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From Pharma to Medical Devices

A topic of ongoing discussion in medical device hiring circles continues to be pharmaceutical reps transitioning into medical devices. When I started in the device industry in 1998, I was told that most pharmaceutical reps. were not built for device sales. Since then, I’ve been a part of transitioning many pharmaceutical reps. into devices, and met amazing people along the way (who went on to win awards). 

However, a perception persists that is built from some or all of the following objections:  

  • pharmaceutical reps. don’t actually sell – they detail and aren’t good at asking for the business, 
  • they don’t want to (or can’t) work the hours that device reps put in, 
  • they aren’t trained in sales basics like business-to-business (B2B) reps are in terms of prospecting, qualifying targets, closing, 
  • they aren’t driven/motivated like device reps. are to succeed and 
  • their sales results have a three month lag so they aren’t used to making real time adjustments to their work. 

For those of you that have either hired a pharmaceutical rep. that became successful or made the transition yourself from pharmaceutical sales to device, what did it take and why do you believe you made a successful transition/hire?