Medech recruiter DukeMed

Make The Move From Pharma To Medical Device Sales: 5 Sure-Fire Strategies

Posted on 23 August 2023

Are you considering that all-important career transition from pharma into medical sales? If the answer is yes, there’s no doubt that you may have several questions buzzing around in your head.

To help silence the noise, and provide clarity of thought and direction, below are a few things to consider and strategies to set you off on a successful career transition from pharmaceuticals into medical sales.


The differences between pharma and medical devices sales to consider

Revealing what is the difference

You might be thinking – medical sales and pharmaceutical sales it’s all the same, right? The answer is no. This is a common misconception, especially for those new to the industry. However, if you are serious about entering the world of medical device sales, there are some key differences you need to understand.  


1.       The sales process – As a pharmaceutical rep, you are likely used to the grind of getting an appointment with a doctor, taking samples, meeting them several times, and bringing them lunches, all the while striving to have the sale closed with the prescription filled out. 

On the other hand, medical device sales work to close the deal on the spot - for which you need sheer grit and determination. 


2.       Customer service – While in both fields the real work begins once you have made the sale, the difference lies in the follow-up and aftercare techniques. 

As a pharma rep, your role is to continue to build relationships by staying in touch and educating the customer to ensure the prescription is prescribed correctly.  

While as a medical device rep, you’ll find yourself juggling between building existing relationships and building new ones. Not only this but because you are now dealing with constantly evolving technology and tools, you’ll need to be more hands-on and expect to be on call. 

3.       Science vs technology – One of the major factors in determining your success will be your passion for the industry in which you work. Therefore, when deciding to make the move, carefully consider your reasons; after all, you’ll be spending the majority of your days consumed by it.

In summary, both have their similarities, but it’s the differences that matter.


Strategies to successfully make the move from pharma to medical device sales

Red queen piece on a chess board

If you’re still reading, it’s safe to assume you are ready to make the move from pharma to medical device sales. While your transferrable skills will give you the head start you need, below are a few tried and tested strategies to set you on the path to a successful MedTech sales career.

1.       Bridge your knowledge gap. You have transferrable skills, so now it’s time to elevate them with further training and education.

2.       Research. You’re reading this article - that’s step one. But there’s much more learning to do. So, digest as much information as possible by speaking to industry professionals for insider knowledge and scouring the website. 

3.       Gain hands-on work experience. Sometimes the best way to learn is on the job. Hit the ground running by shadowing a medical sales rep. 

4.       Pick an area of medical device sales close to what you already know. It’s tempting to head in a completely different direction when considering a career change. But it might be a good idea to slow down and make things a little easier for yourself by picking an area of medical device sales close to what you already know. For instance, if you are working with orthopaedic medication, consider orthopaedic devices. It will make it that little bit easier to get your foot in the door and kickstart your new career in medical device sales with confidence. 

5.       Start promoting your skills and experience. Jump onto LinkedIn and attend industry events to market your talent and start connecting with industry professionals. It’s one way to get noticed. And when you’re ready, you can start making the ask and let the key industry players know you’re looking for a job. 


Make a successful transition with one of the industry’s top MedTech recruiters.

a chal drawing of a person climbing towards success

If you’re ready to make the move from pharma to medical sales, call +61279121168. We’ll work with you to

  • Coach you to build a powerful personal brand.

  • Help you with your resume and interview skills.

  • Equip you with any relevant training courses.

  • Update your LinkedIn profile.

  • Start networking.

In the meantime, check out our job board for the latest jobs in medical sales. Note that not all jobs are advertised due to confidentiality reasons. Therefore, we encourage you to send us your CV. We’ll see if we have anything suitable for you and if not, we’ll get searching.


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