What could you earn in medical device sales and why?

MRI machines, surgical scalpels… and Fiat 500s? What you could earn in medical device sales and why!

Ryan Luckman, Associate Director of the Medical & Science Technology team at FMC Global Talent.
Ryan Luckman, Associate Director of the Meditech team at FMC Global Talent

So, you’ve decided to embark on a career in medical sales … but with so many options it can be difficult to work out which route to pursue. Should I sell consumables? What about medical devices? What clinical discipline do I want to be aligned to?

In medical sales some clinical disciplines are just more equal than others. It pays to understand the career trajectory within each route, and the potential transferability of the experience you will build.

Speaking of what pays… salary always comes into play when deciding what the next step in your career is going to look like. Pay differs from market to market within medical sales, and there are a range of basic salaries and bonuses that you can hope to earn.

What does our medical sales salary report say?

  • Urology comes out on top overall (basic + bonus) as well as providing the best bonuses
  • Microsurgical and Ophthalmology have the best basic salaries
  • Wound management is bottom overall

What causes the disparities?

It’s not a one size fits all answer, but there are a few explanations as to why some medical sales roles tend to pay more than others. However, as with most models there are a few exceptions.

Fiat 500s v Ferraris, Disposable gloves v MRI machines

In its simplest form, medical sales works in a similar way to car sales. Across the industry everyone has the opportunity to make good money, whether you are selling Fiat 500s or Ferraris. The only difference is you’ll have to sell a hell of a lot more Fiats…

Basic salaries and bonuses vary by company and the level of experience you bring, but as a general rule the more complex or expensive the product, the better your basic salary will be. It’s accepted that getting 10 companies to part with £100,000 for a piece of equipment is arguably more difficult than selling 100,000 £10 scalpels. Companies pay better basic salaries for roles which require a solution led sale, versus a transactional approach. Likewise, bonuses can tend to follow a similar path.

The medical sales hierarchy

Ultimately, sales people want a strong base salary and the opportunity to earn good levels of bonus. The medical sales hierarchy tends to flow as follows:

1. Capital, MRI, CT, Surgical Microscopes, LINAC

2. Devices, Endoscopes, Power tools

3. Consumables, Gloves, Scalpels, Wound Care, Drapes

Don’t discount those at the bottom…

That’s not to say you can’t be a big earner in consumables or wound management (don’t underestimate it!) … quite the opposite in fact. Medical sales representatives working in these markets can receive consistent bonuses throughout the year as they sell in high volumes of products. These sorts of products are also often bought reliably by companies on a monthly basis, so the bonus that you can receive is reliable in equal measure – it’s a more desirable financial package than perhaps you might expect!

Interested in finding out more?