Ask a Medical Sales Manager: How will my boss measure my success after my first 90 days as a medical sales rep?

Are you trying to break into medical sales?  We talk a lot about preparing for your medical sales interview with a 30/60/90-Day Sales Plan.  A well-done plan is your blueprint for the first 3 months on the job–but what about after that?  How will your performance be assessed once you’re “on your own”?  Well, the stakes get a little higher.  “On your own” means the performance meter is running and your evaluation and scrutiny will increase.

Life after the first 90 days as a medical sales rep

Welcome to the big leagues!  By now, you better be very familiar with your company’s CRM program (e.g. and used to the constant conference calls and/or Facetime calls.  If you own or have a company-issued Iphone or Ipad, your regional manager is likely to use that as a tool to update the region’s forecast.  What does that mean to you?  Don’t be sitting in your jammies at the time the call is scheduled and always have your information and your office area organized.

You’ll probably have very little in-person time with your manager (maybe once a quarter field travel plus national meeting time), so the time you do have with him or her counts.  Your manager probably didn’t get to be the manager of your team by not being observant and judgmental, so when you are around your manager, the recorder is running:  evaluating your words, actions, and presence.  When he/she gets good data and feedback, your life and how your manager deals with you will get better.

Perceptions are reality, so make sure your manager’s perceptions of you create the reality you want.  A painting is composed of many brushstrokes, and every interaction is a brushstroke to your manager.  Always remember to use the same skills internally as you do externally.

Your hiring manager’s perceptions of you have a big impact on your reality–your life on the job.  Some of the rules he has to implement are dictated to him by the company, but on a lot of other stuff, he has discretion on enforcing.  For instance, in my experience as a sales manager/director, the rule was that everyone starts out even and everyone does everything for the first 90 days.  If you were at or above plan at the end of the 90 days, you got some reprieve based on your performance and compliance.  That meant that you had longer to turn in your forecast, your pick of check-in times, your choice of projects to lead, etc.

Will you be a top medical sales rep?

Influence your hiring manager’s positive view of you

Your attitude and interactions have a big impact on your manager’s perceptions of you, too.  (Brushstrokes, remember?)  In my 20 years of managing sales reps, I noticed that players always like to have attention and contact.  Top reps enjoy chatting with the manager and gaining his or her perspective.  Because they’re good, they most often have thought through their situations and have already formed a plan of action, but they believe “two heads are better than one” and are interested in the manager’s input.  Reps that are scarcity-based don’t like working in a team environment and rebel at authority.   They will have a very difficult life in the corporate world.  It doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means that maybe they’re an entrepreneur and don’t know it yet.

How will your boss measure your success?

My rule was always “Constant Improvement,” and that’s likely to be your manager’s rule, too.  As a new rep, that means you should constantly be making strides toward meeting or exceeding your sales goals.  So this month is better than last month, and the month after will be better than this one.  If you are doing the right things, the right things will happen to get you to that goal.

There are always exceptions and it’s true that if you took over a territory at 65% of plan and after two quarters in the field you’re at 70%, your manager is not likely to be pleased.  An improvement of only 5% in 6 months just isn’t fast enough.  At that rate, it would take almost 3 years to turn around a poor-performing territory–and if it takes that long, your manager will not likely survive.

10 critical checkpoints to help you stay on track:

1.  Have you made face-to-face calls for all of your Best Few prospects in your sales funnel?

a.  Have you documented the status of these accounts in your CRM records?

b.  Is the sale on track to close?  By definition, a Best Few prospect is a 90/90 prospect, meaning 90% is will happen and 90% it will happen in the specified time frame.

c.  If it’s off track, have you developed a plan for correction and gained your boss’s input?

2.  Have you met all the thought leaders in your territory?

3.  Are there any special events/shows planned in your territory?  If not, what do you need to do to get one?

4.  Have you called Marketing and asked for one of the product managers to field travel with you?

5.  Have you corrected any customer satisfaction issues?  If it’s a longer-range issue, do you have a plan in place with the buy-in of your boss and the service/technical organization?

6.  Have you identified who you can develop as a positive reference/demo site in your territory?

7.  Have you met your service engineers and taken them to lunch/breakfast?

8.  Are you using a “blown up day” to use as your office day to set appointments?  (You haven’t set a particular day like Monday or Friday as your office day every week, have you?  You shouldn’t.)

9.  You are focusing on accomplishment instead of activity, aren’t you?

10. Are you being a seeker?  (Seeking those with information you need.)

Keep a great attitude

Don’t associate/commiserate/communicate with team members that are always negative and complaining.

90% of selling is mental and the rest is in your head.

–Kraig McKee, Senior Recruiter, PHC Consulting

PS – Got questions that only a medical sales manager can answer?  Put them in the comments section below.

Written by Kraig McKee - the medical sales recruiter
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