“Well, what about you?” – Why B2B Marketers ask it

As mentioned in a previous blog post, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently amended its Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), clarifying the fact that the business-to-business (B-to-B or B2B) exemption applies only to calls inducing a sale from a “business entity.”

In other words, telemarketers using the B2B exemption may not transition a sales pitch in an effort to target the individual answering the call when the “business” has no need for the product or service and the intent of the call is to sell a consumer product.

Telemarketing calls to businesses often rely on the B2B exemption from the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry and other telemarketing rules. However, when sellers and telemarketers have a willing participant on the phone, they sometimes migrate away from the original target by using the “Well, what about you?” approach, when their product is suitable for both businesses and individuals. The TSR is now clear that these efforts will be viewed as violations.

If companies intend to use these sales methods, they need to not only comply with the National DNC Registry, but also:

  • A Company-specific, internal DNC list;
  • Disclosure requirements;
  • Calling time restrictions;
  • Call abandonment rates;
  • Transmission of caller ID information; etc.

Keep in mind that even if your company is making only “true” B2B calls, a number of states may still require you to maintain an internal DNC list.

Additionally, B2B calls are NOT exempt from complying with the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) wireless dialing rules and revocation of consent when using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS).

In summary, we recommend to “keep it simple.”  If your company is marketing products that may be suitable for individual consumers and business consumers, they should be targeted separately. When blending occurs, between B2B and B2C campaigns, the ability to act in a compliant fashion is greatly diminished.

If you would like the list of states that require internal DNC requests be honored for B2B campaigns or if you have any other questions regarding the laws and regulations governing B2B telemarketing campaigns, please reach out to us at consulting@compliancepoint.com.

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