It goes without saying that a salesperson’s most valuable asset is his/her list of contacts and connections. For some, it is an asset built and cultivated over years of networking and cold calling and what separates them from the pack when they interview for new jobs. Yet, my sales clients have repeatedly put this asset at risk upon taking a new job by uploading their list onto the new company’s computer or cellphone without creating a back-up at home.
Once it is on your employer’s computer there is a real risk you will not get it back if you are terminated. First, your employer is unlikely to be convinced the contacts in its computer belong to you and are not its very own proprietary information that you developed for it as part of your job. Without a back-up copy showing what your contacts were before you began working, you will have no ability to establish any proprietary rights in the information. Second, even if your former employer knew the list was created before you joined the company, why would it return such a valuable asset that it can pass on to your replacement.