By far, the most common question I’ve been asked in 20+ years of medical device recruiting is some form of this:
How do I break into Medical Device Sales?
No other question I’ve been asked comes close with the same passion, intensity, desire and bewilderment.
I know why.
Medical device sales in many people’s minds represents the pinnacle of what a person in business can do to both challenge themselves to their ultimate limits and help people at the same time. The combination of guiding surgeons through procedures, explaining medical technology to patients and their families, being on the cutting edge of exciting industry developments and the potential for a very lucrative payday is highly intoxicating to motivated individuals that want to challenge themselves to the highest level of their capabilities.
But the reality remains — it is very hard to get in. The fact is, it’s always been hard to get in. And there really isn’t a lot out there in terms of helpful pointers, advice or a roadmap on how people break in. These are some of the most sought-after jobs that exist for all the reasons I listed and many more. The point of this brief article is to give some pointers and provoke new thinking from those individuals that want to get in and are willing to do what it takes.
First thought. There is more than one way to get in. In a short series of blog articles, I’m going to list some of the ways I have seen that worked for people.
First, here’s a very traditional way that has worked for many people:
GRADUATE FROM COLLEGE and
GET A HARD-CORE BUSINESS TO BUSINESS (B2B) SALES POSITION
ADP, Paychex, Xerox, Cintas are some of those companies that will provide both a very challenging work environment and exceptional sales training that will push people to decide whether sales is for them long term. The value of this experience cannot be underestimated. Taking a job that will train you on the fundamentals is priceless because I always say, “Most jobs in medical device sales are far more similar to a B2B job than a pharmaceutical sales job” (more on that later). I also always say:
“If you’re going to build a house, the foundation better be right.”
Certain companies are very intentional about building your sales foundation. The rewards of experiencing this last years, decades, an entire career.
The training, the pressure, the cold calling on business owners that don’t want to see you or give you a minute of your time, the weekly expectations, standing up in front of your peers every Friday and saying how much you sold versus 7 days prior…. the crucible of this environment has built many great medical device reps. and that’s a proven fact. Those sales reps. that break into medical eventually become managers and guess what? They want to reach right back out to their origin companies and find people just like themselves that went through what they they went through. Think of it as alumni from a college hiring from their beloved alma mater. 😉