3 minute read

Medical Sales

Education and Training – Bachelor’s Degree
Average Salary – Commission Based
Job Outlook – Good

Working in medical sales is similar to any sales job. It involves explaining the benefits of a range of products or services to professionals within the healthcare industry with the aim of having them purchase these goods or services. Some people working within medical sales work exclusively on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. People working in this area of medical sales will be responsible for selling new medicinal products to healthcare providers. This involves having an in-depth knowledge of the product and meeting with healthcare providers such as doctors and hospital purchasing departments to secure orders.
Another aspect of medical sales is working on behalf of the healthcare technology sector. This involves selling the technical side of healthcare equipment such as screening machines which utilize the latest technology.

Education and Training Requirements

Having a degree in a subject related to medicine or pharmacy is a clear advantage in this role. A background including proven experience as a successful sales person is also highly desirable. Most companies will train new recruits in an intensive training program to bring them up to speed with the specific demands of the medical sales industry.

Getting the Job

Getting a job in the world of medical sales involves displaying the right mix of academic ability relating to the world of medicine and the natural instinct to make and close sales appointments successfully. Candidates will need to be self-motivated, energetic, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic with the ability to talk to clients, make appointments, and travel extensively. Getting a job in medical sales is perhaps not as difficult as keeping the job! In order to stay employed within this industry it is essential to meet sales targets.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The job outlook within the world of medical sales is good. The healthcare industry is predicted to expand over the coming years due to federal healthcare laws and the aging population which is also expanding in number. Starting out in medical sales is a good first step in what can be a long and productive industry career.

There is a definite opportunity for progression within the field. New entrants into the medical sales industry will often start out as a basic sales representative with a clear set of targets to meet. Candidates who show ability to exceed sales targets consistently are likely to be promoted to a supervisory or team leader capacity. This will involve overseeing the activities of a team of sales reps within a certain local area. Promotion from this stage is similar to a pyramid structure, with each promotion involving overseeing an increasingly larger team at the area, regional, and eventually national levels.

Working Conditions and Environment

Working in medical sales involves a lot of time out on the road for sales appointments and meeting with clients. Anyone aspiring to get a position within the world of medical sales will need to be comfortable with extensive periods of travel which often involve being away from home. Medical sales is often a week job with weekends free but some appointments will need to be made for the weekend or evening if it is the only time that potential buyers are willing to meet. The job is quite pressured as a failure to meet sales targets can involve eventual dismissal.

Salary and Benefits

The majority of medical sales staff will make most of their money through sales commissions and bonuses for meeting or exceeding targets. The basic salary for new sales staff is often around the $20,000 mark but this can be doubled or tripled through successful selling.

Where to Go for More Information

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
1727 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22314

National Association of Chain Drug Stores
413 N. Lee St.
Alexandria, VA 22313

National Retail Federation
325 7th St. NW., Ste. 1100
Washington, DC 20004

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesSales & Marketing