Women are outnumbered in medical sales. In fact, in the 2018 Medical Sales Salary Report, 70 percent of the respondents were men. In addition, the report found that women earn just 81 percent of what men do and makeup only 30 percent of the respondents.
While at first glance, this may seem discouraging, there are a multitude of highly successful women in medical sales. We’re talking to these professionals to find out what it means to be a woman in the field and what it takes to be successful.
Kassi Kaiser doesn’t remember a time when healthcare wasn’t a major influencer in her life. Now, as the sales and acquisitions manager at Z5 Inventory, she’s grateful for having been immersed in the field at such a young age.
Today, she’s using her passion to inspire others to dive into success in the wonderful world of medical sales.
Discover your unbeaten path
Kaiser’s passion for healthcare drove her to a degree in biological science. But after taking the MCATs, she knew medical school wasn’t the career journey for her. So she found a new path and paved her way.
Healthcare and medicine have been a passion of mine since I was young. I was fortunate to be immersed in the field even before graduating high school due to my mom’s nursing career. Junior year, I was nominated to participate in an AP rotation-style shadowing program. I was able to spend 90 plus hours in various hospital departments.
I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It was my home away from home. My end goal was always to be involved in healthcare in some capacity.
After realizing medical school wasn’t right for me, I put out my feelers to discover what other ways I could dive into the medical field.
I interviewed at a medical device startup company and got the job. Landing that role was the first moment I realized a rewarding healthcare career opportunity like this was out there. While I was getting paid next to nothing, I believed in the company’s solution to decreasing hospital waste.
I suggest all young professionals think outside of the box. Each day, identify what gives you joy. Once you find clarity, focus in on that and start forging ahead.
Make medical sales your own
Kaiser believes you can only move forward in your medical sales career if you understand how — or even if — your product fits inside your customers’ needs.
Elevate yourself to be an expert in your field. I’m a big proponent of pre-call planning. Set things up before you’re in the moment with customers and educate yourself on your solution. Dive into learning about your customer’s world. The external factors that influence their position on a daily basis are ultimately what you are selling against.
You’ll need to get customers to the point where they agree there’s a problem that needs to be solved. Once you can accurately diagnose the problem with their help, focus on tailoring a custom solution. Then, treating the problem becomes the only next logical step.
This journey helps you create not just a successful selling relationship, but also maintains the relationship’s integrity.
Invest in relationships
Relationships are the greatest foundation in medical sales. But those relationships must be genuine.
Spending time building genuine relationships is the best investment you can make. Listen to your customer. If nothing comes from the relationship, did you learn anything from the course of your interaction? These ‘failures’ often offer more valuable information than the wins.
Remember, business will always be business. But people outside the walls of their jobs are still people. My best advice is to treat everyone you meet with integrity. Approach your professional career with the same logic. The world is small; the medical device community is even smaller.
Finally, network and really put yourself out there. You have to be confident and champion your skills because you are your own brand. You are in your position because you’ve earned it, recognize it, take it in, and show people what you’re capable of.
Pave your way
Kaiser knows the struggles of being a determined medical sales rep. She urges you to pave your own way while taking care of the most important factor — yourself.
Career opportunities are out there. Pave your way. Find a balance between the ongoing sprint and keeping the larger picture in mind to avoid burnout.
If you aren’t taking care of yourself, your business will eventually suffer. As you grow personally and professionally throughout your career, expect your perspective to shift as well.
Be prepared to seek fresh ongoing motivation as your view of your world continues to grow. There is no right way, no one path. Ultimately, your career can be whatever you make it.
When did you know medical sales was the right path for you? Share your story with us!