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Top 7 Medical Sales Jobs

Top 7 Medical Sales Jobs

Medical sales jobs involve supplying doctors, hospitals, clinics, and other institutions with the materials they need to effectively carry out healthcare operations. Professionals in this niche are important links in the medical supply chain, connecting practitioners to the best tools. They create a bridge between manufacturers and medical practices, improving communication.

Medical sales representatives need a variety of skills to do their work effectively. For instance, they must have highly advanced interpersonal skills. That’s because they need to be able to convince skeptical audiences that they stand to benefit from medical products and drugs.

They also need research skills, including in-depth technical knowledge of the products they sell and the conditions they treat.

Key aspects of medical sales roles include:

  • Being able to answer all the customers’ queries
  • Knowing where healthcare practitioners can apply various products
  • Advertising products, including pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices and equipment
  • Understanding how to target practitioners in various roles, including nurses, physicians, and pharmacists
  • Being able to explain the benefits of products in terminology that doctors will understand
  • Providing advice on how to best use products.

A day in the life of a medical sales job typically involves a lot of travel. Vendors will commission you to go from one clinic to another, trying to drum up sales. You may then have to make return visits in the future to broker a final deal.

Medical sales jobs come with a variety of responsibilities too. These include:

  • Keeping a close eye on competitor activity in the market, tracking the products they are selling to hospitals and clinics
  • Attending regular training to improve your skills
  • Submitting daily reports, including prospect information (such as names, addresses, titles and telephone numbers)
  • Meeting multiple stakeholders from healthcare organizations with the authority to make purchases
  • Contacting physicians and other healthcare professionals to encourage sales
  • Following up with previously pitched clients
  • Attending product launches

In this post, we look at some of the best medical sales jobs currently available and precisely what they entail. Learn more below:


1.  Biotechnology Sales Rep


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Biotechnology is a growing field, with new technologies coming online all the time. Gene reading, writing, and editing, as well as immunotherapies, are leading to an explosion in available treatments.

Sales representatives who understand the field are needed. Vendors require people who understand new treatments and can explain it to decision-makers in clinics clearly and concisely.

Biotech sales usually kick in once pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other products get FDA approval. The rep is a person who researches the product, understands how it works, and then explains it to practitioners who will eventually use it.

Biotech reps target three main sales channels:

  • Surgeries and operating rooms
  • Hospitals
  • Physicians’ offices

Sales representatives work with doctors to update them on the latest advances in medicine – particularly genomic interventions.

Salaries for biotechnology sales representatives are high, with average compensation reported at $198,000 per year. Those selling to hospitals may earn up to $201,000 per year, while those specializing in surgery and operating room sales may be able to bump their salaries up as high as $230,000 per year.

The job rewards you more the longer you stay in it. Entry-level biotech medical sales reps can earn around $151,000 per year after a couple of years of training. Those who stick with it for the long haul may be able to make as much as $220,000 per year.

To become a biotech sales rep, you will need to:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree
  • Have experience in the life sciences
  • Be able to discuss the latest medical technology and advances competently


2.  Medical Device Sales Representative


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Medical devices are specialist pieces of equipment designed to diagnose and treat patients. Today, there are thousands of manufacturers operating in this space, all innovating to create the best possible equipment. As a medical device sales representative, it’s your job to communicate the benefits of new technologies to healthcare practitioners.

There are many types of medical equipment that you could sell. The FDA classifies these as follows:

  • Class I Devices: These are low-risk devices used in the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of diseases. To be in this category, the device must be similar to basic devices already on the market. Examples include non-electric wheelchairs, bandages, and conventional surgical implements.
  • Class II Devices: These are moderate-risk devices. Good examples include CT scanners and infusion pumps used for medicines delivered intravenously.
  • Class III Devices: These are the highest-risk devices and typically involved in sustaining life. They include deep brain stimulators, pacemakers and intensive care machines.

You may be involved in selling the following types of medical devices including:

  • Positron emission tomography equipment
  • X-ray machines
  • Magnetic resonance imaging machines
  • Ultrasound stimulators
  • Pedometers
  • Goniometers
  • Scoliometer
  • Manipulation boards
  • Electroencephalography machines
  • Electrolyte analyzers
  • Light microscopes
  • Urinalysis analyzers
  • Bladder scanners
  • Stool management devices
  • Cardiac programmers
  • Heart positioners

Because the list of devices is so extensive, medical sales reps tend to specialize in niche sales already.

  1. Laboratory: In some cases, you may want to sell equipment directly to laboratories. Here, you’ll connect technicians with osmometers, pipettes histology stainers and tissue baths, coagulation analysers and patient blood gas analyzers.
  2. Obstetrics: Maternity care wards are often keen for you to supply them with the latest devices, including infant radiant warmers, incubators and umbilical cord clamps.
  3. Physical therapy: Reps working in this area supply various devices and equipment for physical rehabilitation. Examples include mobility platforms, exercise bars, hand bars, mat platforms and aquatic floats.
  4. Radiology: Radiology-focused medical sales reps sell X-ray machines, PET and MRI scanners, CT scanners and ultrasound machines

This role is ideal for people who love new technology and want to understand it. The more you can get to grips with the benefits and use cases of the devices you sell, the more confident medical practitioners will feel in buying from you.

To get into this field, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. Ideally, you’ll also require experience in the life sciences arena, preferably in a laboratory or medical setting.

Medical device sales reps earn high wages – an average of $150,00 per year. Base salaries begin at an impressive $92,000 per year and grow from there over time. Commission is a large chunk of the pay – often more than half.


3.  Project Sales Manager


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A project sales manager is a professional who is responsible for meeting and exceeding sales targets for a specific region. These professionals rarely sell medical equipment directly. Instead, they put strategies in place to make sales happen. Their role involves:

  • Setting sales targets for every rep
  • Monitoring sales performance
  • Offering poor-performing reps coaching
  • Creating sales plans
  • Managing market research
  • Deciding on the most lucrative products to sell

To be a good medical sales manager, you will require good management skills, not selling skills. People who excel in this role:

  • Create a culture of accountability
  • Motivate employees with a common goal
  • Assert themselves in the face of conflict or pushback
  • Build deep and meaningful relationships with their teams
  • Do what’s best for the business, not for internal politics

Salaries for medical sales managers vary dramatically. Average pay is around $129,000 per year but can be as high as $720,000 in some cases.


4.  Pharmaceutical Sales Representative


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Pharmaceutical sales representatives sell products that chemically alter patients’ bodies. Their target market is physicians and hospitals.

To become an effective pharmaceutical sales representative, you will need to become an expert in your company’s product lines. You’ll need to fully understand how drugs work, the conditions they treat, and how they compare to existing products on the market.

To avoid cannibalization, you’ll need to understand the product structure of the company you represent. In your discussions with healthcare practitioners, you’ll have to think carefully about which lines will benefit them the most – and offer the company you work for the highest margins.

There are multiple pharmaceutical drug categories in which you could specialize. These include:

  • Antidepressants: Designed to lift the mood of patients. These fall into three categories: selective serotonin uptake inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and tricyclics
  • Antihistamine: Counters the effect of histamines in the environment, chemicals that cause allergic reactions
  • Antihypertensives: Designed to reduce blood pressure. Common types include centrally acting antihypertensives, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and beta blockers.
  • Corticosteroids: Hormonal preparations used as anti-inflammatories or immunosuppressants for arthritis and asthma patients
  • Hormones: Naturally derived chemicals that physicians use when patients’ endogenous hormone levels are out of balance (such as thyroid, pancreas, testes, and ovaries)
  • Sleeping Drugs: Medications designed to help patients drift off to sleep. Most drugs in this category are either benzodiazepine (famous for calming the nerves) and barbiturates
  • Tranquilizers: Drugs that have generally calming or sedative effects, often used as antipsychotics

To become successful in pharmaceutical sales, you need to be comfortable in explaining how the product works, why it is the best option, and some of the drawbacks that it entails. Gathering deep expertise in a particular type of drug can help reduce the steepness of the learning curve and help you develop a real specialism.

Naturally, your audience won’t be expert in every new drug that hits the market – there are just too many of them. Because of this, if you go into this field, you’ll need to fill in the gaps in their knowledge and, in many cases, educate them.

The average pay for a pharmaceutical sales rep is around $92,000 per year. However, as with the other sales rep jobs on this list, the pay distribution is wide. Workers can earn considerably more than this figure, and considerably less.


5.  Surgical Sales Representative


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A surgical sales rep is like a medical device rep, except they specialize in selling all of the equipment, devices, supplies and instruments required by surgical teams. Their primary responsibilities include:

  • Making presentations to surgeons, discussing new or updated equipment that they might want to try
  • Demonstrating new surgical devices in operation
  • Performing a range of administrative tasks related to the sale
  • Traveling to clinics and hospitals
  • Attending conferences

As a surgical sales rep, you’ll sell items such as surgical clips, image-guided surgery products, shunts, wound drainage equipment, stockinette’s and smoke evacuators. In this role, you’ll need to understand the use and function of a wide array of devices, not just a small selection. Most vendors have large product ranges, and they will expect you to be able to pitch them convincingly to medical professionals.

Surgical sales representatives are generally well paid. Top earners can work their way up to around $125,000 per year basic rate. They can also add large commissions onto this, based on how much they sell.

The average surgical sales representative makes around $35 per hour, translating to approximately $75,000 per year. Experts predict large job growth in the sector over the coming years.

To become a surgical sales rep, you’ll probably require a bachelor’s degree. (It’s not essential, but generally most vendors will require it). It can also help your application if you have experience in other jobs related to the field, particularly if you have worked in a medical setting before.


6.  Medical Supplies Representative


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A medical supplies rep is a little different from a medical devices rep. These professionals focus more on selling basic, everyday items to hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices. These could include nitrile gloves, antiseptic gauzes, tape, string, pads, files, filters, tools, masks, and nets.

Medical supplies representatives tend to deal with simpler equipment than device reps. As such, the learning curve isn’t as steep, making it one of the best medical sales jobs for those looking to enter the field rapidly. As a medical supply representative, you have the opportunity to sell many different types of equipment.

Because this role is slightly simpler than the others on this list, the pay is generally lower. After around one to three years in the role, you can expect to make around $63,000 per year. Even so, some can earn as much as $135,000 per year – more than double – depending on their performance.

To become a medical supplies representative, you’ll need to get at least a high school diploma (most professionals in the field have a bachelor’s degree).

You’ll also want to earn certain certifications that will make the prospect of employing you more attractive. For instance, certification by the Independent Medical Distributors Association or the National Association of Medical Sales Representatives can help your application enormously.

You’ll also want to choose a specialization. Think carefully about the type of medical equipment that you would prefer to sell. Look for a niche you feel confident in supplying and answering questions about.

You may want to focus on supplies in the following areas:

  1. Cardiology: Reps in this area supply devices associated with cardiac surgery, including inflation devices, arterial filters, grafts, cardiac monitors and ablation devices.
  2. Dental equipment and supplies: Dental device reps sell items required for effective dental practice. These involve dentures, crowns, molds, tooth and denture brushes, oral implants, and various dental instruments.
  3. Gynecology and urology: Gynecology and urology reps sell enema sets, urostomy pouches, bladder control pads, briefs, liners and diapers, feminine hygiene products and extracorporeal lithotripters.
  4. Surgery: Lastly, you might want to supply surgeries with equipment directly. Products you sell could include blood transfusion equipment, chest drains, surgical clean-up equipment and mesh.
  5. Apparel: These reps sell disposable nitrile gloves, dust masks, shoe and boot covers, gowns, under pads, slippers, uniforms, lab coats and coveralls.

Where possible, look for opportunities to gain experience in the field. You may want to shadow an existing medical supplies rep to see how they operate. You can also try getting internships with medical sales companies to see how they sell supplies.


7.  Dental Sales Representative


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Lastly, you might want to consider becoming a dental sales rep if you have a particular interest in selling dental equipment. Dental sales reps promote various dental devices in the area assigned to them, usually a geographic region.

Their role is to:

  • Provide dentists with information on the products that they can buy
  • Educate their team members on the benefits associated with them
  • Tell dentists how certain items could improve their profitability
  • Offer customer support following purchase
  • Be knowledgeable about the products on offer

In terms of pay, dental sales representative is one of the best medical sales jobs. Most professionals in this area (57 percent), make between $58,000 and $145,000 per year. Those in the top 14 percent can make more than $318,000 per year.

As with the other sales rep roles on this list, the job requires a lot of traveling. You may spend upwards of 50 percent of your time driving from one client to the next.

The financial rewards, though, are worth it for a lot of people. It is a highly lucrative sales area, offering substantial commissions.