Pharmaceutical Sales Reps are the salespeople employed by Pharma, biotech, or healthcare companies to sell their products to a variety of external stakeholders. These Sales Reps are also involved in educating and influencing healthcare professionals and key opinion leaders on the benefits of the company’s products.
In the UK there is a strict code of conduct which must be observed, set by the Associate of British Pharmaceutical Industries (ABPI). Pharmaceutical Sales Reps will be expected to pass exams set by the ABPI, but these are sometimes part of a graduate or entry-level role in the industry.
A Pharmaceutical Sales role is more varied than it used to be. Those working within the sector are now also expected to engage many different stakeholders, including patient groups, to ensure they understand issues while providing solutions via products to these groups. There is a lot of networking involved and information gathering, as well as presenting, attending conferences, appointment making, and influencing.
Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives have many options available to them. When starting out in a career in Pharma Sales you will be trained fully, with Pharma companies investing heavily in your development. This often makes the process of getting a Pharmaceutical Sales job so rigorous. If you don’t have prior experience, Pharma companies will expect you to have certain traits instead, as well as some experience shadowing a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep.
To be successful within Pharmaceutical Sales, you’ll need to have a flair for sales, with great influencing skills. You’ll need to be highly organised, have great tenacity, be professional and trustworthy, well-groomed, personable, and a natural communicator. Your negotiation skills will need to be top-notch, you’ll be required to be persistent and an excellent team player. There are often many hours spent on the road driving so you will need stamina too.
On the flip side the rewards can be huge and career progression speedy, with many avenues open to you, such as marketing, overseas work, and healthcare devices sales (which is different from Pharma Sales and does not require an ABPI certification. You can find out more about medical device sales here).
Career progression in pharmaceutical sales can be rewarding, and it typically involves moving up the corporate ladder by taking on more responsibilities and advancing to higher-level positions.
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative:
Senior Sales Representative:
District Sales Manager:
Regional Sales Manager:
National Sales Manager or Sales Director:
Vice President of Sales:
Global or International Sales Roles:
Transition to Other Roles:
It's important to note that career progression in pharmaceutical sales often depends on factors such as performance, results, leadership skills, and the company's structure and opportunities. Building strong relationships with healthcare professionals, consistently meeting or exceeding sales targets, and staying updated on industry trends can significantly enhance your prospects for advancement in this field. Additionally, continuing education, training, and certifications can be valuable for career growth and development.
Wondering how to progress your Pharma Sales career? This guide is packed with insights that you may find useful!