My Contacts or Yours?

6 May

A buddy of mine joined a small company as a sales rep. They hired him because of his experience in the industry and his rolodex. So then he uploads his contacts to their CRM system and the marketing department comes down on him. “Where did you get those names?” “Didn’t you read the employment agreement?” “Take those names out!” were all comments ringing in his ears.

“What’s their problem?” he asks me. I’m thinking it’s the age old battle of defining what constitutes a lead. Marketing considers those contacts to be leads but Sales considers them to be nothing more than names. One group finds value in just the names and the other does not. This is the same battle that companies wage when a sale rep leaves and management tries to make sure the contacts don’t go with the rep.

It’s the combination of my buddy’s industry experience, the rolodex and his relationship with those contacts that makes those names valuable. The rolodex without the relationship is nothing more than the yellow pages suitable for spamming.

So let the rep come/leave with names. In today’s world, those names can be found anywhere on the web so there’s no trade secrets or IP attached to them. What’s valuable is the relationship to those names. And that’s why my buddy got hired, because of his relationships.

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