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The advent of social media, coupled with smart phones, home pc/laptop/tablets and apps that download data from social media sites, is putting the recruitment world (and the generic sales world) at massive risk.

Imagine this scenario:

You are an MD of a sales business.  You back up your data (CRM, server, spreadsheets with client lists on etc…).  You may even back it up offsite to be really safe.

Meanwhile,  your staff are using LinkedIn, for example, to network.  They are developing their own databases of contacts.  They are doing it on the train, in the pub, waiting for the bus, and even at work… They are using apps to download their new contacts onto their smart phones to make the contact process easier.  Granted, you think that if they move on, the data is yours, but if they are not adding it to your CRM, and the device is theirs, you are not backing it up and you have little recourse to recover it. And you need to ask yourself, if it was done in their time, and on their devices, was it even yours in the first place?

Equally, bear in mind that 20% of LinkedIn users are passive, thus not active, but eventually will be in a position to buy.  And what if that moment happens once your staff have left your business and taken their data with them?

What are you doing to secure the data that has been gathered in your time, buy your staff?  What process/policy do you have for ensuring that the data gathered “on your watch” is in your domain, and backed up for your use?

Give this some serious thought if you, like me, believe that your data is one of your most precious assets.  For those of you who want to sell your business in the future and buy that boat, potential buyers will scrutinise your systems and data and add a value to it.  If it is on your staff’s mobile phone, totally invisible to you, how sure are you that you can legally get your paws on it?

The social media world has opened up a massive door which sales teams across the globe are flooding through to gain advantages that online networking brings… Your instinct may be to slam the barn door shut to prevent the cliché horse, but this will lead to low morale and a handcuffed workplace.

Practical policies should be administered which appreciate the power of this not-so-new medium, give space to sales teams to develop their networks, but protect your business and it’s assets.

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