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4 Tips for Launching a Successful Biotech Sales Career


Imagine you are just starting out in the medical sales industry. After researching a number of different products and roles in the field, a career path caught your eye: biotech sales.

During your research, you discovered biotech sales reps are the highest paid medical sales professionals, according to the 2017 Biotech Sales Salary Report. In fact, the average total compensation for biotech sales professionals is $162,544. This excites you, and you decide to dig around to find more information about how to break into the field.

As the technology and the medical fields grow in unison, this means more opportunities for professionals like you to launch a successful biotech sales career. Here are some ways to get started:

Find experience — anywhere

Getting experience pays off in the long run. In biotech sales especially, those who have more than 20 years experience earn nearly double the salary than those who have less than two years experience.

Medical sales experience comes in all shapes and sizes. Regardless of where you’re at in your career right now, there’s always an opportunity to learn and explore different fields.

Get your feet wet by seeking out as many sales and customer-related experiences as possible. Whether it’s setting up a job shadow or coordinating an informational interview, gaining insight into the field will help you determine if biotech sales is the right fit.

In addition to getting experience with products, explore different markets you’d like to sell to. For example, if you want to sell biotech products to hospitals, find a food or clerical vendor to start your adventures. This is a great way to get your foot in the door with a future customer.

Travel wisely

According to our biotech sales salary report, those who travel half of their time earn the highest amount in average total compensation, thanks to their average bonuses and commission of $48,064.

Before you jump in the driver’s seat and hit the road, create a travel plan. Map out your schedule around the availability of doctors and your contacts. Being intentional about your scheduled meetings will help you be more strategic as you travel and save money in the long-run.

Network with the pros

Nobody knows more about succeeding in biotech sales than those who are already doing it.

When looking for biotech professionals to network with or mentor you, find individuals who have a similar work ethic, belief system, passion, and personality as you. They’ll be able to help you stay true to yourself, making your career in biotech happy, rewarding, and successful.

As you meet with professionals, be intentional about the questions you ask. See if you can learn about how they got their start and what has helped them advance along the way. Pay close attention to both their successes and failures. Stories about failures could save you major time and prevent mistakes on your journey.

Set your sights high

If you want to reach your financial goals, you’ll need to think big. Those who work in national accounts earn the most, with an average total compensation of $215,500, according to our report.

Although it will take time to work up to your career goals, it’s important to keep your eyes on the big picture as you start out. Don’t be afraid to set your sights high as you map out the next year and five years of your career.  

Go to your manager and explain where you would like to be in the next five years, and ask them to set up smaller, attainable goals to reach your much larger one. Don’t forget, it’s OK to have multiple long-term goals or allow them to shift as you find new passions and skills. And remember to schedule check-in meetings along the way so you can stay accountable.

A career in biotech sales offers many opportunities for growth, both professionally and personally. However, it will take time, effort, and patience as you get started. If you’re willing to dive in head-first, get experience, invest your time, and build relationships, you’ll prepare yourself for a successful and rewarding biotech sales career.

Do you work in biotech sales? What are your best tips for those just starting out?