What Does a Medical Sales Rep Do?
- The Job Description of a Medical Sales Rep
- Work experience
- Working hours
- Who Employees Medical Sales Reps
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A person who advertises and sells products in a field to different businesses, organizations, government institutions, or private corporations on behalf of another seller or a manufacturer is called a sales representative; for example, a medical sales rep who sells medical devices and other products.
A sales rep can either be hired by a company itself directly or work for a company after being hired by a third-party sales agency which has different clients in form of wholesalers and manufacturers.
The foremost responsibilities a sales rep is assigned include presenting products to the customers and explaining to them the benefits of buying the product that you are selling. These benefits could be anything from increased facility and peace of mind to reduced costs etc.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of sales reps. Those in the first category are ones who work in an office while those who fall in the second category are the reps who perform an outdoor job and travel to the clients to present and sell products.
Coming to the job description of a sales representative; the job can be highly variable. Some sales reps will not be expected to travel at all and do the job virtually while some will be made to travel nationally and/or internationally or at least locally to get the job done.
In simple words, a sales representative is an intermediary between manufacturers and/or wholesalers and the end users and typically liaises to incur sales of products in a particular area/range.
The target audiences of each sales rep depend on the type of products he/she is selling and the manufacturer/wholesaler they are working for.
Nonetheless, there are some sales reps who are only supposed to work on leads. This implies that they only sell the products they have to offer to those who themselves show interest in the products.
The rest of the reps, however, use different approaches like one-on-one selling, telephonic sales, cold calling, etc.
So, who are sales reps?Anyone who sells a third-party product to the end-users is a sales rep. It could be those who visit homes and offer services like carpet cleaning, house cleaning, and fumigation, or simply someone who sells candies and food products on behalf of a manufacturer.
What is imperative and of extreme value is that a sales rep must be aware of the specifications of the products he is selling. This doesn’t only save them from leaving a bad impression on the client and embarrassing moments but also allows selling better by providing all the information on everything they are asked about instantly.
Furthermore, it is compulsory for them have received necessary training and be skilled in areas that are unavoidable, such as persuasiveness and the ability to convince someone. Apart from this, different employers may have a set of skills or sale statics that the incumbents have to take on to be successful.
key responsibilities you will be having on your shoulders?
After looking at some online ads for the same, specifically indeed.com, we found out that a sales rep is generally expected to:
- Develop relationships with the customers
- Manage key accounts and retain them
- Plan the days and provide a report of the daily results and achievements to the management
- Endeavor to increase the clientele by talking to new customers and meeting them to present the products
- Achieve sales targets and objectives
- Deliver a superior customer experience by providing excellent customer services
- Arrange, shuffle, and restock the inventory of the customers on each visit
- Contribute to sales meetings, participate in relevant training programs, and keep himself updated on the latest policies, trends, and developments
- Bargain and use their convincing power to rise above any conflicts and objections
- Deliver impressive and successful presentations to persuade people to buy products
Figure 1: A medical sales rep is someone who makes a living by selling third-party medical devices, instruments, and drugs to the practitioners in the field.
The first and foremost requirement in the job description of medical sales reps is to have excellent sales skills. He/she is also expected to:
- Advertise and vend the products of the medical company they are working for regardless they are medical devices, equipment, or pharmaceutical drugs
- Target customers including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists
- Know about the products being sold in order to be able to answer customer queries
- Increase product awareness
- Answer all the queries of the customers
- Explain all the possible benefits of a product to push the customers to incur purchases
- Give advice where needed and tell about new products
- Life sciences
These degrees are useful and enable you to have the skills needed to market and sell the products you have.
All you will need as a marketing graduate will be a few training sessions to understand basic and relevant medical terminologies. Similarly, if you are a science graduate, you only have to learn to market and sell products.
It is not necessary for you to have a pre-entry postgraduate qualification. Nonetheless, a relevant Masters degree can act as an added advantage for medical sales positions requiring explicit technical knowledge.
Excellent communication and presentation skillsIt is obviously crucial for anyone intending to step in the sales career to have phenomenal communication and presentation skills. This is even more important for medical sales representatives since it is relatively harder to pitch medical products and convert leads into sales.
If you aren’t able to present your products nicely and shed light on the benefits of buying it, you can’t really bring in sales.
Persuasive and negotiating skillsApart from being a good communicator and presenter, you need to necessarily have a good convincing power and the ability to bargain to be able to negotiate with those you are targeting.
You start by explaining the product and then move on to compelling the customers to make a purchase without being too direct.
Sales and customer relationship skillsIf you are not able to sell the products you have to offer and build lasting relationships with the clientele, there is no way you can succeed as a medical sales rep. Remember, it is hard to get customers and so it is equally important for you to know how to retain them.
Confidence and persistenceOf course, as a medical sales rep, you have to really confident and should not be shaky when presenting your products. In some scenarios, you might feel like you are failing but don’t underestimate the power of determination and be persistent until you succeed.
Patience and self-motivationPatience is the key but being patient is not about continuing the persuasion game while feeling frustrated inside. You have to be highly motivated to achieve what you are meant to throughout the process of pitching sales.
Analytical and planning skillsAs a salesperson, a medical sales rep should be dexterous at planning and analysis. This helps them plan their days and sale activities better by incorporating the results of the daily analysis they have on hand.
Networking skillsUnless a person is good at networking, he/she can’t become a successful medical sales rep or any other kind of sales rep. A career in sales mandates this because strong networking skills encourage an increased exchange of ideas and information and this is one way you can make people buy your products.
DrivingMedical sales reps usually have to travel to physicians, practitioners, organizations, and hospitals to sell their products and so the majority of the jobs as such mandate you know how to drive and have a valid driving license.
It does not matter if the pre-entry job doesn’t pay well or pay at all because it is what you learn that matters; it will ultimately pay off better in the long run than what you would earn on a pre-entry position anyway.
Furthermore, get to know about the challenges and realities of the job of a medical sales rep when you research. If you can, arrange for yourself to shadow-learn from a medical sales rep. There are some companies and independent medical sales reps that would like to train you and hire ultimately. Some might even charge to train you but it will be totally worth it. You can also connect with pharmaceutical companies to organize work shadowing or try asking your doctor or the local pharmacy.
More often than not, you will also have to cope with sudden arrangements according to the availability of your employer (for example, when there is training) or the doctors/hospitals (to give presentations) who you sell your products to.
Except for the selling part, you will work in the office or at home generally. During this time, you will largely be working to finalize sales, analyze your daily sales, and produce reports. Some employers also even offer part-time jobs for medical sales reps.
While self-employment and freelancing are uncommon, it is possible for you to become one such medical sales rep if you are more into getting the flexibility of work timings etc.
The easiest way you can apply for the position of a medical sales rep is by checking out the website of third-party contractors who provide outsourcing services to the clients and post their vacancies.
If you are someone who does not have experience or relevant qualification, it is advisable you look for internships and/or work-shadowing.
So, it is 5 in the morning and your alarm goes off. You yank yourself out of the warm, cozy bed and rush to the shower, rubbing your eyes in hope to rub the sleepiness off. You get in the shower and stand under the warm water faucet to rejuvenate your body to face the day.
All the things that you have to accomplish including the meetings that you have to attend and the targets you have to meet are on your mind. The water trickles down your face and you are not sure if it’s actually water or your tears dripping down.
But then you suddenly remember the pay off you are going to get if you accomplish the deadly targets. You think about what you will do with the money you get. You think about buying yourself nice clothes or gadgets or replacing your existing car with a new one.
You think of doing something nice with your hard-earned money like bringing your mother a nice, expensive gift or simply doing some charity. You begin to feel light and happy and suddenly the idea of running late strikes hard.
You rush out of the shower, dress to impress, have a quick breakfast, pick up the gadgets, and check them for new emails or messages to ensure nothing has changed overnight and head out. You realize your brain is only speeding up every moment since the alarm went off.
You might think you do know what happens next during an average day in the life of a medical sales rep, but you are probably wrong.
Here’s what actually happens next!
Next, you plan the journey by looking at the schedule for the day. You ensure leaving sufficient time for travel so that you aren’t late anywhere.
At 10:00 am, you find yourself in the surgical unit of a hospital. You know most of the purchasing power in a surgical unit lies with the surgeons but sometimes it can be senior nurses or other people from the management who might be supervising and handling the purchases.
So you head to see who you can present the products to. The point of contact is busy in a surgery and you don’t just sit back and relax. You try to make the most of this time by calling your prospects and scheduling more meeting.
By 11:00 am, your POC (point of contact) is back to his office and you begin to have a conversation. You ensure discussing several benefits of the products you are selling and try to convince the person to buy but the efforts seem to be going in vain.
You start to lose hope and think of leaving but then you remember you are a sales rep and you can’t simply compromise a prospect because you have to meet your targets too. So you keep trying and answer a lot of reasonable and unreasonable questions and concerns of the POC patiently; hoping it will bring you the results.
It is 12:00 pm and you are still in talks. You convince the POC to take a sample and try it in an upcoming surgery to see how amazing XYZ product is. A pre-arranged surgical procedure is the schedule and you make notes of the date and time to ensure you are available then.
You hand over a sample along with your business card and other important things like product manual and leave.
Now it is 01:00 pm and you head back to your home or office where you can spend some time in front of the screen.
You reach your home or the office at 02:00 pm and begin looking for [prospects to get in touch with them and schedule appointments for meetings. In addition, you ensure you don’t forget to follow up on pending orders or purchases that are pending on your end.
You also call the customers who are yet to answer regarding whether or not they would like to purchase from you.
For those who say yes, you note down the details like delivery date, time, units, address, etc. And for those who say no, you try to convince them further to buy the products and discuss the alternatives if there are any.
Amid a call, you randomly set your gaze on the wall and realize its 05:00 pm already and you haven’t yet eaten. You order lunch or prepare nice sandwiches yourself if you are working from home and chow down quickly to take on the remaining tasks for the day.
You produce necessary reports and send them to the concerned people. You get a few concerns and upshots which you try to handle nicely and just when you begin to feel extremely tired, you get a call from a client saying they want you to arrange the delivery a large order of XYZ product for you. It lightens your heart and makes you happy.
You calculate the return on this order for you and begin planning on what you will do with the money you are going to earn and how happy will your employer be when they come to know about this giant order.
And then, you doze off! That’s just an ordinary day in the life of a medical sales rep.
Ask yourself if you really can manage spending numerous days like these. Ask if you are prepared to meet difficult people and handle them on a daily basis.
If you are, turn the laptop on and start applying for entry-level positions; preferably work-shadowing or internships to first learn to become a medical sales rep.
You can also check out authentic websites online and read relevant blogs to get insights.
It is your duty to help them meet the needs of patients experiencing different health issues. The best you can do is selling the right products to the right practitioners and make a difference by adding a little something to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry to make this world a better place for everyone.
Truth be told; for someone who is passionate and wants to grow quickly in a fast-paced, challenging environment with explicit opportunities to learn, becoming a medical sales rep is the perfect job. The job is rewarding and it mostly depends on three things including target achievement, meeting new people, and improving professional healthcare.
A medical Representative is the most visible person in pharmaceutical marketing and is the bottom-most position in the hierarchy.
The first and foremost responsibility of a medical sales rep is to amplify sales by enhancing the prescription base of the brands/companies that they work for in the pharmaceutical industry
Each and every task that a medical sales rep does typically revolves around this one responsibility. Some of the other important tasks that are linked with this include:
- Calling the doctors and healthcare professionals to discuss and promote the products
- Following up with and reminding the clients about certain products of the company that have been pitched
- Meeting at least 8 to 10 healthcare professionals with purchasing power in their organization every day
- Ensuring that the products being marketed are readily available at the chemists
- Ensuring there is sufficient stock of the products being marketed by connecting with the authorized wholesalers of the company
- Producing and submitting daily reports including important details like names, title, organizations, and other details of the prospects and the details of sales incurred
- Attending the training that is planned by the employer for an improved learning of the sales reps
- Achieving the targets they are assigned
- Attending monthly, quarterly, or yearly sales meetings and participating actively
- Attending product launch events
- Keeping an eye on the competitors’ activities and keeping the marketing team of their company updated about anything they observe
- Coping with the competition is the most challenging thing that medical sales reps have to successfully get done. For this, they need to think out of the box and develop strategies to stand out in the crowd. If he/she fails to do this, they have failed at being a medical sales rep at all.
- There are constant changes in the pharmaceutical industry based on regular advancements and developments in the healthcare sector. The industry is huge and change is inevitable. The medical sales reps have to keep up with the pace of these changes and be highly adaptive to thrive.
- The doctors and other healthcare professionals usually have very less time to spend with the medical sales reps and so the reps have to convince them in a very limited time. There is a high risk of important details being overlooked or the doctor not getting convinced because of insufficient time.
At all levels of their career, the medical sales reps unquestionably earn far better than what most people in the corporate sector do.
There are several levels of careers in a variety of department and at different managerial roles for a medical sales rep. A medical sales rep can easily picture himself as a Regional Manager, District Head, Sales Director, and then as Senior Director or even Vice President in the years to come. Once you are in the field, there is no stopping in terms of earning and growth.
You will have to be really passionate and hard-working to be able to become a successful medical sales rep. Not only this, you have to prepare yourself to face the unexpected in the start of your career.
Everything will not always turn out the way you plan. You will get a lot of surprises and face numerous challenges. Sometimes it will be the difficult people you meet who overwhelm you and the rest of the time, simply being a medical sales rep will be exhausting enough.
None the less, there is always some light at the end of the tunnel and for you, as medical sales rep, that ray of light is the return you get and the infinite chances of growth. And at the end of the day, this will be all that matters!