There are many reasons why sales professionals decide to leave their current employer. Sometimes the deciding factor is money; sometimes, they need a change of scenery. Some may want to relocate, and others want to get away from overbearing managers or bad sales teams. No matter what the reason someone chooses to leave a position, the change can be stressful.
One thing that many sales professionals do is leave their current employer and begin working for the competition. Doing so should be well thought through as you may experience some unforeseen challenges.
First, Why do You Want to Leave?
Before you go any further, you should ask yourself the real reason(s) that you want to leave your current employer and join forces with the competition. If you have a legitimate issue with your employer, feel that you may soon have to find a new job for whatever reason or are being recruited away and are confident that leaving will be in your best interest, then leaving may be the best choice.
However, you need to remember that going from one employer to another in the same industry will probably not be all that different than what you are currently experiencing. You may feel that your competitor is a better place to work, provides better benefits and serves their customers better than does your current employer, but you owe it to yourself to be fully honest with yourself and make sure that you are making a move for the right reasons.
If you do honestly feel that your desire to leave is for all (or at least some of) the right reasons, make sure you factor in a few other considerations before turning in your notice.
Non-Compete and Non-disclosure Agreements
Many employers have all their sales professionals sign Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements. If you have signed one, make sure you check with a lawyer or legal counsel to make sure that you will not be in violation of any signed agreement by going to work for a competitor.
Don't Expect Your Customers to Follow You
Many who leave one sales company and join another feel that their customers will happily and willingly keep buying from them, despite their new employer. While some of your customers may be loyal to you, expecting that any will continue to do business with you is a dangerous thought.
If you are expecting them to follow you, what is your backup plan if they don't? If you don't have one, you should realize that you will be starting all over again, most likely.
Realize that Customers Like Consistency
A common reason that customers leave one company and take their business elsewhere is that of representative turnover. If you leave one company for another, you may be taking over a position left by a well-liked rep or, worse yet, a position that has been filled and refilled several times over the not so distant past. You may take over an account list that is fed up with seeing a new rep every few months and will be forced to deal with a lot of customer uncertainty.
Established Friendships May Be Over
Work at a place long enough, and you will most likely develop friendships with your co-workers. Leave, and you may be leaving those friendships behind as well.
A funny thing happens when someone leaves and joins the competition: they become the enemy. And continuing a friendship with someone who is considered to be the enemy is hard for many people. While no employer can (or should) ever tell their employees who they can and cannot socialize with, many friendships have ended once one part of the friendship jumps ship and joins the competition.