My Medical Device Sales Career
Go ahead, ask any career or job seeking question! Due to the heavy request for private and individualized questions and call backs, I will respond only to Members of the Linda Hertz Group. Gotta give Members an Advantage! (;
To see my areas of expertise please:
Thank You for Your Membership and your questions!
I saw your article on medreps.com. I wanted to pick your brain because I am not sure how to get into the pharmaceutical industry. I have managed plastic surgery offices for the last six years, and have always worked in healthcare. I'm currently getting my MBA while overseeing a facility worth $3M in Manhattan. My MBA is in executive management, but I always have a state medical board license from Ohio in massage therapy (so I know quite a bit of anatomy and physiology). Lastly, I am in charge of sales as well where I work and have increased sales dramatically over the last few years. Can you give me pointers on how to get into the pharmaceutical industry? I would really appreciate it!
Sometimes people outside the medical industry lump any type of medical sales as "pharmaceutical" sales. So I want to make sure that indeed you want pharmaceutical sales. Forgive me if you already know the difference between pharmaceutical sales and medical sales (i.e. device, disposable), but I like to start with the basics just to make sure you are targeting the type of sales you want to do. I understand that with your background of managing plastic surgery offices you may be aware of the difference.
Pharmaceutical sales is usually "detailing" to a doctor a pharmaceutical sales product that needs a prescription. So in other words, you are selling him on the drug and the advantages of using that drug for a certain application (as well as contraindications), and comparisons to other drug alternatives (competitive drugs, generics or etc.). In some cases, you may be introducing a new drug therapy altogether with no competitive equivalent (rare, but does happen). That is the activity known as drug detailing, you are detailing the pharmaceutical indications and hoping the doctor will remember and prescribe YOUR drug to his next patient when you walk out of the office. No sales until he prescribes it. You wait for sales reports and wait and see if you made a sale from your detailing efforts. You are trying to gain a verbal commitment that he will prescribe a product.
Selling a medical device product or similar is about selling a product that is used by the physician or his staff during a procedure with a patient and does not require a prescription. This can be as sophisticated as selling the doctor a cardiac device bought by a hospital or clinic for his use in surgery or as simple as selling tongue suppressors to him in his office. It is a product that you need to ask for a PO (purchase order); a price, a quantity and terms of purchase. No hoping for him to write a prescription, you leave the hospital or his office with a written order.
So, if you still want to get into pharmaceutical sales understanding the difference between detailing a pharmaceutical vs. selling a medical product then this is what I suggest. Your massage therapy background or running plastic surgery offices is usually not a valued background to have to transition into pharmaceutical sales or medical sales for that matter. This is what large companies' value in background training:
Erika, you may be thinking at this point, "Oh great, I already have 6 years invested managing surgery offices, plus an undergrad degree and earning my MBA. I don't want to start over." If that is your thought, I understand. So try to work from the springboard you are standing upon currently and see if you can work your way into the pharmaceutical industry from a different angle. Here are a couple of ideas for you to try:
I am sure there are more ways to go about breaking into the pharmaceutical industry and remember, it only takes one contact that could get you where you want to go. Hang in there and keep shaking hands and reaching out utilizing some, if not all the approaches above until you find that one person. After all, that is what sales is about, banging on a lot of doors to get someone to buy or recommend your product. In this case, the product is you! Good luck to you and stay in touch Erika, I would like to know what approach worked for you. You can do it!
©Linda Hertz, All Rights Reserved
SEE All Our Career Blogs.