need to obtain consent to store a database of target companies.

Personally Identifiable Information may include fields such as prospect name, email, phone number, job titles and social profile URLs.

On what basis can I legally store Personally Identifiable Information?

GDPR sets out a number of permissible circumstances under which PII can be processed, the most appropriate category in the case of B2B Marketing is Legitimate Interests.

This link explains the Legitimate Interests basis for processing PII: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/lawful-basis-for-processing/legitimate-interests/

To ensure client activity falls into this category, prior to engaging, you should carry out a full Legitimate Interests Assessment (LIA) for any marketing campaing you intend to run.

Essentially the LIA is a questionnaire containing a series of questions about your scenario. There are 3 areas that need to be satisfied for Legitimate Interests to be used as a basis for processing PII:

Area 1: Identify a legitimate interest

The legitimate interest can be your own interests or the interests of third parties. They can include commercial interests, individual interests or broader societal benefits.

The data processing is generally in your interests – whether it be to increase market share, increase brand awareness, or engage business leaders.

Area2: Show that the processing is necessary to achieve it

Can the same result be achieved differently? Core to the SoPro service is the efficiency and constant drive to be the most cost-effective sales channel which we believe cannot be replicated using other methods.

Area 3: Balance it against the individual’s interests, rights and freedoms.

Would the individual expect their data to be used in this way? Would an individual who lists publicly their role within a company expect to be contacted about services that may help that company or their department within the company?

No data processing may replace or infringe the individuals interests or cause unjustified harm.

What if my marketing activity fails the LIA?

If you determine that your planned B2B prospecting activity does not meet the criteria for Legitimate Interests within the scope of GDPR you may not be able to conduct the activity within any regions subject to GDPR.

What policies or processes do I need in place?
Privacy Policy

Any marketing messages should contain a link to a privacy policy explaining exactly what the user’s rights, as well as the type of data that is held about them and by who.

(If needed SoPro can provide a template privacy policy or review your existing one to ensure it meets the required standard.)

Managing Opting Out & Exclusion Lists

All recipients must be able to opt out easily to prevent further email communication being received. This is typically handled with an “unsubscribe” link.

Managing Subject Access Requests

All individuals have the right to request a copy of all data you hold on them.

When you receive a SAR you must have a clockwork process to supply all personally identifiable data that you hold in connection with a data subject.

Managing Right to be Forgotten Requests

All individuals have the right to have their data removed (to be ‘forgotten’). You must have a reliable, repeatable process to remove all personally identifiable data that you hold in connection with a data subject.

Can I send unsolicited emails to prospects legally?

Whilst GDPR controls the storage and processing of personal data in the UK, sending messages is regulated under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). This is very clear as to the requirements on business to business communication:

“You can email or text any corporate body (a company, Scottish partnership, limited liability partnership or government body). However, it is good practice – and good business sense – to keep a ‘do not email or text’ list of any businesses that object or opt out, and screen any new marketing lists against that.”

What is the ICO / Direct Marketing Checklist?

Great question – the ICOs DM checklist is a great set of guidelines, here it is:
https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-pecr/electronic-and-telephone-marketing/electronic-mail-marketing/

Do I need to conduct additional Employee Training

You should ensure all employees undergo GDPR, PECR and general compliance training, covering the GDPR rule set in detail and the relevance and impact of those rules on your business. This training should set out the steps you take to ensure best practice is observed at all times and make clear the consequences associated with failure to meet the strict standards.

Data Storage

No passwords are stored in clear text, and access to any information is secured with appropriate security measures.

Non-EU/rest of world regulations

Where marketing activity is conducted to target countries outside of the UK, and in many cases, outside of the EU, these campaigns are generally not subject to the same data privacy laws.

Naturally, we cannot be abreast of the constantly evolving regulatory frameworks in all countries at all times, as such it is important that you have knowledge of your local regulatory climate and ensure your business operates within the relevant regulatory frameworks.

Useful Links

We have collated the most useful links available to UK businesses researching the GDPR framework, key areas, timelines, scope and likely impact on B2B marketing.

Please note the new GDPR rules are implemented at an EU Government (multinational) level. Each state is separately responsible for developing it own appropriate rule set ensuring, as a minimum, compliance with the EUs GDPR framework.

The UK Government has appointed the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) as the official body charged with ensuring national compliance with the GDPR. In light of this the ICO has released several handy guides.

Here are the most useful links from the key official bodies, including the UKs ICO, the UK Government, the European Legislation archives and the UKs Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

We suggest you put the kettle on:

If you have a different question then please ask us and we’ll respond instantly