From spine medical sales to visionary leadership: Join us in celebrating a remarkable milestone as we present the 150th episode of our podcast, featuring the accomplished Shannon Mays with host Samuel Adeyinka. Shannon reveals how three years of growth can transform careers and industries alike. He shares his inspiring journey from an entry-level position in the world of spine medical sales to becoming a visionary leader and an invaluable contributor to the industry. From embracing leadership challenges to the power of delegation, Shannon dives into the dynamic world of professional growth. He highlights the changes in the business landscape, driven by a growing awareness of the need for varied perspectives and experiences in the medical field. Shannon also shares his views on the evolving customer base, emphasizing the responsibility to uphold diverse thought processes throughout the continuum of care and technology. As we wrap up this episode, we celebrate Shannon’s accomplishments and his contributions to the medical sales industry. We also reflect on the growth of our podcast and express gratitude to our listeners for joining us on this journey. Listen now and be part of our 150th-episode celebration with Shannon Mays!
The CE experience for this Podcast is powered by CMEfy – click here to reflect and earn credits!
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
Where 3 Years In Spine Medical Sales Can Get You: Our 150th Episode With Shannon Mays
We have with us a very special guest. We have with us, Shannon Mays. Many of you might have heard of Shannon Mays because he’s a medical sales professional that’s well–known in the spine division. The reason why this is such a special treat for me to bring this interview to you is because Shannon was our second episode ever. I‘m happy to report that Shannon is going to be our 150th episode.
I‘m excited to bring that to you because when I talked to him, he was also in his journey of growth, and he wasn’t in the position he’s in now. We weren’t either but I’m not going to spoil it. I‘m going to save it all for the episode. As always, thank you for tuning in. We make sure to bring you innovative guests that are doing things a little bit differently in the medical sales space. I‘m so excited to bring this episode to you. I do hope you enjoy this interview.
Shannon Mays, how are we doing?
I’m doing well. How are you?
This is so exciting. Let me educate everybody on why this is such a phenomenal moment right here besides the fact that we’re both wearing matching shirts. Kudos on your wardrobe. You‘re a guy that has good taste. Great minds think alike. You were our second interview ever. When I started this thing, I didn’t even have a video option. There was no camera. There was nothing. There was me and my recorder and then a rough person on the other line with a rough connection trying to make something work. I found Shannon on LinkedIn. We got to talk, and we hit it off. It was an episode about what it means to be a spine rep.
You tricked me a little bit. I can give some context to that. You reached out. We started to have a conversation, “I would love to interview you and chat a little bit.” This was during the pandemic. I said, “Let me try to do something that is way outside of my comfort zone, something that I’m not used to, or something I’ve never done before. I will happily speak to this random person and chat with him.”
We had a nice conversation. After the conversation, you were like, “I want to use this in a show.” I was like, “What do you mean?” It took me some time. I said, “I have to think about that.” It took some time for me to be comfortable with that. It was pandemic time. It was about taking risks and doing things differently than you’ve done in the past. I took a leap of faith and trusted you with delivering the content. It worked. It was good. I felt comfortable with it. It was an awesome experience for me. I appreciate you reaching out to me on that.
I appreciate you agreeing to it. Back then I had the idea of the show but it hadn’t quite formed yet. I was just putting content together, “Was it going to happen? Is it not going to happen?” Thank God it did because everyone loved your episode. To this day, you’re still the highest and most listened-to episode. You’re at 3,000–plus downloads now. This is our 150th episode. I first talked to Shannon 148 episodes ago. It has been a number of years. Our show has been in operation for three years. Our company has grown from a solo show to a sixteen-plus member team and hundreds of professionals now in medical sales positions. It‘s amazing to be here with you after so much has changed. Let’s talk about you first. What position did you have all those episodes ago?
I was a sales rep when we first spoke. I did spinal sales. I was an individual contributor in the OR every day, supporting customers and patients in OR. That was my role. I’ve had a number of different iterations of that over the last few years. It has been a whirlwind. We have lived in four different houses in three different locations. This is my third role now. I was a sales rep, and then I made a number of different changes. I was very fortunate to have those opportunities.
Can we share what role you are in now?
I’m the Senior Director for our spinal business in Florida. I’m super fortunate to have the opportunity. I had a lot of great mentors, great advocates, and great teammates that have given me the opportunity to take on more responsibility, which has been great.
From a sales professional to a senior director, what a blessing. Lightly share with us in a nutshell probably the biggest lesson learned. We talked a lot about your career, what it means to be a spine salesman, and the different things that makeup doing that role but you’ve had so much growth. You’ve moved four different times. You’ve been doing all kinds of things. You’ve managed at different levels now. If you had to capture it all and say your biggest learning, what would you say?
For me, there are a couple of things. Be willing to take risks. A lot of people are very comfortable in their roles, their location, and all those things. The gold is in you taking risks. The first thing is to take risks. The other piece is to take your development as a person and a professional into your own hands. Nobody is going to drag you across the finish line or to certain development opportunities. You have to do it yourself.
A switch went off in me and I said, “I want to become an expert at developing myself.” I did that. I took all the courses you can imagine. I reached out to folks that I have a lot of respect for and learned from them. I’m a constant learner. I’m a different person than you’ve met. It’s required that you evolve and change. What I needed to do to survive as a sales rep is much different than what I needed to do to do my job effectively. Taking risks, being a continuous learner, and taking your own development into your own hands has been critical for me for sure.
That is fantastic. It hasn’t been just all professional. Family changes too. Please share what‘s different from Episode 2 to Episode 150.
When we first met, I had my son. He was a newborn. We had him a couple of months prior. He is three now. My daughter is six now. We have an eight-month-old. There’s another addition to the team. I probably have more gray hair and another 15 pounds since then. It has been wonderful. You never know what a year or two will bring you. A lot of things will change in your life. Fortunately for me, everything has been very positive. There’s a new family addition as well.You never know what a year will bring you. A lot of things will change in your life. Click To Tweet
I love to see it. It’s great to see you on camera because back in the day, there was no camera. It was just audio.
I remember where I was when we did our first interview. It was muffled. Zoom wasn’t a popular thing.
It was becoming popular because of COVID. Everybody was getting on the Zoom wave, and it was becoming a much more mainstream part of life because of COVID. It was on audio recording. You were outside.
I was on the porch. I remember hearing a noise in the background. Now, we’re on Zoom face-to-face. It was pretty cool. It has been a wild journey but things are settling down a little bit from the pandemic and a lot of the career level changes. For us, it’s exciting. We’re going to be relocating again but going home. We will see what the next couple of years will bring. I didn’t think that we would be moving as much as we did in the last few years. I’m enjoying the journey, learning, and enjoying the ride for sure.
When we first started, our audience consisted mainly of people in medical sales. As we grew with intention, we now have over 7,000 to 9,000 downloads a month. We have a number of people that are trying to get into the industry. Talk to us a little bit from your vantage point. Think about COVID. Think about the things that had to change around hiring due to COVID and where we’re at now. Would you say that it‘s a different animal to get into the industry than it was when we first met?
I have to presume it’s probably even more competitive now than it was. A lot of organizations have had some challenging times during COVID. There’s probably less opportunity than there was overall in the industry. People are competing all for the same gigs. It perhaps may be more competitive but there are also additional opportunities because as an industry, we learned so many things during COVID. Perhaps there may be new technologies that weren’t as prevalent during COVID or right before COVID as there are now.
It’s more competitive and people are anxiously trying to get in. I’ve seen a lot of outreach. I’m usually like, “That’s not my domain expertise. Go talk to Samuel.” I don’t know how to get in but people are excited about the industry because of the effect the industry had on getting us through COVID as well. People have seen this as something that they may want to pursue for their careers as well.
What COVID did is it put medical sales on notice. For whatever reason, it wasn’t on their minds. People suddenly wanted to know what it means to have a career in medical sales. When I’m saying medical sales, I’m talking about all healthcare sales. It seemed to put everyone on notice. Now, hundreds more people are interested in getting into this field. It has made it much more competitive because COVID put it on notice.
People like us came out of the woodwork to explain what happens in this space. Who are the players in this space? What are they doing? What does the job look like? What jobs can you entertain in this space? The medical sales industry is much more of a household name than it used to be pre–COVID. I love asking you because now you’ve managed sales professionals, so you can speak to this. Would you say that what you needed to be effective pre–COVID looks a little bit different now or is it pretty much the same?
The larger ideology is the same. The table stakes are you have to be a hard worker. You have to be a likable person. You’ve got to understand technology. All those bigger points will be consistent but change agility is something that is needed overall because we have gone through so many changes in technology, and hospitals are iterating on a daily basis. It’s somebody that’s more flexible to change than what was traditionally out there. All the companies are developing technologies much quicker than they did before. You have to be prepared for the change that happens in the industry so quickly.
The major aspects of the business in terms of the profile of a person are probably going to be consistent but I do think it’s going to change because we’re going through this digitization of healthcare. What was required of a rep in the past is changing, and it will be different in terms of the understanding of technology and software. We sell Software as a Service. We are MedTech companies, not just hardware representatives. The rep of the future is going to have to be very tech-savvy in the sense of software and the digital healthcare that we’re talking about as well.
During COVID, people were saying, “After COVID, this is going to be the new way to operate. Everyone is going to want to stay home. Everyone is going to want to be on cameras because they saw how efficient it is and how much more you can get done,” but then COVID did resolve. It didn’t quite go to letting everyone stay home and do video calls. It seemed to be much more of a hybrid. I want to hear from you. Would you say that after COVID, it‘s now quickly reverting to, “We need people in the office. We need people to be in person?” Would you say it has become largely a hybrid? Would you say it has become even more digital than we anticipated it would be when COVID resolves? Where would you say we landed?
Probably somewhere in the middle. We missed human interaction. There was a period at one point when we were all teeming to get back in front of somebody. You and I still have this barrier between us. I can see you, it’s all real-time, and it’s great but it’s hard to replace the handshake and a hug. At one point, folks were wanting to get back to that human interaction. I’m seeing that but there are efficiencies to us being able to do this as opposed to flying out somewhere and seeing each other.
We approached our customers differently, and it helped us to be more efficient in utilizing the technology. There’s a hybrid. There are more remote roles. It’s helpful for people that are looking for careers. If you can’t move to Spokane, Washington, perhaps you could be remote, which is excellent for the candidate and the company. You can cast a wider net for talent in certain positions. There’s a little bit of a mix of both for sure.
We were talking a little bit earlier. Let me ask you first. Besides your position, what’s one of the biggest changes since the first time we talked? Besides the family and your role, what else?
It’s the mindset. I’ve changed. It’s a requisite that I do change. I tell people this all the time, “If you get a different role, you must be different.” If I have another role 3, 4, or 5 years from now, and you and I speak, I hope that I must be different than I am now. As a person, I’ve changed. I’m competitive in the aspect of how I want to get better. I seek mentorship. I seek coaching from my leadership. I changed quite a bit. That’s the biggest change that I’ve seen aside from the job titles, the locations, and things like that. What about you? I’ll ask you the same question. What’s changed for you aside from the expansion of the business? I would like to hear your response to that. I’m asking the questions here.If you get a different role, you must be different. Click To Tweet
I’m being interviewed on my show. I‘ll take it. There are business changes. I would have to agree with you. Mindset is the biggest change but I can say that the business expansion directly plays into that mindset. When we first talked, it was a solo show. Now, we have a core team of seven. By extension, we have a team of sixteen individuals working. Seven people are full-time working to get people into positions, teaching them, training them, and getting them on the right way. Sixteen additional people are working to help them with any time they have.
It‘s amazing to see. What it has forced me to do is take that 30,000–foot view and see how all the pieces connect, what’s going on with an individual candidate, and what can we do to give them the significant advantage that allows a hiring manager to say, “I‘ve talked to a lot of people but I want to hire you.” From this vantage point, that has become a thing that can be easily seen, which means we can make it even more emphatic and get people into positions even faster.
That’s pretty exciting. Another thing that‘s affected my mindset is from this vantage point, I do get to see what’s happening in the industry. You have a candidate, and I will be the first person to say that if a candidate can demonstrate the right stuff, you can almost get hired anywhere. Let me stop there. Would you agree with that?
There are certain intangibles that you are looking for. I can think of interviews that we have had, and I’m like, “That person has it.” I would agree in many respects with that.
With the necessities and the qualifications there, if a candidate demonstrates the right stuff, then we believe they can get hired. What’s a bigger player in that though is then there’s what’s happening in the market, what’s happening with hiring in general, and what’s happening with this vertical within medical sales versus this vertical in a different part of healthcare sales. Those are things now that we can study, understand, and then fit into what it means for this candidate to get a position in this vertical when they’re coming from this space or a completely different industry.
That‘s what getting here has allowed us to do. This allows us to get even bigger and better results for our clients. Learn how to delegate. You’re probably a master at delegation with all the promotions you’ve had and the levels of leadership and how many people report to you. I‘ve had a masterclass in understanding how to do that effectively to bring about desired results and keep the integrity of whatever system you initially created as you continue to get bigger.
I’ve been lucky with that though. My leadership team is great. I’ve been super fortunate to have the leadership team that I have. I’m talking up and down to the folks that report to me and the folks I report to. I’ve been fortunate with all that stuff.
I have to speak to that as well. It’s cool you asked me this because I never talk about this. You’re the 148th because I did talk to the first person ever, and then you were the second person ever. That’s 148 people that I’ve gotten to develop relationships with from individual contributors all the way to CEOs all within healthcare sales. They have expanded my mindset.
They have helped me see things that there’s no way I could understand or see if I didn’t have the opportunity to meet them and develop a relationship with them. That has been huge. You‘re included in that. It’s amazing to see how having that consistency with that many different people in that many different spaces can do to your purview. It has greatly impacted my purview and allowed me to see trends and identify things that there’s no way I would have been able to do otherwise.
That’s a great education. I didn’t consider that but you are talking to people in so many different crevices of med devices or medical sales in general. You’ve gone through an MBA program. It’s impressive. I’m excited for you. I’m happy that this is where we are, you in particular with where this whole thing started. It’s awesome.
I appreciate you, Shannon. I remember, in that episode, I asked you, “What do you think about for the next five years? What do you want to get yourself into?” You humbly said, “I look to be a leader. I want to get into leadership.” You left it there, and now you’ve personified it. I‘m happy to say the same thing. Congratulations on all the success you’ve had.
I appreciate it. It has been great. I celebrated seventeen years in the industry. I’m more excited than I’ve ever been in my career. If that speaks to you in terms of what’s happening and where we’re going, I hope it does. It’s very exciting.
I got one more question. I want to throw it at you. I don’t know how often you get it or if you get it. We’re around the time of Juneteenth. That’s a significant time in the United States and globally even for being a Black American and what we’re able to do as Black Americans in the United States. Talk to us a little bit about what that means for you if anything and how you view it within the context of your career.
I said it in the first episode. I was a young college kid. I had somebody reach out to me, and they said that they thought I may be somebody to consider for this industry because they were compelled to think about the opportunity for diversity within the space. That was seventeen years ago when this conversation happened. I didn’t fully appreciate what that meant. I thought, “I’m interested in a job.”
Full circle, it’s amazing to see how diverse our business has become. There’s still a lot of work to be done there but our customers are changing, and we have to change along with it. It means a lot to me. In general, different perspectives are going to be helpful to all of us to be better and get better as a business. A lot is happening there in the forefront and behind the scenes. George Floyd happened between when we first spoke and now. There has been a ton of attention to the need to provide people with additional opportunities. It has been a good thing. A lot has happened. We forgot about that.It's amazing to see how diverse the medical sales business has become. There's still a lot of work to be done there, but our customers are changing and we have to change along with them. Click To Tweet
It’s a great opportunity because the customer base is changing. Our patients are all of us. We always want additional perspectives that will include every single person. We have a responsibility in this business. This is medicine. We’re not selling tires. It is our responsibility to have diverse thought processes throughout that continual care and the technology lifecycle within the field as well.
I love it. We introduced something that we didn’t have when I interviewed you all those years ago, and it’s called the lightning round. I ask you four questions. You have less than ten seconds to answer each one. We do it at the wrap–up of every interview. I want to do that with you. Are you ready?
My answers are going to be, “I have three kids now.” Let’s do it.
First question, what’s the best book you’ve read in the last six months?
I knew that the first one was coming. I have an eight-month-old child. What we’re usually reading is our coloring book. I’ll hit 1, 2, 3, or 4 journals in my space but it has been a challenge in that regard.
I understand completely.
I’m reading a book on how to attempt to put a baby down and get the other two to stay in their bedroom. Maybe I’ll have a better answer for you next time.
No problem. I got a funny story for you. My sister was on a flight. She told me about it. There was a baby on the flight. It was a baby with a grandma. The baby was crying for a long time. Everybody was getting frustrated. The grandma did not know what to do. Finally, this guy a couple of seats away said, “Let me try.” He reached out, grabbed the baby, swaddled the baby, and held the baby. Within ten seconds, this baby went dead quiet for the rest of the flight. Afterward, everyone is asking, “How were you able to do this?” The guy shared that he had two little ones under a year at home. He mastered the positioning and everything, and he was able to quiet the baby like it was nothing. I thought that was funny.
That’s funny. I was with a customer a couple of weeks ago. After dinner, he brought his child. They lived right around the corner. I had my suit on. I was holding his kid. He’s like, “You’re holding the baby with a suit on and not breaking a stride.” That has been my training ground.
That’s what’s up. I love it.
I’m trying to become the baby whisperer.
You might get with this because I know you and the missus need a break every now and again. What’s the best TV show or movie you’ve seen in the last six months?
I don’t watch TV. I don’t know the title but lately, I’ve been getting into a lot of dystopian and sci-fi types of movies. I don’t know why. If I get a little time off, I’ll watch some weird sci-fi stuff. I now believe that we are not alone in this universe.
I’m right there with you. I believe it’s a fact.
I’ll watch different shows like that. I’m watching an Apple TV show called Silo and getting into it. It’s interesting. There are going to be some secret trap doors around the corner regarding the show but that might be an interesting one to check out. I don’t know if folks want to comment in this section. Maybe they’re interested in the Silo show. We have been watching that too. There’s another thing to reference back to what my life is. We have not done it yet but we have been anticipating seeing The Little Mermaid. There’s a new The Little Mermaid that’s out. I need to take my daughter to see it at the movie theater. That’s where we are.
You have no excuse because you have daughters. You have to go. I have an excuse because I got boys but we will be also going and supporting.
We’re excited about that one.
What is the best meal you’ve had in the last six months? It can be made at home or a restaurant and whatever was on the menu.
It’s from a restaurant. I’m a foodie. I’ve had a couple of good ones. I went to a great place in Orlando and met up with my old college roommate. We had a good omakase meal. We went to a fancy sushi place.
You have to give us a name.
It was called Kabooki in Orlando. My wife and I had an awesome tasting menu meal in Jacksonville. I’m losing the name of the French restaurant, which was awesome. We had wine pairing and all that stuff. I have some good answers to that. We will find a babysitter and shoot out to have a good meal. Those are probably the two better ones that I’ve had. Rue Saint-Marc is what it’s called. Rue is in Jacksonville.
Last question, what is the best experience you’ve had in the last six months and why?
There are a couple of awesome ones. I had my 41st birthday. We did something nice at the house. I brought our wedding singer up to do a little performance. We had all the family here, which is wonderful. That was a great experience having everybody close.
Thank you. That was good. This entire journey and what’s happening in my professional life has been a great experience. As everybody does, we have had challenges at work. With this team that I have the pleasure to lead, it has been super gratifying to see what happened. On the professional side, it’s that, and then on the personal side, the birthday was a lot of fun.
This was a true pleasure to have you on the show for the 150th episode. It‘s amazing to even share that and to see all that you’ve been able to accomplish and the things that you’ve done in such a short amount of time. It‘s inspiring. I know that people are going to be further inspired to do that much more in their careers. Thank you so much for the time. Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?
Congratulations to you too. I’m happy for you more than anything. This is 150 episodes for you. I appreciate you even taking me along this journey with you. One of these days, we’re going to have to meet in person. That might be cool. We will figure out a way to do that.
Next time I go to Florida, I’m going to reach out, and we will make that happen.
Please do. I’ll leave everybody with this. Congratulations to you. This is all about you, this awesome business that you’ve built, this platform, and the amazing content. This has been super helpful for a lot of people. Congrats to you. Great job.
It wouldn’t happen without wonderful individuals like yourself. Thank you, Shannon. It was awesome to have you on the show. I might have to bring you back for our 300th episode. I can’t wait to see what you do.
I appreciate that. Thank you so much for having me. We will catch up soon.
That was Shannon Mays. I sometimes still can’t believe how far things have gone with the show, everything in medical sales, and everything we have had to do with it. It has been an amazing journey. It‘s amazing to see someone like Shannon track his growth and see him get into bigger and better places as he continues in his career. It‘s a gift to be able to be a part of it. I‘m so glad we were able to do that episode.
I normally get into why you need to visit EvolveYourSuccess.com and select Apply Now for the Medical Sales Career Builder if you’re someone that wants to get in the industry. I normally go on and on about that because it‘s an amazing program that’s helped hundreds of people and that’s continuing to help people. We give you opportunities that you might not be able to find otherwise.
One thing that I love to be able to say that we can do now is for that right client, we do have actual opportunities with positions with organizations before they hit the actual market. To be able to be a part of that is an exciting thing to report, but I’m not going to go on and on about that. I‘m going to go on and on about something else. Considering it’s our 150th episode, if you’ve been tuning in for any period, I want you to stop what you’re doing. Go to iTunes or Spotify. I want you to write a review of the show.
We want to bring knowledge to the masses. Our mission for the show is to ultimately cover every single medical or healthcare sales field in existence, not just sales but clinical specialists positions as well, and put out this information so audiences like yourselves know exactly what you can entertain, whether that be a career jump or a lateral move from a different type of healthcare sales. For us to continue to do that, people have to know that the information we have been bringing you is worthwhile. The best way for people to know that is to read the reviews.
I am asking you now. Whatever you’re doing, stop for a moment. Go to iTunes or Spotify. I want you to leave a review, 1 or 2 sentences, on the value you’re getting from this show. Thank you so much to all of you out there. It‘s the emails and the messages I get from you that keep us more than excited and happy to bring this type of information, these interviews, and the lifestyles of all these different professionals so you can map out your own. Make sure you tune in for another episode.
- Shannon Mays – past episode
- Shannon Mays – LinkedIn
- Rue Saint-Marc
- iTunes – The Medical Sales Podcast
- Spotify – The Medical Sales Podcast
About Shannon Mays
Shannon Mays is an accomplished Medical Sales Leader with a proven track record of crafting effective sales strategies that align with business goals to optimize revenue and enhance team performance. With a collaborative yet decisive leadership style, Shannon excels at building and empowering high-performing teams focused on achieving a shared vision. As the Senior Regional Sales Director for the Spine Division, Shannon has had the privilege of leading a substantial regional organization for the largest medical device company in the world.
Shannon Mays holds an MBA and a BBA in Business Administration from Stetson University. Through a combination of strategic prowess, inspirational leadership, and a commitment to excellence, Shannon continues to shape and elevate the medical sales landscape.
Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the Medical Sales Podcast Community today: