Is it possible to guide against salespeople taking the B2B sales relationships with them when they move to a competitor vendor?

Well, sort of.

Certainly, this is one benefit you get from using Salesforce or Pipedrive — data doesn’t walk out on their laptop as much as the old days.

A few practical thoughts:

  • Make sure the departing employee is well aware of their legal and contractual obligations under their employee agreements. 80%+ of employees, upon learning that taking proprietary company information and trade secrets with them is both illegal and contractually prohibited, will at least do less of it. Be less blatant. Or pause in some fashion.
  • Everyone takes their Rolodex with them. Everyone. The question is how much of it, and what they do with it. See the prior point.
  • You can’t steal a customer that doesn’t want to be stolen. There is only so much that a rep can do with a basic list of her/his customers.
  • Stealing a full customer list is the worst of all. A rep taking her 30 contacts with her is not the end of the world. A rep stealing your entire customer database and contact list is what really can damage you. And often, it’s your marketers that have this list — not individual reps.
  • Route their email address to someone once they leave. Don’t just turn it off. You’ll see evidence of most malfeasance after they leave when folks just email their old email address at your company with it.

So remind them of their obligations, be very direct about it.

Then be cognizant on how big a list they might be taking, and try to minimize its size.

And if it’s small — don’t worry that much.

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Published on January 20, 2019

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