How to Break into Medical Sales

Almost anyone can decide they are going to be a medical sales representative, but it’s not as easy as it sounds to get into the industry and to succeed. It takes hard work and dedication to create a successful career. Staying on top of the current news and trends, plus a lot of travel are all requirements of the job. We’ve put together a list of some ways you can stand out in the crowd when trying to break into medical sales.

Choose Your Specialization

There are many different options in the medical sales field. What are you going to sell? You’ll need to think about your choice because you will be spending a lot of time reading and talking about whichever specialization you pick. Here is a quick list of some of the categories you can choose from:

  • Medical equipment
  • Software
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Biotechnology
  • Medical devices
  • Medical billing and marketing services

If you like computers and the fast-paced world of technology, opt for a specialization that is constantly filled with changes. Medical software, devices, and biotechnology are all fast-paced sales jobs with a lot of information to absorb and relay. It’s important to really understand what you are selling because technology progresses quickly and some of the advances may be difficult for others to absorb. If you have no passion for whichever specialty you choose, it will show in your sales pitch and your customers will quickly lose interest.


Get Out There and Work

After you declare your specialty, it’s time to gain some work experience in the medical field. It doesn’t have to be in a sales position right away. Sometimes it’s better to enter the sales field after having some other experiences in the medical world. Try one of these ideas and see what you prefer:

  • Consider picking up an internship with a local medical sales company.
  • Take an entry-level position at a doctor’s office or a nearby hospital.
  • Get hired for a medical billing job in a doctor’s office or hospital.
  • Provide customer service in a hospital setting.
  • If you can afford it, volunteer your time at a local hospital or nursing home.
  • Work in a hospital vending position.

These jobs may not be your end goal, but they will help you get where you want to go. Being able to understand where hospital personnel are coming from or why a doctor’s office runs its business the way it does is priceless knowledge when trying to understand why your potential customer feels so strongly about a particular issue. Having a well-rounded background can put you in a better position for sales success.


Do I Need a Degree?

There is no special degree dedicated to medical sales. Most successful candidates just hold a degree in a related field, such as business or a particular science. The skills you learn in college coursework can help you, but if you are interested in expanding your training and your knowledge, there are options available that will put you ahead of the class. Do your research to find training programs that are relevant to the field and will give your resume the boost it needs to stand out against hundreds of applicants.


What Qualities Should I Have?

What are some of the qualities recruiters look for when picking potential medical sales candidates? These are some of the traits that regularly appear on job interview criteria, so run down the checklist and see how many of them describe your personality:

  • It requires dedication to stay ahead of the current trends and to know your product inside and out. It also requires dedication and discipline to succeed in the independent environment that most medical sales reps operate in.
  • You have to be able to set goals and keep them. This field is made up of self-motivators, so you need to figure out how to keep yourself motivated all the way to the finish line.
  • Time-management skills. This job requires you to set your own schedule If managing your time wisely and working effectively with or without deadlines are not your strong suits, you may want to hold off on entering this field.
  • Positive attitude. The long hours and the travel can get extremely tedious. It’s important to maintain a positive and sunny outlook in order to bring the sunshine with you to your meetings. A positive sales rep will rub off on the client, making for an easier meeting and a better client relationship.
  • Organization and attention to detail. It’s the little things that count when you head to a meeting. Showing up unprepared can lead to a disaster. The more organized and prepared you are to meet with a client, the more it shows off your knowledge and how much you truly care about your job.
  • As with any sales position, one of the keys is flexibility. You need to roll with the punches sometimes and be able to adjust your plan in the spur of the moment. If the client throws out a curveball, you need to be ready for it. Without this skill, you will be dead in the water.
  • People skills. In any sales position this is important. But, in medical sales, it is even more so. You need to get passed gate keepers, gain credibility in the eyes of medical practitioners, network with a wide range of people, and develop relationships. If you don’t have people skills or don’t enjoy conversing, you should probably walk away now.

Without these traits, you will have a very hard time being successful in the world of medical sales. They are key factors to most candidates’ success in the field and show how dedicated you are to your profession. Take your time and organize before you start applying for jobs. Be sure your resume shows off these skills to the recruiter so you have a chance at standing out from your competition.


Technical Skills Needed

You will need technical skills in addition to personality traits. Knowing the software in your field and the tools of the trade will benefit you in your day-to-day actions. They can vary based on the software your company uses, and may change over time. Some of these skills include:

  • Being able to use PowerPoint will give you a way to incorporate visuals into your sales presentations. Designing a slideshow filled with relevant information takes time, and knowing the software is a must.
  • Social media experience. Everyone is using social media today. Checking LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other channels before heading to your meetings can provide valuable information about the company’s background or views.
  • Relevant apps. The app stores are full of helpful applications for your mobile devices. Knowing which ones will help your production is priceless and can save you time and energy. Apps like Trello, Asana and Basecamp offer project management tools that can help you stay organized on the go. Waze can shave time off your commute, while Profit Story can help calculate the profit margin in the middle of your meeting.
  • Communication skills. You will have limited time with decision makers so you need to make the best of it. Sometimes it one-on-one with a doctor, and sometimes you are presenting your product to a committee. In both cases, your ability to communicate succinctly and persuasively are critical to your success.
  • Any other relevant software. Two examples are: If your specialty is medical billing supplies, you will need to be familiar with the software you are selling. Or, if your company uses SalesForce, you’ll need to learn to use a CRM quickly.

For more helpful skills to get you noticed in the job field, consider signing up for one of SNI’s sales training programs. This systematic approach to sales techniques is sure to boost you to the head of the field.


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