Jacob McLaughlin is a medical device rep at Medtronic who runs the website New To Medical Device Sales. The website offers guidance and feedback for those trying to break into the industry. In addition to the blog, Jacob has a Youtube, podcast, Instagram, and TikTok presence. In this article, the Medical Sales Authority summarizes the top Jacob McLaughlin medical sales tips and advice.
How Do You Transition To Medical Device Sales?
The transition into medical device sales can be challenging. Jacob brings a millennials perspective to help candidates trying to break into the industry. Here are ten practical recommendations that can help any candidate get ahead in the interview and job search process.
Jacob McLaughlin Medical Sales
1. Network A Lot
It is not what you know, but who you know. Jacob tells the story about how he reached out to 3000+ people and connected with 180+ people over a six month period to build a network and break into the industry. No doubt about it, medial device sales is a competitive industry. Blindly sending out resumes will only get you so far. The real value and impact comes from networking. All it takes is one connection to get your first shot in the industry. All companies are looking for good talent. Hiring managers are much more likely to entertain a candidate form their network, rather than through reading a random resume.
2. Extreme Ownership
Sales is a grind. You have to get use to taking responsibility for things entirely outside your control. A product may not deliver in time, a customer may be having a bad day, and the list goes on. As a rep all you can do is take action to make things better. This means taking ownership for anything that happens within your territory. This can be a burden at times, but it is part of the job.
3. Interviewing Is A Numbers Game
You can not take things too personally. Some people will like you and other will not. Some people will see your potential and others will not. If you do the right things day in and day out the cumulative effort will pay off. Do not take rejection during the interview process personally. It is a numbers game. I know people who got rejected for lower level positions only to get offers for higher level positions at the same company a few years later. It is all about timing.
4. Plan On The Process Taking 1-2 Years
You need to mentally set your self up for success when you start interviewing. This is done be setting realistic and obtainable expectations. If you are new to the industry or have limited outside sales experience you should expect it to take awhile to break into the industry. Candidates that get tunnel vision on getting the first job they apply to end up disappointed. Remember, it not always about experience, skill sets, and talent. At the end of the day it is a numbers game and part of it comes down to chance. Not in the long term, but in the short term.
5. Differentiate Yourself As A Candidate
You need to figure out the narrative to your story. What makes you different? How do you as an individual bring value to the organization? This is not something to stumble through. Think about it over time. Be able to articulate it. Be confident in your story. If this feels forced to you it will come across that way during conversations and interviews.
6. Follow Up Throughout The Interview Process
If you do not follow up and advocate for yourself during the interview process, how will companies know you will do this as a rep. It is important to demonstrate that you understand how sales works. That means you need to show sales skills during the interview process. Follow up, ask questions, and make sure to close. You have to ask for the job just like you would ask a customer for the business.
7. Medical Sales Is Not As Easy As It Seems
Some people get the wrong idea about the industry. They think of dressing up in a suit and tie and driving around. Or they imagine having an expense account to eat fancy meals. This is not the reality of the medical device sales lifestyle. Sales is demanding, especially medical sales. You will have be accountable for things beyond your control. The travel will tire you out some days. There are days in which you would give anything to sleep in a little longer. It takes discipline and sacrifice to do the job well.
8. Get Use To Being Uncomfortable
The best sales reps are comfortable being uncomfortable. Sales is a very dynamic job. You will have to interact with strange people in strange situations sometimes. You will be caught off guard at times. Situations will play out in ways you did not expect. You will have to understand and navigate the politics of customer’s organizations and your own. The best advice we can offer is for you to get use to being uncomfortable. Change is the name of the game and you have to learn to thrive under this conditions to be successful.
9. Understand Virtual Interviews
The Covid pandemic has changed the corporate world. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are part of daily life. This applies to interviews as well. It is critical to understand how to present effectivity in this environment. Eliminate technical difficulties, make sure to have good lighting, etc. All of these things end up reflecting on your competence. Make sure to do the little things right and put your best foot forward.
10. You Have To Figure Out How To Get In Front Of Customers
Getting access to customers is one of the most challenging aspects of the job. Especially when we are talking about cold calling on prospective customers. Doctors are busy and do not always have time to meet with reps. You can not take no as an answer. You have to get creative and find a way that works for your sales style. One way or another you have to figure out how to consistently stay in front of customers.