In this episode of Med Device Unleashed Podcast, we have invited Denise Muresan, an Area Sales Manager for Vertiflex and a Pro-tennis player. Denise started as a clinical specialist with Boston Scientific. She is a highly talented, very successful medical device sales rep. She studied brain behavior and cognitive science at Michigan ( Go Blue ). Today, Denise shares with us her journey from being an athlete to Medical Device Sales and gives her advice to aspiring people and current device sales reps alike.
Denise went to the University of Michigan and studied pre-med undergrad where she did brain behavior and cognitive science. She excelled in college tennis and decided to play professionally for four years.
Path to Med Device
Denise didn’t know about the industry. She was focused more on the pre-med track and potentially becoming a physician or an anesthesiology assistant. The first time she learned about it was from his brother who worked for GlaxoSmithKline. After graduating, some of her athlete friends got into device sales and encouraged her to try it.
When Denise stopped playing tennis, she applied for 30 to 40 med device jobs but didn’t get one email back. With her best friend’s connection, a couple of spots were open up for a CS position at Boston Scientific. She was interviewed and got it.
Denise’ Day to Day
Working at Boston Scientific, she was working with spinal cord stimulators as a clinical specialist. She was covering cases and re-programming. She would re-program an actual stimulator that’s implanted in the patient’s body through a Bluetooth type of device to cover the patients’ pain areas where they feel like a buzzing tingling sensation to block the pain.
She would look for ways to help her territory manager grow the accounts, and come up with ideas based on conversations and what she’d seen with physicians.
From Clinical Specialist to Sales
Denise said she didn’t understand what sales incorporated in that capacity. She got into medical device sales because she didn’t want to do any type of sales. She liked its healthcare aspect. But as she started developing and learning what the sales role entailed, she realized that she can get more into those clinical and higher-level conversations with physicians. Denise loved developing the business, too.
In medical sales, we try and act like we know everything all the time, and that’s not always true. When you first start, take advantage of the fact that you are new. The doctor knows that you’re new. Ask questions if you don’t know what’s going on. They’ll respect you because they’ll know that you will be even better prepared next time that you’re with them, and you’re truly there to learn and not just watch.
Before you go in, talk to other reps that have been in the room with a physician. Everybody has a different personality in the operating room. We’re there to make them comfortable, and provide the product for them and make sure everything’s working properly. But if you can cater to their personality as well, they’ll appreciate that.
Skills Acquired From Tennis
One of the skills that Denise acquired from playing tennis is teamwork. She said it’s important not only to be a team player but knowing how to work with different people.
For Denise, being coachable is another important skill. You need to ask questions to see what it takes to get to that next level, but don’t rush because that just means you want to get better. It doesn’t mean it feels good getting that negative feedback, but it’s always best and can always grow from it.
It’s a minimally invasive spine implant for mild to moderate lumbar spinal stenosis with neurogenic, intermittent claudication. It is for older patients that aren’t allowed to go through a major back procedure.
This device was created to treat the mechanical component of pain.
Hesitations on Vertiflex
Denise was scared to make the jump because Boston Scientific is such a well-known company. She was the market leader selling products. She took the risk and went to a new company to help bring a brand new product to market that was a groundbreaking therapy. She was very nervous about making that decision but was glad she did.
Denise saw a quicker path to upward mobility than she did at Boston Scientific at the time.
When at home, Denise was studying the clinical study, spinal anatomy, lumbar spinal anatomy, and having everything nailed down. She wanted to be prepared to answer on the spot.
Tips in Managing a Team
It’s a constant learning process for Denise. She tries to understand what motivates her teams and what goals they have and try and support them as best as possible. She gives input on where they can grow, and help them develop those skills, and be supportive.
Advice for Aspiring People
Dennis said that there should be energy to work hard. A lot of people want to be in medical device sales, but it’s not for the faint of heart because it is a lot of work. You have to bring that energy to your physicians.
We need somebody open to learning to improve, so they have to be coachable.
Be humble. Know that you don’t know what you haven’t learned yet. Learn as much as you can whatever role you are in. Ask your manager to be involved in those opportunities, so that once you get to that role, you’re well qualified.
When you step into medical device sales, your game face and support should be in your position. You must know the product well and be good support. Keep things calm. Be ready and prepped for them.
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