This survey was conducted as the first of it’s kind in this evolving industry. Many sales reps seek true independence and we at Every Ancillary were curious to find out a little more about the lay of the land in this sector. Over the years, we have seen many independent sales reps come and go and we wanted to drill down a little more to find out how Every Ancillary can better support sales reps to achieve true independence.
The results of the survey highlighted that many people become independent because of previous experience. In fact, 38% of sales reps chose this answer. The previous experience did not elude to whether this experience was in medical sales.
The largest sector of interest to independent sales reps was resoundingly Ancillaries where 84% of respondents chose this answer followed by 46% for equipment. The Laboratory sector was the least favored at 32%, potentially led by the evolution of more W2 positions in this sector and the fragility of payments from vendors in recent years.
Independent sales reps reported the most success with Ancillaries. 51% responded with this answer followed by equipment at 21%. The least favored answer was Practice Enhancements at 5%. My theory on this is that Practice Enhancements are a relatively new field and some sales representatives may not feel as comfortable speaking about the business side of medical practice. This area has huge potential however in opening-up conversations with practices and consolidating your presence in the practice as a Practice Development Manager. This sector may also attract less interest from sales reps as initial commissions may be lower than the routinely higher commissions offered by equipment and ancillaries.
When asked about concerns in trust toward vendors and distributors, 38% of responders said yes they had concerns. This industry has been fraught with middlemen that frequently do not add value to the equation and are potentially related to fallout from non-payments in the lab sector that many independent sales reps have experienced. In fact, 33% of sales reps reported not being paid by a vendor and 32% were not paid by a distributor at some point. This potentially impacted the response of 39% of sales reps who found finding reliable vendors their biggest area of difficulty.
As far as marketing via social media, LinkedIn was by far the leader at 64% followed by 30% through Facebook. This makes sense as it is easier to identify key targets through LinkedIn and it serves as the professional platform for social media connections.
Difficulty in getting face to face time with Health Care Providers was apparent. Only 8.5% were able to get in front of 31-50 providers per week with the majority of responses at 63% only seeing 1 to 10 providers each week.
As far as training, most of those surveyed (54%) had not received formal medical sales training but the majority at 72% had received compliance training. Compliance in the medical sector is important for sales reps to be aware of due to the legal ramifications of non-compliance. For further knowledge, 89% listened to sales podcasts to learn tips and strategies. The availability of podcasts that can be used while sales reps are mobile is potentially a driver for this high number. 70% of most reps are interested in improving their sales knowledge followed by 62% seek more information on products and services. 48% were interested in better understanding physician challenges and 43% wanted to better understand the healthcare landscape including areas such as MACRA and STARK.
54% saw their established connections as their most valuable resource with vendors coming in second at 19%. The value of building relationships is a key driver in growing a successful independent medical sales business.
Sales reps felt their biggest barrier to success was getting an answer from a decision-maker at 53% and getting access to doctors at 36%. No sales reps implied that a lack of confidence was a barrier to their success.
As far as revenues earned were concerned, the largest paycheck of over $50,000 in a single month was only achieved by just under 3% of those surveyed. 30% were still waiting for their first sale and 28% had been paid between $10,000 to $29,999 in a single month.
Confidence for this industry was very high at 57% of those surveyed and just under 3% are currently looking for another job.
The Independent Medical Sales Rep sector is not without its challenges and there is confidence in longterm viability as a career. Every Ancillary seeks to support this confidence by providing independent sales reps with the tools to have access to reliable vendors, sales skills and product knowledge to support growth and success in this space. Any comments on this survey are welcome!
To preview the complete survey click on the link below.