A day-in-the-life of a medical device sales rep, Part Two

April 20, 2011 by Lisa McCallister

Medical device sales recruiter Lisa McCallister continues her day-long trip with an endoscopy device sales person, who — wait for it — previously worked in the wine business.

Wine sales

Continued from Part One

From the second endoscopy center, we drove down to a hospital where they rep had recently sold a Beamer system, an electrosurgical unit which can  be used to stop bleeding in the digestive track. Unlike surgeons, who love blood almost as much as vampires, the rep explained that the tension level in the endoscopy suite usually goes through the roof when there is a “bleeder”. He told me that some of the cautious G.I. doctors in rural areas will send their patients to urban hospitals at the first suspicion of blood.

The rep explained how much more in-depth the sales cycle for this particular product had been. Although the sale of such a product is frequently doctor driven, in this particular instance it had been the nurse manager who had really pushed the purchase. In smaller community hospitals, doctors may be on 8-12 week rotations, lessening their influence in buying decisions. After making the sale, the rep had in-serviced the staff for 8 hours a day over the course of an entire week. During that time, he identified one staff member as someone he could tap as a “specialist” to help others in the account when they had questions, lessening the on-going support demands on him.

Since it was about 12 noon when we arrived at the hospital, and the festivities of G.I. nurses day far from over, we met a pizza delivery guy in the lobby. Although meals are not a standard operating procedure for device reps, it was a special day after all, and yours truly was working up an appetite.

The rep signed on one of the vendor tracking systems in the lobby. Later, he told me how meticulous he had to be about signing in and out. If he left a facility without signing out, the vendor system could lock him out and he would not be able to login at the next facility he visited.

We went up to the G.I. floor, where it happened to be a pretty quiet day. In the storage room, the rep retrieved the Beamer system for an in-service. On the side of the unit, the rep had added a couple of plastic hooks for hanging the cords used with the system. He had labeled shelves and created sample “kits” of the disposable products used with the system. I was impressed at the way he had organized his products to make use of them as simple as possible for his customers. Organization was certainly one of this reps strengths.