Medical sales representatives are employees of pharmaceutical companies. They sell medicines, drugs, and medical equipment. They typically sell to professionals in the healthcare field.
Medical Sales Representative Salary
As a medical sales rep in the UK, you can expect to earn between £19,000 to £60,000 on average per annum. You may also receive bonuses or commission, and/or private health insurance.
The number of hours you work as a medical sales representative can vary, depending on the employer. You’ll travel in your sales area a lot, and will need a driving license. You will probably drive a company car. You may travel abroad, or travel far enough from your home to stay overnight. You may have evening appointments as well. You probably won’t have to work on the weekends, though.
You’ll not likely be able to work as a freelance sales reps. You’ll probably work for a company. You may be able to do some of your work from a home office, but you’ll likely have a home base office at your company as well.
Entry Requirements For Medical Sales Rep
- Get a degree in a field like a pharmacy, biology or biomedical sciences.
- Have a background in nursing or the medical field.
- Have an experience in selling and marketing.
- Complete a sales or business apprenticeship.
- Pass the Medical Representatives Examination from the ABPI.
To become a pharmaceutical sales rep, you need a degree in a field like a pharmacy, biomedical sciences, biology, or other life sciences to work as a medical sales representative. A background in nursing or the medical field is also usually required, and you should also have experience selling and marketing.
However, you don’t necessarily have to have a science or medical background. The position is open to graduates from all disciplines. If you don’t, a strong sales background and being able to comprehend medicines and areas of therapy may be enough. You could also get a leg up with an A-level in biology or another science or if you have a diploma in social or healthcare.
A degree in business or marketing could also help you land a position as a medical sales rep, especially if you have some knowledge of the position prior to applying. Also, you may be able to find a job with a HND or foundation degree as training is provided.
For some highly technical sales positions, a master’s degree in that field can give you an advantage over other applicants.
Within the first year of your employment, you must pass the Medical Representatives Examination from the ABPI. You have to pass all the units of the exam within two years. The test consists of the Level 3 Certificate in the promotion of prescription medicines and the Level 3 Diploma in the promotion of prescription medicines.
You will need to pass the Diploma recognized by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority if you desire to be a medical representative (instead of just a general sales representative). You can sit this exam before working as a medical sales rep to give yourself a leg up when applying for jobs. You can find more information about this exam on the ABPI website.
You can also find sales training by different organisations like the Institute of Sales management.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing also offers training options.
To find your first position, you could complete a sales or business apprenticeship. If you shadow an experienced representative, you could also get the experience you need to get your first position. You could get into this job through an apprenticeship in business.
You could shadow someone who already works as a medical sales representative. Try contacting various pharmaceutical companies for opportunities, or doctors’ surgeries or pharmacies.
Check out The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry to learn more about this type of job. Another idea is to check out local groups of a professional organization and network opportunities with student memberships of organisations like the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Skills To Be A Successful Medical Sales Rep
To be a successful medical sales representative, you’ll need to be a solid negotiator and be able to sell. Networking skills are also a must, and communication, organizational, and planning skills are vital. You’ll also need to understand clinical data and to present it to medical professionals.
- In this job, you’ll work within a sales territory – or “patch” – in the UK, selling your medical equipment and medicines.
- You’ll have to stay current on the latest from the NHS and the newest clinical research so that you can communicate about it with healthcare workers.
- You may work with a team of sales representatives who all share the same results, or you may work independently.
- You’ll make meetings to visit with regular customers and to call potential new customers.
- You’ll regularly make presentations to get clients to buy your company’s products or services.
- You’ll develop relationships with health care workers, so you need strong interpersonal skills. You’ll also be the point of contact after a sale is made.
- You’ll also need to meet sales targets and organize and go to medical conferences.
- An additional area of importance is keeping up to date on competitors.
- You’ll have to keep records and report back to your supervisors regularly as well.
As you gain experience and gain a good track record for sales, you can move into management at a higher level, or go into product or account management or into marketing. You will likely receive training from the company you work for and may provide administrative support for the sales department before you get your own sales territory.
You should continue with your professional development by learning about new products and the latest in research and in what your competitors are doing.
As you’re promoted, you may also become a specialist in a particular area of medical sales. Medical sales reps typically specialise in a particular area, such as oncology or respiratory health. You may also become an NHS liaison or become a trainer of new sales personnel.
Medical Sales Representative Jobs
Some companies you might work for include GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, and AstraZeneca. You can also find a list of recruiters at ABPI Careers – Pharmaceutical Recruiters. Some other places to find jobs include:
The ABPI also has a list of member companies if you’re interested in checking out their individual vacancies or making speculative applications.
I hope this guide on how to become a medical sales representative gave you a good overview of the career path and progression. If you have any further questions or comments about how to get into a pharmaceutical industry please comment below or visit our career forum for more in-depth discussions.