How to Break into Medical Device Sales
Medical device sales reps are top earners in the healthcare industry. Their year over year (YOY) average compensation is rising. The average medical device sales salary was $147,424 in 2016, 4% more than in 2015.
Competitive compensation is a major draw, but it’s not the only thing medical device sales jobs have to offer. Wouldn’t you prefer a position where the job is meaningful, flexible, and challenging?
If this sounds good to you, the next question is how do you start?
Breaking into the industry is a challenge in itself. The job of a medical device sales rep isn’t entry level, but it isn’t ultra exclusive either. People from different backgrounds, from nurses to new grads, have all made it into this sector and succeeded
You’ll need 3 things to break into medical device sales — education, experience, and connections.
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Most medical device sales job listings require a bachelor's degree. Any degree from a 4-year college or university is enough. But a degree in business, biology, or kinesiology might help your chances.
Employers prioritize sales experience and industry knowledge over education. Still, a degree might be necessary to get your foot in the door at most companies.
However, a formal education isn’t all you need. Before you seek out these types of positions, you’ll need to do some research! You should learn about:
- The job itself
- Who are the potential employers, and how can you make yourself stand out
- Where can you find more about leading medical device industry news to help you stay in touch with the most relevant topics.
Medical devices are technically complex and require clinical knowledge. Surgical implants and diagnostics are big in the healthcare industry. The key to getting ahead? Learning how the leading medical devices work will enhance your skill set and help you stand out from your competition.
Websites like MedCity News and MedReps are great resources to stay on top of medical device sales jobs, legislation, and innovation.
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Crushing your quota in a B2B sales role will put you on the path to medical device sales success, especially if your industry is copier, payroll, or uniform sales. And here’s the kicker: these fields will prime you for medical device sales because they’re highly competitive.
Recruiters want to know that you’re knowledgeable and know how to use the best tools to get the job done. Deals are hard-won in the hospital and healthcare industry—complex decision-making hierarchies, expensive products, and miles of red tape make for a long sales cycle.
It's important to stay on top of the latest changes regarding your decision makers and focus your schedule on prioritizing productive meetings. You can showcase your competitive nature through stellar previous job performance or any other achievements that will show the recruiter that you have grit.
If this is your first time going into a sales job, copier sales might be the way to go. Even though copiers and medical devices don’t have a lot in common, their sales industries are similar. Both copier and medical device sales reps go through extensive training, sell technical products to big organizations, and act as advisors to their clients.
At least 1 year of solid experience is recommended. Big name B2B companies in copier, payroll, or uniform sales will stand out on your resume, so take it into consideration. Check out companies like ADP, Cintas, or Xerox.
Another way to get a leg up without a wealth of experience is using the right tools. Apps like Badger Maps, a route planner specifically for field salespeople, can reduce the time you spend driving by 20% so you can sell up to 25% more.
Sales can be very ego-driven. Closing a big deal makes you feel like a champion, but losing one can make you feel like a failure. If you plan on making sales a long-term career, you need to avoid slipping into this cycle.
Networking is vital in medical device sales jobs. Reps depend on strong client relationships to get their devices through hospital purchasing departments. Getting a job also relies on your ability to make meaningful connections.
If you don’t know anyone in the industry, LinkedIn can be your wingman. The most important aspect that you need to remember is that any sales position is a never ending process of learning.
Go on LinkedIn every day to engage with the medical sales community. Join groups like Medical Device Development, Marketing And Sales, Medical Device Sales Professionals, and Medical Device Guru. Then connect with and talk to current reps and recruiters.
It’s also helpful to interact with content. Share and comment on articles about medical devices and sales. You’ll learn more about the industry and show your interest in its topics all in one click.
If you’re a medical professional seeking to transition into sales, you already have access to sales reps. Become friendly with the medical device reps who frequent your clinic or hospital. You can meet with one of them over coffee (sales people love coffee) and get an inside perspective on medical sales.
If you have a great relationship with a current rep, you can even ask to shadow them. Observing a rep in the field helps you get a realistic view of the job. It’s also an opportunity to make more industry connections. A ride-along is the best way to know if medical device sales is right for you.
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Ace Your Medical Device Sales Interview
Medical device sales interviews require more preparation than interviews for other entry-level sales jobs. Recruiters want to know that you’ve already paid your dues. So, you’re not ready for your interview until you have a brag book.
A brag book is a portfolio that showcases your accomplishments, credentials, and ideas.
To start, your book needs a table of contents, your resume, company sales rankings, and positive performance reviews. You might want to have letters of recommendation, photos of awards, and a 30-60-90 day plan in there too.
Your brag book should tell a story, but keep it concise. Don’t turn your interview into a book report. Instead, use it as a visual aid when you bring up your past performance.
Hiring managers will take notice when you leverage your prior experience with a brag book.
An entry-level job in medical device sales is a top performing sales position. You might need to spend a few years crushing your sales quota in a different industry, but with the proper preparation, you can’t lose. Learn more about medical devices, crush your quota, network with current reps, and work on your interview skills. Then, break in.
Next in this series is: How to Get More Facetime with Doctors
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