How to Get Into Medical Sales: Career Path, Salary, and Jobs



How to Get into Medical Sales: Medial Sales Career Path

Many medical sales jobs lie at the happy intersection of three robust industries: healthcare, sales, and biotechnology. If you’re considering a medical sales career path, you may be motivated knowing that there’s great potential to earn a lucrative salary and enjoy a rewarding, long-term career.

Medical sales jobs can also offer tremendous work flexibility. As with other careers in sales, medical sales professionals often work from a home office and enjoy latitude to set their own work schedules. Far from being a desk-bound, traditional office job, a medical sales job can offer travel, a varied schedule, and opportunities to interact with a variety of other professionals in related fields.

How to Get Into Medical Sales

For the most part, jobs in medical sales require a college degree. There’s often a high level of knowledge required to succeed in medical sales in fields including science, health, math, biotechnology and, of course, medicine and healthcare. Medical sales professionals often interact with doctors and high-level corporate executives, making an advanced degree an asset employers seek for many job openings.

Overall, education requirements depend on the specific field of interest in many cases. For example, a medical engineering degree may be the perfect credential if you’re looking for jobs with companies offering medical products that use cutting-edge technology.

If you’re breaking into medical sales and have a proven sales track record in another profession or in business-to-business (B2B) sales, all the better. Entry-level sales jobs, including internships, can be your best bet if you have the personality traits employers seek in sales professionals. Knowing your personality is a key part of a successful job search. In sales, your personality can play a serious role in meeting and exceeding your sales goals.

Types of Medical Sales Jobs

As with many sales careers, travel can be a significant part of the job. Medical sales professionals may be on the road offering products to physician’s offices, medical centers, hospitals, and at conferences or other gatherings of medical professionals.

Often, a medical sales professional may be assigned a territory and expected to build a pipeline of customers that help their employer meet revenue goals. Here are a few broad categories in the medical sales sector:

  • Pharmaceutical Sales. Pharmaceutical sales representatives sell pharma-industry products to doctors’ offices, medical centers, and hospitals, often in a designated territorial area.
  • Medical Device SalesThis specialized field often requires a medical or technical background, and can involve presentations, demonstrations, and a successful track record in a medical or clinical sales setting.
  • Medical Supply SalesThis is usually a transactional sales role that may involve selling more general (versus specialized) medical equipment supplies, often at a fairly high volume, to a steady and growing customer base.
  • Healthcare and Medical Management ServicesThis broad category may include selling healthcare services in the areas of billing, marketing, and day-to-day office management. Sales professionals in this area may represent an employer whose products help doctors offices and medical centers run more smoothly and efficiently.

Medical Sales Salary

An annual survey of medical sales salaries by MedRep.com, a website for professionals seeking medical and pharmaceutical sales jobs, shows the industry’s tremendous earning potential and career growth potential. A medical sales salary pays an average base of $95,296 a year, the report found. With additional earnings including commissions and bonuses, the average total income reaches $156,785.

Generally, medical sales jobs that are focused on outside sales trend toward the higher end of the salary spectrum. These jobs usually involve more travel, and in some cases (a surgical sales representative, for example), may entail observing product use in a clinical or even surgical setting.

Enhancing Your Medical Sales Career Path

Medical sales careers are built largely on relationships, which means that networking can play a huge role in growing your medical sales career. Forging strong relationships with your customer base (e.g., doctors, hospitals, and healthcare companies) can be a good way to land your next job.

And, as with any position in sales, having a documented, successful track record can be the make-or-break asset in advancing to a management position in medical sales or finding another job that builds on your proven sales prowess. You’ll also need to show, by your resume and during any job interview, that you’re hungry for success, competitive, and ready to take on the next career challenge.

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