Selling Medical Devices into the Operating Theatre


Theatre sales is a specialist field within medical devices sales. Employees working in this area can expect to handle sales of medical devices to operating theatre staff, A&E, anaesthesia and critical care departments. This means that sellers will be required to have a great deal of knowledge covering these fields, and to be able to demonstrate the equipment they are selling to potential customers.

Sales made in theatre departments can range from low-end, inexpensive but necessary equipment such as theatre gowns, disposable gloves and swabs, and essential items such as soaps and products used to clean wounds to complex products such as prosthetics or endoscopy equipment, orthopaedic implants and cardiac or vascular devices. These are typically sold directly into theatre during a surgical procedure. The sales rep will stand by the surgeon’s side, fully scrubbed up, answering technical queries and ensuring that the product is being properly used, essentially becoming a vital member of the clinical theatre team. Demonstrating the workings of each device to senior surgeons and consultants and showing them how the devices can be managed are also key responsibilities of the role.

Applying for a Theatre Sales role

If you want to develop a career in medical devices theatre sales, then you should be aware that this area is very competitive, and there are many medical sales reps applying for these positions. In order to succeed, you must have specialist knowledge of the operating theatre, background in sales, as well as relevant qualifications in medical or medical technology areas. You will also need to have a good idea of competitor devices, and how your company’s products differ. Many companies will also look for experienced sales reps who have been able to introduce new customers to their company, or who have made significant sales.

What can I expect?

Starting a role as a theatre sales representative often involves extended driving between locations. Many companies expect their sales reps to be able to cover large areas. Most reps should also be able to manage sales figures, including demonstrating planning skills, and working with the company to work out the best way to maximise sales. You can also expect to be set a series of targets by the company, including sales to particular companies, and sales of more expensive ites.

Theatre sales reps can usually expect to earn between £30,000 and £35,000 per annum, with bonuses in the area of £5,000. This role is generally more specialised than being a Product or Brand manager, but it pays similarly. Sales reps looking to advance their career should consider this a step towards developing a broader knowledge base, or developing a specialism which can then be used when becoming a senior manager.


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