The Pharmaceutical Representative position mixes the qualities of a Sales Representative with those of a Pharmacologist. In other words, they’re the Sales Agents of pharmaceutical manufacturers and producers. Their main job is to visit existing and prospective customers, usually Physicians, pharmacy owners, and other health professionals, in order to introduce them to the new medications and products the manufacturer has designed.
Once they have established a seller-buyer relationship with their customers, they are expected to perform regular visits in order to help develop customer loyalty, receive feedback on the efficiency of their products, and introduce new products that may be developed later on.
These professionals are mostly hired by pharmaceutical companies and other manufacturers of medications, vaccinations, treatments, and other health-related products. Being essentially Sales Agents, they are expected to have charming and engaging personalities and be capable of convincing clients to purchase, use, and recommend their products to patients.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Pharmaceutical Representatives are required to complete.
- Visiting existing and prospective customers, usually Physicians and other health professionals, in order to introduce them to new products developed by their employers:
- Understanding the specialization of each Physician they visit and anticipating their needs in order to present them with products that may be relevant and useful to them;
- presenting product information, highlighting its features, benefits, and informing about any new developments regarding said product;
- creating summaries, graphs, and any visual aid used in sales demonstrations that will help boost the product’s credibility and showcase its qualities and assets;
- answering any doubts the customer might have related to the product’s use, price, regulations, and availability;
- informing customers of promotions and quantity discounts;
- preparing and administering sales agreements; and
- visiting customers regularly after they have agreed to purchase and use their products in order to receive feedback on their effectiveness and present new products that may be developed and launched later on.
- Researching and identifying potential clients and partners through networking:
- Building and maintaining relationships with current and potential clients and partners;
- creating business strategies to attract and keep clients; and
- liaising with other Pharmaceutical Representatives through medical, healthcare, and other related conferences, summits, and symposiums.
- Analyzing and reporting sales, call activity, programs, and budgets, as required.
- Staying updated on new products, pharmacy regulations, treatments, and developing trends in the market, as well as keeping up-to-date with rival products:
- Keeping up-to-date with medical and scientific developments, as well as any related procedures, policies, and regulations;
- understanding and knowing terminologies, products’ side effects, and diseases, as well as other medicines and their compounds;
- reading and reviewing information about new and existing products so as to develop an in-depth knowledge of their features and uses; and
- monitoring sales, prices, and products of their competitors.
- Keeping a client portfolio that includes their personal and business information.
- Holding informative conferences and meetings to inform Physicians about new products and developments.
- Visiting existing and prospective customers in order to introduce them to the line of products their employer has to offer.
- Persuading customers to purchase and use their line of products by explaining in detail the composition and effects of each product they are selling.
- Offering pamphlets, brochures, and other informational materials to support sales arguments.
- Keeping and submitting records of all sales achieved and information of customers visited, ensuring that goals were met.
- Updating information on prospective new clients.
- Reviewing and studying information on new products to be launched.
The average salary for Pharmaceutical Representative related jobs is $67,034 per year or $34 per hour. This is around 2.3 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $47,000 while most experienced workers make up to $94,000. These results are based on 57 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding sales abilities and great confidence:
- Being persuasive and convincing enough to make the sale;
- being customer-focused;
- being able to sell a wide range of products, individually or as a set; and
- having a consultative and collaborative approach to sales.
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, especially verbally, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with customers; and
- having strong relationship building and networking skills.
- Strategic thinking and excellent organizational and presentation skills:
- Identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner; and
- being able to analyze and assess customers’ needs.
- Self-motivated and energetic.
- Trustworthy enough to manage sensitive/confidential information:
- Having a strong work ethic.
A key factor in the profile of a Pharmaceutical Representative is to possess a good understanding of the chemical components of the medications they are selling. They must be able to explain how they work, their composition, and possible side effects to their clients using technical terms that they both can understand. Not only is technical pharmaceutical knowledge crucial in order to be successful in this job, but practical sales skills are also an essential asset all Pharmaceutical Representatives must have.
Aspiring Pharmaceutical Representatives can develop the necessary knowledge by pursuing a college or university degree in the areas of Science, Chemistry, Biology, Toxicology, Biochemistry, or Pharmaceutical Studies. Moreover, some institutions offer an academic preparation on Pharmaceutical Marketing and Management for those candidates interested in this area. However, it is worth mentioning that even though they offer on-the-job training, most employers will prefer applicants who also have experience and knowledge in Marketing, Administration, and Business since this will grant them with the necessary skills in order for them to actually make the sale.
Although not obligatory, Pharmaceutical Representatives have the opportunity of being certified by The National Association of Pharmaceutical Representatives as Certified National Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives (CNPR), as a way of demonstrating and supporting their skills. This certification offers knowledge on the rules and regulations of the industry.
Like most professionals in the world of Sales, Pharmaceutical Representatives get commissions based on the sales they achieve. The percentage of these commissions may vary greatly from one company to another, although it is fairly common for employers to offer motivational bonuses if they manage a certain number of deals in a specific amount of time.
Visiting customers is the most common task for Pharmaceutical Representatives, meaning they spend very little time behind a desk. Visitations usually occur during regular working hours when customers are available. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for Pharmaceutical Representatives to work extra hours when they need to complete administrative tasks and paperwork.
Traveling is a big part of this job; therefore, many companies require their employees to have a valid driver’s license in order for them to get to their meetings. Travel allowances are usually covered by the company.