From the company's perspective however, it's a challenge that can prove costly and difficult. A business may have legal rights to a contact, but it's nearly impossible to truly own a relationship despite having spent significant money on marketing to attract and engage that contact. If a customer trusts their sales rep or account manager and puts more importance on that relationship than the one they have with the company, there is little that can be done to stop the customer from following the rep wherever he or she works next.
The lines of division regarding data ownership in some industries are more clear than in others. For example, real estate and financial sales reps often have complete ownership of their client portfolio and can leverage that portfolio to negotiate better comp terms and sign-on bonuses. Other fields have strictly enforced policies regarding the privacy and ownership of client relationships, especially larger, more-consolidated industries such as shipping, telecommunications, and healthcare. Still others fall in the middle, these firms hire reps for their books of business but don't acknowledge that that's a criteria nor do they ask how that book of business was obtained.
As a sales rep, it's important to develop solid relationships with your customers that can pay off for years and even decades. Ideally, you find a company that respects the work you've put in to develop and maintain those relationships and rewards you for it. But given that you will likely switch employers more than once over the years, it's critical to make sure you're able to properly navigate the transitions by keeping important relationships intact, both with your clients and your previous employer, who likely wants to keep that client relationship just as much as you do.
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