The medical field is not only lucrative and large, it also allows plenty of room for growth and transformation throughout your career, if you play your cards right.
A first steps is getting good first job – one of the best entry level positions is sales. This skills you learn in sales, strong organizational skills, tenacity, creativity, good listener, communication, are all transferable and can lead to success in other positions.
As we discussed in the first article in the series, some sales people are then helped along their career path by mentors, who help them grow into one of the related fields of training, recruiting and account management.
However, if you want to move into the upper levels of the medical field you need to make sure you are applying for jobs at companies that can help get you there. Larger pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies typically have leadership development programs within their corporate infrastructure. These programs are usually 24 – 36 month mentorship programs.
A study done by Jean Brittain Leslie and Kim Palmisano in the Center for Creative Leadership,(http://insights.ccl.org/wpcontent/uploads/2015/04/LeadershipChallengePharmaceutical.pdf) shows the greatest potential derailment factor for pharma executives is having too narrow a functional orientation. These Corporate Learning Development programs help candidates avoid that problem by exposing candidates to cross functional careers such as marketing, sales management and payer strategy.
If you do start off in a sales role in a smaller company and decide later that you’d like to move into one of the fields supported by corporate training, taking a lateral position at a company with those training options can get you where you need to be.
Here are some of the divisions that leadership development programs can help you move towards.
Marketing opens up a host of possibilities in the medical field. Overall the marketing department is responsible for developing, managing and enhancing brands. The most well-known positions within the marketing department are marketing communication, product management and brand management. They work closely with research and the public relations department.
Marketing communications develop strategies to keep its target audience informed including, consumers, business partners and employees.
Product Managers identify opportunities for a defined product and launch new products. To make this happen they collaborate with market research, advertising, sales and forecasting.
Brand Managers oversee the product life cycle by developing and overseeing strategy. Managing and executing marketing strategies with the goal of driving of product sales. Brand managers collaborate with advertising, packaging design and field sales.
Payer Strategy is another career path which can be developed from Leadership Development Programs. The Payer Strategy role works to get products covered by payers including: managed care, federal agencies and commercial payers. Many companies break positions into defined roles. This department works closely with other departments, reimbursement, forecasting, pricing, sales and contracts.
Managed care account executives are responsible for getting products on formulary and contracting with managed care and often commercial insurance accounts.
The Federal Accounts sales person sells in Federal agencies such as VA hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid.
These are options if you decide sales isn’t the field for you, so there’s no reason no to take that first job in sales and try it!