Candidates often need to assess the Pros and Cons of medical device sales prior to targeting a role in the industry. High compensation no doubt makes the industry attractive; however, some people may not enjoy the fast-paced environment of medical device sales. Our team of career coaches pieced together a list of the pros and cons for medical sales.
Use this as a guide to help determine whether it is the right career path for you.
High Compensation: the average compensation in medical sales is $155,358/yr. The top sales representatives consistently earn $400K+ each year. Managers, Directors, and VPs can earn $1M+ each year.
Great Benefits (Car, Phone, Meals, etc.): depending on the company, the benefits are fantastic. It is not uncommon for representatives to be provided a car, work phone, and meals while they are on the road. For example: Coloplast gives representatives a brand new Subaru Outback and a paid for iPhone.
Cutting Edge Technology: medical sales representatives work with the most innovative medical technologies on the market. Companies invest billions of dollars researching and developing medical devices — and representatives are the first to understand the technology and bring it to patients.
Improving Patient Outcomes: reps play a critical role in introducing better technology to market. As a result, their efforts directly correlate to improving patient outcomes. Representatives often attend surgeries to advise physicians on how to properly use the device to deliver the best outcome for the patient.
Not Behind a Desk: nearly all medical sales roles require you to be out in the field. The majority of your time will be spent at hospitals and clinics.
Surrounded By Intelligent People: you will constantly be interacting with incredibly bright individuals each day — from surgeons, to nurses, to senior management.
High Career Stability: if you are a high performing representative, you will almost always have high job security. Unlike other industries that are heavily influenced by ups and downs in the market, the medical sales industry is relatively stable as procedures are often not elective. For example: an individual has a choice whether or not to purchase a new car. An individual typically does not have a choice whether or not to undergo surgery to fix a broken arm.
Work Life Balance: depending on the specialty you pursue, your work life balance will be less than ideal. Representatives in Trauma for example, typically are on call every other weekend and work 70+ hour weeks. Representatives in capital equipment, such as representatives at Intuitive Surgical, typically work more regular hours and are not on call. This is because their products have a longer sales cycle.
Stressful: working in medical sales can be stressful as you frequently need to be in the operating room advising physicians on how to best use your product. Associate sales representatives usually have several weeks of training before entering the operating room.
Competitive: breaking into the industry is competitive but incredibly rewarding. Once you are in a sales role, you need to consistently hit your numbers in order to grow.
Limited Travel: entry level representatives frequently do not travel outside of their territory. If you are looking to travel cross-country on the job, this is not the role for you. However, if you chose to pursue a management path in medical sales (eg: Director, VP) you will most likely travel.
It's important to recognize that a career is in medical sales is not for suitable for everyone; however, for those individuals where it is a good fit, it is an incredibly rewarding career — both on a personal and financial level.
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