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For Surgical Sales Reps, It's All About Bonuses and Commissions

Virtually all make six figures, but bonuses account for nearly 40% of their incomes.

Published: June 14, 2017

SURGICAL SALES Surgical supplies are the most lucrative field for sales reps.

Ever wonder why the sales reps who show up day after day are so persistent? Turns out they have plenty of incentive to stay on your good side and curry favor with your docs — nearly 40% of their income comes from bonuses and commissions.

The average medical sales rep is pulling down $147,424 a year, according to MedReps.com, which recently published its 2017 Medical Sales Salary Report, but that figure includes an average bonus of $53,405. Average base salary is $95,791.

Some other takeaways from the research:

  • Those selling health IT/software make the most money, an average of $176,012. Biotech and medical/surgical device reps are next at $162,544 and $159,130, respectively.
  • Surgery and OR reps fare best, with an average take of $160,991; pharmacy reps are close behind at $159,293.
  • Experience matters. Those with 20 years or more under their belts are coming in at $168,983, vs. $101,175 for reps in their first or second years.
  • Male reps have higher base salaries than their female counterparts ($98,043 vs. $90,622) and are making much larger bonuses ($58,779 vs. $39,901).
  • Willingness to travel pays off. Those who stay put are settling for $129,876; those who spend 50% of their time on the road pull down $169,669.
  • Chances are, your reps are fairly content — 77% like their jobs, and 76% say they're happy with their pay.

Jim Burger


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