A while back, I wrote a blog article about Why you should never work for Stryker (the surgical equipment company). I’m not fond of surgical sales anyway, because I’m not fond of surgeons as customers (as my doctor, I can become pretty attached….as my customer, I can do without them). But Stryker in particular is too hard on their sales reps (in my opinion). There are other surgical sales companies that would be more enjoyable to work for.
As a medical sales recruiter, I haven’t had great experiences with former Stryker reps (and there are many) because they expect to make the kind of money everywhere they did at Stryker. Sales reps at Stryker do tend to make a lot of cash, but again, they pay for it in terms of stress and pressure.
But, boy, did that blog article cause some upset folks! Check out some of these comments I got (copied and pasted exactly as they appear)… They range from
The “Stryker sucks and so do its reps” camp:
Rmoney on May 25th, 2012 2:39 pm
Stryker sales representatives are expendable human resources. They always have been and always will be.
They are not intelligent; they’re pretty much the jock/assholes you went to high school with that aren’t smart enough to get REAL degrees from REAL schools….so they end up in medical devices sales where they can make that CASH MONEY (according to them). I know a few, and have come across many, and, for the most part, they are undereducated, and have a sense of entitlement. But do they deserve any of it? NO!
I am extremely competitive, and a former athlete in college, but I take education as a much more important asset when considering the strength of my work force.
Sales reps fit the dumb jock mentality to a T. Let’s not give these people much credit….for they are, truly, expendable. Stryker knows this, which is why they can afford to have that 25% bottom pink-slip policy. This country will never have a shortage of dumb jocks looking to make some quick CASH MONEY. Real talk.
jetsam on May 20th, 2012 3:03 am
One of the mysteries of life is how stryker got onto the fortune list. Either the Fortune method for finding the top employers is rotten or stryker are hiding it well. in response to your q sundeep i never dealt with uk but every other office around the world i dealt with were dicey. Its an american comapny to its core in that arrogance and over the top behavior is seen as a virtue. Its nasty.
To the “It is what it is…”:
mike on May 21st, 2012 9:24 pm
I think folks must always bear in mind that stryker is for a person with a very very specific personality. thats why we ensure in the first few months that folks who dont fit our mold are asked to leave.it is the fairest thing to all. true the turnaround is big but no one gets a free dinner at stryker. we can replace easily and mist always be certain that we have exactly the right person – not ‘we think they are good for the role and stryker’ it must be ‘i know that’. Face facts you may not fit in at stryker and we will ask that you leave quickly after you start if we think it.
Bryan w on November 18th, 2011 1:01 am
Yes Sydney, of course I did.
What I don’t understand is, what is really trying to be accomplished here?
Many of these comments are from disgruntled ex-Stryker reps that were not cut out for this type of job, whether it be Zimmer, Depuy, Stryker, Etc. These jobs are not for most people, but those who do excel are truly very talented. Those who have terrible experiences with the companies they worked for, obviously slander that company making erroneous comments because that’s what make people feel better.
Stryker doesn’t not have any plans on changing the types of people they are hiring. Why would they? Stryker is one of the only companies thriving in a depressed market. Their sales force is incredibly strong. Stryker has all candidates take a intense Gallup interview to ensure that everyone they hire has similar attributes and personalities. The don’t have any intention of changing and will never be at risk of finding people that would do anything to work for them. Stryker wants to be the fastest growing, most admired orthopedic company in the world and right now, they are.
To the “Stryker’s #1! If you can’t handle it, you’re a wimp (or a princess, or a crybaby…)”:
charlie on January 7th, 2012 6:25 pm
Been reading all the comments here and fed up. No one …that is no one has the right to tell us what to do, how to act, how to behave. WE will decide what type of person works for us, and WE will decide what we are going to be as a company. Stryker is a family and like all families…if you don’t fit in, you’re out. Yep people at Stryker don’t have skills in some ways. Yep we don’t necessarily have the girly people skills that others have…but suck it up princess. SUCK IT UP!!! If you are going to be offended by what people say then obviously Stryker isn’t for you. Im so sick of losers LOSERS! On this site telling us what to do! F—off princesses ! I used to offend people sure but at Stryker I don’t have that problem. It’s full of tough, meaty champions … And I would like to see myself as part of that mix. we are champions and Stryker is a champion. Respect that fact.
Dave on December 2nd, 2011 1:58 am
So many freaking cry babies here wa wa wa one word for ya – losers! if ya don’t like stryker or the culture then obviously you are not good enough. go first.d yourself some second rate job then. And if you don’t like it then tough – we have a set culture, we know what demographic and type of person we want abduction we will not budge from that. That is why we are streets ahead of all compedition in the industry – the others only see our dust. We have better financials and better products and goodwill then all the others. From a Stryker Champion.
What I have to say is this:
Stryker’s culture does, in fact, make it a rough place to work. But they are some money makers, so it obviously works for them. And if you work for Stryker and you like it, don’t worry about what I say. If you relish that kind of super-competitive, only-the-strong-(and the lucky)-survive environment, then go for it.
But if you’re just applying there because it’s got a reputation of being a good place to make money, you should know what you’re getting into.
Stryker is very hard on job seekers. They can be, because they’ve got THOUSANDS of applicants. And they’re hard on sales reps. You can’t argue they aren’t if they regularly pink-slip large chunks of their sales force.
But you, the job seeker, should think about why you want to work there. Is that really what you want?
Stryker is a little bit like the jock who all the girls chase that’s a jerk to everyone, because he can be. Meanwhile, a perfectly nice guy is standing off to the side, who would appreciate you and treat you with respect. He’s just not that flashy and not demanding all that attention. You’ve got to ask yourself, are you throwing yourself at the high school jock and leaving yourself wide open to rejection? Are you looking around at what else is available? Are you operating with biases that are keeping you from considering other options?
And as I’m saying this, I know that some of you are super-competitive and just chomping at the bit to go in to a place like Stryker and prove yourself. You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something if you can handle that environment and be successful.
All I wanted to do was to educate you and cause you to question yourself.
What are you going for?
What do you want long-term?
That was the point of my blog post. I think that we all need to move forward with as much information as possible. I’m very glad that it opened up this discussion. Thank you all for commenting!
Are you looking for a position within medical device sales? Here’s a free list of great medical device companies to consider—in no particular order of greatness:
(And don’t forget: there are a ton of medical device blog posts right here on Medical Sales Recruiter—Tips and Quips to help you break into this great field, including my top 10 tips for a medical sales job search and a free How to Land a Job in Medical Sales webinar.)
One of the world’s largest medical device makers ($15 Billion in sales) is aiming at getting even bigger by expanding more into global markets. So maybe the biggest job growth is outside the U.S.? Anybody know Chinese?
One of the world’s leading medical device and medical technology companies with a strong presence in orthopedics, neurotechnology, surgical supplies and equipment, surgical navigation systems, and more. They’re huge—20,000 employees, $7+ Billion in sales. A Forbes Most Innovative Company and a Fortune Best Company to Work For. But also somewhat controversial—see what a medical sales recruiter has to say about Stryker.
Owns Cordis (vascular), DePuy (surgical, orthopaedics, etc.) and Ethicon (surgical instruments), and bought out Synthes last year. Synthes is Switzerland based and does instruments, implants, and biomaterials (bone and tissue).
Sells medical equipment and supplies–CRM, cardiovascular, endoscopy, urology, and more. 25,000 employees, sales well over $7 Billion. Named a Forbes Most Innovative Company. Announced a 5-year plan to expand Chinese commercial operations.
Abbott is big. 90,000employees world wide, $38 Billion in revenue ($9 Billion in the medical device arm). Growing presence in medical optics, vascular (as well as diagnostics, pharmaceuticals nutrition and diabetes care).
Endomechanical products, respiratory products, soft tissue repair products, vascular products, just to name a few.
Anesthesia, infusion therapy, diabetes care, diagnostics, and more.
What do you think?
Did I miss anybody you think is an important player or that you heard is a great place to work?
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Medical device maker Stryker sure does seem to inspire strong feelings, doesn’t it? Synthes isn’t too fond of them at the moment, and I’ve even written myself about why you should never work for Stryker. On the other hand, it seems like everyone wants to work for Stryker and they made MedReps list of Best Places to Work 2011. So what’s the deal?
As always, there are two sides to every story and one job seeker (Jason) asked me just the other day to help him figure it out. He found himself in a Stryker job interview and wanted to know if it was worth pursuing. Listen to the audio below for what I see as the pros and cons involved in working for Stryker:
Pssst….If you are in a medical sales job search, I’d like to invite you to my free training webinar that will give you tons of information and tips to get the job you want faster: How to Get Into Medical Sales
What were medical sales reps reading in 2011?
(1) Medical device reps wanted to know the best companies to work for:
(2) Medical sales reps of all stripes wanted to be more competitive in job interviews:
(3) And job seekers looking for medical sales jobs liked this one:
Want to do a holiday favor for someone in a medical sales job search? Pass this article along to them.
* If you want a business plan that’s proven to get people into medical sales jobs, check out 30/0/90-day Sales Plans.
* If you want some free training to help you get a medical sales job, come to this free medical sales job webinar.
* If you want to be better at job interviews, come to this free training webinar on How to Answer Interview Questions.
Are you interested in how much money you’ll make as a medical sales rep?
MedReps.com has a medical rep salary survey I think you’ll want to see. It says the average total compensation (base + bonus) across all specialties is $136K. (Which helps explain why medical sales is one of the most competitive sales arenas!)
Most people would have expected that medical device sales reps would be the highest paid at $146K, but it turns out that biotech reps are edging them out at $152K. Pharma reps are dragging down the average at $116K. And of course, the sales managers are sitting pretty at the top of the salary heap.
If you’re already in medical sales, where do you sit on that scale? Does your salary seem fair? Does it make you want to jump ship for another product line?
If you’re female what are you thinking right about now? Do you agree with the article I just saw on BioJobBlog that says that female salaries still lag behind? Is your salary within the range that MedReps says it should be?
If you’re just getting started with your medical sales career, I think you should pick your field carefully. Explore all your options (job shadowing is great for that). I wouldn’t recommend pharma anyway because of the massive layoffs of the last few years, but that salary news would be the nail in the coffin for me.
What do you think?
A few days ago, I posted Part 1 of Lisa McCallister’s two-part post on A Day-in-the-Life of an Endoscopic Technologies Rep. (Lisa is a medical device recruiter who blogs on MyJobScope: Inside the World of Medical Device Sales and Marketing.) Today is Part 2, where she explores the top 3 things a rep must do in order to succeed, as well as a realistic look at how much time it takes to be a medical device rep and what that time is spent doing on a day-to-day basis.
I love these posts, because they show you just how much you can really benefit from a job shadowing experience, and you can really start to see just how much they can help you stand out in your medical sales interview.
From the second endoscopy center, we drove down to a hospital where they rep had recently sold a Beamer system, an electrosurgical unit which can be used to stop bleeding in the digestive track. Unlike surgeons, who love blood almost as much as vampires, the rep explained that the tension level in the endoscopy suite usually goes through the roof when there is a “bleeder”. He told me that some of the cautious G.I. doctors in rural areas will send their patients to urban hospitals at the first suspicion of blood.
The rep explained how much more in-depth the sales cycle for this particular product had been. Although the sale of such a product is frequently doctor driven, in this particular instance it had been the nurse manager who had really pushed the purchase. In smaller community hospitals, doctors may be on 8-12 week rotations, lessening their influence in buying decisions. After making the sale, the rep had in-serviced the staff for 8 hours a day over the course of an entire week. During that time, he identified one staff member as someone he could tap as a “specialist” to help others in the account when they had questions, lessening the on-going support demands on him.
Since it was about 12 noon when we arrived at the hospital, and the festivities of GI nurses day far from over, we met a pizza delivery guy in the lobby. Although meals are not a standard operating procedure for device reps, it was a special day after all, and yours truly was working up an appetite.
The rep signed on one of the vendor tracking systems in the lobby. Later, he told me how meticulous he had to be about signing in and out. If he left a facility without signing out, the vendor system could lock him out and he would not be able to login at the next facility he visited.
We went up to the GI floor, where it happened to be a pretty quiet day. In the storage room, the rep retrieved the Beamer system for an in-service. On the side of the unit, the rep had added a couple of plastic hooks for hanging the cords used with the system. He had labeled shelves and created sample “kits” of the disposable products used with the system. I was impressed at the way he had organized his products to make use of them as simple as possible for his customers. Organization was certainly one of this reps strengths.
Later, when he in-serviced a nurse on the system, it occurred to me just how many different products medical staff are expected to know how to use. While a product in isolation might seem simple and intuitive, remembering the codes, set-ups and functions of a product in the context of a complex hospital setting is something very different. This is why medical device reps play such an important role in training or in-servicing hospital staff.
We checked out the scope room where a few dozen flexible endoscopes hung like long black snakes. Knowing that each scope probably cost thousands of dollars, I recognized just how expensive the inventory in that small room was. I wondered why there were so many and I soon found out why.
Next, the rep showed me the room where they scopes were cleaned. There were specialized cleaning units for cleaning and sterilizing the scopes through multiple steps. Each scope took at least 2 hours to cycle through the cleaning process.
On a busy day with multiple procedures, many scopes were needed in rotation due to the lag time of cleaning. I didn’t clean any scopes that day, but the rep asked the nurse manager if he could come back sometime to watch and even help in order to learn- a smart approach to learning more about his customer.
After lunch, we headed back into the city to yet another account. Along the way, I worked through a few more questions, such as:
How much of your time do you dedicate to the different aspects of your job? 15-20% cases, 15-20% travel or preparing for it 30% making calls and the remainder of time in-servicing existing accounts and products or handling paperwork.
What are the top 3 things a rep must do in order to succeed in this business? 1. get organized 2. learn products 3. hustle
Fill in the blank: If you love (hardwork) you will love this job. If you hate (being flexible) you will hate this job.
The rep had long targeted medical sales as the industry he wanted to be in, but paid his dues gaining outside B2B sales experience first. His advise to others hoping to break into the industry is to establish a successful track record in sales and document it in a brag book.
Prior to working in medical sales, this rep worked in the wine business. I asked him how the two industries compared. In the wine industry, he was accustomed to working 70-80 hours a week, including Saturday and Sunday. “At least doctors take vacations,” he said, compared to the non-stop 365 schedule of retail and restaurants. In many ways, he finds the sales processes very similar, because both required selling at multiple levels in order to gain the business. The customers in medical sales are much more professional though. “At least a doctor knows what he’s talking about, compared to a snobby wine merchant who thinks he knows everything,” he said.
At the next account, we met with a nurse who was interested in pricing on several products. He took notes and promised to follow-up with a quote. It was a short call and to the point, but looked like it could lead to a nice sale. The rep offered the nurse a binder filled with various catalogs of product and his business card. As we headed out, the rep mentioned that he preferred to create binder where all the product information could be contained. Brochures tended to end up in the trash. Once again, the rep was thinking of ways to make things easier for his accounts. It was a consistent theme throughout the day.
Back at the car, I asked the rep to show me his trunk. It was neatly packed with various products, brochures and customer information. The rep said he felt that lack of organization was a contributing reason for reps failure. “If you are not organized, you’ll sink in this business,” he said. Not only organizing stuff, but time and travel was key. Planning ahead for travel enabled him to better control costs and coordinate his schedule with his wife.
The ride-along was a terrific way for me to learn more about the day in the life of a Endoscopic technologies rep- and I hope for you too! And although GI nurses and associates day is a new holiday for me, it’s one I plan on celebrating again next year!
Want to break into medical sales? Don’t miss this step-by-step kit from the Medical Sales Recruiter: How to Get Into Medical Sales. It’s the “secret formula” to landing almost any medical sales job-even if you have no experience.
The Medical Sales Summit 2011 is a go!
It’s been a dream of mine for several years now to bring together the best of the best in medical sales–and it’s happening in October!
I’m putting together a top-notch education and training event for medical sales reps, medical sales managers, and even for those who are trying to break into medical sales–3 separate tracks so that each group gets targeted information. And the networking opportunities will be tremendous.
There’s a sizeable discount for registering early, so find out all the details about the Medical Sales Summit (and how to register) by clicking here.
I can’t wait to see you there!
Ever wonder what life would be like as a medical sales rep?
Let today’s guest author, Lisa McCallister of My Job Scope: Inside the World of Medical Device Sales and Marketing, give you some insight into A Day-in-the-Life of an Endoscopic Technologies Rep. It’s an entertaining and informative look at a ride-along with a medical sales rep. Read on…
A couple of weeks ago on a Wednesday morning, I met up with the local sales rep for ConMed Endoscopic Technologies before 8:00 am. Like the rep, I was decked out in a pair of scrubs and a comfortable pair of running shoes.
It happened to be GI Nurses and Associates Day. Who knew there was such a holiday? Apparently, I had a lot to learn!
Our first stop was a nearby endoscopy center, where due to the festive occasion, we dropped off some bagels. One of the nurses invited us back to a large storage room. The walls were lined with products from different companies.
The rep asked for the nurse who was responsible for ordering a certain product. Over the course of the day, we talked to nurses in several facilities who ordered product and seemed to have a lot of discretion over the purchases. In this case, the rep let the ordering nurse and several others know about other products he offered. He also got the name of a rep for one of the large national distributors.
When we were back in the car, he explained that he found it beneficial to partner with distributor reps in areas of his large territory, especially those who were tenured and have long-term relationships with customers. In such instances, as a manufacturer’s rep, he goes into the accounts with the distributor reps, closes new business for his products, and handles all the in-servicing of the account. Both he and the distributor rep increase their sales as a result.
We arrived at another endoscopy center on the other side of town. The waiting room was full of eager patients looking forward to a colonoscopy. This routine diagnostic procedure, recommended for most people at 50 years of age, is the most common GI procedure performed. Other common procedures include esophagogastroduodenoscopy, more commonly referred to as EGD or Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, a.k.a ERCP. (Thank goodness for acronyms!)
Here, we had an interesting conversation with the nurse manager. She had primary responsibility for sourcing many of the products used in the facility. One of her first questions was if the sales rep knew where to find collapsible wast canisters due to space constraints. The thought of all the medical waste generated by the facility sitting in a dump somewhere bothered her.
The nurse manager complemented the CET rep on his strong customer service, and grumbled about another company who had recently switched to a 1-800 number for all product issues. “When I have a patient on the table, I don’t want to call a 1-800 number and talk to someone who doesn’t know me or my situation.” She finds it harder to get things resolved quickly, compared to speaking directly with a sales rep for an immediate answer.
She also shared her experience about working with a rep who became “livid” when she had decided to buy from another company. The rep tried to low-ball on price. She told him flatly that was not how she did business. The rep then said he would go to another person in the facility about the purchase.
Not a smart move.
It was the nurse manager’s turn to be livid. “Excuse me,” she said to the low-ball sales rep, “I think you are misinformed about who is buying the product.” To us she explained that she wants to do business with someone who shares her ethics and values, and is honest and fair. This particular rep was someone she would never buy from as a result of this incident.
Back in the car, I asked the sales rep how he handled situations like the one she described. After all, it is a sales rep’s responsibility to figure out how to get the business. While making people angry is not a good way to grow one’s business, sometimes reps need to find alternative avenues for making a sale. The CET rep said he would consider approaching someone else in a facility for support in a similar situation, but he wouldn’t confront the other decision maker blatantly. Rather, he would ask someone else for support, and then fess up that he’d hit a wall elsewhere.
Part two, in which the heroine eats pizza and cleans a scope (well, almost.)
Want to break into medical sales? Don’t miss this step-by-step kit from the Medical Sales Recruiter: How to Get Into Medical Sales. It’s the “secret formula” to landing almost any medical sales job.
Medical device sales reps, here’s something you might not know about: MassDevice.com, an online business journal for the medical device industry. It rounds up the latest medical device headlines, like this one about Stryker’s deal to acquire Concentric Medical and its stroke treatment devices.
They also offer a directory of medical device companies in the northeast, and if you poke around a bit you can find great articles like this one about a day in the life of a medical device sales rep…good to know if you’re considering this arena.
Medical device is one of the most competitive areas in all of medical sales…if you want the secret to beating out that competition, check out my How to Get Into Medical Sales Kit for a step-by-step blueprint to carry you through the process. It works whether you have experience already or if you’re just starting out.
And even bigger news….our upcoming Medical Sales Summit 2011 is the opportunity of the year for you to learn cutting edge sales skills and make new connections in the medical sales community. Register before September 25!
Stryker is one of the world’s leading medical device and medical technology companies, with a strong presence in orthopedics, surgical supplies and equipment, surgical navigation systems, and more.
I talk to candidates every day who are interested in going after a sales position at Stryker. But I tell those candidates to proceed with caution. Don’t get me wrong. Stryker is a solid company with a strong track record of growth (also on Fortune’s list of 100 best companies to work for). But…the perception among these candidates is that they’re going to make 200-300K right off the bat. That’s why everyone goes after it. But typically, that’s not what happens.
Sales reps at Stryker spend their first year or two in a supportive role, assisting the sales reps who are making the big bucks–which means they make a lot less. On top of not making the money they expected, that kind of workload is very stressful and taxing, which means that most sales reps wash out.
So Stryker runs through sales reps like water, and it’s not a big deal for them because for everyone who leaves, there are 10 more vying for that spot.
So what I recommend to many candidates is that they take a closer look at other medical device companies, especially smaller ones. (Check out BioSpace’s DeviceSpace page for general medical device news.) At a smaller company, they can be 1 out of 50 instead of 1 out of 400. There’s less competition for those jobs, often a lot more training, and a relationship with a company who’s a little more interested in the longevity of its sales force.
If you are currently in a medical sales job search, I’d like to invite you to my free training webinar: How to Get Into Medical Sales.