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.
Kayleigh Hickey has been climbing her way up the corporate medical sales ladder for five years. In that short amount of time, she has reached Territory Business Leader at Valeritas. Hickey’s passion for understanding what makes people tick, combined with her drive to improve the well-being of others, is the driving force behind her success.
Today, she’s sharing what keeps her at the top of her game:
Recite the three Cs
The medical sales industry is tough. Hickey continually proves she has what it takes to keep moving upward. Her secret? She says it’s the three Cs.
The three Cs are confidence, conviction, and compassion. It’s a mantra I stick with — day in and day out. You’re going to have crummy calls when you’re out there. A doctor might not give you the time of day; maybe they won’t respect your time. Either way, you have to come out of those calls still passionate about what you’re doing.
Use this daily reminder to remember you must stay confident. You’re never going to sell to these doctors if you’re not sure of yourself. When you’re walking in there, you’ve got to bring your swagger. If you bring in that swagger, are confident, and they can see you’re compassionate and reliable, they’re going to use you in the best possible way — for your product and your resources.
Become an educational resource for doctors
In a world run by Google, you’d think doctors are up on all the latest medical sales technology. Hickey reminds us that available information that’s just sitting there is useless if doctors don’t have time to research.
I’m currently selling a product that’s been FDA approved for six years. And a top leading doctor I recently spoke with actually never heard of it. They simply don’t have time to stay updated.
Another issue is, a lot of doctors are pigeonholed based on their patients’ insurance. So my job is to ensure my customers are up-to-date on all options available to ensure they know what best fits their patients’ needs.
Keep your desire to learn alive
Advocating for patients and educating doctors is a big load to bear. It’s Hickey’s eagerness to keep learning from research that keeps her on top of her game.
I’m an advocate for reading LinkedIn articles, Reddit posts, and weekly email chains for updates on medicine, research, and business trends — even resources like stocks. That’s a huge part of staying educated in this industry and staying on top of the research.
Also, ask for help when it’s needed. I’m younger than the average age of my colleagues in the medical sales industry. I use that as an advantage and as leverage. I ask those who have spent decades in the industry for help and learn from their best practices.
Often times, I find that the other sales reps who aren’t asking for help aren’t succeeding as quickly. It comes down to being more vulnerable and asking for help when it’s needed.
Be a patient advocate
Hickey isn’t just selling to doctors. She views her role as giving doctors access to the best tools for their patients. Those patients, and Hickey’s passion for their health, plays a big role in her success.
There are clinics in affluent areas, like Beverly Hills, where patients are willing to pay whatever it takes. Then there are clinics that are only Medicare focused. No matter where I am, I don’t approach customers on insurance upfront because I’m focused on ensuring their patients get the best-suited products for themselves.
Then, if I need to, I’ll fight for the patients to get coverage for the product. I come in as the patients’ advocate, and that’s how we can get these doctors motivated to try something different and progress their medicine.
Take charge of your career
There’s no time to waste when it comes to reaching your career goals. The future looks bright for female medical sales reps, and Hickey is ready to charge forward.
It’s a male dominated industry and that can be intimidating, but we’re getting there. Every year, I’m seeing more females enter into the industry. I’m really excited about where the industry is headed and what’s to come in the future for females.
To keep your own momentum going, take charge and know your worth. Don’t sit back and wait for an opportunity to knock on your door. I did that with my first job after college. I waited for a promotion to come to me, but I realized it wasn’t going to happen that way.
You have to be honest with yourself and your manager about your goals. Write those goals down daily and weekly so you don’t lose sight of them.