Tip the Hiring Scales with a Sales Cover Letter that Shows and Solves Pain
Cover letters – most people hate writing them and many people hate receiving them. When cover letters get read (about 30% of the time) and when they are required (about 40% of the time), they can help tip the scale for a pharma or medical device sales job in your favor.
A killer cover letter takes up less than one page and contains three essential parts – all of which show the medical sales hiring manager you understand their pain and are uniquely suited to solve it.
Part 1: Pain Identification
Just like in an interview, the goal of a cover letter is to convey that you understand how the medical sales job fits into the pharma or medical device company’s bigger picture and solves a problem or pain point.
Pain can range from needing to build or grow a sales team or territory, turn around an underperforming team, revitalize a sales territory or launch a new pharma or medical device product.
Using a pharma territory sales rep role as an example, the first paragraph of the cover letter might read:
From strategy development to execution, prospect to pitch, negotiations to close—I understand the challenges inherent in building a territory from the ground up and revitalizing an underperforming one.
ACTION: Convey that you understand the company/reader’s pain.
Part 2: Pain Solving Highlights
You’ve spent Part One showing you understand the problem. The goal of Part Two is to show you’re the person to solve it and take away the pain. Include three to four bulleted highlights from your sales career that quickly shows the reader your chops.
Because there is no guarantee the same person who reads your resume will also read your cover letter, I recommend recycling and rephrasing achievements listed in your resume. This gives a potentially second set of eyes the chance to see some examples of what you’ve done in the past to mitigate pain.
To continue with the pharma territory sales manager example, pain solving highlights might look as follows:
- Established relationships across the state that transformed underperforming areas into President’s Club territories and exceeded quotas throughout period of multiple product launches.
- Drove solo turnaround of two-person region into a President’s Club territory within one year.
- Overcame customer loyalty obstacles following product launch to raise territory rankings from middle of pack to amongst Top 25% in district.
ACTION: Provide examples of pain solving.
Part 3: Getting Past the Pain
Parts One and Two show you understand the pain and can help make it go away. Use Part Three to recap your sales skills and how they can contribute to catapulting past the pain to achieve a company’s higher goal.
Be sure to close your cover letter by thanking them for their consideration – and offer to touch base shortly to follow up.
To wrap it up with the territory sales manager example, my third section would read as follow:
I am well-respected for my ability to champion sales strategies that succeed in growing revenues, and am certain I can replicate this success to ensure XYZ Company furthers its mission for continued sales growth.
ACTION: Tie your skills to a plan to get past the pain and achieve a mission.
– By Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW