Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

Startup companies are taking the healthcare world by storm. The combination of innovation and passion for the public’s health is driving them forward faster than ever. Neurology startup Magnolia Neurosciences, for example, just raised $31 million in Series A round funding.

Funding like this is propelling startups forward and creating a huge opportunity for job seekers to jump in on the action as they rapidly expand the job market. In fact, startups gained 1.7 million jobs from March 2016 to March 2017, according to research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

So in this exciting world of care and advanced technology, those breaking into medical sales are left with a challenging decision; is a startup the right career move?

Before making your decision, you need to first ensure the opportunities in front of you are the right fit. This will allow you to find ultimate success as you launch, or re-launch, your career in medical sales.

Here are the questions you need to ask yourself and potential future employers:

Ask yourself:

1. What’s my strongest skill to promote? How do my skills and personality connect to their company culture?

Startups are hyper-aware of the impact company culture has on their overall success. That’s why CEOs who rated the importance of culture a 10 out of 10, are significantly more likely to cite a lack of available talent as a constraint on growth, according to the 2017 Annual TINYpulse Start-Up Culture Report.

It’s up to you to share how your skills and personality intersect to meet the company’s most significant needs. To do this, stick to promoting your top three skills at most. While startups are known for everyone wearing multiple hats, you need to show your value and fit in the best skills you can bring to the table.

2. How independent am I really?

As a sales pro, you’re already working on a small independent scale. However, you likely have a team and network of support to motivate you and help keep you on track. At a startup, though, you may be a one-person sales team.

Consider the type of work environment you thrive in on a daily basis. In a long-term situation, would you be successful when dealing with the pressures of being solely responsible for sales? Also, in a new market and work environment, would you be comfortable paving your own path? It’s OK if the answer is ‘no’. Save everyone time, money, and heartache by really knowing your working style.

3. Does the opportunity for experience outweigh a (likely) higher salary?

While startups provide for a greater amount of experience at a faster rate than a larger corporate company role, your initial earning potential will likely be lower.

Determine the lowest annual salary you can afford to accept. Then, compare that rate to the experience you’ll gain at a startup. Be honest with yourself and the amount of dedication you’ll be able to provide in the long-haul with this lower pay.

4. Are you an innovator?

Startups have smaller, more condensed teams. That means they require an all-hands-in atmosphere. Your goal of breaking into medical sales is to be a rep, but your opinion will be needed in the marketing department and even in development processes.

You need to dig deep and decide if being part of an innovative team is a place where your sales numbers will grow. Remember, being creative at a startup requires you to be frugal, wear various hats, ask for help and quickly resolve issues, and even get back up again after failing.

Ask during interviews or discover while researching:

1. What’s a typical day actually like — hour by hour?

Ask founders and hiring managers during interviews what a typical day looks like for them and how they anticipate your days to go.

With startup employees wearing many hats, you may not find two consecutive days will ever be the same. Does this sound like an environment where you’ll excel or do you require a more structured, organized work day? If not, breaking into medical sales with a startup may not be right for you.

2. How is the sales team structured? Are there senior members/mentors?

In your current role, do you perform your best work with your team or independently? Knowing this answer first will prepare you for hiring pros’ responses to the sales team structure. Smaller startups, even with a close-knit group, may not have the opportunity for strong mentorships or established sales teams.

If they don’t, you’ll have the opportunity to try new sales approaches, think creatively, and have full autonomy. However, will you have success taking on sales accountability all on your own?

3. How is the salary/commission structured?

Startups are gaining funding well beyond the million dollar marker. But much of that money is allocated to getting the product on the market, research, and development. For some startups, this leaves lesser cash at the beginning for employees.

In this situation, it’s OK to ask salary questions earlier in the hiring process. Company leaders will actually appreciate your candor in trying to understand if this is the right move for you AND for them. Once you’re onboarded, it will cost the startup around 33 percent of the annual salary to hire a replacement according to Work Institute’s 2017 Retention Report. And with 75 percent of the causes of employee turnover being preventable according to the same report, they’ll appreciate your open conversation and thoughtful consideration for them as a young startup.

What questions are you asking yourself on your journey to breaking into medical sales with a startup? Let us know!

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