There’s a reason so many people are fighting to break into medical sales – several reasons actually! Money, flexibility, and feeling like you’re making a difference…just to name a few. There’s certainly a lot to love about medical sales jobs, but it’s not all cash and cuddles. In a recent medical sales job satisfaction survey, we asked the MedReps community to tell us what they love about their jobs – along with what they don’t. And they certainly didn’t hold back in their responses! While money was on the list of things respondents like most about medical sales jobs, it also topped the list of things they like least. (Guess it depends on the job!) Keep reading to find out what other issues medical sales professionals have with their jobs.
“The money’s still good, but it’s not what it used to be,” seems to be the underlying view of many medical sales professionals. “[It’s] not as lucrative as before,” was all one respondent said when asked what she liked least about the job. Others had equally to-the-point responses: “Money. Smaller bonus,” said one medical sales professional. “Declining money and opportunities,” offered another. One respondent expounded a bit by saying, “The inconsistency in pay and the fact that companies are being bought and sold and traded. There are many unpredictable changes every year.”
2. No room for growth
Tightened regulations and a heightened focus on costs have many medical sales professionals feeling like there is no room to grow their territories. They worry that doctors and hospitals are no longer concerned with the quality of a product – only the cost and whether or not the manufacturer has a contract with their GPO. For these reasons, many feel they aren’t in control of their own futures and thus have no way to grow. When asked what he liked least about his medical sales job, one professional put it this way, “[I don’t like] how ‘features and benefits’ of a product have been replaced with ‘Are you on contract with . . . ?’” Another explained, “As we continue to consolidate, merge, and control the vendor access to the facility, we lose the ability to share knowledge. Purchasing/contracting is very finance focused and weeds out any improvement that may have a higher startup fee. This is good for putting pressure on manufacturers to be value based, but does slow growth and adaptation.”
Medical sales jobs also come with considerable stress. Some respondents specifically cited stress caused by the pressure to make quotas, while others mentioned stress caused by the increasing difficulty of gaining vendor clearances. Of course, the still-to-be-seen effects of the medical device tax and other pieces of the Affordable Care Act are creating considerable stress for medical sales professionals as well. One respondent explained, “Medicine in general is a tough place to work right now. Doctors, nurses and their staff are not happy. No one knows how Obamacare will affect everyone. There is very little job security. Managed care/insurance is a total nightmare.” There is plenty to be stressed about, and of course, it’s impossible to let go of the stress in a constantly connected world. “As technology has advanced and available information has increased; it seems like the job never ends,” said one medical sales professional. “Other than going on vacation outside the US with limited access to phone and email it is very difficult to ever set work aside.”
4. Company politics
Nobody likes company politics, and medical salespeople are no different. From out-of-touch or greedy upper management to micro-managing supervisors, those in leadership positions may expect sales reps to jump through hoops. “Upper management is hired and has no clue about our business,” explained one medical sales professional. Another explained, “[There is] no loyalty on the company side. Management is concerned more about themselves than their team.” The politics aren’t limited to the corporate side of things – hospitals are guilty too. “[It’s] the politics, the fact that hospitals see little value in being a well trained and experienced rep. It is no longer about what is good for the patient, but what is best for the bottom line,” said one respondent. Others explained, “[I don’t like] dealing with administration who’s focus isn’t always on what is best for the patient,” and, “[I don’t like the] poor decisions by superiors with little experience.”
5. No security
Thanks to mergers and acquisitions, expiring patents, FDA rejections, and more, job security in medical sales can be hard to come by. “Vendor clearances and the new government device tax has created more layoffs and insecurity in the industry,” said one respondent. Another explained “[I don’t like] the constant acquisitions, resulting in layoffs. This industry is so volatile, it’s rare to meet reps that have been with the same company for 5 years, much less 10. I feel like I always have to have my resume updated, in case I’m once again a victim of layoffs.”
These 5 distinct complaints were cited most often in the MedReps survey, but when you look at the comments used to explain their grievances, they all begin to sound pretty similar. It all comes down to “uncertainty and changes in the industry, managed care obstacles, challenges with access, increasing quotas in a shrinking/more challenging market,” as one respondent put it. Whether that turns into a complaint about money, stress, or security depends on the individual, but all medical sales professionals are facing the same challenges and reacting in a similar way – by staying plugged into the medical sales job market and keeping their resume ready. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but a good sales professional is always prepared.
What do you think? Are these the biggest problems in medical sales jobs? Tell us what bothers you about medical sales on our Facebook page.