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Medical Sales Success Depends on Finding Good Cultural Fit


Cultural fit is more than a buzz phrase. Without a sense of belonging, encouragement, and inspiration, work performance suffers and overall quality of life is negatively affected.

In fact, a 2017 study by Mental Health America revealed that 63 percent of the 17,000 employees across 19 US industries surveyed said that the stress of their job had “a significant impact on their mental and behavioral health.”

It’s no surprise that 71 percent of the respondents to the Workplace Health Survey admitted they spend time actively thinking about or looking for another job. While a number of factors contribute to dissatisfaction in the workplace, many of them point toward workplace culture.

Finding a company that aligns with your values and mission, and is focused on fostering a positive workplace culture that nurtures your passion, is essential.

What happens, however, when you work in an industry where company culture is either difficult to establish or quick to change?

Here’s how to find the right cultural fit in medical sales jobs:

1) Identify measures for success and feedback structures

It’s important to understand how success is measured at the company and to use that information to determine how it matches with your own measures of success. You should avoid a scenario where there is a disconnect between your professional goals and the marks the company is trying to reach. Otherwise, you will set yourself up for failure and frustration.

For instance, some companies focus on individual achievement, while others are more team-oriented. Find out if promotions and bonuses depend on your own achievements or how the entire sales team performs.

Determine what a positive workplace culture means to you in terms of growth and what you need to effectively perform your job. This could include direct communication with managers and co-workers, where you can openly field questions and concerns.

Finally, strive to understand the feedback structure. Are there one-on-one sessions, team meetings, and regular check-ins? Is two-way feedback encouraged? It’s important to know how communication with leadership and your peers will impact your success on the team.

2) Discover recognition opportunities and rewards

Like many medical sales reps, you likely got into the profession because you value making a difference in people’s lives, while enjoying the gratification of celebrating sales success. However, not everyone marks meeting sales goals and other professional victories in the same way, and motivation can drop if you work in a culture that doesn’t make you feel appreciated.

You should first determine if you prefer acknowledgement of individual achievement to be private (between you and management), of if you enjoy opportunities for social recognition between co-workers. When you meet sales goals, is a hearty handshake and thank-you note sufficient, or do you prefer promotions and salary increases attached to the achievements?

Some companies use online programs where co-workers and managers can award points that add up to cash incentives or gift cards, or simply provide a platform for verbal public recognition. This form of technology based reward structure has proven very effective in motivating employees.

As a matter of fact, of the more than 3,000 U.S. and Canadian workers surveyed in the 2016 Staples Workplace Index report, 36 percent said they thrive at a company that has updated technology. This includes web-based recognition programs such as 360 Recognition, Bonusly, Peoplecart, Praiseworthy, Recognize, and many more.

Regardless of how praise is presented, you should understand how it factors into evaluation and growth opportunities. What makes you feel valued and motivates you to exceed expectations — both your own and those of the company? Your best fit is with a team that inspires you to constantly improve and expand your knowledge and reach.

3) Determine professional development and advancement opportunities   

Training and development is essential for career success. In medical sales, new products, devices, and technologies are frequently being introduced. It’s important that you find a culture that stays on top of these emerging trends and empowers their employees to use and understand them.

Find your fit by evaluating available development opportunities and understanding how they translate into professional advancement. Is this training done individually or as a team? Are there incentives to completing voluntary development programs?

Ask how cross-over skills factor into growth at the company. You can often make a lateral move by using your existing skills and credentials to offer helpful advice and guidance to newer employees.  

Furthermore, determine if top salespeople can become trainers or recognized experts, and find out if there is any incentive to pursuing independent certifications.

Mentorship programs are a great way to learn advanced skills in medical sales. A good mentor has the power to challenge you professionally and push you to always perform at optimum levels. Find out if such programs exist at the companies you’re considering. There may even be opportunities to become a mentor yourself in the future.

4) Learn about community outreach programs

Respondents to the Staples Workplace Index survey also stated they actively seek positions in companies that fit into their lifestyles. For instance, if you’re an avid volunteer, you’ll fit in well with a company that places a focus on community involvement.

Some companies allow workers to take paid time off to volunteer. Others host employer-sponsored team-building volunteer opportunities on weekends and outside of working hours.

At Synergy Billing in Daytona Beach, Florida, employees are encouraged to get involved in the community. While not required, those who choose to participate are included in monthly recognition programs and become eligible for advancement based on their civic outreach.  

Other companies create or sponsor charitable events such as community dinners, elementary and high school youth empowerment activities, and more. If you are interested in bettering the community, you would fit well with the involvement ventures of these companies.

Ultimately, you will need to determine the employee experience factors that are most important to you. However, rather than just focusing on one or two perks, you should strive to find a positive overall cultural fit. When considering your options, be sure to take a total picture view.

Above all, determine how the companies you’re considering best fit into your personal and professional values. This will ensure you’ll not only meet your own goals, but will be in a position to provide maximum benefit to the company, as well.

How do you find the right professional fit? Let us know in the comments!