Getting Started in Medical Sales 

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Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Denny (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 11, 2003 03:42PM

Can anyone provide some guidance/advice on how to break into medical device sales? I have 5 years of successful sales experience selling custom pc equipment. I have experience calling on the hospital market as well as the physician office market. I'm trying to leverage my experience with computers and hospital purchasing into the device field. I also have direct experience selling the same pc systems into the physician office. The physician is the decision maker. Any advice would be appreciated and helpful...

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: wasfi (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 21, 2003 02:21AM


Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Lisa (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 21, 2003 08:10PM


I saw your message. I am from NH and am also trying to break into Pharma Sales or Medical Device. I have a BS in Health Administration with 6 years of selling directly to hospital professionals. I have been in the Nursing Home and Retirement Community industry selling healthcare services such as Cardiac Monitoring, IV therapy, PT, ST and OT, wound care etc. I feel like I am racking my brain every day trying to make something happen. I go to Network groups, send out many many resumes over the net and so on. I feel as though I need to go for a Masters degree in Pharmacy or science. PLease let me know if you figure out something. Thanks Lisa

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: SSD (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 24, 2003 03:39PM

I am also trying to do the same. I have had a number of interviews though and one offer to be an independent rep. I started in early Sept. I have over 20 years experience with 13 of those in B-to-B Sales of telecom capital equipment (huge deals), consulting and enterprise software. I also spent 7 years as an R&D engineer in Bell Labs. I found that going straight to VP of sales - cold emailing my resumes or director level or hiring managers works the best. If I go through HR nothing happens. I used my alumni directory to obtain one pharma sales interview. Though Pharma sales is not for me. I am continuing my search on late Friday afternoon since I'm not sure the one company who provided me with a contract will accept my proposed changes. Lisa just keep at it since you have a good background. I also found that medical product companies are not really hiring now. Very few openings. Perhaps it will get better in early 2004.

Re: Breaking into Pharmaceutical Sales
Posted by: Lisa (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 24, 2003 08:21PM


Hi SSD, Thanks for the encouragement. I will continue to try to break into this industry. I have good days and bad. If you have any leads for me please let me know. I live in NH.

Re: Breaking into Pharmaceutical Sales
Posted by: SSD (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 28, 2003 12:04PM

I sent out around 700 resumes to get 5 interviews and one offer to be an independent rep. Its definately tough out there.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: jerry (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 29, 2003 09:05AM

Your experience with computers may help you find opportunities with companies specializing in image guided surgical procedures (software driven medical devices). A few names come to mind: BrainLab, Stryker, Medtronic, Aesculap. These companies are currently marketing their new orthopedic capabilites and are predicting explosive growth in the orthopedic marketplace.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: cfr (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 01, 2003 04:57PM

I currently have an extremely difficult decision and would greatly appreciate any advice:
I have been in oncology pharm sales for 5yrs (7yrs total pharm), my base is very generous but like most pharm.companies the bonus is capped around 25-30k a year. I have consistently ranked high and achieve 100%+ quota each year so I am discouraged by the bonus system. I would love to work in medical device sales, I have called on general surgeons, surgical oncologists, etc. The problem is that the salary would be half but the bonus would be unlimited. The guarantee is the uncertainty since I am my family's "breadwinner"
I am currently interviewing with Ethicon Endo-Surgery (good, bad?) ideally I would like to work with surgical oncologists,etc. Any great companies currently interviewing? Experienced med. device reps. please offer your insights.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Med Recruiter (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 04, 2003 03:14PM

Ethicon-Endo is a great company. You take a risk when moving from pharma to medical, but the benefits by far out-weigh the risks. If you ar the type of sales rep who likes the "close", you would most likely do well in the medical industry.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Craig (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 05, 2003 03:08PM


I have been interested in getting involved with a elder care supply company like you one yousaid you currently work for. I have four years of successful sale experiance, a minor in Gerontology and a great understanding of elder care. Please let me know if you have any advice.

Thank you.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Jeff (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 06, 2003 12:26AM

Having worked for the company, I can attest to the fact that Ethicon Endo is a very good company. There is a unique culture in the organization that takes some getting used to but the training is fantastic and the remuneration is generally good. This is one of the top mid-tier medical equipment companies to work for. ("mid-tier" relative to Medtronic, Guidant, etc.)

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: SSD (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 07, 2003 02:48PM

I'm finally interviewing with the top med product companies. Had a F2F for a ortho spine sales position and a phone interview for a cardio capital equipment sales. Both interviews went exceedingly well. They both liked my engineering and tech sales background plus a brother who is a cardiologist. Med Prod experts, please tell me in your opinion what is a better profession - cardio or ortho? Which one will pay the most and would be more fulfilling as a career?

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Jeff (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 10, 2003 12:04AM

I haven't sold either cardio or spine products...but I know people that do. Cardio capital equipment would most likely be a very different animal than ortho spine.

With spine, you're in the OR with the neurosurgeon or ortho spine doc for every (or darn near almost every) case. These are LONG cases usually (two level laminectomies, PLIFs, ALIFs, yadda yadda yadda). You're on call a lot and have to work odd hours due to the fact that your products are often used on patients who've been injured in car accidents, falls, etc. Also, you drive around with a lot of stuff...crates and crates of stuff (spine sets). How's the money? Good to great.

Capital equipment is usually a different kind of gig. You're in the OR for demos but you're doing as much, or more, selling to hospital materials people and administrators. Also, as the name implies...this is a capital sale. There isn't insurance reimbursement a hospital is going to receive to cover the "purchase" of the device. They may receive pay for the use of the equipment down the road (e.g. a perfusion machine pays for itself over 'X' months/years/etc. but they won't receive any $$ to cover the immediate cost. Bottom've got a much longer sales cycle but this is more like "selling" for people who are coming from a world where you've perhaps sold copiers, software solutions, etc. How's the money? Good to Great...just like much of the wonderful world of medical least for the moment.

post your email address if you have any more questions and I can respond more.


Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: SSD (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 10, 2003 07:11AM


Thanks for your input. I think either job would be great, with the Cadio cap equip sales being closer to my background. My email is:

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: bobby (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 13, 2003 10:59AM

Hello, I'm an MD with one year of internship and im looking into the med device sales field. I have lots of questions. what are the chances with my background..i have a very good set of personal and communications skills but no industry exp. however, i do know lotsa of docs and can obviously talk scientific/clinicalese. what are some actual salary numbers? chances for advancement? travel time and territory? ups and downs of the job as compared to pharm sales..iheard better salary? thank you..

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: SSD (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 14, 2003 01:33PM

The Cardio Sales job pays around $80K in salary, benefits plus car and if I am on plan would pay me $170K. I believe there is unlimited commission. The ortho job probally pays (have not got details) around $50K in salary plus unlimited commission, car and benefits. I understand top ortho reps can make $250K up to 1million per year with hard work. Pharma reps make between $45 - $65K in salary, car, benefits and bonuses capped at a total of $80 to $100K.

You may be perceived as overqualified with a MD degree. I have a BS and MS in Elec Engineering (20 yrs experience) and I have been told that I am overqualified for Pharma jobs. I scared the DM I interviewed with. The Med products people seem to like me once I can get to the hiring VPs and Mgrs. Forget HR, you will not get anywhere.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Lisa (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 15, 2003 07:58AM


Any luck with the job hunt? Lisa

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Jeff (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 20, 2003 01:36PM

Best way for anyone to break in to the business is to cold call reps that work for companies and in positions that, through your research, you've determined you want to work for. For example, you know you want to sell cardiac pacemakers. the local hospital or look on the company's web site and find an 800 number to get the name of the rep that is responsible for a hospital in your area. Shoot them a voicemail and explain who you are and why you're leaving a message. Offer to buy them coffee and discuss their career.

Sounds daunting but this is how I went from marketing tomato products to working for the best medical equipment company (in my opinion) in the world. I'm always willing to sit down with someone when they call.

As for being an MD...more power to you. In this career you can easily make 125-180K depending on what you sell and where you live and...most'll have a much more humane (i.e. more time off) lifestyle.

Best wishes,

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: SSD (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 21, 2003 03:55PM

I am having sucess interviewing with the top med tech companies by cold calling or emaling VPs and Directors. I have not had much luck with reps. I think that I might be their competition.

Jeff, how did you convince the company that you could move from tomatoes to med? I am currently interviewing with a top Med Tech company and apparently I am perfect except that I don't have the clinical sales experience. I have repeatly explained to the three people I interviewed with that I can learn quickly. I also have expertise in an area that they want. I appreciate your advice:

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: David Russo (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 22, 2003 06:10PM


You mentioned getting the local medical reps name and number and calling him. I've only begun my search a short time ago and know that's it's all who you know. I live in Florida and aren't sure where you are, but would appreciate an opportunity to talk to you live. First time on this website and I'm not sure if I should leave my e-mail or if when I send this to you, you see it already. I realize that you probably get this from many people, but It never hurts to ask.

Thank you


Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Jeff (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 25, 2003 11:46AM

Re. convincing hiring managers that you can make a jump from your current calling to a medical sales can be difficult. I can't say that my initial efforts were all successful. I had a lot of non-returned phone calls as well as "thanks but no thanks letters" post-interview.

Interviewing skills are the key to everything. Always be closing throughout the interview. Relate what you do now to how you'll be closing in medical sales...where the person you're often selling to, the doctor, isn't the one who actually pays for the product. This is a complex sale and if you've demonstrated you can be successful selling fertilizer you should be able to sell surgical staplers, perfusion machines, or whatever...just CONVINCE them during the interview.

There are some snobs out there who only want to see people with 5 years clinical sales experience and nothing you say will convince them. Accept this and move on to the next opportunity.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: ken (Host IP Logged)
Date: December 04, 2003 03:22PM

what can you tell me about the acceptance of their product line among physicians and who is the biggest competitor

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Tim (Host IP Logged)
Date: December 09, 2003 01:42PM

Hi Lisa - I saw your note posted and wanted to reply. I am from NH as well and have just secured the exclusive rights to a medical device that is incredible. I am looking for asles reps asap. please respond if you are still actively in pursuit of sales type job. Thanks, Tim

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: SSD (Host IP Logged)
Date: December 09, 2003 04:27PM

I had my 7th interview yesterday morning and will have my 8th on Thurs with top Med Product Companies. They all think that I have everything except for the Med Prod experience. I even put together a comparison chart and a presentation of myself. 13 years of complext highly tech sales erc...

What is the best way to overcome this objection - But No Med Prod experience!

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Lisa (Host IP Logged)
Date: December 10, 2003 08:53AM

Hi Tim. Yes. I am still actively looking please e-mail me at or call me at 603-315-9689. Thanks Lisa

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Michael (Host IP Logged)
Date: December 10, 2003 08:05PM

I'm trying to get back into medical sales. My company dissolved a division, and I have been back in the laboratory as a bench tech since.

MICHAEL D. SWEETIN (256) 413-0653
5790 Ann Street • Southside, Alabama 35907
Accomplished sales professional with experience in the marketing of medical equipment, supplies, in the physician office,
and hospital arenas. Experience in detailing, and selling of pharmaceuticals. Former laboratory manager.

Managed territories of over $2MM, and started new ones in areas not previously called on by company. Called on
physicians offices, reference laboratories, hospitals, ambulance companies, and pharmacies. Maintained exclusive vendor
contracts, and worked closely with manufacturer’s representatives to get maximum potential business from customers.
Demonstrated, sold, and installed high ticket capital equipment ranging from 10K to 75K. Recognized for sales
achievement. Detailed physicians, and sold pharmaceuticals. Worked for one company that filed bankruptcy, and
another that eliminated a division of its sales force.

Managed hospital laboratory. Everyday responsibilities included quality control, and quality assurance of testing,
staffing, supplies, and budgeting.

Fisher Healthcare – 11/2000 to 12/2001 (Division dissolved)
Account Manager, Distributor sales calling on Hospitals, and reference laboratories. Sold through, and negotiated
exclusive vendor contracts. Negotiated rebate contracts for customers. Sold capital equipment, as well as disposable

Hawthorn/Cypress Pharmaceuticals – 6/1998 to 11/2000
Sales Representative, Became top generic sales representative, selling to pharmacies throughout Alabama. Detailed
physicians, and sold niche products to pharmacies. Had new reps ride with me to observe office visits.

MDS Matrx Medical – 6/1997 to 6/1998 (Territories consolidated)
Sales Representative, Sold supplies, and equipment to EMS, and ambulance companies. Covered portions of 3 states.
Produced over $1MM in territory. Trained customers, and made presentations to city councils. Territories combined to
minimize sales personnel.

Laboratory Supply Co. – 1/1995 to 5/1997
Sales Representative, Started new territory for company, calling on physician offices. Sold everyday physician supplies,
and diagnostic equipment.

Rupp and Bowman Company – 9/1993 to 1/1995 (Company Bankrupt)
Sales Representative, Sold exclusive products to major medical centers. Held seminars on specialized immunology

Infolab, Inc. – 9/1993 to 1/1995
Sales Representative, Maintained entry level territory, selling to physician offices, and small hospitals. Sold capital
equipment, and every day disposables.

Business Management/Marketing, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama
Medical Laboratory Technology, Gadsden State Jr. College, Gadsden, Alabama

Michael Sweetin
5790 Ann Street
Southside, Alabama 35907

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Gerry Russell (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 08, 2004 12:13AM

Hi Tim,

Your new medical device sounds intriguing, I'm in the Louisville, KY area and am looking for a new product to rep. If you are in need of a rep who can cover Louisville, Cincy, Indy and Nashville
let me know.

Gerry Russell
502. 290-1438 fax

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Jeff Harris (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 19, 2004 09:31PM

Dear Posted by: bobby (4.36.61.---)
Date: 11-13-03 10:59


You may want to look at Aesculap for instance. And, you may find working in marketing as rewarding as being a bag carrying field sales rep. However, I can appreciate the relative autonomy afforded a field sales rep that makes this profession attractive to some breeds. Nowadays, the windshield time becomes the downside

I have sold capital equipment for 3 Fortune 500 companies and med-surg for one. Now I am looking at establishing myself as an independent rep with a couple of strong lines. My challenge now is how to find those primo lines. Contact me if you think I can help.

Jeff Harris
Newport Beach, CA

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: Daria Grant (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 21, 2004 03:28PM

Hi Tim:
I have sold medical devices for over 11 years in the Western US States. I have been negotiating with an International manufacturer for a surgical device but FDA regs have made this impossible. I am looking to represent a product in the West Coast. Does your company need representation in this market.

Re: Breaking into Medical Device sales
Posted by: bubba (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 25, 2004 10:10PM

i worked in ortho for 3 years. there is a great opportunity to make a lot of money (300k+). i am not sure by your post if you would be selling the whole bag or just spine. if it is just spine, i would say you should seriously consider it. if you are doing trauma though, consider that you would be taking a lot of call. if you are successful like everyone works to be, you will be called in the middle of the night and on weekends a lot. i think that is the same with a lot of cardiac products. take that into consideration because it can consume all of your free time.

both industries have an atmosphere that builds very loyal relationships between rep and surgeon. iy could take years before you make decent inroads and the money soon follows. good luck.

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