How to Get into Medical Sales
Landing a job in medical sales is at the top of many salespeople’s list of goals – and for a good reason. Becoming a medical sales rep provides an excellent opportunity to pursue an enriching career. With excellent salaries, flexible schedules, and other famous perks, it’s no wonder why these types of jobs are so popular and why the sales job market is so competitive. While there isn’t necessarily a proven formula to breaking into medical sales, there are things you can do to boost your chances. If you’re serious about joining a dedicated group of salespeople, read on to discover some of the ways you can increase your value while making yourself an attractive candidate to recruiters and hiring managers.
Networking and Resume Help
When looking to break into a new field or industry, it never hurts to sell yourself by telling others that you’re interested in finding work. Remember to be persistent and specific and tell nearly everyone you know that you are looking for a medical sales job. You never know how many degrees of separation you might be from a hiring manager. LinkedIn is a great networking tool for this, and like your resume, your professional information should frequently be updated. Use the website to connect with industry experts and share their valuable stories and advice.
Similarly, working with a recruiter or staffing specialist is a great option – especially in a field as competitive as medical sales. Work with them but continue to look for open positions on your own. Casting the widest net possible is the best way to find new opportunities.
Your resume should be current and consistently refreshed, and you should tailor each one you send out to the specific job you’re applying for. You’ll want to identify your measured success and detail how each skill makes you the best candidate.
It’s the Mindset, Not the Money
It’s no secret that what lures a lot of reps into the field of medical sales is the money. However, what keeps people there year after year is the desire to achieve more and do important things – things they are proud of like helping others while continuing to build upon the great relationships they have fostered with them. A successful salesperson becomes an active part of the process of getting important products to patients who need them – a rewarding task in itself.
Having the right mindset is crucial in not only getting into the medical sales field but being successful in it as well. Sales reps should always be outgoing and personable, and they should possess an entrepreneurial spirit – even a little stubbornness. Additionally, while closing skills are important, what’s even more important are communication skills. You may study these skills in school, but you hone them while working other jobs like customer service and help desk centers.
Lastly, contrary to popular belief, the best salespeople aren’t necessarily born that way. The great ones work hard on their techniques and are always learning. Therefore, prepare yourself for a career in education and enrichment. That goes for not only the products you sell but the way you approach a sale. For example, one of the most important skills a sales rep might learn and develop early on is how to get past a secretary or point of contact and secure an appointment with a doctor (Nature Publishing Group).
Education and Experience Essentials
While most positions in the medical sales field require a college degree, you can begin your career in this highly competitive industry with only a high school diploma. However, if you are planning on applying for a job without a degree, you’ll want to consider taking training courses or certification programs before you begin your new job or, in most cases, before you apply. Taking these classes will ready you for the position and perhaps give you an edge over other candidates.
Employers will favor a college degree, and increasingly, a postgraduate qualification, in either the life or medical sciences. Other degrees that might present you with a distinct advantage include marketing and business. Any classes at the college level that enhance medical experience or sales knowledge can improve your chances of gaining employment as well.
Some companies are willing to train newly-hired medical sales reps to help them understand the crucial details of their products, especially if they’re just starting out in their career and fresh out of college. In medical device sales, for instance, a company might set up a workshop or seminar on how to operate their equipment. Likewise, on-the-job training might include a session regarding sales territory information.
The truth is that applicants with both bachelor’s degrees and various certifications will be able to compete more readily for available positions. Also, even though a degree from a respected university or a certification won’t necessarily get someone a job, it can get their foot in the door or get them an extra look, which is sometimes all it takes.
Once you’ve finally broken into medical sales, you’ll fully understand what it takes to stay there, and you’ll know why so many people are fighting to replace you. Remember to be the best you can be. It takes much more than mere knowledge about the positive aspects of the products you’re selling – you must also have in-depth knowledge of clinical data, indications and contra-indications, efficacy, potential adverse reactions, and knowledge of your competition inside and out. Ultimately, the passion that got you there should be the passion that keeps you there.