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In this episode of the CPSA Social Selling and Tech show, we'll discuss how CASL has changed the ways salespeople operate in Canada.
Bill Banham is a Marketing and Publishing professional based in Toronto. Bill is Founder of The HR Gazette and Iceni Marketing and Co-Founder of the WorkingTech show and the InnovateWork event series. Bill hosts several CPSA podcast shows on topics including social selling and tech, business strategy and sales strategy.
Listen to this episode of the CPSA Social Selling and Tech Podcast.
Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:
* The Big 3 CASL Requirements
* CASL's Challenges for Sales Pros
* CASL and Gaining Consent
Read the edited transcription:
Bill Banham: CASL, four little letters, which have caused a seismic shift in Canadian Communications. Canada's anti-spam legislation came into law in July 2014, with the aim of reducing the amount of unwanted commercial emails received by Canadians. It affects the way you use email, and other electronic messages to connect with your customers and your leads.
CASL prohibits sending commercial electronic messages, CEMs, without the recipients consent. CEMs are any electronic message that encourages the participation in a commercial activity, even if there is no expectation of profit, including emails, text messages and direct messages from social media sites.
Over three years on, it is time to assess the impact for sales in Canada. In order to send a commercial electronic message, your business is required to:
1. Obtain consent, implied of expressed, from the person to whom the CEM is sent.
2. Include your contact information. For example, email and mailing address, in the CEM.
3. Include an unsubscribe mechanism within the CEM.
Perhaps the most challenging part of the law for sales people, is around contacting potential customers. Failure to comply with CASL can lead to tough penalties for individuals, of up to $1,000,000 and corporations up to $10,000,000 for violating these provisions.
Here are some things you should consider in relation to Canada's anti-spam laws. The first thing to consider is around obtaining consent. Basically, you have to obtain consent to send commercial electronic messages. Now that the transition period is over, implied consent contacts can only be messaged for two years, or six months, depending on the type of relationship you have with them. For example, you may email existing customers for two years from the purchase date, but you may only email someone that inquires about your service for six months from the date of their inquiry.
The next thing we need to consider, is establishing anti-spam policies. It's absolutely key that your company outlines clear policies within your organization for the commercial use of email, text messages and other CEMs addressing the following: How to request permission to email? What contact information to include in a CEM? What to do if a contact asks you stop emailing? What are the consequences if policies are not followed?
The third thing everybody should be aware of at this point, with regards to CASL, is training your staff. It's absolutely vital that you give your employees the training they need so that they understand core principals of CASL, what are the legal practices and they don't violate regulations.
The next thing to consider in relation to CASL, is how to re-think your approach to email marketing processes. Many businesses have few, or no, formal email marketing processes. Particularly as they relate to generating sales leads. Your business may have no idea what your marketing or sales people are emailing, or to whom. CASL is a great opportunity to clarify and optimize these processes so that your electronic communications with prospects and customers are sustained and tracked. Embrace the changes that CASL has forced all companies to take on, and to use it as an opportunity to cleanse your existing database and make sure that those conversations that you do have are with those contacts who are engaged and interested in what you have to say.
A further huge consideration when it comes to talking about CASL and the changes in the last few years, is to ask yourself, "Has my company implemented the CRM software which will allow us to remain compliant?" So CASL actually offers a whole bunch of opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to implement customer relationship management software, so that they can track their email marketing efforts. CRM systems can offer a relatively simple way to track communications across the whole organization, while helping to tailor marketing outreach to specific clients. It can also help in collecting valuable metrics, such as email open rates and marketing driven website traffic.
Let's now consider some frequently asked questions with relation to CASL. Firstly, does the legislation prohibit me from sending marketing messages? Well, the answer there is no. Rather, it sets out some requirements for sending a certain type of message, as we spoke about earlier, called a CEM, or a commercial electronic message, to an electronic address. If you are sending a CEM to an electronic address, then you need to comply with the three requirements. You need to obtain consent, provide identification information and provide an unsubscribe mechanism.
Another common question is, when does Section 6 of CASL apply? So, Section 6 of CASL applies to a commercial electronic message that is sent to an electronic address. If both of these elements exist, then Section 6 applies. Section 6 does not apply if the CEM is not sent to and electronic address as identified in the legislation. Also, Section 6 of CASL does not apply to interactive, two-way voice communications between individuals, not does it apply to faxes or voice recordings sent to a telephone account. However, other requirements outside of CASL may apply in situations like these, such as the Unsolicited Telecommunication rules. Also, a computer system located in Canada must be used to send or access the CEM for Section 6 to apply. Simply routing a CEM through Canada is not enough to engage Section 6.
Another big question that we at the CPSA often hear is, what exactly is a commercial electronic message anyway? Well, a key question to ask yourself is the following, “Is the message I am sending a CEM?" Is one of the purposes to encourage the recipient to participate in a commercial activity? When determining whether a purpose is to encourage participation in commercial activity, some parts of the message to look at are: the content of the message, any hyperlinks in the message to your website content or database, and contact information in the message. These parts of the message are not determinative. For example, the simple inclusion of a logo, a hyperlink, or contact information in an email signature, does not necessarily make an email a CEM. Conversely, a tag line in a message that promotes a product of service, that then encourages the recipient to purchase that product, or seek the service, would make the message a CEM.
So, some examples of CEMs include offers to purchase, sell, barter or lease a product, goods, service, land or an interest or right in land. Offers to provide a business investment or gaming opportunity and promoting a person, including the public image of a person, or who intends to do so.
So what about social media? Does a personal relationship apply to social media contacts? A personal relationship requires that the real identity of the individual, who alleges a personal relationship, is known by the other individual involved in such relationship. Using social media, or sharing the same network, does not necessarily reveal a personal relationship between individuals. The mere use of buttons available on social media websites, such as clicking "like", voting for or against a link or a post, or accepting someone as a friend, will generally be insufficient to constitute that personal relationship. So be very careful there.
A final frequently asked question we hear at the CPSA, with regards to CASL, is how can I obtain express consent? Well, consent can be obtained either in writing, or orally. In either case, the onus is on the person who is sending the message to prove they have obtained consent to send that message. The CRTC has issued information bulletins to provide guidance and examples of recommended or best practices. Compliance and enforcement information bulletin, among other things, helps to explain what information is being included in a request for consent. The bulletin also suggests some key considerations that may make tracking or recording consent a wee bit easier and therefore may make it more simple to prove consent. These are, whether consent was obtained in writing, or orally. when it was obtained, why it was obtained and the manner in which it was obtained.
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