A career in medical sales is often filled with awesome perks, opportunities for growth, and a pretty lucrative paycheck that rises with experience. You’ve probably seen pop culture references, heard about the flexible lifestyle, and perhaps have friends in the industry. However, while a medical sales career is one of the more rewarding and prestigious professions, it’s not always easy to break into the industry. In fact, it takes a lot more than applying for a job and hoping that you get it. It takes some proactive work you may not have considered.
If you’re serious about a career in medical sales, you should be aware of the key stepping stones you will need to get you there. Whether you’re fresh out of college or looking to switch careers, a job in medical sales can be yours if you complete the following steps:
1. Obtain the right educational background
A four-year degree is a typical requirement for breaking into medical sales, and a life science or business major is preferred. Whatever the major, it’s wise to have an array of courses under your belt. But you don’t have to be currently enrolled in a university to expand your knowledge; there are tons of online or tutoring retargets available now.
So, what are the best courses to take? You should enroll in a variety: For instance, taking some psychology courses can help you to understand your audience, whereas basic finance can assist you to seal contracts. Public speaking courses may also be your best friend in presentations or meetings. Since it’s not easy to predict who you’ll be working for or what setting you may be in, widespread knowledge and transferable skills are a good foundation for a successful medical sales career.
2. Secure a mentor
Mentors are great retargets when you’re trying to break into a new industry. They’ve been there, made their mark, and can provide key insight on how you can succeed in the industry.
How do you go about acquiring a mentor? Professional organizations are hubs for leaders who can help you to develop your skills. Social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn are also places potential mentors may gather. Past professors, colleagues, or even a previous boss may be able to nurture your skills. Keep in mind that in order to get a mentor, you need to present why you’re worth their time — and that starts with creating a mutually beneficial relationship, conveying your enthusiasm, and showing your tenacity for the industry.
3. Gain B2B sales experience
If you’re looking to break into the medical sales industry, you need to gain ample B2B sales experience in order to hone your skills. This can happen in a variety of ways, such as participating in a sales training program or having a few internships under your belt. Regardless of the type, B2B sales experience is an invaluable part of your growth process and can be a beneficial addition to your career.
Once you have ample B2B sales experience under your belt, you’re more attractive to recruiters because you’ve learned what it takes to get in front of a buyer and close a sale. Hiring managers often think if you’ve been successful selling copiers, for example, you will have the necessary skills to thrive in the medical sales industry.
4. Build your brag book
After you’ve gotten the educational background and a few work experiences under your belt, it’s important that you show some key examples of success. Keep a documented record of success, something along the lines of a “brag book,” which is a portfolio of documents displaying your personal achievements. These include ranking and commission reports, positive emails from customers, and stellar performance reviews. This brag book can be brought to networking events, interviews, or any other place where an employer may be present.
Be ready to give a short presentation of your brag book, hitting the highlights of your key successes without boring your audience. The best medical sales job candidates have hard numbers to back up their claims of greatness and brag books are the best way to provide that documentation.
5. Give a killer interview
Oftentimes in a medical sales job, you will be managing a large territory entirely on your own. So, you may need to give presentations to the C-suite or lead training classes for providers. If you hope to be given these responsibilities, you must be able to show your interviewer that you’ve independently managed high-stakes situations in the past with positive outcomes.
Prepare specific examples of presentations you’ve given, projects you managed, or a time you were able to single-handedly persuade a particularly obstinate prospect. In order to get a medical sales job, you need to show the hiring manager that you can take the initiative and make an impact on your own. A rolling list of concrete examples should make the interview process a breeze.
A job in medical sales may not be simple to break into, but it can provide you with an enriching and satisfying career for many years to come. By using the above steps in your professional development, you’ll be able to break into a medical sales career with a deeper knowledge base and appreciation for the industry.
What do you think? What are some other stepping stones to break into a job in medical sales?
About the Guest Post Contributor:
Robyn Melhuish is the Communications Manager at MedReps.com, a job board which gives members access to the most sought after medical sales jobs and pharmaceutical sales jobs on the Web. Connect with Robyn and MedReps.com on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
A profile of Medical Sales Career Job Seeker by visual.ly