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    Tips For Medical Device Sales That You Would Not Find Anywhere Else

    Tips for medical device sales nowhere else offer

    I didn't start with the job in medical device sales. I started with a pharma or drug sales job. After getting myself involved with pharmaceutical industry promoting prescription items - antibiotics, analgesics, anti-diabetic, antidepressant - in April 2008, after a year of jobless days, I've decided to rejoin the sales force, but this time I want to do something different.

    I want to try promoting medical devices.

    Medical Sales Recruiter

    It seems like I didn't need to enlist the service of a pharmaceutical sales recruiter. It was not that hard for me to find a sales job opening in a medical device company. I have contacts who already involve with the medical device industry, so I was introduced to a few openings through them.

    For medical sales freshers, who are not in my position, things would be harder for you, but these days, useful resources are abundant. You just need to know where and who to look for such opportunities.

    Medical Sales Training For Medical Device Sales

    The medical device sales job is a part of the medical sales job. I have tasted the pharmaceutical sales job and to have a complete sales experience in Pharma Industry, I need to get into medical device selling. If I get a job promoting medical devices, my sales experience in the pharmaceutical industry is almost complete. I have had experience with prescription items, I had experience promoting consumer health products, I had covered hospital market segments and General Practitioner (GP) market.

    I did all that within a period of slightly over 10 years. I am proud, to say the least, but that is not important. The important thing is, with this experience marketing devices for medical use, I have ‘strategically’ increase my VALUE for any future employment.

    I recalled a piece of wise man advice on this, “Dig your well before you got thirsty!” I digging one right now.

    Medical Device Sales Differences

    When ‘pharmaceutical products’ is mentioned, what it refers to meant is prescription drugs or medicines. When 'medical devices' is mentioned, it is relating to small devices like a Glucometer, or more essential tools like medical laboratory analyzers. Here are some core differences between those two.

    1) The customers

    Obviously, I am dealing with a different market segment. I am targeting more of the end users who find their focus in the laboratory and some peripheral areas outside town. Honestly, these people are more approachable but what they expect from a salesperson varies greatly.

    For example, I got a customer who currently uses our company brand ‘bench-top’ Clinical Chemistry analyzer because I was the only rep ever to cover the area, but another customer from a different peripheral area asks the company to take back the same analyzer because of service issue. Looks like they have different definitions for the term ‘service’ here.

    2) The total sales process

    I remember during my tenure with 2 Multinational Pharmaceutical Companies (MNC), it was easy for me to monitor, track and tweak my sales. The process was a simple ‘promote and profit’ process. But that is not the case with company marketing medical devices.

    In a medical device company, when you see a sale is made, the amount that you get is not ‘Net’ amount. Basically, it is a ‘gross sale.’ I often have to minus that with the commission to the agents (starting at 3%), loan amount if any (even if it was 2 years ago), or whether it is a director tender sales. I can never figure out the exact figure (and nor can my boss)!

    3) Sales job salary difference

    Now, let me tell you that this job is more than just a basic salary and claim. What gives a sales job any meaning is the INCENTIVE - the extra dough you get if you put in that additional effort meeting sales target. If a salesperson had difficulties in enjoying the full amount or at least a consistent incentive payout, he or she could get discouraged quite easily. Believe me -  I've been there, I've done that.

    For a 'veteran' like me, who like to play this game by the number, not having the ability to monitor the exact sales bring about almost a complete disaster. I do not know the exact sales amount ... I don't know how much I am still lacking ... and I don't know how to close the gap. I am so not used to be in this situation.

    I have never experience that in all the previous Pharma Companies. I have multiple templates that I need to feedback to the Sales Manager and Product Manager daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly (but I was still not comfortable with too much sales reporting!).

    4) Medical device sales rep role

    In a typical pharmaceutical company, the role of its sales representative is to sell and sell some more. What entails a mix of sales job and marketing job, but that is all to it. Compare that to a typical company that sells medical devices - you have an additional role that I like to call the ‘Serviceman’ and the ‘Courier guy.’

    A sale is not an end of a Sales Cycle - not until you know that your customers can take care of themselves and they're not calling you because they can't find the ‘START’ button or they put the batteries wrong!

    Job Requirement For Medical Device sales

    Let me walk you through a simple analogy.

    Imagine you just got hired as a medical device salesperson. After 3 days in the company, you will follow one of your senior colleagues to the field and do a site visit, typically to the laboratory or ‘near patient testing’ area.

    Let’s just say that they never use your device before. Obviously, the next step is you introduce what you have but not before you assess their ‘load’ - the number of patients or the number of tests. Once the assessment has been done, you'll make a proposal. You will include at least 2 suggestions, depending on their need, and wait for their response.

    When your prospect responds, the next step is to go through an evaluation. You give them a trial period of at least 3 months to evaluate your medical devices, and if it met their standards, you got a sale! Hooray!

    But just like I said before, this is just the beginning.

    You now need to arrange for training and collaborating, which includes comparing your medical device results with another method or another medical device (usually belong to your competitors) in a process called ‘validation.’

    Then come service and maintenance.

    You are in luck if your customers can run ‘troubleshooting’ - taking care of problems or glitches, or your machine can do 'auto-calibration.' Often time, in the initial stage, new customers require your presence. Again, you are in luck if the medical device company has an army of support staffs. Otherwise, you are on your own!

    I remember my third day on the job when I was on the field trying to figure out what is wrong with a Urine Analyzer, and I have not even done with the training yet!

    I hope I have made it clear, so far, on what is required from you in your job as a medical device sales rep.

    Read more: 50 sales tips for medical sales reps that help them make or break their medical sales career.

    Should You Get Into Medical Devices Sales?

    Here are 2 things for you to consider, whether you should or should not get a job selling medical devices sales:

    1. If you are looking for a base in the Medical Device Industry to build your career, if you enjoy working hard and not worry about getting paid less compared to your significant effort, then this job suits you ‘nicely.’ It is, in my opinion, a solid base to build your career and you can branch out to more than just a typical sales job. I know a guy who was our company Service Engineer who quit and open up his own medical devices service and maintenance company.

    2. If you are in a Pharma company, and you thought to yourself, “Hey, I hate my boss, my colleagues who like to backstab me, and my ailing product portfolio,” and thought of jumping into a job in medical device sales, my personal ‘honest to goodness’ opinion - think very, very, very carefully. You're the one, in the end, who need to make sure that you'll pull this off.

    The decision is yours. You're free to make a decision, but you're not open to choose the consequences. I highly recommend caution in this matter.


    To sum it all up, I hope I have fed you with enough information for you to consider before getting into medical device sales or if you're thinking of taking the next step in your medical devices career or if you are just seeking general career advice. It might not be the job to 'die for,' but on the other hand, it is a job that you can seriously think about to start your career.

    The choice is yours!

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