Women are outnumbered in medical sales. In fact, in the 2019 Medical Sales Salary Report, 67 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 33 percent 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.
Shannon Shores dreamed of saving the world. She followed this dream right out of grad school working for a crisis hotline in St. Louis. There, she learned lessons about life and grew further grew her passion for helping others.
Now, as CEO of samedaySTDtesting.com, the No. 1 STD testing company in the U.S., Shannon continues pouring her heart and vision into the company’s services. She’s creating a non-judgmental environment where both employees and customers can feel safe. It’s that authentic attention to care that gives Shannon the power to motivate her team to sell products helping people throughout the U.S.
Here’s what Shannon learned from the CEO at her very first job and how she keeps moving her company forward:
Say yes to every opportunity
At her first job out of grad school, Shannon took the initiative to sit down with her CEO. That move has impacted her entire career path.
The suicide hotline was run by a female CEO. I respected everything about her. How she molded us, how she shared her vision, and the care and concern she put into our services. I wanted to be like her, a woman CEO.
One day, I asked her, “How did you become CEO?” She said, “You have to say yes to every opportunity.”
It’s simple but so true. I heard that and immediately wondered how I could get outside of my own box with my job. So, I went to the CFO and asked multiple questions about their role. “How did you get here? What goes into the budget?”
I did the same for the advertising department. “How do you create a strategy?” And IT, “How does the system work?” Every response helped me understand the entire process at the company, not just my job.
This made me realize that by saying yes to management or leadership opportunities, I could help a lot of people help even more people versus me just tackling critical tasks in a one-on-one setting. I could use these skills and my own vision to lead employees to help more people. That’s what drove me to say ‘yes’ to admin positions, leadership opportunities, and ultimately, CEO.
Understand your target customer’s values
The employees at samedaySTDtesting.com help customers face very private, sensitive situations. Shannon ensures the core value of those customers’ privacy, is lived out by her team every day.
The samedaySTDtesting.com end user is someone who values privacy. They want someone to hear them, validate them, and get them in for same day services. Then, get them quality testing for peace of mind. They don’t have to go to the doctor they’ve known for years or the local county health department where they may bump into someone they know. With us, they receive the anonymity they need during a challenging personal time.
If something comes back positive, we walk them through the process in a completely non-judgmental environment. We get them the necessary medication and everything stays off their permanent health record, furthering that core value of privacy.
Personalize the customer experience
Shannon is passionate about helping others, but she recognizes she can’t help everyone. Not every person who calls needs to purchase their services. This acknowledgment empowers her team to customize the customer experience to ensure they’re receiving only what they need.
Our competitors offer take-home tests. This means people buy on an impulse to take it at home. They don’t know if it’s the right test or if they even need tested.
That goes against our core values. We’re not just about sales. We only give people what they need. If I want a pair of shoes on an impulse, for example, I might get them and not be satisfied. So, if buying shoes this way doesn’t work, why would it work with STD testing?
We know our customers need sexual health advocates. They don’t need an experience where they’re picking products on price and not for their needs. That’s why we have both patient results and customer service teams.
This allows us to listen to their story. We know what type of test they need, we can explain exposure time, and how tests work. By adding this human factor to our medical sales process, we can advance the medical profession.