Many pharmaceutical sales professionals have frequently asked me about how they could successfully make a change in their career direction from pharmaceutical sales to medical devices. I conducted informal interviews with sales professionals that did just that and will share it on this post.
The competition is tough since a career in medical devices is highly sought after, but based upon your experiences within pharmaceutical sales, the advice provided here will give you some additional help in your pursuit.
Making the switch can be tough, but as with anything worthwhile and if this is the direction you want to go in your career, be persistent and you will also find your opportunity that is right for you.
One of the best ways to make the career change to medical device sales is to use the skills and experiences you have gained in pharmaceutical sales to transfer to medical devices. One of the biggest skills is the understanding of the disease state and using this knowledge to sell yourself in the interview. For example, if you have sold cardiovascular drugs in the past, use the formal training you received to help you position yourself to sell medical devices in the cardiovascular device arena.
You also have transferable skills in terms of call points. If you have sold to hospitals or targeted physicians within a specific specialty, use this experience to help support your knowledge and understanding of the business.
Look for other similarities between both sales profession by mind mapping and writing them down to discuss when you get a sales interview.
In sales, relationships sell! Use this to your advantage and to list the related customers that you have established relationships with that the hiring medical device company is looking for. Access is tough in medical sales and if you have these relationships set in place, use this to your advantage. A few sales professionals I have interviewed during my research for this post had gained their position in medical devices because of this and have asked for letters of recommendations to bring to the sales interview to help them.
Show your interest in medical devices by doing your homework and learn the differences between the two sales career paths. Seek out other medical device sales professionals and ask about the job, duties and what is required to be successful. Be sure to mention this during the interview to show your interest and self motivation to seek information about this career field. There are also classes you can take and online certifications as well as books on this very topic.
Professional networking always helps as you tap into the very people that are in the medical device industry. Set up informational interviews and learn. Ask for recommendations from those already in the industry and gain their insights.
Research the company, sales framework they use, the culture, the products and be ready to demonstrate this during your interview. Prepare to overcome any objections that might arise that are common challenges for making the change to medical devices. The best resource for this is to ask others in the medical device industry, better yet, if you have an interview set up, find someone that is already working there to help coach you.
You will never get the job unless you actually submit for job opportunities. Do a search for medical sales opportunities and read the job descriptions. It was tough getting into pharmaceutical sales, but you were successful in achieving that goal. Be confident in your abilities and have the can do attitude to get in front of the hiring manager. Do your homework and prepare to give yourself the best shot.
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