What are the different types of medical sales?
The many segments of medical sales can be divided in a variety of ways. Some refer to “capital” and “non-capital” sales, while others say “consumable” and “non-consumable.” The easiest way to think of what constitutes “medical sales” is to consider anything a physician’s office, medical laboratory, or a hospital may need to purchase:
- Computer software (and hardware too)
- Durable medical equipment including everything from surgical tools to imaging machines to hospital beds to laboratory equipment
- Medical services such as equipment maintenance, personnel recruitment, or payroll assistance
- Implantable devices including valves, sutures, screws, and anything else that may be inserted into a patient’s body either permanently or temporarily
- Consumables such as laboratory reagents or wound care products as well as medical disposables
Of course, by the above definition, some might exclude pharmaceutical products from the category “medical sales” because a physician does not actually purchase pharmaceuticals from a rep – instead, the products will be prescribed for patients to purchase. But pharmaceutical products must be presented and effectively “sold” to physicians so that they are motivated to write the prescription when necessary; so for our purposes, we will include pharmaceutical sales under the “medical sales” umbrella.
However, because a pharmaceutical sales rep does not typically generate purchase orders, the income structure may not be as attractive as other medical sales jobs.
Additionally, because a pharma rep’s actual effectiveness is near impossible to measure, it can be difficult to transition from pharmaceutical sales into a results-oriented medical sales role.