From company controversies to new and impending legislation, 2017 presented its fair share of challenges to the medical sales world. Yet according to the results of our 8th Annual Medical Sales Salary Report, nothing can stop the determined representatives in this field.
Even though the average base salary dropped slightly to $92,698, an impressive jump in average bonus/commission increased the average total compensation to $149,544, an over $2,000 increase from 2017. This steady climb in income since 2011 can mean only one thing — medical sales representatives are doing whatever it takes to be successful and they are being well-compensated for it.
About the Survey
This year, 2,793 employed medical sales respondents participated in our survey. The majority (70 percent) reported working in field sales, and 67 percent were employed by manufacturers.
Most of our respondents (33 percent) have been dedicated to medical sales between 11-20 years. Of course, along with that dedication comes many hours of hard work on the road. In fact, an average of 25 percent of representatives reported traveling for their jobs.
While you can find success in medical sales at any age, the majority of our respondents (34 percent) ranged between 41 and 50-years-old.
Medical Sales Game Changers
Medical sales representatives are no strangers to change. They face constant updates to technology, mergers and acquisitions, product development, and changing customer faces.
This year, they will deal with new obstacles threatening to impact their success in the field. Pending legislation could turn the way they sell — and what they sell — completely upside down.
In spite of these threats, however, more than half (57 percent) of all respondents do not think recent or pending legislation will impact their earnings. And only, approximately, one third (30 percent) believe it will have a negative impact on sales
When it comes to their overall jobs, 38 percent of sales representatives in our recent report, Selling Controversial Products: Rising Above the Negativity to Find Positive Impacts, say new opioid legislation will actually positively impact their jobs. Another 50 percent say the same about medical marijuana legalization.
A New Leader in Top Income
Last year, health IT/software took home the No. 1 income spot with an average total compensation of $176,012. This year, it dropped below the top three spots.
Currently leading in earnings, with an average total compensation of $167,554, are capital equipment/durable medical equipment representatives. Surprisingly, the base salary in this category ($88,146) is one of the lowest according to our results. However, with a high average bonus and commission of $88,577, these sales representatives are reaping the rewards of their hard work.
Reps in surgical device sales earn a slightly lower average base salary of $86,518 and higher bonus/commission of $92,856, bringing their total compensation in just under capital equipment/durable medical equipment at $165,962.
Biotechnology sales representatives ranked third in earnings, taking home nearly $2,000 more this year, with an average total compensation of $164,214. Yet again, higher bonuses and commissions are at the root of the continued success of these sales representatives. They’re bringing in an average of $55,214 over their base pay.
Sales Reps Take It to the OR
Successful sales representatives do whatever it takes to build stronger relationships with customers. For 33 percent of respondents, that means regularly spending time working in the OR. As a result, those in the surgery/OR market segment take home the highest average total compensation of $166,819.
While income is high, these medical sales representatives prove the job isn’t just about the sale. Instead, they’re prepared to build and maintain strong, trusting relationships with customers and see their products’ impact through to the end, ensuring they’re delivering results and meeting needs.
Small Employers Stay Strong
Once again, large employers pay out a higher total take-home salary. However, small and medium companies aren’t trailing far behind. Reps working for large employers report an average total compensation of $155,249. Those at mid-sized companies earn an average of $148,599, and small employers offer an impressive $137,232 average total compensation.
What’s even more notable is how close these employers’ base salaries are — proving small companies shouldn’t be underestimated. With an average base salary of $91,911, small employers are neck-in-neck with medium employers ($91,924) and large employers ($93,913).
The biggest compensation gap when it comes to employer size is in bonuses and commission. On average, representatives at small companies bring in $58,201, while those at larger companies are making $65,235 in bonuses and commission.
With more and more medical sales representatives considering work-life balance and company culture, small companies have a strong advantage to attract and retain top talent.
Experienced Reps Refuse to Slow Down
Those with 20+ years of experience continue holding strong at their No. 1 income spot. Even with a slight drop in base salaries, medical sales representatives and their companies have pushed through to higher income categories with increased bonuses and commissions.
Even though those with the 20+ years of experience bring in the highest income of $172,525, the entry-level total compensation of $95,705 is still an impressive number.
Representatives looking to stay in medical sales for the long-haul have a bright future ahead. Within each experience group, our respondents reported an exciting jump in both average base salaries and average bonuses and commissions.
For example, those who are still new to the field, with just two to five years of experience, report an average base salary of $76,161 and an average bonus/commission of $58,608. But if they stick it out for 11 to 20 years, they have the potential of earning an average base salary of $102,853 and an average bonus/commission of $69,688.
Satisfaction Remains High
A dip in salary hasn’t impacted the overall satisfaction of medical sales representatives. In fact, it’s at an all-time high. An overwhelming, 79 percent of our respondents reported they are somewhat or very satisfied with their overall job.
Whether medical sales pros are earning $233,387 total average compensation as sales directors/sales VPs or $145,257 as field sales representatives, the majority (73 percent) are somewhat or very satisfied with their compensation.
Money Isn’t Everything
Medical sales representatives are passionate about their careers. Many assume this passion stems from their high salaries. However, our respondents are out to prove those assumptions wrong.
When asked what was more important than money, 60 percent said work-life balance, 46 percent said career growth and advancement, 44 percent said job satisfaction, and 37 percent noted culture and values.
Along with these crucial non-pay perks, most sales representatives are receiving additional benefits to help them excel in their roles. In fact, 86 percent reported having health benefits and 73 percent have expense accounts.
Medical sales representatives have challenging jobs, however, given the right opportunities, pay, and added benefits, they’re achieving great success.
Whether you’re looking for a new role or are hoping to break into medical sales, the right career in medical sales is out there waiting for you.
Source: 2018 Medical Sales Salary Survey
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