The Medical device sales industry is a well-known career destination that hundreds of
thousands of candidates are trying to break into everyday. But, to get into the medical
device sales industry, there’s a certain path/profile that hiring managers and most
successful med sales reps have taken not just to break into the industry, but find sustainable
success and build a successful sales career.
Any medical device sales recruiter will recommend you take the traditional medical sales path to give yourself the best chance of breaking into the industry (college degree, entry level sales job, hardcore outside b2b sales job, no jobhopping on the resume, and a hardcore sales personality)
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There’s also a certain profile that hiring managers are looking for in potential candidates for
When I say specific profile, I want everyone reading this to think of the online dating industry for a minute. If you’ve ever used popular dating websites like match.com or eHarmony.com, you have tools you can use to filter out the type of dating partner you’re seeking on those websites. If they don’t meet YOUR criteria, then you filter out the bad eggs and find someone that does meet your criteria.
Why is this important? It gives you a better chance at meeting someone, starting a relationship, getting married, being happy, etc. The same thing is true in the medical device sales industry, there’s a specific profile these managers are looking for from candidates that are interviewing for their respected sales positions, and if you don’t fit the manager’s profile/criteria, then most likely you won’t get your chance at interviewing for a medical device sales job.
In this chapter I’ll break down the proper steps to take to get into the medical device industry and list the companies that can help you break into the industry so you have a clear direction on how to break into the medical device sales industry.
These are the steps that are required to take the traditional path to break into the medical sales industry:
I’ve heard managers say that even if a candidate has hardcore sales experience but has no degree, they’re reluctant to hire the candidate or most likely won’t hire the candidate at all. Med device managers want reps that are well educated with 4 year college degrees.
The 4 year degree is important because it shows that you have the ability to start something and complete something important at a young age.
Now sometimes there are rare occasions where recent college graduates will get an entry level medical sales job, but it’s important to remember that 9/10 times that won’t be the case.
Usually if that happens it’s because they either did an internship with that company as a student, or participated in a program where the medical device company was specifically looking for a recent college graduate and the expectations might be different for the graduate than they would be for an associate sales rep or full line territory rep.
Some great entry level sales jobs out of college are Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, Avis-Budget (also a rental car company), and Gallo Wine Company. They typically hire college graduates and have entry level training programs that help build sales skills and your sales resume.
There are so many boxes these jobs check for candidates just by being an employee at one of them. Hardcore b2b sales jobs give you paid fortune 500 sales training, teach you the sales process and how to use it, build your resume, give you a chance to sell products/ services and interact faceto-face with the decision makers, and more importantly hardcore B2B sales jobs help open doors up to the next step of your sales careers like the medical device industry.
To have a fortune 500 B2B sales company on your resume when you’re interviewing for a medical device job will give you the candidate a much better chance at winning a medical sales job and breaking into the industry on your terms.
Think about this aspect of it too – as consumers of retail products, we typically buy well-known brands that we trust right? Brands like Mercedes Benz, Apple, Samsung, Ralph-Lauren, Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, etc., have a history of getting the job done and making us feel like we made the right decision when we purchased one of their products.
Hiring managers take the same approach when they’re hiring candidates for these hardcore med device jobs. They hire from B2B companies they trust because of the factors I listed above here. It’s important to note that when you’re going through this process to make sure the hardcore B2B sales job you decide to take is in outside sales, not inside sales.
Phone sales is an art too, but medical device companies typically don’t hire inside sales reps because there’s no face-to-face interaction at an inside sales company. Here are some fortune 500 outside b2b jobs that can help give you a better chance of breaking into hardcore medical device sales.
Keep in mind these are in no particular order so as a candidate you can join any of these and they will give yourself a good chance of breaking into the medical sales industry.
Keep in mind too it will help you break into the medical sales industry if you go to one of these companies and perform well and exceed expectations while you’re there (presidents club, sales awards, promotions) because you can add these accomplishments (See chapter 3 for this section too) to your resume going forward:
ADP – Fortune 500 payroll/HR solutions
Paychex – Fortune 500 payroll/HR solutions
Cintas – Fortune 500 Uniform/facilities services
Unifirst – Fortune 500 Uniform/facilities services
Aramark – Fortune 500 Uniform/facilities services
Ricoh – Fortune 500 Copier/Printer sales
Xerox – Fortune 500 Copier/Printer sales
MRC Technologies – Copier/Printer Sales
Konica Minolta – Fortune 500 Copier/Printer sales
Toshiba Business Solutions – Fortune 500 Copier/ Printer/Office hardware sales
Staples B2B – Office supplies/equipment (This is not the retail company, this is a different division)
AT&T Telecom – B2B telecom/hardware/software
Verizon Telecom – B2B telecom/hardware/software
Sprint Telecom – B2B telecom/hardware/software
Hiring managers from Medical device companies want candidates that have a history of progressing throughout their career and showing they can move up the corporate ladder, but they don’t want people that are leaving after every 6 months to find something new.
Hiring managers want candidates that will stick out a job for minimum 2-3 years and grow within a company, get promoted, win some sales awards, hit some type of conference or presidents club and show that they’re capable of growth and achieving success.
Remember, when a medical device company brings you on as a sales rep, they’re investing 6 figures in you to train you with the expectation that the ROI (Return on Investment) will be much bigger long-term and with hopes that you’ll be a top-performing sales rep.
I always encourage candidates to take this seriously because managers want people to join their team that are extremely professional. It’s important to make your social media pages private while going through the interview process.
In the new era of interviewing and digital media, Linked-In is becoming the new resume and Linked-In recommendations are becoming the new forms of written recommendations that managers are looking at so it’s important that you the professional sales candidate take this seriously and have a professional linked-in page from top to bottom.
This means having a professional profile picture, the right contact info, a nice well-written summary about yourself/ what you’ve done throughout your professional career and what you’re looking for, having some linked-in recommendations (if you have written recommendations those are ok too) from people that appreciate your work like successful client stories, customers, co-workers that value you on their team and if you can have one from your manager.
The B2B sales training that you’ll get from the companies listed above will help you deal with call points going forward like various types of doctors, hospitals, surgery centers, treatment centers, etc.
Typically, most reps that break into medical sales learn how to build relationships with the decision makers but those hardcore hunting skills you learn from the B2B training will come into use for the rest of your sales career.
Managers want to hire candidates that are gung-ho, driven, motivated, have shown previous success, and have that “IT” factor that they can bring with them to an organization.
If you’re not Type-A that doesn’t mean you’re going to eliminate yourself from getting a medical job either, but it does help having that type of hardcore sales personality or mentality when you’re interviewing, and those B2B sales companies help your personality adjust for the next step of your sales career.
For example, if you take a job at a Fortune 500 medical device company like Stryker in one of their trauma divisions, you might be required to work on-call hours at 1-4AM or on weekends for the first 6-18 months of the job.
If you’re a candidate that’s serious about medical sales you have to do your homework and find out what company fits your personality.
Do you want to sell capital equipment or disposables? Do you want to work on-call for the first year or do you want to work at a smaller company and work an 8-5 schedule Monday-Friday? Would you ever consider selling a medical service? Would you consider working for a start-up medical company?
These are questions to ask yourself when you’re going through the interview process because as sales reps we’re constantly building our resume and aiming towards the future with future opportunities.
Now, once you break into the medical device sales industry, there’s a few options you have as a rep. Typically what you’ll find is most reps from the hardcore b2b sales companies break in as ASR’s (Associate Sales Reps) unless they’re performing at such a high level and making a solid 6 figures and wind up taking a job as a full line rep,
but in order to do that you have to really be a top performing outside B2B sales rep. Also, it’s important to remember if you start off as a full line medical device sales rep or full line territory rep with a higher base salary and higher compensation package, there’s more pressure on you to sell/deliver results right away, the money is higher but with more money, comes more responsibilities.
If you start off as an associate sales rep you can learn the game and observe everything first hand, work under a senior territory manager (make sure to use them as mentors too so they can help get you prepared for what’s next), understand the wording to talk to doctors and not feel overwhelmed when you break into the medical device industry, then progress naturally throughout your medical sales career.
When I was a sales candidate I was fortunate enough to interview at a few top 20 medical companies simultaneously. One of the sales managers I interviewed with told me I had “tremendous potential to be a high 6 figure rep in the industry”,
but he was worried that I wasn’t ready to handle the workload, pressure, and responsibility of a full line territory rep position.
So he recommended that I look into an associate sales position so I could “get my feet wet” for a few years and understand the responsibilities of a medical device rep and then be ready for that job in my future. If you’re a candidate interviewing for a top 20-40 medical company and you don’t get a job there after the first try during the interview process, don’t get discouraged.
The best recommendation I got and that I can share with you is to find a medical company that can help you break into the industry and find success so when that right medical sales job comes knocking on your door, you’ll be ready to handle all the responsibilities that come along with the job.
- What type of sales are you in now?
- Do you have B2B sales training? If not, look into those companies, that will give you a better chance of breaking into medical sales
- Are you a job hopper? If you are, challenge yourself to stay at your job for at least 18 months – 2 years so you can build your resume and look solid on paper
- Do you have a hardcore sales personality? Remember managers are going to be looking for candidates with that “hunter mentality” as they look to build their team. It’s important to have that trait in your personality because there is hunting in medical device sales.