Last week, we had the opportunity to listen to Jeremy Laynor, Senior Vice President of Global Sales for Providence Medical Technology, as he talked about his career track and how he is continually striving to create more impact in his chosen profession. In this episode, he joins Sam Gbadebo to share the pearls of wisdom that he has learned from the moment he entered the medical sales field to when he rose up the ranks into his current leadership position. Whether you’re a jobseeker who’s looking to get into a medical device position, a sales professional who is currently in medical device, or a leader who is responsible for a whole sales team, you are definitely going to learn something from this episode. It may be the point guard in him talking, but Jeremy has some pretty hefty advice on assists right at the end of the interview. Make sure to stick to the end for it!
By the way, Jeremy also took this opportunity to lay bare his plans to publish his own book. Make sure to be on the lookout it. Here is the link to get your copy! www.thepointguardapproach.com
In the last episode, we had the opportunity to learn from Jeremy Laynor, Senior Vice President of Global Sales for Providence Medical Technology. They are a medical device company that specializes in cervical spinal conditions. The last episode was about his career track, how he entered the industry, what he experienced and how he rose to the level he is as a Senior Vice President. In part two, we get into the pros of wisdom he’s learned when he entered, as he rose the ranks and in his leadership position. It’s a great episode because it has pearls for everyone. If you’re a job seeker that’s looking to get into a medical device sales position, you’re going to learn something. If you’re someone that’s a sales professional that’s in medical device sales, you’re going to learn something. Even if you’re a leader that’s responsible for a team or a number of teams, you’re going to learn something. As always, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this interview.
You thought about the day-to-day and the overall impact of what your role does, and that sold you on the opportunity to jump into this space.
The compensation was enticing as well. At that point, it was an uncapped comp plan. It was like, “As much as you can sell, the sky’s the limit.” I worked hard. I think I can sell a lot and I’m confident that if I put the work in, I’ll get the results.
What brought you to FatCloud? Was that a startup?
Yes. It is the same thing. We’ve made the transition to Medtronic. I’m an Area Vice President of a huge team. I had made a name for myself within the organization because I came from the bottom up and I knew everybody. It was a great ride. Medtronic is an amazing company, but I’m one of 40,000 people. Things culturally shift a little bit. I got this unique opportunity in Los Angeles where I’d been living saying, “Have you ever thought of software sales?” I said, “I’ve been interested in it but I don’t know much about it.” They sold me on the vision of this neat technology.
I said, “There’s no better time than now to give it a shot. I’m where I’m at with Medtronic. I don’t see a whole lot of change in the future. This is a good time to give it a shot.” Frankly, it was that risk-reward play again. It was like, “I’m going to try something very different. I’m in a great role, but who knows where this could lead me?” I did it for a year and a half. What I learned was that I liked the intrinsic value. I didn’t realize that the intrinsic value of that connection to the physician and the patient was much stronger than I had thought. When I went to technology sales and no offense to anybody in software, I’m now building a model to sell a database. It was like, “What’s the database do?” “It stores a lot of information.” I liked that but what else?
You then realized med-devices, medical sales and pharmaceuticals are a great industry because of the impact and the connection. It’s powerful. There are so many great things you can do out in the world, but I thought, “I want to get back.” Fortunately, I built up a big enough network and there was a lot going on with that opportunity. I didn’t just up and leave that we don’t need to get into it. The bottom line is that technology is going to get divested. You want the customers. It was a risky play. That one didn’t pan out in terms of an exit or a big acquisition, but I learned a lot. It was a tremendous growth opportunity for me. I saw another space and it solidified my passion for what I do and did. It got me back.The grass isn’t always greener somewhere else. Try staying longer at an organization where you can show sustained success. Click To Tweet
My next question is going to be, how did working at FatCloud serve you as you went on to then go into Paradigm Spine? It sounds like you said it reinforced your passion for where you want to be as far as devices are concerned. Can you even go as far as to say that if it hadn’t been for FatCloud, you might not have even seen the opportunity with Paradigm Spine?
Everything happens for a reason, 100%. If I don’t make that change, the Paradigm Spine, the timing of all that wouldn’t have happened. It also gets back to that high-performance team thing is that the gentleman that hired me at Paradigm is David Brown. He is a mentor of mine that I had worked for at Salient. When he called me, it was refreshing because it was like, “Here we go, high-performance team.” This guy is going to push the limits and we’re going to go full speed ahead and bring out new technology to the market. That’s exactly what we did. It was another great 5 or 6 years of experience.
The final question, as far as your career progression, what finally brought you to Providence Medical Technology?
At Salient and Medtronic, I was in spine peripherally. We were selling into the procedure, but we weren’t selling implants. I understood the spine space and had a lot of experience around it. Paradigm was spine. We are in lumbar decompressions and we’re selling hardware for that procedure, bringing out new technology, breaking down doors, conceptual selling and building a high-powered high-performance team. Eventually, I became the VP of Sales at Paradigm. I was promoted there. It was a great run. Providence recruited me and said, “Here’s our story. This is what we’re trying to accomplish.” It resonated with me and the timing was interesting because Paradigm was shifting into their acquisition mode. I knew that the future was going to be limited under the Paradigm umbrella. We were going to be somebody else.
I had already been through that before. It was like, “Is it time to take that leap? Is there a risk? What do I see from a day-to-day standpoint?” I loved the team at Providence. They are talented. I got along well with the entire executive team, especially the CEO. I said, “They’ve got a special technology that needs to be brought to the market in a way that it deserves.” They’ve been out and they’ve been doing a great job. It was an opportunity to enhance and take a lot of the experiences I’ve had and apply them in a place that I felt comfortable with the people, the clients and the ideas that I had seen. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. How do I take those mistakes, the things at work and bring them to Providence Medical in a way that can enhance and accelerate their vision of where they want to be someday? That’s the pathway we’ve been on. That’s the worthwhile mission where we’re on now.
I keep hearing a theme through your career of expanding the skillset and taking a risk. It’s a three-tiered question. I want to know from you, if you go back to being a sales rep, what are two major points that you would recommend any sales rep reading now? For someone that wants to be a sales rep, that they have to consider as they’re performing in their role and they want to go in and explore the opportunities? What should be in their mind?
Sustain success. One-hit wonders, I’ve seen them come and go. I can’t tell you how many talented, but their head gets in the wrong place. They have a great year and then they expect, “I was a president’s club. I’m a president club guy.” Now, everything should have like, “No, how do you do it over and over again?” It doesn’t mean you have to be president’s club every year, but how do you build a platform for yourself? What is the foundation? What are the principles you work off of to create sustain success over time? Furthermore, if you’re thinking about leadership, get promoted within your own company. The grass isn’t always greener. Try to stay for years at an organization where you can show, “I sustained success as a rep. I did it as a manager. I did it as a director. Now, I’m doing it as a VP.” If those two things were important in my career and I see it as a leader of sales teams, if you can sustain success over time, get promoted from within build your network and show value, you’re going to have no problems finding opportunities wherever you want to go.
For those first-line leaders, maybe sales rep and you’re a newly minted manager. In addition to sustain success, what would you say they need to keep in mind to deliver in their role as a new manager?
It’s a great question because I’ve become so much more aware of the blind spots I had as a leader, and I credit that to a lot of executive coaching. I would tell anybody, if your companies offer that or you can get executive coaching, do it. It will pay itself back in spades. I’ve been fortunate to be exposed to some tremendous executive coaches that help you with your blind spots. If I could paint a visual, if you think about three circles, the first small circle is what you know. The circle around that is what you know you don’t know, which is much bigger and then this massive circle that goes around and that is what you don’t know you don’t know.
As you get more mature and understand your own blind spots, you realize how big that other circle is. You’ve got to collaborate. You’ve got to take advice. You’ve got to be a great listener. Just because you’re a manager, it doesn’t mean you need to have all the answers. You need to be the best listener and you’ve got to be the best collaborator. Can you work cross-functionally? Can you apply some of those things that probably got you to management, like your competitive nature, your attention to detail or discipline? Can you apply some of that underneath there but understand that I need to collaborate and listen? I need to be aware of my surroundings and that big circle that surrounds me and consume. If there’s one thing I could go back and do years ago, it would be to consume more information, books and podcasts. What you are doing is great because it allows for this type of interaction that frankly, I don’t even know years ago. Podcasts have not been the norm, but I should have listened to them. It took the last few years for me to engage in that, read and using Audible and other great technology. Consuming information as a leader is important. Consider that a humble approach.
You’ve had so much experience, you’ve been a sales rep, a manager and now you’re a VP. As a VP, what else would you say needs to be added to this sustained success? You need to be aware, open, receive and be humble to understand and consuming information. What’s that final thing that you throw in there to execute well as a VP? There are a lot of budding VPs. I talked to a lot of people that have stepped into that VP role.
I don’t know that I’ve got the silver bullet, but I can tell you, at least in the years that been in the executive leadership teams. A lot of it has to do with being able to work cross-functionally. Are you able to go over and work closely with marketing leaders, with clinical operations, finance and start to not only work with them but understand what are their challenges and start to be broader in your view? Don’t be so myopic to, “I need to hit a number,” because that’s what’s pounded into you as a frontline manager, as a seller is to hit the number, top-line revenue. You may have an expense account or a T&E budget that you’re managing, but you need to get broader.
I think being able to ground yourself, understand who are you being, where are your blind spots and surround yourself with people that will allow to pick up. You can’t be good at everything. There are things that I’m naturally strong in and things that I’m not. If I can find teammates that can pick up those areas and I try and develop those areas. I call them growth opportunities, not a weakness but I want to focus on things I do well. There are people on my high-performance teams that do well, the things I don’t. When I get those people aligned around our vision, we can do amazing things. As you’re moving up in your career to that VP or C-Suite role, it’s about understanding who you are, what you’re good at, who you need to be around and what are your values? What are your principles? What’s your approach? How are you approaching your day-to-day? What are the foundations, the values and the morals that you want to bring to the table that you won’t compromise? That’s important.
We had talked about it a little bit. Years ago, I met a surgeon at a dinner named Dr. Cotlar. He’s in Houston. He was telling me about some things that he was doing. He was a little later in his career. I was approached on LinkedIn by a publisher. I said, “If you can write a book about orthopedics in 90 days, we’re going to publish it. We’re going to promote it for you.” He’s like, “In 90 days, I don’t know if I can do that.” He dictated the whole book and he wrote a book in 90 days. He wrote another book in 30 days after that. He published two books and he said, “If it’s something you’re passionate and know about, you can do it.”When you become a leader, you need to be the best listener and the best collaborator. Click To Tweet
I was like, “I’m passionate about business and teams. I’m passionate about basketball. Those are the two things I know a lot about.” I did that, but I didn’t do it in 90 days, unfortunately. Over the years, traveling about 150,000 miles a year on trains, planes and automobiles, instead of watching Netflix episodes, I wrote a book. It’s about the approach. I call it The Point Guard Approach. It’s about the principles and the ideas and concepts that I learned on the basketball court that I look back on them, “I applied all these things in business.” I’ve just signed with a publisher and I’m in the early stages of getting this book published, but I’m excited about that.
Everyone is going to get your book because we’re going to be waiting and anticipating The Point Guard Approach.
We launched a landing page and a website. If anybody is interested in tracking that, go to ThePointGuardApproach.com. You can subscribe. When things start happening, I’d love your audience to get exposed to it.
Let me ask you a little bit about that. What was the impetus behind wanting to write a book? Has it always been there, did something happen or just talking with this physician?
He was the one that got me over the top. I was like, “He’s not a writer, I’m not a writer,” but he was passionate about orthopedics. He’s passionate about telling the story and sharing it with other people. That was what influenced me to say, “I’m passionate about two things in addition to my family, which goes without saying. Basketball was a big part of my life for a long time. In fact, I’ve been around basketball for years.” It’s a big part of my life and I put a lot of hours into it, so then I went on to coach. I’ve been coaching since I was probably 21 different levels, AAU teams, high school, the whole thing.
Now, I have my own kids and I get to coach. Long story short, that was interesting. All the experience I’ve had, which we took some snapshots from the incredible crossover there are things like, “This is interesting, maybe that will help somebody. I don’t know if it will, but I know a lot of people like basketball and a lot of people are in business.” It doesn’t have to be in sales. Those two things crossed over. There are some interesting points. If I can help a few people, why not try and guess what? Is it better to write the book or watch that Netflix episode? That was it. I’m proud of the process. We’ll see how it comes out. If I tell some friends and family, if I sell one book or a thousand books, that’s not going to be how I measure it. It was the process. I am prouder of doing it than I am, whatever happens from there.
What’s the number one thing you learned in writing the book that you didn’t know before you started writing?
How hard it is to write and take ideas and put them on paper. Even though you think you know that stuff, and I think I do, taking that in a way that somebody else can palate and understand was hard. I didn’t have formal writing training. I had an English class in college, but that was humbling, to say the least. I’ll tell you the other one is, how do you start? One of my favorite sayings, and I know somebody else has probably said it, but I say this a lot is to start by starting. That’s what I did. The only way to get started is to start to do the research, put your pen to paper and get a framework built. The hardest part was getting the framework to start and getting the confidence that this makes some sense, how do I do this? Build some discipline then like, “Am I going to write every time I get on a plane? When am I going to do this? How do I go about it?”
Fortunately, because of some of the time I had, I didn’t have to take away from my family. I have four children. When I get home with a 60, 70, 80-hour workweek, the last thing I do is I don’t go golf. I don’t go fishing for the day alone. I do things with my kids. The time I had was to write in the hotel, write on the plane, the train, the automobile and that’s where I got 90% of the work done. A lot of the fine-tuning was done late at night after everybody’s in bed, but I couldn’t compromise family time.
One last thing and we touched on it a little bit. We talked about pharmaceutical sales reps getting into medical devices. You already know that a lot of readers are already in medical sales, but some of them aren’t. Some of them want to get into medical sales and some of them want to go directly from business-to-business sales into medical device sales. For those people out there that are either in business-to-business and want to be in medical device sales or those pharma reps who want to be in medical device sales, what’s one word of advice you can give them as far as the best way they can make that happen?
I don’t know if there’s one. I think connecting with somebody because everybody networks. In the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, you know somebody that knows somebody that’s doing the role you want already. Get connected and talk to them. What did they do? How did they get in? The network is important. Do the research and put the time in. Try and understand, what do you want to do? It sounds sexy and great to be in the med device. Do you want to be in there? Do you want to be in the OR, in that environment? Make sure that’s what you want before you jumped into it.
I’ve interviewed thousands of people over my career and there’s a good deal of them that were trying to get into the business for the wrong reason. If your foundation is you want to help improve patient outcomes, you’re going to the right field. It’s not about, “I want to make X amount of dollars.” That’ll come if you’re doing it for the right reasons and you’ve got the work ethic and all those things, but do you want to be a part of the healthcare system helping them drive patient outcomes?
In addition to the network is there are services that you offer where you can connect with advisors, people that have expertise in this industry and get the coaching. It’s similar to what I talked about with executive coaching. Leverage services that you offer to find pathways and leverage the network and understand what are the nuances to the business that you offer and you understand it. Somebody that’s coming off of a B2B job now, that big circle. They don’t know what they don’t know. Connect with somebody that knows what they don’t know and you have that. That’s a great opportunity.
Is there anything you want to share with anybody reading? What is your last word of advice? It doesn’t even matter who it pertains to, just general life advice. What is it?Do things for the right reasons. The money will follow after. Click To Tweet
My general life advice is to stay humble, work hard, find something you’re passionate about for the right reason and put in the work. When you do those things, the script will play out and you’re going to end up where you want to be. Help somebody else out. One of the big principles I believe in is assists. As a point guard, your job is to set other people up for success. They track that because it’s such a valuable stat. When you’re feeling down, when you’re feeling the world’s turned its back to you, go help somebody. I promise you, if you ask yourself, “Who have I helped? Who did I help? How can I help somebody?” Your spirit will turn around. The world will come back to you. Think about how you can assist somebody else. With that principle and that idea, that concept, what goes around, comes around. Somebody is going to assist you as well. Go make some assists.
Thank you, Jeremy, for the time you spent with us. It was excellent to have you. Hopefully, we catch up with you in the near future.
I appreciate it. Have a great day.
Wasn’t that a great episode? That was Jeremy Laynor. What I loved about that episode is he talks about you don’t know what you don’t know. Having that big picture view and the point of finding someone to connect with that knows what you don’t know when you’re stepping into something new. Also, I love how he gets into assists. When you’re feeling down and you don’t think that things are working out the way you want them to, instead of staying in your own space and feeling down about it, go give an assist. Go help someone out. Go do something for someone to help them get to the next step. Insights like that make me proud to help Jeremy get his book into your hands. I want to make sure that we create an avenue to allow that to happen.
You’re going to be able to do things that we talk about, give somebody an assist. In fact, I challenge you. If you know someone that can use a little bit of help, go ahead and give them an assist. If you’re looking to get into something different and get a position for example, or you’re reading this episode and you’re outside of this industry and you want to get into medical sales, as Jeremy said, you have to connect with someone that can help you know what you don’t know.
I want you to visit EvolveYourSuccess.com and select Attain a Medical Sales Role. That’s going to take you to one of our programs that can help you get a position called the Medical Sales Career Builder. If you want to get a position or you want to get into this industry, you want to get into medical device sales or if you want to get into pharmaceutical sales or genetic sales and molecular sales, visit the website. For those of you that want to improve your performance that was working now in medical devices or pharmaceuticals and you’re saying, “I want to take my career to the next level,” visit the website and select Improve Sales Performance. As always, I do my best to bring you wonderful guests that share pearls of wisdom that can help you get into this industry and improve your career. Thank you again and make sure to stay tuned for another episode.
I have always been passionate about health and human science. This led me to study Biochemistry in college where my dream was to solve the aids epidemic through molecular research. Along the way I discovered that my passion resided in helping individuals achieve health improvement one on one.
When my grandfather passed away of lung cancer in 2005, I chose to focus my energy into discovering new advancements in healthcare and medical technology.
As the Vice President of Business development for Atlas Healthcare Partners/Banner Health, I along with the team I serve, drive the growth of Ambulatory Surgery Centers in all states Banner operates with the mission to provide a lower cost surgical option and increased access to patients across multiple geography’s.
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