This seems so simple but is so essential! Many companies have implemented strict policies regarding driving records. This applies to companies in the medical device industry, as well as other companies outside the industry. One candidate I interviewed recently told me that the company he works for checks sales reps’ driving records every month!
The trouble often starts in college, when students encounter the police on the way home from a party and end up with a DUI on their record. This single offense could prevent you from breaking into sales for 3-5 years, depending on the policy of a given company.
If you are a leadfoot, please take a driving lesson from your grandmother. You might also work on improving your time management skills. One rep I helped hire, who has recently been promoted into management, told me that he considers being on-time… being late. He plans to arrive at least 15 minutes early wherever he goes. This is a responsible and courteous approach. If you start managing your time well now, you’ll avoid a lot of tickets and stress in your life.
The criterion companies use to evaluate driving records vary. For many, even seemingly minor offenses like seat belt tickets will count against you, not just moving offenses. Failure to fail a fine or appear in court, often linked with moving offenses, will show up on your driving record too and are often seen as troubling signs of irresponsibility.
Even companies that do not offer a company car or even cover auto expenses may still review your driving record. This perplexes some candidates, who wonder why companies care in these scenarios. The underlying legal principle is respondeat superior – Latin for “let the master answer”. What this means is that if a company hires someone who is a irresponsible driver with a long track record of offenses, and this person does something reckless resulting in damage or injury while they are driving in the course of conducting business on behalf of the company, the company could ultimately be held responsible. For this reason, employers have to take precautions against such scenarios through exercising due diligence in the hiring process.
I recommend you establish a file where you can keep copies of any tickets or other driving related matters. Sometimes it can be hard to recall exactly when a ticket occurred – was it 36 months ago, or 38 months ago? If you keep a file, you can quickly refer to it as needed. Also, if you are involved in any accidents, particularly if you are not at fault, keep a copy of the accident report in your file. When accidents show up on your record, it is often not clear whether or not you were at fault. If you can produce the accident report to clarify, it is quite helpful.
A safe driving record is essential for a successful career in medical sales. Convinced? I hope so. It disappointing for me to find a great candidate who is disqualified due to a poor driving record. Don’t let careless driving keep you from achieving your career ambitions.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Medical device sales is in some ways a hidden industry. Over the years, some people I’ve spoken to have been stunned to find out that medical device reps are in the operating room while surgery is going on. With the decline of the pharmaceutical industry, medical device sales is becoming a more well known as a possible career path.
While it would be ideal to optimize your studies by choosing a relevant degree, gaining work experience while in college is equally important. In some ways, I would consider relevant work experience in sales during college even more important than your choice of major. It gives you a chance to try out sales and make sure it is a good fit for you, develop first-hand knowledge of the sales process, and even build a few accomplishments to include on your resume. Hopefully, you’ll make some money too.
Cell phone sales is a flexible and excellent way to get sales experience while in college. Verizon and other large companies often provide great sales training. If you meet and exceed your quota, the results you’ll have to add to your resume will be invaluable… just be sure to save the documentation of your performance.
Some well known companies offer great internship opportunities to college students. Enterprise-Rent-A-Car and Northwestern Mutual offer training and track interns performance. During the summer, you could sell knives for Cutco or books for the Southwestern Company. You have to work incredibly hard to be successful at either, but it’s a great way to cut your teeth in sales. When I see experiences like these on someone’s resume, I think to myself, “Now here is someone who really must love sales.”
Finding an internship directly in medical sales will probably require you to tap into your network to uncover such opportunities. Look for alumni who are in the medical device industry through your college or on LinkedIn. Connections like these are helpful at any stage of your career. If you are interested in orthopedics, for example, you could offer to be a runner for a distributor, which means you would drop off instrumentation and products at the hospital for use in surgical cases. One enterprising student I know did that, and he started in the industry full-time immediately after college. Five years later, he was an incredibly successful trauma rep.
Collegiate experience in sales will put you far ahead of peers when competing for sales jobs after graduation. Even if you don’t break into medical sales straightaway, you’ll be in a better position to land a position with a well-respected company that will help you gain the right kind of sales experience as foundation for your career.
“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” ~Thomas Jefferson
Many people would like to break into medical device sales for many reasons. Often one of the main reasons is money. There is a perception that breaking into medical device sales is akin to hitting the lottery.
People can develop inflated expectations about what they expect to make the first year, when in reality, the first year can be very challenging. There is a huge learning curve for anyone entering a this as new industry and selling environment. I’ve described hospitals as “small cities” before. Learning to navigate the many rules and restrictions, gaining access to doctors and figuring out who the key players really are is a gigantic task. It takes plenty of sophistication and tenacity to sell in such a complex environment.
Add to that the huge task of acquiring product and clinical knowledge to converse credibly with doctors and hospital staff. This especially applies to positions focused in the operating room, like orthopedics: anatomy, medical terminology, surgical techniques, solutions to unanticipated problems.
Anyone who is breaking into the industry, and needs to develop these kinds of knowledge and skills, should be thankful that they are not taking over a top-notch territory. It would be a recipe for disaster to try to keep up with the expectations of a customer base with high expectations from day one. Instead, industry newcomers should be thankful for a shot at an under-performing territory, where they can learn and build their business.
It takes hard work and dedication to reach the ranks of highly successful medical device reps. You should expect to toil away for 2-3 years building your business. And hopefully you will love every minute of it- the learning, the challenge, the competition, the hard work, the privilege of being a meaningful resource to your customers and selling products that enhance outcomes for patients and make the lives of the clinicians easier too. You won’t starve while building your business, but you won’t get rich either. It’s not like hitting the lottery. It’s much more meaningful.
The list of active openings I am working on is listed below. If you are LOCAL and qualified, please send me your resume at LMcCallister@Linvatec.com. Qualified referrals very much appreciated!
If you would like to stay in touch regarding future opportunities, please connect with me thru LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/lisamcmedicalsalesrecruiter
Electrosurgery, Territory Manager openings
Minimum qualifications: BA, clean driving record and 3-7 years outside B2B sales with a strong track record of meeting and exceeding quota
1. Orlando, Florida
2. South Chicago
Territory Manager, Endoscopic Technologies
Minimum qualifications: BA, clean driving record and 5+ years outside B2B sales with a strong track record of meeting and exceeding quota
1. Raleigh, North Carolina – prior medical sales experience a plus
Sales Representative openings, ConMed Linvatec – Orthopedics
Minimum qualifications: BA, clean driving record, sales experience with prior orthopedics experience highly valued
1. Wilmington, NC
2. Connecticut- Sales Associate
4. Northern New Jersey – Sales Associate
Marketing Director – senior level marketing role, 10 years of marketing experience in medical devices including prior management experience, MBA preferred
Product Manager – 3+ prior years of marketing and product management experience for medical products, MBA and experience in total joints/reconstruction preferred
A year ago at this time, I was in a wheelchair. I hadn’t walked for 8 weeks because I broke my right leg skiing. You tend to break something when you hit a tree. I had a tibial plateau fracture. My PCL had also torn loose, thankfully attached to a hunk of bone. Fortunately, all my other ligaments were intact and the meniscal cartilage in my knee was only wrinkled. After Memorial Day, I began to walk again and tried to rebuild the weakened muscles in my right leg.
This Memorial Day weekend, I am running the Bolder Boulder 10k. To say I feel elated to be running again is an understatement.
Earlier this year, the strength in my right leg was still lagging far behind my left, which had grown quite strong. Without realizing it, I had developed a myriad of small ways of over-compensating for my injury. I decided more physical therapy was necessary to correct the persistent imbalance. When I went to see the wonderful Bob Cranny at Altitude Physical Therapy in January, my right calf was 1/2 inch smaller in circumference than my left. My right thigh was a full inch smaller. This explained why even a short dash across the street was nearly impossible for me, much less running a few miles.
I told Bob my goal was to run the Bolder Boulder. I had signed up for it the week before I broke my leg the year before and had a voucher for my entry fee I was determined to use. He thought the Bolder Boulder was very doable. Bob later asked me, “Have you ever thought about doing a marathon?” He is one positive guy. He is a triathlete with several Ironman races under his belt, and has a loyal following of athletes who seek him out whenever they need to be set right.
At the end of our first session, he wrote down several exercises for me to do at home on a sheet of paper. At the top, he wrote “Lisa’s Come Back Plan!”
Over the next several months, I went to physical therapy a couple of times a week, and worked out at home and at the gym whenever I could. Bob and I chatted about kids, life and business as we did 30-second wall sits. He’d urge me on, “No deficits! You’ll be stronger than before!”
He was right about that. My right leg grew stronger, so did my left. Even my core is stronger. My legs still aren’t exactly equal, but they are much closer than before, and I’ll keep working on it.
Last Sunday I ran nearly six miles. It felt great. Still, my gait is still not as smooth as it once was, and running is not effortless like it used to be. I am much slower. But I still love it and am so glad to have running back in my life again.
Monday morning, I will be running in the Bolder Boulder along with 59,000 other people. I’ll be at the back of the pack, but enjoying every minute it.
A couple of weeks ago on a Wednesday morning, I met up with the local sales rep for ConMed Endoscopic Technologies before 8:00 am. Like the rep, I was decked out in a pair of scrubs and a comfortable pair of running shoes.
It happened to be GI Nurses and Associates Day. Who knew there was such a holiday? Apparently, I had a lot to learn!
Our first stop was a nearby endoscopy center, where due to the festive occasion, we dropped off some bagels. One of the nurses invited us back to a large storage room. The walls were lined with products from different companies.
The rep asked for the nurse who was responsible for ordering a certain product. Over the course of the day, we talked to nurses in several facilities who ordered product and seemed to have a lot of discretion over the purchases. In this case, the rep let the ordering nurse and several others know about other products he offered. He also got the name of a rep for one of the large national distributors.
When we were back in the car, he explained that he found it beneficial to partner with distributor reps in areas of his large territory, especially those who were tenured and have long-term relationships with customers. In such instances, as a manufacturer’s rep, he goes into the accounts with the distributor reps, closes new business for his products, and handles all the in-servicing of the account. Both he and the distributor rep increase their sales as a result.
We arrived at another endoscopy center on the other side of town. The waiting room was full of eager patients looking forward to a colonoscopy. This routine diagnostic procedure, recommended for most people at 50 years of age, is the most common GI procedure performed. Other common procedures include esophagogastroduodenoscopy, more commonly referred to as EGD or Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, a.k.a ERCP. (Thank goodness for acronyms!)
Here, we had an interesting conversation with the nurse manager. She had primary responsibility for sourcing many of the products used in the facility. One of her first questions was if the sales rep knew where to find collapsible wast canisters due to space constraints. The thought of all the medical waste generated by the facility sitting in a dump somewhere bothered her.
The nurse manager complemented the CET rep on his strong customer service, and grumbled about another company who had recently switched to a 1-800 number for all product issues. “When I have a patient on the table, I don’t want to call a 1-800 number and talk to someone who doesn’t know me or my situation.” She finds it harder to get things resolved quickly, compared to speaking directly with a sales rep for an immediate answer.
She also shared her experience about working with a rep who became “livid” when she had decided to buy from another company. The rep tried to low-ball on price. She told him flatly that was not how she did business. The rep then said he would go to another person in the facility about the purchase.
Not a smart move.
It was the nurse manager’s turn to be livid. “Excuse me,” she said to the low-ball sales rep, “I think you are misinformed about who is buying the product.” To us she explained that she wants to do business with someone who shares her ethics and values, and is honest and fair. This particular rep was someone she would never buy from as a result of this incident.
Back in the car, I asked the sales rep how he handled situations like the one she described. After all, it is a sales rep’s responsibility to figure out how to get the business. While making people angry is not a good way to grow one’s business, sometimes reps need to find alternative avenues for making a sale. The CET rep said he would consider approaching someone else in a facility for support in a similar situation, but he wouldn’t confront the other decision maker blatantly. Rather, he would ask someone else for support, and then fess up that he’d hit a wall elsewhere.
Part two, in which the heroine eats pizza and cleans a scope (well, almost.)
I spoke to a talented medical device saleswoman recently. Her dedication to her job is exceptional and she routinely works 90 hours a week. She is a single mom and is fortunate that her mother lives with her to help care for her children. The number of hours she works is definitely on the high end, but she finds great satisfaction in her job and knows her children are well-provided for.
Given the demands of achieving success in any full-time sales position, having a strong support system is key for many sales women. In medical device sales, this may mean having a someone else who can drop children off at daycare or school in the morning if an early case is scheduled. It may mean having someone who can help lift heavy equipment into the trunk of the car. Or, it may mean having a friend or mentor who can listen and offer suggestions about challenges faced in the field.
Medical device sales positions are typically field based positions, which offer a lot of freedom but lack the traditional support found through co-workers in an office-setting. Finding ways to connect with other reps in other territories is often crucial to discovering new and better ways of doing things and getting through the rough patches when they come along. Most reps I know call their peers on a regular basis for advice and support. It is important for anyone starting in medical device sales to start building such relationships from the beginning.
When working from home as most medical sales reps do, it’s important separate work from family life, not only to ensure that you are productive, but also for your own sanity. Sometimes biggest discipline issue can be turning off work for a while to spend time with family, since work is never more than a few steps away.
Some of these things can play a role for men in the industry as well. The rep I rode with this past week said he works constantly: in the field during the day, planning trips or answering emails at night after his kids are in bed, and spending time each weekend catching up on paperwork. At the same time, he feels he has greater flexibility to create his own schedule and working from home allows him to see his family more than when he was working out of an office.
If you are determined to be successful in the industry, there are many creative solutions for the challenges that come along. Organization and planning are key to overcoming many of them.
Please follow me on Twitter if you want to get updates throughout the day at http://twitter.com/myjobscope. If you have any questions you’d like me to ask the rep, please feel free to @message me @MyJobScope during the day.
My goal is to understand the job better, so I can explain it better to those I am recruiting. I hope that you’ll find it interesting and informative. In a few days time, I will write up the experience. Until then, here is my list of questions:
1. Which products do you advise surgeons on during procedures? How?
2. When you are in procedures, are the patients awake?
3. What is the best way to increase volume in account? What do you leverage the most: service, contracts, GPOs, innovative products, price, all of the above?
4. What is a typical sales cycle?
5. What are the keys to successful territory management and strategy?
6. What/who are the main call points?
7. How much are decisions driven by physician preference? Economic factors?
8. Who are the important influencers?
9. How much do you call on the C-Level? Purchasing?
10. What is the most complex deal you’ve closed?
11. Biggest competition? How many other reps do you compete with in this territory?
12. Why would someone who is really good at what they do want this job?
13. What essential skills does this job come down to? What has made you successful?
14. How do you stay current on new products? Procedures?
15. What’s one thing you do that had been very successful for you?
16. Why do you think reps fail?
17. What is the biggest difference between this and B2B sales? Why is it more satisfying?
18. What is the most fun on a day-to-day basis about this job?
19. Biggest headache?
20. If someone wanted to prepare themselves for a position like this, what would you recommend they do?
21. Fill in the blank: If you love ___________ you will love this job.
22. Fill in the blank: If you hate ___________ you will hate this job.
23. How often are you in procedures?
24. Percentage breakdown of your time according to different parts of the job?
25. What are the key questions you ask to qualify opportunities?
26. What are the top 3 things a rep must do in order to succeed?
Happy G.I. nurses and associates day! I hope you can tune in for the party.
There are many good reasons for women to take a closer look at the benefits of a sales career in medical device industry.
The medical device industry spans an incredible expanse of products and specialties, so it may be a foolish endeavor to generalize about medical device sales positions as a whole, but I am going to do it anyway. Here are a few of the myths and realities of medical device sales compared to pharmaceutical sales for those who may be considering these two career paths.
1. Myth: When you sell medical devices, especially surgical products used in the operating room, you are on call 24/7.
Reality: Except for trauma products, there are few positions that demand you be on call 24/7 – 365 days a year.
If you are selling surgical equipment and implants, you need to be available in the early morning hours (6-7am) on a routine basis to cover cases. There is a good chance that time in the O.R. will wrap up by mid-afternoon (3-4pm) most days, but then you may make a few afternoon calls, handle paperwork or plan for the next days cases. There is no doubt, successful medical device sales representatives work hard, but dedication is required for success in any field.
2. Myth: Pharmaceutical sales offers more stability than medical device sales.
Reality: Although pharmaceutical sales may initially offer higher base salaries and other perks compared to entry-level medical device sales positions, the pharmaceutical industry has been incredibly rocky the last few years with massive layoffs announced regularly.
In medical device sales you can create your own security through accumulating valuable expertise and building deep customer relationships. Long term income potential can be 2 or 3 times a pharmaceutical sales rep’s earnings for successful sales reps.
3. Myth: Work-life balance is difficult as a medical device sales representative.
Reality: Medical device sales representatives often have larger territories and their days may be less predictable than 8-12 office calls. A career in medical device sales requires you to think on your feet and turn on a dime, but for many sales women, the fast-paced excitement, high level of customer engagement and satisfaction of closing significant deals are exactly the reasons they got into sales in the first place.
There are women who try pharmaceutical sales and quickly find themselves bored. If you happen to be one of them, don’t tolerate the boredom for too long. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to break into medical device sales.
Whether transitioning from pharma or entering the industry directly from B2B sales, you’ll discover many rewards in medical device sales.
Can you think of other myths, or maybe even a few realities, that discourage women from pursuing medical device sales? The truth is, many segments of the industry would welcome more women in their ranks. I hope more women will realize how many tremendous career opportunities there are in medical device sales.
“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.” ~ Goethe
International Women’s Day was first introduced to me by a close friend of mine who is from Russia. It is considered an important day for Russian men to honor women- not as wives or mothers- but as equal members of society.
Today there are marches and events in countries around the world calling for greater equality for women in all areas of life. One story on the radio this morning was about a woman in China who wanted more opportunity to pursue her career.
Fortunately, in the U.S. women have many opportunities for advancing their education and careers, although parity in pay with men still lags behind. A recent study showed that female physicians are paid $17,000 less in starting salaries than their male counterparts, even when controlling for factors like choice of specialty.
Unlike salaried positions, sales earnings are determined by performance. If a woman takes down a large competitive account, her commissions will be directly commensurate. Arguably, sales is the best arena for women to be equitably compensated based on abilities and performance.
March is also Women’s History Month. In recognition of this, I will be writing this month about women in medical device sales. How they break in, why they choose it and the challenges and rewards they find once they get there.