Before starting her own business, Rebecca Kinney had 15 years of experience, seven of which were spent in the field of sterile processing and the other eight in medical sales. To Rebecca, starting her own medical branding business was a culmination of her medical sales skills. In many ways, a lot of what medical sales professionals do involves building their personal brands. She uses those skills now to help medical organizations grow their brands, especially on LinkedIn, so they can thrive. Join in as she shares her story and unique value proposition on the show with Samuel Adenyika.
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Medical Branding – A Culmination Of Medical Sales Skills With Rebecca Kinney
In this episode, we have with us, Rebecca Kinney. She goes by Becca and is the owner of a small business that helps medical organizations tell their stories on LinkedIn. She comes with over 15 years of experience, 7 of those being in a unique field that I have not had on the show yet called sterile processing.
It’s the department that supports the operating room. She did that for 7 years and then went into medical sales for 8 years. Now, she finds herself very happy doing this LinkedIn work by helping medical organizations build their brands, grow their brands, and truly thrive all across the world on the LinkedIn platform.
This is going to be a treat of an episode. Number 1) Because we haven’t had someone from the sterile processing background on the show before. Number 2) Because you are hearing from someone that took that leap of faith from the medical sales space into their own business into the thriving career they have now but I am not going to say anymore. I’m going to save it for the interview. As always, thank you for reading.
Rebecca, how are you doing?
I am awesome. How are you?
I’m fantastic. No complaints. Why don’t you tell us who you are and what you do?
My name is Becca, and I’m the owner of a company that works with medical organizations and professionals with their LinkedIn and online presence to help them tell the story of their company and educate in a unique way. I love helping companies thrive in the medical space and helping them stand out.
Can you give me an example of that? Do you work with individual folks as well as large organizations?
I do. I primarily focus on the larger organizations at this point but I do one-on-one coaching with different medical professionals that are looking to grow their online presence. We discuss positive business outcomes they are going for, who they want to be connected to, and how they want to connect. We try and get them in front of people and out of that limited belief space of, “I can’t make a difference.”
With these larger organizations that you work with, what type are they typically?
They are typically surgically-based organizations that have some tie to the operating room. That’s my zone of genius and all of my experience historically.
Is it that you help create the marketing video content with them or do they have content already, and you guys are helping them get it out into the airwaves like LinkedIn?
Typically, what I do is a partner with the marketing team, the marketing directors, and VPs and make them the champion of the show. We typically have multiple conversations to say, “What are you hoping to achieve?” What I do is create a strategy on LinkedIn for them as well as the content in mixed media formats to help them execute whatever it is they are trying to achieve. I like to stay in the background. I want to have no star in the show. I want the company to be the champion. It’s because of what they have, hospitals and healthcare systems need to improve patient care.
Just so everybody has some context, you used to be a medical sales rep, and now this is your full-time career.
Yeah. It was scary to step out of medical sales and into my own business. I started out working in a department called Sterile Processing, which reprocesses all of the devices and instrumentation that surgery uses. At that time, I was in business school. I developed my love for selling and combining medical and business. I was like, “Those medical sales reps are pretty successful. They make a lot of money. I should do that. That would be cool.” I started asking around to the reps, and they were like, “Becca, you don’t have a lot of experience. You don’t have sales experience. Good luck, kid.” We fast-forward, and I got a medical sales rep job. I did that for eight years. It’s about fifteen years of experience before I launched fully into my own venture.
Let’s do this some justice because your history has a lot of pearls for everyone to hear and get something from. Let’s take it back to college. What did you want to do?
At first, I wanted to go into nursing, and then I wanted to go into diagnostic ultrasound. I had enough college credits that I could’ve almost had a full Nursing degree. Somewhere along the way, I realized I had a passion for business. I was like, “I’m not interested in direct patient care as much as that part that comes alive in me, where I’m like, “How does the business side work?” While I was in school for Marketing and International Finance, I was like, “I’ve got to come up with a way to combine these.”
I got a job at the hospital because my family has always been in the medical field. My mom was like, “You should work in this department called Sterile Processing. I know the manager.” I was like, “All I know is that sterile is a smell, Ma. I don’t know anything else.” She’s, “Okay, but let me introduce you to Drew. She can interview you.” I went through the interview process, and I remember Drew looked at me and she’s, “Kid, you were either going to be the best decision I’ve ever made or the worst mistake. I’m not sure yet.” We are still friends to this day, many years later.
In sterile processing, you started noticing medical sales reps and said, “I want to be that.” What specific type of rep was it? Give us the details.
I worked for an organization that specialized in surgical device repairs. I was in the business of selling a service. Whatever line it was, whether that was cardiac, ortho, neuro or surgical instrumentation, it was essentially verifying that these devices were safe for patient use. It was developing different audits, making sure that facilities were ready for regulatory visits, and making sure that patient safety was front of mind.
You did that for eight years. To go from that to pretty much a content-creating marketing agency that’s one heck of a transition. Tell us, what happened that made you say, “I’m going to hang this up,” or was it much more gradual, and you started noticing something that you wanted to jump on? What created this transition?
It was honestly slow and steady. I was building my business for about five years before I stepped away from corporate. I was building my business well in medical sales. What came about is that I continually showed up to educational events in services. One morning, I had to get a babysitter to my house at 4:00 in the morning for my little two-year-old. They had to drive all the way to my house, and then I drove three hours to a hospital. I had perfectly curated service specific to repair trends within their facility. I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it. I was paying money to have somebody watch my daughter.
I show and there were two people there. They were more interested in the donuts than they were interested in the education. They showed up because their boss said they had to. I stepped out of that, and I was like, “Really? That sucks.” I was hoping for something good. I’m like, “I’m going to step downstairs.” I found a little storage room and, “I’m going to record my key takeaways from this education and maybe pop on this platform called LinkedIn and share it.” At that time, I didn’t even know my login. I didn’t know my password. I had two profiles.
I was like, “I will log in. I figured all that out, and I’m going to record a quick video in this closet,” which was horrible. The audio quality and the visuals, everything was horrible video. I recorded it and logged in. I was like, “If I upload this video, it’s my key takeaways. It is not company information or anything. I’m going to upload it and see if more than two people see it. That would be so cool. I could reach more than a few people. I was connected to 27 people at the time. 12 of those 27 were family. I’m like, “Cool.”
The video got 7 or 8 views and I was like, “Heck, yeah.” If we take a percentage from 2 to 7, that’s a pretty good percentage. I then started to connect to industry professionals and say, “Whenever an in-service doesn’t go well, I’m going to take my own key takeaways and say, “As a rep, here are what I’ve learned, and here’s what could help your hospital, too.
I started building gradually. I started using LinkedIn a few years ago. We can fast forward now from 27 connections to over 30,000. It is continually growing and educating. It looks way different now. That little video I uploaded, I left on my platform for a few years, and it had 85,000 views or something at that point. At some point, I was embarrassed and was like, “Mom’s got to fix this. This doesn’t look good.”
When you made the full transition into a full-time entrepreneur, tell us about it. What did it feel like?
I was raised very traditionally. You get a safe job, a good job, a 401(k), and a couple of investments under your belt and stick with it. You do the same thing until you are 65, and then you go, and you retire from this great and glorious life. I was like, “I want to make a bigger impact and influence.” I started to take a risk.
I had a few different companies reach out and say, “Will you write for us?” Right then I was like, “Buddy, I’m going to get myself in trouble if I start writing for Outpatient Surgery Magazine or this magazine. I might get fired.” That’s the scariest idea ever. I have a little girl at home, and I’m the sole provider. I can’t get fired. I was like, “You can’t get fired but what if you never take a risk? What if you never write for this company?
The first time, I asked the company for permission that I worked for. I said, “Can I write for this magazine about the specific surgical product and how it can benefit patient safety?” They were like, “Yeah.” It went through all the red tape. I had to go through legal 3 or 4 times, and then I learned. It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
I kept launching into live interviews and writing more and writing on blogs. I unlocked this true passion for saying, “There is some great information out there, and every one of us, me and you alike, have great information to share with the world. Why are we hiding behind fear and not expressing that greatness so that somebody else can launch forward?” That’s where it started, and it started out motivational. On Fridays, I would share this little motivational tidbit with everyone and I was like, “Come on. Let’s get onboard. Let’s get excited about life and personal development,” and that started to stick a little bit.There is some great information out there and every one of us have great information to share with the world. Why are we hiding behind fear and not expressing that greatness so that somebody else can launch forward? Click To Tweet
With the medical sales space, it seems like giving yourself a brand and putting yourself out there has become a great part of the job. It looks like companies are starting to warm up to it. We are not there yet, but they are starting to warm up to it. What value do you place on someone that wants to get into medical sales and utilize social media to do it? What’s your take on that? Why is that something that only makes sense in a certain way? Give us your opinion.
I feel like this, my friend, is a loaded question but the power of media is incredible. When it comes to the way that people are interested, people are more interested in people than businesses now. As I help other businesses grow online, I always encourage employees and CEOs to also share the information with people but the best gift you will ever give yourself is building your own online presence and personality in this space. You don’t have to be scared to do it. There are correct ways to do it. My recommendation would be to check with human resources and understand the social media policy. There are ways you can build your personal brand without getting fired.
With you and your brand, you do this for other companies. What would you say your favorite thing about this job is?
There are so many great parts about it but truly, my favorite part is expressing to companies the value of making their content about everybody but them. Making their content focused on who they are speaking to, their audience, and how they can serve aside from, “Here’s a product that we have, and here is what we can sell you.” It becomes company-focused and not people-centric.
My goal is to help them still promote their business and their products but in a way that’s educational, conversational, and inclusive to everybody so people are interested. No one is interested in, “Here are our product specifications, and we are an OEM.” It’s, How does that product serve patient care? Let’s talk about that.”
This company you have has allowed you to do some travel. You’ve done some pretty big things. Talk to us a little bit about where you get to and how you are working.
It’s fun. I went to a conference. I was able to speak at that event and conference to some of the local chapters about how to use LinkedIn and media as an outlet to help grow their online presence. I went to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to the headquarters of one of the surgical companies I worked with. I got to see what they were doing and how they were doing it. I saw the showroom and met the team.
I was able to interview people on the team and then able to spotlight them online because, all the way down to the person working in the warehouse to the CEO of the company, the value of each person and what they bring to the company is unique. Having the ability to see, touch, and experience it, allows a story to unfold.
Did you go to Africa?
I went to Africa in 2017, and it was a mission that wasn’t specifically a medical mission but I did go with a physician and a chiropractor. I was in Kenya and in a little village called Homa Bay. I was with a company that brings clean water relief to the different communities around. We had set up a few different healthcare wellness check days. It went for 12 to 14 hours, and then you had to start to turn people away to do eye checks, wound care treatment, antibiotics, and things like that.
That experience of going to Africa shifted my entire outlook on being present with my own family. I saw a community of people with so little thrive with such joy. I was like, “How do I do that?” It was funny because when I came back, some of my friends were like, “Becca, when you would come over to my house after work, you would always be looking at your phone, checking your email, and wondering what sale is next or what quote you needed to provide. When you came back, you walked in the door, took your phone, flipped it over, and had a conversation with me.”
Now, how that is served even my own business is I have the opportunity to work with a company that provides open heart surgeries for rheumatoid heart disease in Rwanda. They do incredible work where teams of surgeons and cardiac support teams travel to Rwanda, all from different areas in the United States, to provide surgery 3 to 4 times a year to certain candidates.
You are running this company, doing a lot of travel, and fully present with it, yet you still manage to be married, have three kids, and have an organized life. How do you do it? How do you make it all work? What’s your schedule look like during the day?
A schedule now is cake compared to what it was. Before, I was managing a medical territory, working with twelve hospitals, building a business, and being a single mom. I was on a podcast a few years ago, and there was this guy whose microphone I’m using now as we speak. He was behind the scenes, and he owned the podcast studio. I met him, and we ended up completely falling in love there.
There’s a Harley-Davidson involved. We ride motorcycles and love tattoos. What happened is that all these pieces started to come together. When I wake up in a day, I have to be very strategic, and every day looks the same. I wake up, walk over to the coffee pot, get my cup of coffee after I make my bed, sit down, and do my personal development for 20 to 30 minutes.
I journal. I set my goals and objectives for the day, and then I started to work through that list every single day. The most important part for me is that I give myself a cutoff. When the kids are done with school, when my husband is done with work, mom is done too. I’m fully present with my family after that moment. It’s only a matter of prioritizing the level of importance like what I promised to my clients that I would get out and being fiercely organized.
If there’s any piece of advice you would give the medical sales rep reading now, I’m sure the people reading, some of them want to get into the industry. Some of them are in, and they want to perform better. Some of them are thinking of ways to take their career to the next level or even make a transition. What would you share with them?
First and foremost, surround yourself with people that are better at what they do than you. I remember when I was a sales rep, I was in a small area over here in Eastern Washington, and the territory was not very developed. My sales were so sad, and it was small until I landed a huge healthcare system, and that was all that changed. What I did is I said, “There’s the circle of excellence. There are the top-performing reps. I was not one of them at all but I want to meet the people that are at the top.”Surround yourself with people who are better at what they do than you are. Click To Tweet
I introduced myself to them. I met them at sales meetings. They were a little standoffish at first. They were like, “Who’s this new jack and this kid from Eastern Washington?” Everybody loves to talk about themselves. I would open every conversation with, “Tell me about your success.” There is no man or woman who has been in medical sales that don’t want to talk about how good they look.
It’s like, “Everybody, come and see how good I look.” Opening the conversation with, “Tell me about your success. Tell me about what you’ve done that’s worked.” Eventually, we were all in a group text message where we would talk every day and share what was working and not working. I call them my work wives. Surrounding myself with people that were way better than me was step number 1), and step number 2) I Was working on myself as much as I worked on my business.
It came down to the heart of all of it is, “What am I doing to prepare myself now for success? What competencies do I need to increase to get to the next level, and what am I going to have to do to become better?” Asking myself those questions every day and then set small, incremental goals and work towards them.
That’s such a powerful exercise that you run through daily. What type of things has it led you to do that helped you?
It’s led me to some incredible opportunities and people. Also, writing opportunities. I will tell you, and I very humbly say this, that by showing up 2 to 3 times a week on LinkedIn and sharing my heart, everyone is, “Becca, you create LinkedIn’s strategy for everyone else. What’s your strategy?” My strategy is to show up and be me. My strategy is to teach people the things that I’m learning as I go.
I’m a person of faith, so I have been blessed in ways that expectations, bigger and better than you could ever imagine, will come to you but opportunities come to me. Leads have been inbound. Even when I was a medical sales rep, my clients were like, “Becca, I saw this thing you did on LinkedIn. Can you teach my team that?” I’m like, “Sure. I would be happy to.”
When you are truly you and share what it is that’s helping you grow with zero expectation in return, you will find that it’s magnetic. People will come to you and say, “What are you doing, kid?” I will have business owners and big CEOs of medical companies be like, “Kid, what are you doing?” I’m like, “I don’t totally know but I’m figuring it out one day at a time.”
I love the authenticity. That’s good stuff, Rebecca. Before we come to a close, let’s have a little bit of fun, and I’m going to ask you four questions. You have less than ten seconds to answer them. What is the best book you’ve read in the last six months?
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.
What’s that one about?
It’s essentially about how to harness your zone of genius and step out. It’s going from your zone of excellence, which was medical sales for me, and then overcoming your limiting beliefs to step into your zone of excellence and take a risk. That is highly recommended.
The best movie you’ve seen in the last six months.
I love the new Spider-Man movie that they had all three of Spider-Man in the same movie. The kids loved it too, and it was the business side of me. There’s nothing about a Marvel movie from a marketing and business perspective that is not pure brilliance. We will leave the movie theater, and my husband’s talking about all this, the characters and this and that, and I was like, “Marketing genius.”
That’s when you know you’ve done it right.
I was like, “They end every movie with a cut and a lead to the next movie.
They’ve trained people to stay long after the credits have gone.
Nobody even stands up. They are waiting for the credits to roll to know like, “Where can I spend my money next?”
What is the best meal you’ve had in the last six months?
That’s a tough call. I would have to say my husband is an exceptional cook. We built our house too, not that long ago. We have a gorgeous big kitchen, and he’s mastered the art of cheesecake. My parents have both passed away but my mom made the world’s best cheesecake. He has made it his mission to try and make a cheesecake as good as mama made.
What is the best experience you’ve had in the last six months?
It’s getting married. That happened a few weeks ago. It’s so cool to marry your best friend. I have been married before, and it wasn’t all perfect, rainbows and butterflies and meeting that person that is your soul are so good.
We are going to end it on that note. Rebecca, it was amazing spending time with you. Thank you for being here on the show. We will look forward to the step that you are going to be putting out there on the LinkedIn airwaves.
Thank you so much, and you guys can find me at @RebeccaKinney on LinkedIn. I would love to connect with you.
Thank you, Rebecca, for the time.
Thank you so much.
That was Rebecca Kinney. A fascinating story to go from medical sales to putting yourself out on the LinkedIn platform and then turning that experience into an entire organization that sustains you, that thrives for the next four years, plus doing the same things for other medical organizations across the world. I don’t think stories get better than that. It was a pleasure to have Rebecca on this show.
If you are someone out there that’s looking to brand your medical organization, make sure you reach out to @RebeccaKinney on LinkedIn. Maybe you are reading this, and you are someone that wants to break into medical sales. Maybe you want pharma, medical device or diagnostic testing. You are not sure but maybe that’s just it. You are not sure but you know you want to be in this industry. What if not only you could find a resource? A program that helped you get the job but helped you figure out where you should even be.
That took all your past work history, everything you are doing now, all your goals, ambitions, and lifestyle desires, took all of it into account, and said, “Based on everything you have said and stated, this is where we believe you should be. That’s what we do here at the show. We help you find your fit, and then we help you get that position. Make sure you visit EvolveYourSuccess.com and select Attain A Medical Sales Role.
Submit an application and take the time to schedule a call with one of us here on the Evolve Success Team, and let us show you how we can get you into the position of your dreams. No longer do you have to send out random applications online and hope something sticks or fruitlessly reach out to people on LinkedIn, not hearing anything back, not getting any traction, or not knowing where even to start. Those days can be over.
If you are someone that’s looking to grow your LinkedIn brand, you heard of Rebecca Kinney. If you are an organization, you need to hit her up but if you are an individual and thinking to yourself, “I know I have a personal brand that can reach a lot of people.” Again, visit EvolveYourSuccess.com, select Improve Sales Performance, and then select the LinkedIn Branding program that we have.
Lastly, if you are someone that’s in sales now, you are in the field, and maybe you are driving to your next account as you learn from this but you are not hitting the numbers the way you know you should be, stop leaving things to chance. Visit EvolveYourSuccess.com, select Improve Sales Performance, submit an application and let’s have a conversation. As always, we do our best to bring you guests that are innovative. They are changing the game and the way everyone thinks in the medical sales space. Make sure you come back for another episode of the show.
- Rebecca Kinney
- The Big Leap
- @RebeccaKinney – LinkedIn
- Attain A Medical Sales Role
- Improve Sales Performance
- LinkedIn Branding
About Rebecca Kinney
Rebecca Kinney is the Founder/CEO of Cypress, Inc. A small business focused on helping medical professionals and organizations thrive on LinkedIn. Rebecca has 15+ years of working in healthcare. 7 years working as a Sterile Processing technician (supporting the operating room), and 8 years as a Medical Sales Rep. She started Cypress, Inc in 2018 and her own presence on LinkedIn includes over 30,000 followers. She speaks at industry events (virtual and in-person) and has been featured as an author in Outpatient Surgery Magazine, PROCESS Magazine, and NewSplash Blog.
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