Aldevron Breakthrough Blog

Don’t Fence Me In

Science, beyond the lab

Science is about connecting. Connecting cause and effect. Connecting molecules and ideas. Connecting with other scientists. It is also about having command of a subject and product, and that may be the most valuable connection of all.

When you’re in school, no one ever tells you that a STEM degree can lead you far beyond a lab bench. You can take those smarts and that knowledge to advance science through sales and services, too. So, why should a trained scientist consider a career in sales?

Advance science
Scientists are coached to solve problems. We gather information, set a hypothesis, carry out experiments to test it, draw conclusions and refine the hypothesis. Applying these principles to sales also works. We gather the facts on potential clients and programs, identify ways to support the projects with products and services, and develop a plan to present the value proposition. In this process we gain experience, allowing us to carry our expanded knowledge forward to the next client and adjust our tactics and strategies.

Move projects to the finish line faster
Clients appreciate cutting out time needed for multiple discussions between several people or groups. With a science degree combined with bench experience, you can anticipate what a client wants to accomplish, not only providing them with a more complete solution, but making the sales process much more efficient for them.

Leadership opportunities
Scientists are at the forefront of new ideas and innovation. Using these core values to sell collaboratively makes for a winning combination. And the success gained shines the light on your activities, drawing attention to your expertise while advancing your interests in management and executive leadership. Good organizations strive to scale success, and sales is one of the most visible functions for associates, clients and shareholders.

Venturing out to biotech hubs and meeting with prospects and clients is part of the job and a great way to see the world and interact with very talented and intelligent people. Also, as a commercial team member of the company, you will likely be asked to serve as a representative at conferences and other events, allowing you to seek out new opportunities to network for further growth and education.

One of the bonuses that relates to travel and leadership is the opportunity to interact with a wide range of personalities from multiple groups within an organization. From R&D and Quality to Procurement and Executive Leadership, each person or organization has unique interests, knowledge and needs. They are the stakeholders, and rising to the challenge of fulfilling their needs can be quite satisfying, all while building your reputation as a problem-solver and partner.

Immediate gratification
Some sales happen fast. Most science does not. Going back to the first item on this list, you are still a scientist, practicing in a different way, but with the same end goals. Also, the better these tasks are performed, the more lucrative sales can be for you personally.

Sales leaders with a science background come from all areas. Many of our team members have found great success transitioning from manufacturing, technical operations, quality control and lab support. From my experience, it is inherently easier to learn sales techniques compared to training a non-scientist sales professional the complexities of biochemistry and molecular biology. And the door, or should I say gate, is open for just about any scientist with a passion for engaging with the greatest minds in biotech and selling services as an extension of the client’s labs.

About the author

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Thomas Lynch, Ph.D.

Thomas Lynch, Ph.D.

Dr. Lynch is the Vice President of Client Services at Aldevron, where he leads the commercial activities for Aldevron’s Protein Business Unit. Dr. Lynch has over 25 years of combined sales and laboratory experience and holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Illinois and a B.S. from the University of Minnesota. His postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago centered on the structural determination and protein analysis: nucleic acid complexes. Before rejoining Aldevron in 2017, Dr. Lynch served as Vice President of Sales for DNASTAR and held positions of increasing responsibility within Business Development & Client Relations at Aldevron.

Topics: Careers