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Barriers to Entry: Navigating Your Way into the Rewarding World of Medical Device Sales

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

December 26, 2023

MDSI Article: 002


Learning how to get into medical device sales opens the door to a dynamic and fast-paced industry where you can make a significant impact in healthcare and enjoy the financial rewards of a successful career. If you're passionate about healthcare and excel in sales, pursuing a career as a medical device sales representative might be your ideal path. This article will guide you through the essential steps to enter this competitive field and thrive in medical device sales roles.

Medical Device Sales Team
Medical Device Sales Team

What is Medical Device Sales?


Before we delve into the steps to break into the field of medical device sales, let's first understand what it entails. Medical device sales representative are a crucial link between medical technology companies and healthcare providers. They are tasked with promoting and selling a range of medical devices, equipment, and supplies, primarily targeting doctors, clinics, healthcare facilities, and hospitals. With comprehensive product knowledge, medical device sales reps play a pivotal role in introducing cutting-edge healthcare solutions to medical professionals, aiding in the enhancement of patient care and the operational efficiency of their practices.


A successful career in this field demands a blend of robust sales skills, extensive knowledge of medical devices and their applications, and the prowess to build and sustain relationships with healthcare professionals, which can be honed through medical sales rep training.


Step 1: Obtain a College Bachelor’s Degree


While not always mandatory, possessing at least a bachelor's degree is often recommended for those wondering how to become a medical sales rep. In 2021, nearly 82% of medical sales representatives had a bachelor's degree. If you're currently a student, consider majoring in life sciences, communications, business, or biology to establish a strong foundation for your future in medical device sales.

If your degree is in a different field, don't be deterred. Emphasize your transferable skills and seek pharmaceutical rep certification to position yourself as a prime candidate for a rewarding career in medical device sales during the application process.


Step 2: Consider an Advanced Degree


While a bachelor's degree may be sufficient to enter the field of medical device sales, enrolling in a medical sales training program and obtaining an advanced degree can give you a competitive edge. Approximately 7% of medical sales reps also hold a master's degree. To stand out from the crowd, consider pursuing a master's degree in business administration, marketing, or a relevant scientific field. This advanced degree can demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning and provide you with a deeper understanding of the industry.


Step 3: Explore Vocational Education


Attending a medical device sales school like Medical Device Sales Institute (MDSI) isn't a requirement, but they can significantly enhance your credibility and marketability when applying for a medical device sales representative role. A medical device sales certification from MDSI showcases your expertise and dedication to the profession, making you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.


Step 4: Gain Experience in Sales


If you do not have prior experience in medical device sales, don't be discouraged. Around 68% of associates in the industry had little or no medical sales experience before entering the field. Focus on gaining experience in sales, marketing, or customer-facing roles, even if they are not specifically in the medical sales domain. This experience will help you develop essential skills such as communication, relationship-building, and problem-solving, which are crucial for success in medical device sales and answer the question of how to get a job in medical sales.

Consider securing medical device training jobs through internships at medical device companies or an affiliated services organization like Boston Bioskills Lab, or entry-level positions in sales to kickstart your career in the industry. This will allow you to gain valuable hands-on experience and familiarize yourself with the intricacies of the sales process.


Step 5: Seek Healthcare Experience


While not mandatory, having prior experience in the healthcare field can give you an added advantage in medical device sales. Alternatively, consider enrolling in medical device sales training programs or internships at medical device companies or through an affiliated services company (Boston Bioskills Lab) where you can shadow established medical device sales representatives and gain exposure to the role and healthcare industry. This experience will help you understand the unique challenges and needs of healthcare professionals, allowing you to better relate to your prospects and build credibility in your role.

Step 6: Research and Network


Before applying for medical device sales positions, it is essential to conduct thorough research on the best medical device sales companies you are interested in. Visit their websites to gain a comprehensive understanding of their products, values, and expectations. This knowledge will not only impress your potential employers during interviews but also help you determine if the company aligns with your career goals and values.


In addition to research, networking is a crucial aspect of breaking into the field of medical device sales. Connect with sales representatives and industry professionals, either through online platforms like LinkedIn or at networking events. These connections can provide valuable insights into the industry, aid in lead generation, help you with account management, and even lead to potential job opportunities.


Step 7: Prepare for Interviews


Once you secure an interview for a medical device sales position, thorough preparation is key to success. Delve into the product technique guides to research the company extensively, understand their target audience, and familiarize yourself with the product you will be selling.


Showcase your achievements and highlight what you can bring to the company during the interview. Instead of focusing solely on your responsibilities or tasks, emphasize your measurable accomplishments and how they demonstrate your ability to drive sales and add value to the organization.


Remember, recruiters and hiring managers are looking for individuals who are genuine, energetic, and ambitious. Showcase your interpersonal skills, adaptability, and willingness to learn. Be ready to discuss your career goals, your understanding of the healthcare industry, and your ability to build lasting customer relationships with healthcare professionals.


Step 8: Embrace Continuous Learning


To excel in the medical device industry, it is crucial to stay informed about the latest industry trends, advancements, and regulations in the medical technology sector. Continual professional development through training programs, workshops, webinars, and industry conferences is essential to enhance your knowledge and credibility. Engage in networking opportunities with industry professionals and thought leaders to expand your skill set and stay ahead of the curve.


Step 9: Adapt and Thrive in a Dynamic Environment


Medical sales is a rapidly evolving field, driven by advancements in technology and changes in the healthcare landscape. To thrive in this dynamic environment, you must be adaptable and willing to embrace new challenges.


Stay curious, seek opportunities for growth, and maintain a proactive approach to learning. By continuously expanding your knowledge and keeping up with medical sales industry advancements, you will position yourself as a valuable asset in your medical device career to your employer and gain a competitive edge in the market.


Step 10: Deliver Exceptional Customer Care


While sales skills are essential, being a successful medical device sales representative goes beyond closing deals. Providing exceptional customer care is key to building lasting relationships with healthcare professionals. Act as a trusted consultant, understanding the unique challenges and needs of your customers, and offering tailored solutions. Pursuing medical sales certification can further underscore your commitment to excellence in this role.


Aim to achieve consistency in your interactions, delivering value that extends beyond the initial sale, and maintaining regular contact with your customers and prospects. This approach is a cornerstone of any successful medical sales course, ensuring that medical sales courses impart the importance of ongoing engagement.


Remember, you are not just a salesperson; you are a partner in enhancing patient outcomes and assisting healthcare professionals to navigate the intricacies of their practice. By emphasizing customer care and fostering trust, you will not only generate new revenue for your company but also cement your reputation as a trusted and invaluable asset in the medical sales industry.


CONCLUSION:

Breaking into the field of medical device sales can be a rewarding and lucrative career choice for those passionate about healthcare and sales. By following the steps outlined in this article, including obtaining a relevant degree, gaining experience in sales, networking, and continuously learning, you can position yourself for success in this dynamic industry.


Remember to prioritize exceptional customer care and build lasting relationships, as this is crucial to thrive as a medical device sales representative. Embrace the opportunities and challenges that come your way, and enjoy the fulfillment and financial rewards that a career in medical device sales can offer. If you're wondering how to get into medical sales, this guide lays the foundation for a successful entry.


Sources:

  • Medical Sales Representative Demographics and Statistics In The US | Zippia

  • Primary care doctors would need more than 24 hours in a day to provide recommended care | UChicago News

  • How to Break into Medical Sales with No Experience | LinkedIn

  • As sales reps see doors close for in-person visits with physicians, digital doors open, facilitating communication. This shift has become particularly relevant for pharmaceutical sales reps jobs, where adapting to virtual platforms is key to maintaining relationships with healthcare providers | PR Newswire

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