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On The Job Women in Medical Sales

Top Women in Medical Sales: Why Your Career Doesn’t Have to be Everything

Women are outnumbered in medical sales. In fact, in the 2017 Medical Sales Salary Report, 70 percent of the respondents were men. In addition, the report found that women earn just 83 percent of what men do and make up only 30 percent of the respondents.

While this picture seems bleak, if you look for them, you will find 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.

If you would have asked Emma Tod two years ago which direction her career was going, she never would’ve uttered a title involving ‘manager.’ Now, as the manager of the national strategic accounts team at Allergan, Tod still isn’t a fan of that specific title. Instead, she prefers to fall under the category of ‘leader.’

As a leader, Tod’s passions are deeply rooted in growing large, corporate accounts alongside her team. But work isn’t the only place you’ll find her enjoying her time. Tod spends much of her time on her two greater passions: her children and rowing.

This female leader believes spending your time wisely will lead to a life well-lived. Here’s how she’s excelling in every category of her life:

Find your passions and put them to work

Tod started out as a product specialist seven years ago with Allergan. Even though she never pictured herself as a manager, she discovered her passions and built a job around them and her managerial style.

If you would’ve asked me two years ago, I would’ve said I absolutely don’t want to be a manager. However, over the past two years, I found I have a huge passion for developing skills and training my team to work with high-growth accounts. I spent a lot of time detailing what our team does and developed a training package that focuses on growing high profile accounts.

I like revolutionizing our field and helping it grow, but I’m not a normal people manager. I’m a leader, I aim to inspire others, lead by example, and create an environment that allows people to be creative, innovative, and achieve their true potential. Because of this, my team is full of evolved, high-performing people.

Know when to say ‘no’

When it comes to passions, Tod has three — and they’re all time-consuming. So, it’s important she know what’s important and when she should say ‘no.’

Saying ‘no’ is incredibly important and difficult — especially when you have a team that relies on you for a lot. I say ‘no’ because I have three passions: my children, rowing, and work.

At work, in the cash pay, private market of medical aesthetics, I deal with business owners who want my opinion as a mentor to help grow their businesses. This demanding customer base makes it easy to get completely overwhelmed and feel everything is urgent and important.

At one point, I felt like I was drowning. Then, one of my mentors here at Allergan told me to get a black board, hang it in my office, and create an urgent/important matrix. This gave me real focus because everything has to be done for a specific outcome. I use it to prioritize and delegate all my time, which gives me precision for maximum impact for the least amount of time.

Decide which plates are smashable

Because of all her passions, Tod is constantly spinning plates. It’s her ability to step back and recognize which ones are smashable that keeps her both sane and successful.

The only unbreakable plate is my children. Everything revolves around their happiness and getting quality time with them. To do this, I shut off access to emails on my phone every Friday. Luckily, I work for a company that allows me the flexibility to have a four-day week and works around my personal schedules for both children and most recently my elite rowing career with team GB.

Driving growth forward at work is another important plate. I always focus on maximizing impact to minimize my time spent on projects. Recently, I started deciding which plates to smash by asking, “Will it make the boat go faster?” If something doesn’t improve my personal, rowing, or work life, then it isn’t worth spending time on.  

I use the Be-Do-Have paradigm to prioritize everything by impact and to be sure I set about it with the right frame of mind. I act as if I have already achieved my goal, ensuring I do the things I would do if successful in that particular task. This enables me to have the rewards I’m striving for.

Don’t be afraid of failure

Tod will be the first to admit she’s made mistakes — and that’s what pushes her success forward.

I live by this motto: be better than I was before, better than anyone expects me to be, and better than my competition. Everything I do is by trial-and-error, then I spend a lot of time reflecting to find out why something doesn’t work.

For instance, I lost a huge account during negotiations. Afterwards, I reflected on why it happened and took steps to upskill myself to be better at negotiations. Taking time to reflect was more productive than rushing through to the next step.

Surround yourself with positivity

You don’t need people on your team who always think you’re right. But it’s important to surround yourself with people who stay positive with the same drive and motivation.

I use my team as skeptics to make sure we’re worthy and driving business in the right way. Making sure you have a team like this surrounding you is critical for making yourself better.

I’m also never afraid to ask for help from anyone who will give it to me. Someone will always have a different opinion or viewpoint. So, I spend a lot of time on the internet looking for experts and expert sources I can learn from every day.

Tod believes the most important key to success is being yourself. In a demanding field, like medical sales, it’s easy to adapt and lose yourself. But being someone you’re not is more exhausting than working toward your goals.

What advice do you have for women trying to balance all their plates? Let us know in the comments below!