I spend a lot of time working with young people who are eager to break into the medical sales industry.
I’ve noticed a lot of people working a contract sales gig think this experience will lead to a full-time position as a Medical Sales Representative.
I hate to break it to you – if you’re not careful, it can be a career ending booby trap.
Why a contract sales gig wont help you break into Medical Sales
Recently, I received a call from a Rachel. Rachel is a eager, hardworking millennial woman who is working as a 1099 sales contractor.
Rachel was ticked! She was upset the pharmaceutical company co-promoting her product wouldn’t even consider her for a full-time W2 job.
If “contract sales” is a new concept to you, let me explain. Pharmaceutical Company A develops a new drug. The success of the product largely depends on sales and marketing. But, salespeople are expensive!
What happens if the product bombs? What happens if unforeseen side effects impact sales? FDA hiccups? Insurance companies won’t pay? Any of these can kill a product.
Rather than taking the risk of hiring a bunch of new sales reps, Pharmaceutical Company A contracts with Company B to use their sales reps to promote the new drug. If the product isn’t as successful – Company A breaks the contract with Company B. Company A doesn’t have to worry about negative publicity from layoffs and cost of severance.
But here’s what Rachel didn’t understand – her contract job didn’t give her the experience she needed to transition into a full-time sales gig.
Sure, Rachel’s title was Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. But she had never spoken with the hiring manager – not even through email or a phone call! This is a huge downside of contract sales. A full-time position in Medical Sales requires face time and collaboration with the co-promoting District Manager and the local Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives.
As a 1099 contractor, Rachel was responsible for making calls and providing samples to her prospective doctors. She was compensated for this work, but her interactions with physicians in her territory were also limited.
As we talked through her work experience, it quickly dawned on Rachel why she wasn’t being considered for a full-time position.
Her business card said “Pharmaceutical Sales Representative,” but her responsibilities were that of a FedEx delivery person. All she did was drop off samples at the front desk of the physician’s office.
How to transition from a contracted 1099 to a full time W2 employee
If you’re in contract sales, don’t get too down on yourself – yet. It’s possible to transition to a full-time medical sales job, but you have to approach it from a different angle.
Your experience alone won’t be enough to get you hired in this competitive marketplace. Here are some tips for getting your first full-time sales gig:
- Develop relationships. Start getting in touch with local reps and district managers. Develop those relationships through constant contact. The key is to make it worth their while to stay in touch with you. Provide them with market intel about offices that accept samples, competitors’ actions, and anything that may be important for them to know.
- Don’t stop at the front desk. Administrators and other staff will try to keep you from meeting physicians. You can’t blame them – just imagine how many reps try to make contact with their physicians every day. The best thing you can do is continue pushing to develop a personal relationship with the physician. The more physician relationships you have in a territory, the better chance you’ll have of landing a W2 job.
- Know the market and business. Too many people want to break into Medical Sales just for the benefits – good salary, flexible work arrangements, and the chance to make a difference in patients’ lives. You have to make it clear that you understand the market and you can bring value if a company brings you on in a full-time role. How has the Affordable Care Act impacted your market? What are your customers doing to prepare for value-based care? Which payers are covering your product and which are causing problems? How do you plan to address each of these areas? Learn about larger healthcare issues and explain why that’s important to the local District Managers.
Money, freedom and fulfillment are just a few benefits of Medical Sales.
If you want to learn more about how you can break into Medical Sales, check this out.