Take Your Biotech Career to the Next Level - Break Into Biotech Sales

By Karyn Mullins, President at MedReps, a job board which gives members access to the most sought after medical sales jobs and pharmaceutical sales jobs on the Web. Connect with Karyn on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

You’ve likely considered a career path in bioengineering. Or maybe agricultural biotechnology is still on the list of possibilities. Or the path of genomics has caught your attention. But, there is one more career path to consider -- biotech sales.

Biotech sales is a lucrative and rewarding field for many reasons. Of course, there’s the money. The average total compensation for biotech sales reps is $162,544, according to the 2017 MedReps Biotech Sales Salary Report.

Beyond compensation, medical sales employers offer autonomy, work/life balance, and the opportunity to make a positive impact in patients’ lives. In fact, that is why 76 percent of the medical sales professionals who responded in the MedReps Best Places to Work 2018 survey said they’re satisfied in their roles.

Furthermore, biotech sales reps, in particular, ranked the highest in medical sales job satisfaction (77 percent) in the 2017 Biotech Sales Salary survey. Now, you can join their ranks. Here’s how to land a job in biotech medical sales:

1) Network like a team player

Networking is important in any field, but it’s especially crucial in niche industries.

The key is to remember networking is about more than just making contacts. It sets the stage for future teamwork. Existing medical sales reps (54 percent) actively seek out companies that place a high value on team building and collaboration, according to the MedReps Best Places to Work 2018 report. And these reps want to work with like-minds.

Connect with existing sales reps who can give you ‘inside knowledge’ on how to break into the industry. When you reach out, be sure you have something to offer them as well. Do you have insight on trends that could benefit them? Are you connected to a professional group they may be interested in?

Positioning yourself as a team player early on, coupled with a solid biotech background, makes you an attractive addition to any biotech sales team. Both those in the field and recruiters will take notice.

2) Make a personal connection

The foundation of medical sales success is being personable. Reps must be approachable to co-workers and clients. But to break into sales, you have to make a positive connection with recruiters first. 

Think of the many corner stores throughout any city. They all have the same products. While proximity is a factor, most people keep going back to the same store because they genuinely like the people who work there. People are dedicated to those who make a personal connection and to whom they can relate.

The best sales reps don’t rush. Instead, they ask questions to better understand the wants and needs of their clients. This information helps them better market their products -- highlighting the benefits for the individual, rather than offering a generic and impersonal overview. If you take this same approach with recruiters when selling yourself for biotech sales jobs, you’re sure to make a lasting impression.

You’ll also want to prove you can speak the client’s language. While you may want to show off your knowledge of the biotech industry, using confusing lingo with recruiters is not as personable. Approach biotech sales recruiters conversationally and communicate clearly, as you would in the sales field.

3) Sell your specialized skills  

Even if you don’t have sales experience, according to Health School Finder,you can break into medical sales with a two-year degree and/or vocational certificate/hands-on experience. Any experience you have in biotech will only add to your hireability.

The biotech sales job market is highly competitive. Sales reps are vying for the best companies with the most trusted products. In fact, 44 percent of the sales reps who responded to the MedReps Best Places to Work 2018 report want to work with companies that have a solid product line. 

Furthermore, 22 percent were most interested in innovation, research, and development. As someone with advanced knowledge in biotechnology, you have an advantage over the competition.

Thoroughly research to gain insight on any transferable skills that may be valuable to focus on. Ask successful sales reps for details of their experience breaking into the field, including what skills made them most successful and how they overcame their biggest challenges. 

Then, use this information to put together your action plan to advance your career in biotech sales and be sure to share it with recruiters.

By focusing on your transferable skills and knowledge, building a solid network, and making real connections, you’re one step closer to starting a rewarding career in biotech sales.

What excites you about biotech sales? Contact us and let us know!

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