I spoke to a talented medical device saleswoman recently. Her dedication to her job is exceptional and she routinely works 90 hours a week. She is a single mom and is fortunate that her mother lives with her to help care for her children. The number of hours she works is definitely on the high end, but she finds great satisfaction in her job and knows her children are well-provided for.
Given the demands of achieving success in any full-time sales position, having a strong support system is key for many sales women. In medical device sales, this may mean having a someone else who can drop children off at daycare or school in the morning if an early case is scheduled. It may mean having someone who can help lift heavy equipment into the trunk of the car. Or, it may mean having a friend or mentor who can listen and offer suggestions about challenges faced in the field.
Medical device sales positions are typically field based positions, which offer a lot of freedom but lack the traditional support found through co-workers in an office-setting. Finding ways to connect with other reps in other territories is often crucial to discovering new and better ways of doing things and getting through the rough patches when they come along. Most reps I know call their peers on a regular basis for advice and support. It is important for anyone starting in medical device sales to start building such relationships from the beginning.
When working from home as most medical sales reps do, it’s important separate work from family life, not only to ensure that you are productive, but also for your own sanity. Sometimes biggest discipline issue can be turning off work for a while to spend time with family, since work is never more than a few steps away.
Some of these things can play a role for men in the industry as well. The rep I rode with this past week said he works constantly: in the field during the day, planning trips or answering emails at night after his kids are in bed, and spending time each weekend catching up on paperwork. At the same time, he feels he has greater flexibility to create his own schedule and working from home allows him to see his family more than when he was working out of an office.
If you are determined to be successful in the industry, there are many creative solutions for the challenges that come along. Organization and planning are key to overcoming many of them.
Lisa McCallister specializes in recruiting for medical device sales and marketing positions with an operating room focus, such as orthopedics, electrosurgery, endoscopy and a wide range of surgical specialties. She has recruited two Rookie of the Year award winners. Connect with her on LinkedIn or check out her blog, MyJobScope.com.