The Medical Sales Authority frequently gets asked the question: Is medical device sales hard? Without a doubt, it is a competitive and challenging industry for outsides sales. Anytime there is high upside compensation available it will weed out those who are not committed to becoming successful. The most difficult part is the first five years. It is a grind to get initial outside B2B sales experience. To be honest, most of the entry level sales roles are not a whole lot of fun. In these positions you have to perform the grunt work. This includes days and days of cold calling, prospecting, and rejection.
Then the after grinding through an entry level sales job, the transition into the medical device space can be brutal. It is not for those who can not handle rejection. After getting some initial B2B sales experience, it took me two years to get a job with a major medical device company. Even when the interview went well, there always seemed to be a candidate with a little more experience. Then once you finally break into the industry and get your first job, it is time to prove yourself.
In my opinion, the first few years of sales are the hardest part. Once you have made it through the training and suffered the rejection of daily cold calling, it becomes normal. By the time you make it into the medical device industry, most reps understand how sales works. At this point, you have put so much into the pursuit that nothing is going to stop you from being successful and making good money. I always tell those who do not like sales initially, to give it two years. You can not judge things from the first few months.
I had one friend who only lasted a few weeks in his first sales job. I do get that sales is not for everyone. Thirty to thirty five years is a long time to do something you absolutely can not stand. I get it. But everyone struggles at first. You have to stay at it, and break through to the other side to see what it is really like. It is not as bad as brand new reps may think. I am fortunate to have received advice to stay at it during the challenging periods.
Top 5 Complaints About Medical Sales Jobs
- Job instability and change
- Declining compensation
- Erratic schedules and call
- Hospital policies and procedures
- Complex sales cycle
Is Medical Device Sales Stressful?
Yes, medical sales definitely offers its share of stress. Here is a comment from Reddit “completely stressful, I was one of the few pharma reps who legit worked a full day/week and my hardest day in pharma is my average day here”. In general, outside sales jobs are stressful. You are driving around in a car all day trying to engage with busy people that may not want anything to do with you. Not only that, you have an ever increasing sales quota that is always on your back. No wonder, outside sales in not for everyone. To top this off, in the medical space you have high competition, which entails many companies with very similar products and a lot red tape to work through during the selling process. This includes GPOs, materials management, fighting to access physicians, and vendor credentialing.
Why Is Turnover So High In Medical Sales?
There are a few reasons that the turnover is so high in medical device sales. As we already established, sales is hard. Especially in a lucrative and competitive space like medical. Another reason for turnover is how quickly healthcare is involving. There are new innovations and new technology that is introduced every week. This means outside salesforces are constantly being adjusted and restructured to match the current needs. In addition, the possibility of higher compensation elsewhere leads many reps to move between companies. The typical “grass is always greener” phenomenon. But there is a reason reps do this. The upside compensation varies wildly between companies and product lines, and it always changing based on sales expectations. Many reps are try to time things in attempt to make the most money.
Another reason for turnover is sales reps underestimate how long it takes to be successful in a territory. According to many medical sales reps online, it takes a solid year to understand the medical specialty, the disease state, the call point, and the product. This takes patience and a long term mindset. Many reps dread every moment of the job in the first six months. Additional factors that create turnover according Medcitynews, include the economy, unrealistic expectations, and a changing industry.