Hiring and training medical sales reps

A well-developed hiring and training program is critical when building a high-performing medical sales team. Your company’s success is only as strong as the performance of your sales reps. This is true no matter what type of company you are.

But, as Map My Customers’ Senior Enterprise Account Executive JT Rimbey describes, “hiring the right people can be such a challenge, to ensure not only the right company cultural fit but also a fit for the types of customers and selling experiences specific to that position.”

So, it is critical to take a thorough and methodical approach to both hiring and training a medical sales team. But what exactly does that look like?


How to Ensure You Are Hiring the Right People


Eric Mongeau, a recent guest on the Field Sales Leadership Guide podcast hosted by Rimbey, is the National Sales Director for Aeroflow Sleep, a division of the durable home medical equipment supplier Aeroflow Healthcare. One of the reasons for the company’s successful growth over the last couple of years is the strength of its sales team. Specifically, its hiring and training process for new reps.

Mongeau knows that there is a direct correlation between how well a new rep fits into the company’s sales role and the strength of the customer relationships that are built. This is especially true if your company is in a niche market like Aeroflow.

When it comes to recruiting new sales reps, Mongeau evaluates, “does the rep have the ability to not just go out there, cold call, and be the rainmaker to bring in new business, but do they also have the ability to build long-term relationships and support their customer?”

So, to really create a successful medical sales team, the reps need to have an operator and entrepreneurial mentality. This type of thinking will push them to do what they can to keep their customers and grow them over time.

Some of the traits that this type of person/rep will have (and what you should be looking for!) include:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Coachability
  • True self-awareness
  • Self-determination
  • Self-motivation
  • Goal-driven
  • Analytical
  • Excited about people
  • Excellent communicator

But, how they directly interact with people is going to be the critical thing in medical sales. Healthcare is people-driven.

As Mongeau describes, “we find in people we’re interviewing that if they're high in people service, they generally have a really good mind for customer service. They also have a lot of empathy, they tend to be emotionally intelligent, they tend to read a room well, and those are the folks that do the best in a long-term, ongoing relationship sale.”

When you are hiring the right people who truly fit in with your company, you can continue to exceed sales quotas and scale your company. But, another big part of making sure that that will indeed be the case is nailing the training process for your new medical sales reps.


Getting Your New Reps Primed and Ready for Success


Just because you hire someone who seems like a great fit for the sales role, doesn’t guarantee their success for your company. A good training program will maximize all of the traits we covered above and empower them to effectively hit the ground running.

In most cases, successful training for your new reps will take place over their first 90 days. This ramp-up period should involve a mix of:

  • Deep product knowledge and regulatory training
  • Sales tool onboarding/training (including CRM onboarding, etc.)
  • Cross-training with the customer service team, clinical team, providers, etc.
  • Sales coaching
  • Shadowing in the field with a sales leader/trainer
  • And finally, on their own, with 30-60-90 day check-ins.

By ensuring that the training program is multi-modality, you can be sure that it is truly effective and will “stick”, no matter if the new reps are visual learners, experiential learners, or anything in between.


The Power of Shadowing


The shadowing part of the training process is a critical segment of the puzzle. This should begin with the new rep just watching and listening to a sales leader in action as well as spending time with a provider (or another person from the clinical team).

This will really put everything that the rep has learned in their training so far into context. And even further, it will hammer home how the products the reps will be selling can truly be life-changing for the end user.

After the new reps spend some time following, the roles of the shadowing are gradually reversed. This means the sales leader will then be acting as more of a “fly on the wall” as the new rep takes a more active role in customer interactions. As Mongeau describes, the sales leader “will be there to critique and be there as a safety net if the conversation gets a little bit deeper or more complex than [the rep] was expecting.”


Regular Check-Ins Help Ensure New Reps are Headed in the Right Direction


Once the new reps are out in the field on their own, structured check-ins should be happening at the first 30, 60, and 90-day marks. These should hit on very specific bullet points/items. Doing so will ensure that your new reps are on track to meet sales expectations by the next check-in based on defined metrics (both non-revenue-based and revenue based).

Based on how those check-ins go, you can then introduce targeted sales coaching and make informed pivots in direction where needed.


Making Sure That Your Hiring & Training is Truly Purpose-Based Will Drive Effectiveness


Knowing exactly what to look for and how to further develop those traits will help you put together a medical sales team that is destined for success. This means ensuring that both your hiring efforts and training program are truly purpose-based, with a thorough and methodical approach.

By following what we’ve covered above, you can create a first-class hiring and training process for your medical sales team just like Aeroflow Healthcare has and get new reps “from zero to hero” in a short period of time.

For more on this topic, tune into the in-depth conversation with Aeroflow Healthcare’s Eric Mongeau on the Field Sales Leadership Guide podcast from Map My Customers. In this episode, you’ll get more insight into ensuring that your hiring and training efforts are hitting the mark. Plus, how showing the value of using an outside sales CRM will help solidify the new reps’ success moving forward.


hiring and training medical sales reps
Tune into the Field Sales Leadership Guide podcast.