Have you been considering starting a career in medical sales? As a face-to-face industry, medical sales jobs will always be in high demand. Despite the fact that medical sales is a highly competitive field with a taxing workload, most are attracted to the field due to the high earning potential. In this article you learn how to get into medical device sales.
How To Get Into Medical Sales
Medical sales is a lucrative field, with jobs full of high earning potential. Average total compensation for a medical sales rep is $168,899, which includes an on average base salary of $99,939 with $68,960 in potential earnings from commissions and bonuses. It is no wonder that so many people are trying to find a job in this field!
Getting Into Medical Device Sales
1. Choose An Area Of Focus
The best way to begin is to learn about the different types of medical sales rep jobs. This way you can decide how to build a career that is fitting for you. There are a wide array of medical sales jobs, meaning that you can choose an area of focus that fits your personality, skillset, and unique job requirements.
Here are the most prominent types of medical sales jobs:
- Surgical Device Sales
- Imaging Equipment Sales
- Medical Consumable Sales
- Laboratory Equipment Sales
- Medical Supply Distributors
- Equipment Service Sales
- Life Science Sales
While the types of jobs are similar, each has a different type of customer, work environment and involves a different type of sale. So, it is important to consider each carefully before you commit to one.
First, the customer type will vary based on the role. For instance, if you work in surgical device sales you will likely be selling your products directly to doctors or hospitals. However, if you work for a lab equipment company you will be selling to a Principal Investigator (PI). You will want to consider your preferred client when selecting an area of focus.
The environment that you sell your product in will also vary depending on your area of focus. For instance, if you are selling surgical devices you will have customers working in the OR (operating room), which is a high stakes setting. However, if you are selling pharmaceuticals you will be working with doctors in the clinic, which can be a more casual setting. Both of these selling environments are quite different from a job selling lab equipment to scientists working in research labs. So, it can be helpful to reflect on which environment you may prefer to work in.
Check out this article to learn more about the types of medical device sales rep jobs.
How To Become A Medical Device Sales Rep
Transactional Selling Vs Relationship Selling
Additionally, you will want to consider your preferred type of sale – either transactional or relationship based. A transactional sale focuses on a one time sale, where the goal is to make the maximum amount of sales from the maximum amount of customers. When a transactional sale is completed, so is the relationship between the rep and the customer. A relationship based sale is based around using relationships to close sales and build connections with customers. For instance, if you prefer to establish a relationship with your customers, you may prefer working for one of the large medical supply distributors. However, if you prefer a transactional sale you may be a better fit for some of the capital equipment roles.
As you may have guessed, each area of sales varies in potential earnings and has different compensation structures. It is important not to get too tied up in these details. While overall earnings are important, you want to be selling a product that you believe in. If you are not passionate about what you are selling, it is unlikely that you will find success or satisfaction.
While the various medical sales roles focus on selling different types of products, the are many commonalities between the types of jobs. For instance, regardless of the product you will be selling to medical professionals in a healthcare setting. Also, for each type of sale, you will need to be knowledgable about your product so that you can discuss the product’s benefits with your customers.
Regardless of what area of sales you choose, remember each area has its own unique benefits and challenges. There is enough variety in the market that everyone can find a perfect fit. It is worth the initial effort and perseverance to figure out how to get into medical device sales.
How Do You Get Into Medical Sales?
2. Choose A Size Of Company That Fits Your Ideal Work Environment
After you have chosen an area of focus, it is important to think about the type of company that you would like to work for. In general, there are large companies, small companies, and start-ups. Each has their own unique benefits, and sets of challenges. The best fit will depend on what you are looking for in your future job.
It is likely that you have heard of the largest medical companies before. The list includes companies such as Phillips, Siemens, GE, Abbot, Medtronic, Johnson and Johnson, Stryker, and many more. The main benefit of a large company is the networking potential and benefits.
You will meet more people, and knowing more people in this industry means you will have more connections when looking for future jobs.
Also, most big companies will give you solid benefits and perks in addition to your compensation. For example, medical sales reps at large companies typically get the following:
- a company phone
- a company car
- reimbursement for all work related travel (including gas when driving)
- a company credit card that can be used for work expenses
- airline travel points
- hotel points
- daily meal stipend when away on work trips
However with size also comes bureaucracy. Big companies have a lot more little “required” things that get in the way of your day-to-day job. For instance, there is always additional paperwork and administrative tasks.
While you have may not have heard of all the small medical companies, that does not mean that they can not be a great place to work at. If you are looking for a job that will provide visibility, a broad level of responsibility, and experience in doing many things, a small company may be a good fit. However, the downside is that these companies often pay less and provide fewer opportunities for career building perks, such as a formalized training programs. Also, at a small company your growth can be limited.
Starts up in the medical sales world are similar to any start up company. They are fun, exciting and a whirlwind of ups and downs. They often give you a high salary for the first year, but of course this salary is not guaranteed for the following years, especially if the start up fails.
Get Into Medical Sales
3. Gain Field Experience
Once you have an idea of the area of medical sales you want to work in, it is important to start gaining field experience in that area! While your degree will certainly help, internships and job shadowing are a way to set your resume apart from the rest of the applicants.
Most medical sales jobs require an undergraduate degree, but they generally do not require that degree to be in a specific area. Rather, companies are looking for people with the following skills:
Medical Sales Representative Skills
- Passion for sales
- Interpersonal communication skills
- Positive attitude
- Pays close attention to detail
- Compassion and empathy
- Desire to help people and have a meaningful impact in their lives
Technical Skills Required For Medical Representative
- Familiarity with Microsoft Office
- Familiarity with video meeting tools (Teams, Zoom, etc.)
- Familiarity with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms such as Salesforce
- Technical writing
- Familiarity with project management tools (Trello, Asana, HeySpace)
- Social media experience
- Big data analysis
Remember, not only is having these skills important, but it is also important to present them to your future employer in a way that highlights your knowledge of the field. Learning how to showcase these items on your resume is another important step! Take a look at this article to see how to prepare a medical sales resume (even with no experience in the field).
How To Break Into Medical Device Sales
4. Engage In Training
Once you have determined your areas of strength and weakness, it is a good idea to engage in online or in-person training to fine tune your strengths, and improve your weaknesses.
Enrolling in a medical sales training program before your first job will give you a leg up and will show future employers your initiative! Also, it is a vitally important step. When you start a new job, employers expect you to get up to speed quickly. Having background knowledge in the field will help you do that.
Medical Sales Training Programs
There are many training opportunities these days, especially online. Some top medical sales training programs are:
A carefully crafted, laser-focused and personalized sales approach allows you to distinguish yourself, your products, and sell more.
If you are somebody who is looking to get into medical sales or you are somebody who recently started out and you want to take your career success into your own hands, this may be the program for you.
Their eLearning program teaches participants the selling skills they need to be successful, from sales prospecting and pre-call planning to consultative selling questioning, recommending solutions, closing the business, and maintaining an ongoing, positive client relationship.
Provides a world-class medical device education, creating graduates who are employable and achieve success in a rewarding career
The great thing about these programs is that they will help you learn the industry specific terms and lingo. This language can get quite specific, and can be confusing to those new to the industry. For instance, ED stands for Emergency Department, and OR stands for Operating Room. Understanding the jargon will greatly improve your chances of landing a job, and will help you keep up as you start your first job.
In addition to formal training, a lot about the industry can be learned on your own. For instance, a quick google search can help you learn about the latest trends in the medical industry, and can also teach you quite a bit of medical sales jargon.
How To Get Into Medical Sales With No Experience
In terms of “how to get into medical device sales”, networking is essential to landing any job. The medical sales world is actually quite small once you are in it. People bounce around from company to company, and you will likely be running into the same people throughout your career, sometimes even throughout your week! This small world also means that many positions are filled before they are officially posted. Positions are filled by people the company has worked with in the past, or by those who have heard that the position will be opening up. So, professional networking and building relationships is vital to finding a good job.
While you may not be in the industry yet, you can still connect professionally with those you meet at job shadows, internships, or through other professional contacts. You will find that one of these relationships might be the very reason you get a chance to interview for a job. Or it may be the reason you hear about a position before it becomes officially opened. Regardless, knowing others in the industry will give you a leg up on the job search.
If you do not currently have any professional sales connections, you can still improve your chances at finding a job by showing employers that you have strong character references. These references can come from any of the following people:
- University professors
- Former employers
- Professional contacts
- People you have worked with
How To Get Into Medical Device Sales
6. Grow Your Online Presence
We live in a digital world, so your online “self” is just as important to prepare as your physical self. When employers are reviewing your resume, they will also be looking at your online presence.
Having an up-to-date Linkedin page full of endorsements, recommendations, and connections is vital. Consistently posting relevant and insightful information about your professional field shows companies that you are engaged in your industry. Having an updated profile shows companies that you are connected with others professionally, and shows that you are connected to industry trends. It also reinforces what is shown on your resume.
If your social media accounts are public, bet that recruiters will be looking at your accounts to get a “total picture” of who you are. So, make sure that your social media pages are professional enough that they would not deter a future employer.
Read about how to make your Linked in profile here.