What Does a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep Do?

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 2 Aug 2022

What Does a Pharma Sales Rep DoPharmaceutical Sales Representatives (Reps) are employed by pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or healthcare companies to sell their pharmaceutical products to external stakeholders, e.g., physicians. Rather than making direct sales, they are tasked with influencing and educating these stakeholders on the company’s products, acting as a reliable information source and the key bridge between the companies and healthcare professionals (HCPs).

Key Benefits of Becoming a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep

The role of a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep is varied, and often comes with excellent career progression opportunities. For those who like to get out and about at work, another key benefit is the amount of travel involved, and the opportunity to network with key decision makers across your assigned territory. Other key benefits include:

  • Good job security within the pharmaceutical industry, with new products continuously being introduced to the market.
  • Good career to transition into and out of, with Sales being a highly sought-after skill in today’s job market.
  • High average salaries, with most company’s offering bonuses and commission.
  • Satisfying and rewarding work.

Main Responsibilities of a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep

Pharmaceutical Sales Reps are tasked with educating various stakeholders on the benefits of a company’s product (e.g., medicine or prescription drug) and connecting them with the products and knowledge they need to provide up-to-date care to their patients.

To be able to do this, Reps must present themselves as experts on the company’s products, ready to answer questions about product use, key benefits to patients, and other products on the market. Prior to meeting with providers, Reps must also take time to understand what the average patient for that healthcare professional looks like and prepare to reassure providers on the main concerns they may have. Other key responsibilities include:

  • Arranging appointments with medical providers.
  • Organising and attending conferences for medical professionals.
  • Keeping detailed and up-to-date records of contacts and sales.
  • Regularly monitoring and meeting sales targets, and analysing sales data to improve results.
  • Monitoring competitor activity and market conditions.
  • Understanding the needs of medical providers and connecting them with suitable products.
  • Delivering product samples and becoming an expert on product information.

Key Requirements to Become a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep

As there is a lot of networking involved in this role, you will need to possess excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to influence and strong negotiation skills. Reps must also find the correct balance between being persistent and tenacious and not being too intrusive and pushy, as the key aim of the role is to build longstanding relationships and to become a trustworthy friend to the provider.

To stay up to date with the latest industry developments, Reps are also expected to attend numerous conferences, both as an attendee and an exhibitor to showcase the company’s product lines. To become a subject matter expert on a company’s product portfolio, Reps are often expected to have a background in science/medicine, and to be able to demonstrate a strong interest in the field. A degree in a science or healthcare-related field, or an equivalent qualification, is also desirable.

In the UK, Reps working for organisations who have agreed to abide by the ABPI Code of Practice must also pass the ABPI exam. The exam must either be sat during the first year of employment and passed within two years or be taken prior to applying for jobs in the field.

Where to Find a Job in Pharmaceutical Sales…

Take a look at the Pharmaceutical Sales jobs currently being advertised on PharmiWeb.Jobs:

Don’t forget to create a profile and upload your CV to help recruiters currently hiring Pharmaceutical Sales jobs find you!