Getting Started in Medical Sales 

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Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: Mike Smith (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 12, 2008 10:37PM

Hello everyone,

I wanted to find out how hard it is to get in the medical device industry. I was speaking with someone who was a regional mangager at Medtronic. He explained they have sales reps and also clinical analyst's. I'm currently employed in the transportation industry and have been there for 13 years (I'm 32 now) I currently manage a portfolio of about 200M in revenue. I'm a type A personality who understands my customers and their needs. Is this something that is out of reach? I work for a Fortune Top 100 company and have been very successful. The earnings in my profession is around 170k-190k gross. What is the best recipe for success to get in? Any information you could provide is appreciated!

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: Chuck (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 13, 2008 05:26PM

Are you kidding me? In this economy with zero experience in Medical, and your earnings at $170-190 presently, let me tell you that the grass will not be any greener in the medical field. Let me ask you, how hard is it to get into YOUR field?????

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: mike (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 13, 2008 06:41PM

I understand that it might be a step back at first but have been told that earnings potential is huge after 3-5 years. Hey it's sales so whatever you decide to put forth will be your reward. In our industry it's pretty hard to get on unless you know someone who can put a good word in for ya.

I'm looking at the larger companies like Medtronic and J&J

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: Chuck (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 14, 2008 10:58PM

I have been in Medical Sales for a very long time, and I have not seen, with very, very few exceptions the "huge" earnings you are referring to. Yes it is sales, but it is not always directly related to the effort you put in. Have you heard of territory splits? New comp plans? Raising Quota's? Just because you sell more, doesn't mean you will always make more if they keep raising the bar, year after year. Straight commission or 1099? You can lose your line just as easily for doing too good (they hire their own direct people), as for not doing well. In this business it's all about looking good to the shareholders, so companies like Medtronic cut entire sales forces, cut people, cut territories, whatever is neccessary for the current person running the show who's ass is on the line for this fiscal year to look good. Ask around and see what happened to the Medtronic blood management reps who sold their cell savers. Ask what happened to the reps that sold the Medtronic ACT equipment...they all lost their jobs too. ALL of them. The big earnings you may have heard about usually are a very short term situation, then the bubble bursts and it's all over. It is not consistent year after year. Why should they let it be like that? They have to report to the shardholders so they split the territory and get two or three reps to keep the growth curve growing, or worse, they get rid of the rep altogehter. If you are making the kind of money you say you are, I would strongly suggest that you think this through. It will take years and years to make up the cut in pay that you will take, if and that is a BIG, BIG if, you can even get to the income level you are at now, let alone substanially above it. I would give it less than 1 chance in 100 that in 7 years you would have made more money by switching to Medical, instead of just staying where you at now. If you were making 60K right now, this would be a totally different speach. Don't you think that every rep that is in Medical sales right now wants those exact same high paying positions? The competition for these gems is unbelievable. The hiring companies have their pick from the entire pool of talent, and they want extremely specific sets of experience, contacts, relationships (that may be with specific surgeons) and product knowledge. The talent pool is filled with excellent, even great salespeople who don't get picked because the hiring compainies are so specific in what they want. I could go on and on, but hopefully you will take some of this advice and be very, very careful in what you decide to do. Best of Luck!

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: ISR Newby (Host IP Logged)
Date: October 17, 2008 03:33PM

I could not agree with you more Chuck! Well said.

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: Established ISR (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 06, 2008 11:00PM

Very well stated, Chuck

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: kurt (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 21, 2008 07:36PM

First of all, let me say that I believe, with all my soul, that the worst fate to ever befall humankind is the hourly wage. The very idea of trading time for money is ridiculous. You only have so many hours in a day.

Would you trade your place in the race for $12 an hour? I did.

I know, the hourly wage, and its cousin ďsalary plus commissionĒ offer security. But it is a dead and soul consuming security. Remember the Matrix? The real matrix is the hourly wage. Not only does it devour the spirit of the worker, it coaxes the employer to engage in ever deepening surveillance, to ensure he is getting a full hoursí work for a full hoursí pay. This over-watching crushes the creative spirit of the subject and demeans the employer as well.

Add to this the burden of the bureaucracy you as a sales person must support. When I started my first, and only, office job, it was in medical device sales. There were 15 sales people and maybe 15 other employees including managers and the boss. By the time I left, six years later, there were still 15 sales people but over 50 other employees; NOT including management and the boss and his assistant. You could literally feel the dead weight on your shoulders every time you, as a sales person, walked through the place.

You must declare your independence from the hourly wage and cast off the dead weight of the bureaucracy, harness the incredible earning power of residual income. Work at home, and make $12 an hour.

Whatís so great about twelve bucks an hour? Nothing, until you multiply that time 8,765. Why 8765? Because thatís how many hours there are in a year. Eight thousand, seven hundred, sixty five hours in a year; and you make $12 for each one. Thatís over $100,000 per year, working from home, with no start up costs or quotas or crushing bureaucracy. You work a few hours per day, 3, 4 5, whatever you want. The more you sell the more you make. You are never on-call, never have to work 24/7, and never have to attend another meeting.

$20, $25, even $30 dollars an hour is not out of reach, and not that far down the road. If you already have contacts with Orthos or Pain Clinics, Chiropractors or PTs; you can help those clients increase their monthly cash flow with no cost and begin earning several thousand per month within 90 days.

PS The answer is $262,950. ($30 / hr x 8765 )

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: Martin Gold (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 25, 2008 12:40PM

I think you may have gotten a picture of the financial potential from a specific type of medical sales rep. Direct sales reps that work for companies like Medtronic, St. Jude, Boston Scientific and J&J are often "Surgical Sales Reps". They often have many years of experience in the Operating Room (OR) and are selling implantable devices that sell for $10,000+ each. This makes for a very attractive commission structure. The vast majority of medical sales reps are often selling non-implantable lower priced products and commodities--especially independent sales reps.

That's not to say you couldn't move into such a position, but its often something a good medical sales rep advances into after many years of sales experience. I would suggest that if you're willing to "work your way up" that you find some recruiters/headhunters and speak with them about available opportunities and a growth path. Even in this turbulent economy many of my clients (medical device companies) are aggressively expanding their sales forces.

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: L.A. (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 21, 2009 06:01PM

WoW!!! This is the best web site that I happened to stumble across in the last 5 years. Big up's to Chuck! and Kurt you have offically been quoted and hanging in my office now (LOL). And, Martin thanks for K.I.S.S. I am totally new to the Medical Sales Industry, however I have spend over 15 years chasing the $100k plus salary and the independece in Healthcare Marketing (mostly services). But I really got tired of the rat race, went back to school and became a nurse. I just signed on my first line today, however like most females I am still hanging on to my lifeline with my evening floor nursing job. So all in all, even though I am new to the game. I would suggest that you consider the advice of all the posters, and when "faith and finances" would have it, step off the branch and see if you can fly.

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: Chris Tillman (Host IP Logged)
Date: March 04, 2009 03:00PM

You can get in, but you need to get yourself into a lot of interviews. I recommend you send your resume to as many recruiters as possible. Also use healthsalesreps [dot] com, it can help you as well.

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: Arthur (Host IP Logged)
Date: January 23, 2011 09:32AM

Don't do it that's all I can say.....tell me a medical rep that's happy....none of them they are treated like animals going to the slaughter. Stay where you are buddy.....this is a world of going backward....

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: kenneth moran (Host IP Logged)
Date: April 09, 2011 09:17PM

I totally agree! Exchanging time for money is an industrial practice that is dead. i am currently exchanging time for money but I like your plan better! I have a few chiro contacts. what opportunities do you have? i am interested in working for people who share my thinking.

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: Josh Sparks (Host IP Logged)
Date: April 30, 2011 08:28AM

Could you give me some more info on what you are talking about? Thanks

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: Dan (Host IP Logged)
Date: July 18, 2011 05:30PM

Dear Mike and all of Mike's respondents.

I agree with everything said. All of these scenerios have and will continue to occur with the large cartel Ortho companies.

Your control is gone once they have the customer information.

I have manufactured Orthopedic devices for 23 years for the cartel. They outsourced overseas 23 years of development I did for them. It is not just the sales they are taking over. We are all in the same boat.

Here is my proposal to all of you interested.

Are any of you interested in starting your own device company.

I will show you an opportunity I have been working on for 2 years with Spine / extremity and trauma products of great quality.

The entire USA is open with the right group of ISR's.

Interested in talking more give me a call.


Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: Diana (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 08, 2011 09:47PM

How hard to get in? Really hard -- BUT I told a few people about this stellar guy, Will Richter. He just left Boston Scientific as a Regional Sales Mgr. He's now doing seminars on how to get into the med sales industry (his niche was devices). The seminars are all around the nation. First one's in January. Go to his website www dot medicalrepinsight dot com and read more. I'm going in January. He's hands-on and has loads of contacts and val info.
Best of luck in your search!

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: hoppy123 (Host IP Logged)
Date: November 09, 2011 03:53PM

After seeing what you said about the Seminar in January, I just made my reservation. Thank you for the info...I am really excited. Are you going to be at the Tampa or Ft Lauderdale one?

Re: Medical Device Sales - How hard to get in??
Posted by: ekgdepot (Host IP Logged)
Date: August 12, 2013 06:59AM

i think its really hard