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This is What You Need to Do to Keep Medical Sales Talent


Medical sales professionals love their jobs. So much that a remarkable 72 percent of those surveyed for our 2016 Job Satisfaction Report said they are either very or somewhat satisfied with their current job.

Although job satisfaction is high, reps are still looking for new opportunities — 47 percent said they are likely or somewhat likely to leave their current job this year. That’s a big red flag for employers — what can they do to make medical sales professionals stay?

To retain top talent, create a workplace that reps enjoy. Here’s how:

Creating a team-centered culture.

Medical sales isn’t always seen as a team sport, but reps love working with their peers more than you might think. In fact, colleagues were among the top 5 things sales reps said they love most about their jobs in our Job Satisfaction report.

Although much of the job is independent work, create a team-centered working environment to keep top sales reps around. Hold weekly sales meetings and team outings, use tools like chat apps to keep teams connected no matter who’s on the road and who’s in the office, and recognize and reward teams who truly work together.

Reps who feel disconnected from their coworkers will look for team support in a new job. Bring teams together for happier employees who meet goals together.

Offer responsibility and flexibility.

Although medical sales reps are known for working long hours and constantly traveling, they love the autonomy and flexibility the job affords — in our survey, reps rated it as the second best thing they love about their job.

Because much of their time is spent in the field, reps can structure their time, set their schedules, and even define their own strategy. They are also entrusted to make decisions based on the needs of their clients, so much so that many medical sales professionals feel like they are running their own business.

If reps are unhappy and looking to leave, it may be time to give them more responsibilities, trust them with more decisions, and allow them more flexibility in their work. The positive effects of flexibility and autonomy can make up for parts of the job reps don’t like such as lack of work-life balance or too much travel. Giving medical sales reps more control may be just what they need to stick around for the long-run.

Show the meaning behind the job.

Commission is typically seen as the top motivator for medical sales reps, but that’s not actually true. In reality, money didn’t even make the top five things reps love about their jobs. So what does motivate sales reps? Making an impact.

Medical sales reps love that their jobs have a direct impact on patient outcomes. They love knowing that their hard work has a larger meaning than a paycheck — they can save lives and help improve patient care. That’s huge.

When the going gets tough, remind reps of the meaning behind their work and the impact they have. Share customer experiences, patient success stories, and feedback from clinicians. When reps can see the impact their work has, they’re much more likely to love their jobs and stay loyal to their employers.

Focus on what matters to reps.

More than money, more than teamwork, more than flexibility, the top thing medical sales professionals love about their jobs is the relationships they build with providers and patients. Reps love working alongside healthcare professionals, answering questions, advising on product usage, and making their jobs easier.

To keep top reps, allow them to do what they do best and what they love doing — interacting with clients. While some administrative work is unavoidable, minimize the amount of time reps spend on what they see as busy work and maximize their time spent in the field.

Medical sales jobs aren’t easy, and there will always be things professionals don’t like. But by focusing on what reps love most about the job, you can retain top talent for years to come.

What do your sale reps love most about their jobs? What’s your retention strategy? Join the conversation on LinkedIn!