How to Fast-track Your Career as a Medical Device Sales Rep

How to Fast-track Your Career as a Medical Device Sales Rep

- March 7, 2018

A career in medical device sales is like positioning yourself in Game of Thrones – you need to up your game and stay on top because the competition is flat out fierce and demanding.

With the industry expected to grow 6.4% a year through 2017, standing out in a crew of 6500 companies is not an easy take. Even the most well-equipped and savvy of medical device sales reps are always on the lookout for tips, tricks and new techniques to boost their skills.

If you are just starting out or been with the career for a while now, see if one of your go-to strategies makes our list of ten ways to succeed as a medical device sales rep.

Medical Device Sales Rep: Everything You Need to Know

First of all, medical device sales candidates have to be prepared for a “sales” career. Meaning, income is dependent on results. Many want to work where they are paid for “expertise” but unlike many jobs, in sales, the connection between production and income is very direct. Usually, salary is dependent on a reliable record of sales and bonus is computed as a percentage of sales.

Medical Device Sales Candidate Requirements

Beyond the formal training, a strong medical sales background will include certification from the National Association of Medical Sales Representatives. Recruitment of medical device sales professionals is mostly focused on experience. A degree in engineering is appropriate, and a degree with a bio-engineering major will add a bit advantage.

Sales techniques vary with the marketplace and with the kind of equipment or device being sold. Because of the clients’ tight professional work schedules, medical device sales strategy involves an entirely different kind of timing and contact management than other kinds of sales. Training on the complex medical device is the main focus since knowledge here has to be sharp and thorough.

Medical Sales Working Environment

Sales reps should expect a dedicated connection with the medical profession, even providing assistance during processes in the operating room. The required level of training, professional demeanor, and expertise will be especially high in the larger centers like New York City, Austin, San Francisco, Miami, and Orlando.

The medical device sales working conditions cover a defined and busy territory. You must be someone who loves traveling from doctor to hospital to doctor all day long. Medical sales professionals work from home offices, hotel rooms, or cars, often spending nights on the road. Many employers offer mileage reimbursements or usage of company cars. This environment can significantly alter lifestyles.

The device manufacturers want to contract medical device sales reps who do not want to be tied to an office cubicle. After all, it’s a traveling sales job.

Other 10%
Planning 10%
Selling 22%
Order Processing 12%
Service 10%
Admin 23%
Travel 13%



Figures do vary according to the kind of sales. Generally, the higher the income expectation, the higher proportion of income coming from a commission. The average medical sales representative expected salary will be $141,464 (2015 Medical Sales Salary Report). More than half of which ($80,681) is commission on sales. Sales into the home health market should expect around $83,000 based on a $65,000 salary. Medical sales in the health software area will expect incomes in the $170,000 range, about half of which is based on sales commission.

Understanding the Product

A thorough and deep understanding of the workings of their medical device/equipment, how it is manufactured and the benefits it represents is required because the sales rep will be selling directly to healthcare providers. They need not only to impress a very sophisticated buyer, but also to provide a unique value proposition to them.

Medical device sales activity usually involves detailing the product during an actual patient’s surgical procedure. He or she is often present to teach the operation of their device as it is being used by the physician or nurse.

The enhanced sales team represents the cutting edge of technical knowledge in a field, and engage with practitioners, thus, doing the presentation will help gain the trust of highly trained professionals.

10 Ways to Succeed as a Medical Device Sales Rep

1. Commit to Expertise

The better sales reps are trained on a product, the more likely they are to convince a customer to buy. According to Experticity, 73% of consumers are looking for product knowledge. One should be able to educate clients on the product and customize the product to each of the client’s goals and needs.

2. Time Management

As a medical device sales professional, you cannot bounce from meeting to meeting, keep up with emails, read news about medical news and technology, and look like a boss without time management. Tip: Setting your watch to advance time is great.

3. Value Propositions

Be completely versed on what a value proposition is and how to implement it. Establishing a value for a client is a main part of being a sales rep. If you slip up at this step, you’ll probably struggle to become a successful sales rep regardless of industry.

4. Measured Expectations

In an industry so heavily focused on profits and commissions, even the best medical sales reps fail. You always want to close the deal and convert that lead when you make even the shortest of pitches, but…prepare yourself mentally for the “NO’s” and the negatives and use it as a motivation to do better.

5. Create a Territory Management Strategy

Knowing the territory that you are covering is a mustHaving strong territory coverage means…

  • There are enough reps evenly distributed throughout the field.
  • They are busy but not overworked.
  • They are making meaningful interactions.
  • They have educated decisions about where and how they visit clients.

6. Work-Life Balance

No surgeon or physician wants a sales rep who makes errors because he or she had only slept 10 hours all week!  That would be the quickest way to lose business.

Establishing work-life balance allows your to recharge in order for you to be at your utmost successful level. You’re no good in a business meeting if you’re running on two hours of sleep in a wrinkled suit (or scrubs). This can set up for a lackluster performance in your chosen career. Be flexible with regard to your clients and schedule, but also allow your self some recreation.

7. Make Good on Your Word

It is that simple. As a medical device sales representative, your reputation is an integral part of your brand and your business. Word spreads like virus that the minute someone drags your good name through the mud, you could be toast.

8. Manage Your R&D Process

Laws and regulations are in constant flux. Staying up to date on the latest requirements for your products will keep your sales strategy clear of any roadblocks with hospitals concerned about compliance. Staying on the right side of the rules could save your medical device company serious cash.

Make sure you convey accurate information to your clients throughout the regulation process. The FDA now takes as much as 140 days to process medical device marketing submissions, according to USDM Life Services.

9. Use Mobile CRM Software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps sales teams collect, maintain, and organize data about their clients and medical products. According to ZS Associates, the use of mobile technology by the medtech industry has gone up to 75% of medical companies.

A CRM is critical to maintaining efficient operations, especially as technology in the industry advances. Mobile CRM software standardizes data collection and improves consistency, helping personnel managers formulate a guide to a better sales process.

10. Think Ahead

Think ahead about upcoming products so you can shift your selling strategy to welcome future releases. The medical device industry is one of the most fast moving and inventive fields – products have an average life cycle of just 18 months before they’re replaced by something even better (U.S. National Library of Medicine.)  Educating healthcare personnel about device updates can help you upsell accounts as well.

No matter what your sales process, it’s critical you remain moldable enough to tailor your selling strategy to the state of the current market. For example, individuals 65 and up now account for 14.5% of the population and will reach 21.7% of the population by 2040, according to the Administration on Aging.

Facilities that treat these patients will have demand for different products and services than other locations. Consistency and persistence is the goal as you sell medical devices, and always keep an eye on how each hospital’s demographic makeup changes over time.

Before you pour your time and energy into fast-tracking your medical device sales career, make sure you are ready to jump into high gear and make the most of every improvement you put in place. Rep-Lite is dedicated to providing accessible resources for medical device sales reps and improving their sales business.

As a Rep-Lite team member, you will be trained to improve your skill set and get paid for your expertise all while being appreciated and rewarded for your efforts. You will learn how to develop a strategic selling process and get to know key people in the healthcare community. Call Us at 1-833-REP-LITE to learn more.

With 27 years of experience in various medical device industries, Rep-Lite has a proven track record of success. Rep-Lite is changing how manufacturers accomplish business in the current environment by providing cost-efficient solutions using overhead reduction revenue generation.

We would love to hear from you! If you have questions and/or suggestions, please leave a comment below.


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