Laboratory sales vs. medical device and pharmaceutical sales

My last post was on the differences between pharmaceutical sales and medical device sales.  Now let’s cover how clinical, biotech and research laboratory sales fit into this equation:

The skill sets to be successful in this area are the same:  strong sales skills, follow-up, follow-through, and technical knowledge.  It can be more helpful to have a science background in this area, but still not completely necessary.

Job stability is a little greater than in other areas:  this area is not as tied to the economy.  Patients continue to get sick and require tests even when the economy is slow. Also, there are fewer lab sales reps than pharma reps, so they stand out more in their companies.

Respect is a little higher:  customers see the representative as a consultant and value the information the lab sales rep brings to them; doctors often have ego issues and don’t believe the pharma sales rep can add value. And to some extent they are correct.

One last piece of the puzzle is # of calls per day. Pharmaceutical sales requires ~ 8-12 calls per day, medical devices is a little less at around 6-9 calls per day and laboratory sales calls per day average between 3- 6. I hope all of this helps you when considering the different areas for your next sales position.  Please be aware that our specialty at PHC Consulting is the research laboratory and biotech laboratory sales market.


Written by Peggy McKee - the medical sales recruiter
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3 Responses to “Laboratory sales vs. medical device and pharmaceutical sales”

  1. Vincent Ma on August 8th, 2007 6:08 pm


    Great post. I never thought about the number of calls per day.

    If someone who is already in Pharmaceutical or Medical Device Sales and is interested in getting in Laboratory Sales, how can they best prepare? How easy is it to transition into Lab Sales?

    Thanks for the informative post.


  2. […] Laboratory Sales vs. Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Sales (via Medical Sales Recruiter) […]

  3. […] Pharma reps are already the least respected of all areas of medical sales–behind pharma revenue, biotech sales, clinical device revenue, imaging sales, laboratory sales, and clinical diagnostics sales.  Some of it’s intrinsic to the job, but chat room ranting doesn’t help. […]