I do not actually hate medical device sales. I have seen the phrase “I Hate Medical Device Sales” floating around the internet and thought it needed to be addressed.
Is Medical Device Sales Stressful?
Yes, it absolutely can be. A career in medical device sales offers some unique challenges. The Medical Sales Authority team has complied a list of the biggest complaints from a variety of medical sales professionals.
Related: Is Medical Device Sales Hard?
Are Medical Device Sales Reps Happy?
1. Tightened Healthcare Regulation
Healthcare is becoming more and more regulated. This is good and bad. This may increase reproducibility and patient safety. It also increases costs and carries an administrative burden. Sometimes sales reps have to shoulder these administrative pressures. There is a lot of red tap involved with new product introductions and implementations. Large health systems make decisions by committees and this comes with politics and bureaucracy. Also, ever since the Covid pandemic health systems have started to track and monitor reps more closely than ever. These pressures can wear down even the most optimistic sales rep.
2. Decreasing Compensation
Medical device sales roles can still be quite lucrative. There are solid positions with well established companies that pay great for high performance.
But those that have been in the industry for a long time have seen a general trend of the compensation declining. Companies understand how to cut off the extreme upside compensation. They split territories and add associate reps if business is booming. Most companies have no need to pay a sales rep upwards of $400,000. Also, many of the surgical device jobs have become commoditized. The products are very similar and reps grind out case coverage to make a living, not get rich.
3. Being On Call
Reps that call on certain specialties have to deal with being on call. This includes evenings and weekends. This is most relevant for trauma reps. This includes orthopedic trauma among other specialties. The surgeon and medical care team has to be available to support emergency cases and so does the sales rep. Being on call cuts into personal time and can wear people out over time.
A single rep does not handle call on their own. Typically, these duties are shared among the local team. The coordinating of schedules and politics of who is responsible for the upcoming coverage is a hassle on its own.
Related: Medical Device Sales Lifestyle
4. Restricted Access To Doctors
This is another long term trend in the industry. Back in the day, reps got a decent amount of facetime with physician customers. This has all changed. In many pharmaceutical roles some doctors refuse to meet with sales reps. In regards to calling on hospitals, vendor credentialing services and hospital leadership adds new rules and policies everyday. These rules put more and more administrative hurdles between manufacturers and doctors.
Being in front of customers is the fun part of the job. It is also how a rep promotes and sales their product. These hurdles can really make the job more tedious day in and day out.
5. Lack Of Job Security And Frequent Change
In general, healthcare is rapidly evolving. Because of this medical device manufacturers have to evolve. This means companies are frequently restructuring salesforces, selling off product segments, partnering with other companies, etc. In the previous era a rep could start in a role and plan on doing the job for 20+ years. This is not really true anymore. If you plan to be in the industry awhile you have to expect change.
6. Arbitrary Sales Quota Increases
The industry has become more competitive. They are multiple manufacturers competing in every product niche. This means multiple reps in any given territory competing for business. The large medical companies promise investors high growth rates and high profit margins. To obtain this the quotas for individuals reps increase at unsustainable paces. If you perform well you will be met with an ever increasing quota, that may at some point become unobtainable. If the quota increases faster than the market is growing sometimes reps have no choice but to look for a new job.
7. Boredom & Lack Of Job Satisfaction
Part of any sales job is grinding through the daily boredom. The boredom comes with time in a role. When you first start in a position you will be drinking for the fire hose, and everyday will bring something new and exciting. Over time the days blend together. You will have the same conversations with the same customers. This is part of the job. A good reps has to be creative and find ways to stay engaged.