Inside the World of Medical Sales: A Sales Rep's Diary

The world of medical sales is filled with opportunities for outside sales reps.

According to the latest statistics, in the United States, there are over 119,349 medical sales reps currently employed in the industry.

Medical sales can involve a lot more than your traditional sales job. You have to understand critically important equipment, train medical professionals, and keep on top of regulatory requirements. All while attempting to amplify your sales pipeline. 

In this blog, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of medical sales, giving you a sneak peek behind the curtain of how reps spend their days, interact with their customers, and a few tips on how to break into the medical sales industry.

Let’s jump in!

medical sales

What is a Medical Sales Rep?

A medical sales rep sells medical devices, supplies, and equipment to medical practices such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, dental clinics, rehab centers, and more. They differ slightly from your traditional field sales representative as they exclusively sell medical equipment. 

The job includes a variety of tasks such as prospecting, conducting market research, providing product demonstrations and training, and building relationships with customers who will ideally become repeat buyers. 

A medical sales rep plays a crucial role in the industry as they provide healthcare professionals with the most up-to-date and current tools they need to tend to their patients.

Is Medical Sales a Good Career?

Medical sales can be a great career for those who are interested in both sales and healthcare. There is a wide array of benefits ranging from high compensation packages, high levels of flexibility and independence, and great opportunities for advancement.

Medical sales jobs offer a high level of job stability and security that are not available in other industries. 

For example, someone working in construction sales is always beholden to market fluctuations and as we know, the construction industry is one that can be quite volatile. The medical industry on the other hand is quite resistant to market fluctuations.

Healthcare products and services will forever be essential as people require treatments and surgeries regardless of an economic downturn. With that being said, no industry is immune to the market and there are always risks involved in a sales job. However, a medical sales rep can be confident in the knowledge that their job is relatively safe in comparison to other industries.

Types of Medical Sales Careers

There are a variety of different types of medical sales careers for you to choose from. Some of the main areas a medical sales representative can work in include sectors such as pharmaceutical, medical device, medical equipment, and dental. 

Let’s take a look at what they’re all about.

medical sales job

Pharmaceutical Sales

Reps working in pharmaceutical sales promote and sell prescription medications and other pharmaceutical products to healthcare practitioners. It’s critical to keep on top of scientific research and educate yourself on the products you are selling as a pharmaceutical sales rep. 

Not understanding the medications and prescriptions you are selling can lead to a myriad of problems for you, your customers, and most importantly, the patients who are consuming these products. 

There are also ethical dilemmas involved in this role. 

Sales reps are constantly pushing to both reach and exceed their sales goals, therefore maintaining ethical standards here is hugely important. A rep's avarice in reaching their quota could end up having a catastrophic impact on a patient who could end up suffering greatly due to receiving a product that is unfit for them. Maintaining ethical standards can be difficult but is of utmost importance here.

Check out this helpful article that will show you how to set more realistic goals in sales!

Medical Device Sales

Medical device sales reps play an important role in the industry as they work closely with medical practices in order to provide them with critical medical devices that will be used by their patients. The wide range of types of products they sell include cardiac implants such as pacemakers and defibrillators and orthopedic implants such as prostheses.  

Similar to pharmaceutical sales, medical device sales reps require extensive product knowledge before they sell to their customers. Having this deep understanding of the products they are selling can help reps sell with credibility, ensuring they are respected by their customers who will view them as having authority on the medical devices they are promoting.

Medical Equipment Sales

Medical equipment sales reps are responsible for selling equipment and supplies to healthcare facilities such as hospitals, laboratories, rehab centers, and more. 

Educating healthcare professionals on how to operate equipment through product demonstrations and tutorials is a vital element of this type of sales job. Reps need to be patient and considerate here. They may have shown this product to hundreds of different customers, but for the healthcare professional, this could be the first time they are laying their eyes on the product. 

These presentations need to be informative and provide your customers with the information they need to use these products effectively, while at the same time they should be engaging as you want to win them over in order to become repeat customers when you visit them again with new products.

Dental Equipment Sales

A dental equipment sales representative specializes in selling supplies, instruments, and equipment to dental practices. These can include X-ray machines, dental chairs, dental handpieces, and much more.

Maintaining strong relationships with customers is an important facet of the role of a dental sales rep as dental practitioners usually remain in the same dental offices for their entire careers. 

Forging these relationships can help reps keep a healthy sales pipeline and maintain their revenue streams, freeing them up to prospect and keep an eye on new practices that open up in their territory. 

Listen to this Outside Sales Talk podcast episode with sales speaker John Chapin to learn his secrets to building relationships in outside sales!

How Much Does a Medical Sales Rep Make?

The salary of a medical sales rep can vary greatly based on a multitude of different factors such as location, experience, the company they are employed at, and the types of products they are selling. Generally, reps have the potential to earn high base salaries with generous commision programs in place at a lot of companies. 

The latest reports that were compiled in 2021 showed that the average total salary including commissions for a medical sales rep was $172,527. 

As with any reports, these numbers can be misleading and require a bit more research to understand what is really happening. 

Some of the highest salaries are mostly to be found in states such as California, Massachusetts and New York. The base salaries in these states can range from $70,000 to $100,000. The lowest salaries can be found in rural states such as Alaska, Mississippe, and Montana. The base salaries in these states can range from $30,000 to $45,000.

These pay packages can also vary due to factors such as your previous experience or your seniority in your company. A medical sales rep who has worked his way up the ladder will earn significantly more than a rep just starting out in the industry. 

While the companies that are currently offering more lucrative compensation packages are NuVasive, DJO Medical, and Danaher. 

Check out this case study to learn how a sales team at Danaher increased prospect meetings by 57% by using the Badger Maps route planner app!

It’s important to consider other variables such as commission and perks also. Different companies offer different commision packages so you’ll need to understand what’s on offer before you accept a job offer. 

You’ll also need to be aware of the perks that are on offer. Companies can offer perks such as a company car, fuel allowance, and stock options. You should always investigate to understand what’s on offer before jumping in and accepting a new position. 

How to Break into Medical Sales

With the lucrative compensation packages on offer, it can be very tempting to switch careers and enter the medical sales industry. Before you get started, there are a few things you will need to consider.

Education is important, and if you don’t have a bachelor's degree under your belt, you would want to be well-versed in medical terminology and have a basic understanding of the medical industry if you want to land that medical sales job. 

You can brush up on your learning by reading books, talking to other medical sales reps, and scouring websites like MedCity News and MedReps to stay on top of medical sales trends, legislation, and job opportunities. 

Networking can also play a massive role in getting you a job, and more importantly, helping you stay there. The relationships you cultivate with your clients can make or break you as a rep so it’s vital that you make a good impression straight off the bat. Get out to networking events, and make sure you utilize LinkedIn where you can find groups where people meet and converse about everything medical sales.

What Does a Medical Sales Rep do?

The best approach to understanding what the medical sales representative job entails is to break down how a typical day looks for them. So let’s take a look at a day in the life of a medical sales rep.

medical sales career

Morning Routine

We all know the importance of starting the day off on the right foot. 

For medical sales reps whose days can be one of constant and unexpected changes, establishing and adhering to a morning routine can be highly beneficial as it can lay the groundwork for the day ahead. 

They usually have to get an earlier head start on the day than other sales reps as medical centers and practices tend to open earlier than your regular business.

Getting a good breakfast, hitting the gym for some physical exercise, and maybe even engaging in a meditation practice can ensure you are focused and in top condition to face your customers. Studies have shown that even brief mindfulness training can increase attention spans. When dealing with a stressful job such as medical sales any advantage should be taken.

Check out this blog that offers 6 ways sales reps can stay healthy on the road!

Planning and Organization

Although the life of a medical sales rep can be chaotic at the best of times, the need for a structure is paramount if you are to achieve your sales goals. Before getting stuck into the day, it’s wise to create a rough schedule so you can stay organized in the field. 

You should know who you’re going to be meeting with and at what times. Break your day up into different slots so you can concentrate on all of the different aspects of the job without losing focus. 

One sales tool that can help you stay organized and plan your day effectively is Badger Maps

Badger Maps is a route optimization tool that allows medical sales reps to automatically plan, route, and maximize their time in the field by cutting down driving time by 20%.

With other key capabilities such as lead generation, map visualization, and automated data gathering from the field, Badger Maps helps medical sales teams save time on their daily planning, maintain better relationships with customers, and get organized.

Sales teams have reported selling 22% more and driving 20% less when using Badger Maps, in fact, the average team of 10 reps sells $936k more the year they start using the app.


"After getting Badger Maps, weekly meetings per rep jumped from 12 to 20. This led to a 22% increase in annual revenue."

Brad Moxley

Business Development Manager, Cutter & Buck

Badger Maps allows you to mobilize your CRM, providing instant access to important customer information directly from the field. You can sync and leverage data in your CRM, all from your mobile device. 

You can also enable a two-way, real-time native integration with the most popular CRMs such as HubSpot, Salesforce, Zoho, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, Insightly, and many more.

A sales team at Kerr Dental saw their CRM usage increase by 50% when using Badger Maps.

If you’re a medical sales rep who’s looking to become more organized, the best tool for you is Badger Maps.

Reducing average drive time by 20% and freeing up an average of 8 hours a week is one of the best ways for medical sales reps to gain an edge over the competitors.

Sign up for a free trial or schedule a demo to see for yourself!

Drive 20% Less. Sell 20% More.


A significant part of a medical sales reps’ day is spent meeting with customers. These meetings can be anything from product demonstrations to upselling opportunities to closing a deal.

Before you demonstrate your product to your potential customers, you’ll need to understand exactly how it works. These meetings can be make or break for a sales rep as one error or lapse of concentration could instill a sense of doubt in the mind of the customer who knows how critical their purchasing decision is. 

So do your research, study your product, and come prepared for your sales meeting.

These meetings may also provide you with opportunities to sell new products to existing customers. With new products constantly coming onto the market, you can whip up interest with your current customers who will already have faith in you and what you are selling. 

Your current customers can also assist you in selling with something that sales expert and Badger Maps CEO Steve Benson calls the ‘land and expand strategy’.

“Work closely with your customers to make them really successful and happy with your product and because of that they will tell their friends, colleagues, ex-co-workers, new co-workers, etc. about your solution. That is how your current customers become your best salespeople and help you grow your business.”


Prospecting in medical sales, as in any sales role, requires extensive knowledge of the industry.

This industry is diverse and complicated as there are a lot of moving parts such as healthcare trends, new technologies, and regulatory requirements. Knowledge of these topics will not only inform your prospecting strategy but also aid you in becoming a trusted partner to your customers.

The customers you are dealing with could range from large medical practices such as hospitals to family-based practices with small budgets. The latest innovative piece of tech may be interesting to a large hospital with no budget constraints, but to a small practice with less money to spend, they may require a more budget-friendly alternative. 

So it’s important to segment your customers to know exactly what they might need and can afford.

Healthcare professionals also have a strong duty of care to their customers. Medical sales reps must be well-versed in the ins and outs of their products to ensure they are complying with laws and regulations. 

Non-compliance with these requirements poses significant risks to healthcare providers, therefore if you can demonstrate that you have a deep understanding of them you can position yourself and your product as a valuable solution and offer peace of mind to your customers.

Check out this informative guide that provides you with everything you need to know about sales prospecting!


Sales reps know the vital role follow-ups play in their sales processes. We’ve all heard the stat that says that to make a successful sale you need to follow up with your prospect an average of five times. Did you know, however, that 44% of salespeople give up after only one sales call?

Following up in medical sales is critical to alleviate the worries of healthcare professionals who may still have doubts about purchasing your product. 

The attention to detail when purchasing a medical product is heightened for healthcare workers who are attuned to the critical nature of their purchasing decisions. 

Showing your customers you truly care about them and their patients can help you foster a deeper level of trust.

Networking and Learning

Developing relationships with healthcare practitioners and industry experts is an essential aspect of the role of a medical sales representative. This can be done by attending conferences, medical trade shows, and seminars. Meeting with others working in the industry can be an eye-opener and offer opportunities for continuous learning and collaborations with those who share your interests.  

Continuous learning is essential for professional growth in this sector. With technology developing at a breakneck speed and safety regulations constantly being updated, there are always new things to be learned. 

Staying abreast of the latest trends in the industry will allow you to improve your skills as a medical sales rep and become an authoritative figure in the space.

Listen to this Outside Sales Talk podcast episode with best-selling sales author David J.P Fisher to learn how to make human-to-human connections while networking! 


Freedom comes from having a fixed schedule. It allows you to focus on exactly what you need to be focusing on at the right time of the day. 

However, as a medical sales rep you need to be open to being flexible as opportunities can present themselves at any given opportunity. 

The healthcare profession can be unpredictable with unexpected emergencies or rescheduled appointments not uncommon. Being flexible with your time can allow you to adapt to last-minute changes in the schedules of your customers. Medical sales reps have a multitude of different tasks to be completed at any given time so it’s important to stay ready for changing circumstances.


So there you have it. 

We’ve brought you on a deep dive into the world of a medical sales rep. Now is your opportunity to put some of the sales strategies that we’ve showcased into practice, increase your sales efficiency, and elevate your career in the medical sales industry.

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