How Easily Can You Make the Transition to a Medical Sales Career?

Thinking about making the transition to a medical sales career but don’t know where to start? Worried that you don’t have the experience, skills, or personality that medical sales companies are looking for?

 Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Medical sales may seem attractive, but trying to figure out if you have what it takes can be a daunting task. Luckily, there are three key factors you can look at to see if medical sales companies will take you seriously when you apply for a position. 

#1: Related experience

Medical sales companies look for transferable skills, which means you don’t necessarily need a science-related degree. However, you should have experience that shows you can:

•Quickly learn new information and convey it to others

•Build and maintain relationships

•Excel in a competitive environment

•Close on business to business sales

•Dedicate time and effort into finishing tasks


In the overwhelming majority of cases, hiring companies look for professionals who have some type of business to business sales experience. Experience selling copiers, telecommunications products, payroll services, and consumer products is a huge plus because these markets are highly competitive. A salesperson that has a track record of success in these markets usually transitions well into a medical sales career.


In some cases, companies may look to hire a person with a strong clinical background, like a nurse, medical technician, surgical technician, radiology technician, etc. This type of candidate brings a special set of clinical knowledge to the table and, although he or she may have no sales experience, has the qualities of a successful salesman, such as:





•Ability to multitask 


These types of professionals are valuable to companies because they can relate to physicians on a clinical level and can easily be taught how to close sales deals.   

#2: Professional and personal contacts

More so than any other job, being successful in a medical sales career is all about who you know. Having the right professional or personal contacts can substantially increase your chances of landing a job. 

Knowing doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, etc. on a professional or personal level allows candidates to feel calmer and more collected when approaching them to make a sale. This is very important because even the most confident salesperson can be completely overwhelmed when they approach a physician for the first time.

Professionals who are trying to transition into medical sales should think about any and everyone they know in the medical field. Making a list of potential contacts that includes where they work and what department they work in can be very helpful. Reaching out for help may be the difference between landing a job and being told no.

#3: Ability to specialize

Professionals who transition into medical sales should be able to become highly specialized. Above all else, they should be interested and passionate about the specialization they are entering or else they’ll become easily frustrated and burnout. Generally speaking, there are four broad specializations in medical sales careers:

Pharmaceutical Sales: Pharmaceutical industry products to doctors’ offices and hospitals. 

Medical Device Sales: Medical and surgical devices to physicians and surgeons.

Medical Supply Sales: General medical supplies, usually in high volume, to doctors’ offices and hospitals.

Healthcare and Medical Management Services: Healthcare services in billing, marketing, and office management. 

Of course, there are numerous subspecialties, and the more a candidate can specialize the more marketable they are to companies. Some popular subspecialties are:




•General Surgery

Again, professionals must have an interest in their subspecialty. Being passionate about the field enables one to acquire the knowledge necessary to connect with physicians.

Deciding if you can make the transition into a medical sales career

You now have the information you need to determine how easily you can transition into medical sales. If you have a strong track record of business to business sales in a competitive market, professional and personal contacts in the medical industry, and the ability to specialize, you’ll make a strong candidate. If you have clinical experience and contacts you might also be a good candidate. 

Coming up with a strong resume that highlights your experience and ability to transition into sales is a good first step. After that, you can start to look for a company that has open jobs that you’re interested in. 

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