Women are outnumbered in medical sales. In fact, in the 2019 Medical Sales Salary Report, 67% of the respondents were men. In addition, the report found that women earn just 83% of what men do and makeup only 33% of the respondents.
While, at first glance, this may seem discouraging, there is 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.
Imen Jelassi, CEO of Corstrate, a consulting company based in France, dreamed of being a pharmacist since she was a little girl watching her father advance in the profession. After years of playing at his feet in the pharmacy, Jelassi knew what she wanted to study when leaving for college.
After exploring the pharmaceutical industry, Jelassi soon found herself enamored with the business development side of the life sciences field. Her ambition, perseverance, and experiences have led her to earn the titles of both founder and CEO of a successful consulting business.
We spoke to Jelassi to learn her secrets and suggestions for reaching success as a woman in the medical sales field:
It isn’t all about the degree
Even with various degrees under her belt, Jelassi doesn’t believe diplomas hold the key to success in medical sales.
I don’t think you need a higher degree to become an expert in this field. As a sales rep, what’s important is to know the product or service you’re selling. If you’re convinced by the product or service, you can be persuasive when discussing it with others. It’s the most important factor in sales.
Have faith in your work and go deep into a specific area. It doesn’t have any link with a specific high degree but is instead about your nature, ambition, perseverance, and experiences.
Become an expert marketer
The sales and marketing worlds overlap more and more. Jelassi’s experience in the sciences combined with her passion for business development helps her effectively combine those two worlds.
I earned a master’s degree in health marketing and learned how to use specific marketing tools, found out the logic in sales and marketing processes, and learned it’s important to use the right content and the right channels. This knowledge improves both my sales process and in my role as a business developer.
I understand how to effectively use marketing tools like LinkedIn and Facebook and know the importance of sending regular marketing messages full of useful content so customers always have my brand in mind.
Also, health marketing has taught me how to implement metrics for one-on-one opportunities. I get the data to follow-up with the right prospects and have a higher chance of turning those prospects into leads.
Be honest and persevere
Jelassi understands the big world shrinks when you’re focused on sales. You need the grit to persevere through hardships, but honesty to keep your reputation honorable.
Always persevere and believe in what you’re doing. Medical sales is not an easy job. You can make 100 contacts and get just one opportunity, so it’s important to persevere and not lose faith.
Also, be honest as much as possible with people. As a salesperson, it’s important because honesty builds stronger relationships with people and allows you to build a good reputation in the market. It appears to be a big market, but it is actually a small world. When you have good relationships, it leads to repeat work, which is everyone’s goal.