America's largest healthcare recruiting firm.


For over fifteen years, I have utilized Buckman Enochs Coss to hire over one hundred individuals for Sales and Sales Management positions for a variety of healthcare technology firms. Whether it’s been for Fortune 500 companies or early stage, VC backed start-ups, BEC has always done a terrific job in sourcing top-talent.

Scott Schlesner
Vice-President of Sales

Making the Transition from Pharma to Medical Sales

Can a pharmaceutical sales representative succeed in the similar world of medical device sales, even though they do have their differences? 

As it happens, a small but meaningful overlap exists between these two career fields, and it’s not at all uncommon for sales reps to launch their careers in one field and eventually decide to switch to the other. Specifically, the leap from pharma to medical sales appears to be gaining attraction as rules and regulations change, prescribing practices evolve, and hospital systems grow and become more standardized and formulary-focused. A sales field (pharma) that once came with unpredictable or non-existent caps on salary and bonus income now seems more financially limited; and as drug companies toe the line, drop the free lunches, scale back on courting private practice physicians, and become more dependent on medical data and market research, the profession becomes less appealing to some would-be lifelong careerists. That being said, there are still those who prefer the safety net of having a higher base with lower overall income potential seen in pharma sales; and if you relate, you should sit tight.   

However, if you are one who thrives from getting rid of that safety net and making the world your oyster, it is time to make the switch to device.  Medical device sales represent an untamed frontier: an exciting world of innovation and discovery…and dollar signs.  But, if you’re considering a change from one sales arena to the other, you may still be wondering if you have what it takes. The answer is certainly yes, but your path will be a little smoother if you can provide a positive answer to each of the questions below. 

Can you close a sale? 
If you know how to make the shift from pitching and presenting to signing on the line, you’re in good shape. When it’s time to wrap up an interaction and turn your talking points into a completed deal, success in sales looks pretty much the same, no matter what the product or service in question happens to be. Closing a deal requires a sense of rhythm, timing, confidence, listening skills, and self-assertion. If you have these, you’ll be fine. 

Do you have proof in your sales? 
This can hard to track in the pharma field because of course, salespeople can’t personally monitor patient outcomes. But you CAN maintain positive relationships with the clients and stakeholders on the other side of your contracts. Are these relationships thriving? Are your clients satisfied with what they’ve gained from these interactions?

Does an alignment exist between your target product and your current pharma community? 
If you can spot any overlap between where you’ve been and where you’re going, you may be able to leverage your current contacts and relationships to your advantage. Before you decide to make a clean break and get ready to start over from scratch, look for first-, second-, and third-degree links between those you know and those you hope to work with in the future. You may have more in common with your future leads and contacts than you realize. 

Work with a top medical sales recruiter.
If you are ready to make the switch from pharma sales to medical device sales, turn to the medical sales recruiters at Buckman Enochs Coss and Associates!