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Pharmaceutical Sales – How to Become A Success

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Sales in pharmaceutical products is an area that requires that the sales rep possess all the skills of a superior sales person as well as the ability to absorb and communicate complex new information effectively. A pharmaceutical sales representative will market to physicians in doctor’s offices, clinics and hospitals and in this sense, it is considered an outside sales job. They provide information on new and old drugs to physicians as well as provide samples. These are positions that are desirable because of their potential for growth and the steady demand for representatives.

Educational Requirements for Jobs in the Pharmaceutical Sales Market

Positions for sales in pharmaceutical companies considered ''major players” will require a Bachelor Degree at the minimum. At this time, smaller and medium sized companies are moving to requiring a Bachelor or advanced degree as well. Nurses with only 2-year associate degrees have been able to transition from nursing to Pharmaceutical Sales in the past but this is occurring less often, even with smaller pharmaceutical companies. Along with the educational requirements, larger pharmaceutical companies prefer a solid record of accomplishment in sales.



A major in biology, chemistry, or pharmacology of course give the graduate a small advantage in this job market. However, there usually is no requirement for a degree in those areas and many successful Pharmaceutical Sales reps have degrees in business or sales or other areas.

The compensation and career potential for sales in pharmaceutical products make this sales position supremely attractive for motivated sales professionals. The educational requirements are higher than in many types of sales jobs because drugs are developed rapidly and the Pharmaceutical Sales rep will have a very limited time with the ordering physician in a doctor's office or hospital setting. He must be able to describe the new drugs, explain why these products are superior and why the physician or hospital should use this new drug and answer questions about this drug to the physician's satisfaction in order to close the sale.

They must do this often in as little as 15 minutes since a doctor has a very tight schedule. Sales are important and part of successful sales in pharmaceuticals is being able to learn about the new drugs quickly, convey the information and convince the doctor it is better requires a very special type of sales person. On the other hand, a successful pharmaceutical sales person with a company can expect a company car, 401K and a healthy bonus and of course a steadily growing income.

Finding Jobs in Pharmaceutical Sales

The resume and cover letter is a candidate's first contact with the potential employer. A job seeker in the area of pharmaceuticals should have a professional cover letter that is just as sophisticated as the image he projects.

Even though many positions for sales in pharmaceutical may request a successful sales record and the graduate just out of college may not have this, hobbies, and activities especially where the applicant assumes leadership and uses communications and an excellent academic record can help focus the recruiter on their potential to make a great sales professional. Strong communication skills are vital in any type of sales and as a pharmaceutical sales representative the ability to lead, persuade, take charge, effectively manage time, direct oneself and of course handle medical terminology and concepts are as important as educational references and performance.

Networking can be an effective strategy if you are already in sales, a friend of a friend who is a friend may be able to recommend a company hiring. These sales positions are highly competitive.

Making inquiries of new pharmaceutical companies can be helpful. Large established pharmaceutical companies will have the most attractive rates of pay however; sometimes getting a foot in the door should be the main objective.

Recent graduates from college might consider accepting a position in sales while job-hunting in order to establish a record of successful sales if they do not have that in their portfolio. The willingness to travel is a necessity as a professional will have territory that they cover and it is rarely local.

A sales position as a pharmaceutical representative for most companies will also include the potential for advancement into area representatives and managers. Such positions will not necessarily require business degrees but strong organizational skills are necessary.

The person interested in sales in pharmaceutical products will find that the potential reward is well worth the extra effort required to obtain these coveted sales positions.
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Popular tags:

 jobseekers  medical terminology  nurses  cover letters  compensation  professionals  nursing  recruiters  sales  physicians


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