Pharmaceutical sales is a popular career to opt for due to many reasons. It attracts sales people with healthcare experience. The pay scale for pharmaceutical sales is really good and they may even get travel opportunities and promotions. Though this is a good career to choose, the number of vacancies is less; so you can say there is a tough competition to get it.
Thousands of people compete with each other to get a position in this field but those with relative experience are preferred over those without experience. With time, the responsibilities of an average sales representative is also increasing and getting tougher. They face tough challenges as well which we will tell you today. We will check few important points you should know about pharmaceutical sales.
- Pharma Sales
Unlike different product sales, here you mostly focus on marketing the products and educating the physicians about the product instead of selling the real product. Marketing techniques include giving seminars and lectures on the product to the physicians and convincing them to switch their competitor product to your product.
This is a challenging task. Like any other sales departments, you also should have excellent communication skills so that you can build a good relationship with your clients or physicians, make them friends and convince them. Patience is the key to success here.
- Self Motivation and Flexibility
Unlike other 9 to 5 job you should be flexible enough to work beyond timings. There is no such thing called working hours and weekends. If required sales representatives should be able to motivate themselves to work at odd hours and on weekends. This is not a kind of job where you can work in specific timings. This is something where you may have to challenge yourself to work with your client to make it successful.
- Education Is Important
For other product sales, if you have the experience you may be considered for a job even if you haven’t graduated yet but for pharmaceutical sales, it’s very important to complete your graduation as it is a must. You should be well versed with the pharma products and thus make sure you graduate before you apply for any job.
If you want to choose this career then make sure you stay in a job for at least a year before changing the company. This is because pharma companies invest lots of money and time to train their sales teams for their business. They expect you to stay at least for a year. So, if you’re planning to resign, think twice before you do. Your next company may check your history for stability.
These companies also check if you are ready to relocate whenever needed. This field may demand you to travel frequently based on requirement. So, if travelling and visiting new places are something you love, then you are the right person they are looking for.
- Different Positions In This Field
All the sales representatives don’t do the same work. There are many categories or types of sales representatives and many positions in a hierarchy. A direct sales representative might promote products to a physician or a group of physicians; this position is at the entry level of this hierarchy. Speciality sales representatives are those who target a specific department, say cardiac department where they only contact the cardiologists, cardiac surgeons or interns to promote cardiac related medicines only.
Hospital sales are yet another department where the representatives are trained to target hospital pharmacies and medical departments to promote a big catalogue of all the products or medicines. These are few examples of sales teams but there are other higher positions in this hierarchy such as trainers, regional managers, team leads, etc. who manage the entry level teams and train them. To get to these positions, it needs so much of hard work and experience.
- Stand Unique
One of the biggest challenges a representative faces is to convince a sick or irritated physician. Though we say that there is a tough competition to become a pharmaceutical sales representative, there are many representatives out there. A physician might be meeting 5 to 7 representatives every week regarding the same product which makes them sick of representatives and they no longer wish to meet them. This is a big challenge where you need to prove your skills and talent. You need to stand out of the crowd and make it unique so that the physician gets convinced by you.
- The 2 Minute Game
Have you observed how long a physician communicates with others? Usually, they deliver the message in less than 2 minutes whether it is to the nurse, the technician or someone else. They are so used to this communication method. If a representative is good enough to deliver the message to the doctor in less than 2 minutes in right way convincingly, the physician may even extend the time of communication. It has been observed that doctors give less than 2 minutes to the sales representatives unless they are really convinced. This is yet another challenge where you can either succeed or fail.
- Time Management Is Essential
With the side heading, you might have understood what it is all about. It is important to understand that most of the sales representatives actually waste so much of time traveling and if they fail to convince the doctor, then that is a big loss of time. Planning a week prior is always recommended in order to save time and generate more revenue in less time.
You will definitely not want to travel for hours to visit a doctor and come back traveling for hours, do you? It is advised to plan it such a way that you divide the territories and visit multiple places in that specific area. This saves lots of time and may keep you motivated as well.
- Balancing Work And Family Time
Sales representatives definitely work a lot more than others. They work off hours from morning till evening usually and even on weekends as required. This is not all. They even need to prepare and submit reports on which they usually work at nights after going back home.
Managing personal time with work is little difficult but still if planned properly, this can be managed. For example, while waiting for the doctor at the clinic, try working on these reports. Carry your materials and laptop wherever you go so that whenever you are free or waiting for someone or something, you can finish this work. This will leave you some personal time after reaching home.
- Maintaining Long-term Relationship With Doctors
Building a good relationship with a doctor is not enough but maintaining it is also very essential so that the physician sticks to your product. This is yet another challenge for a representative. When you are explaining the physician about the medicine, you should be in a situation to explain everything about it. Sometimes, certain medicines may have some problem or issue with which the doctor may not be pleased.
This also impacts on the relationship they build with the representatives. Actually, the physician might not be upset with the representative but just the product. Handling such situations is again a challenging task. When you visit a doctor, try to analyze the clinic, its patients and the major departments it deals with. While explaining the doctor about the product, try to tell about the expected negatives as well instead of completely focusing on the positives.
Sales cannot be your entire motive because you are dealing pharma and doctors. Letting the doctors know about the product is essential. Everything in this world has some negatives in it. However, that will not stop the doctors use it but will keep you safe side.
- Working In Team
You might be from a sales team where your teammates are co-promoting your product. It is a must to build a good relationship with your teammates for success. They might have different targets than yours but when working in a team, a proper coordination is required. The key is to respect and understand the other representatives. You plan and set long term goals together and work accordingly. If you lack proper coordination with your team, then success rate may fall down.
These were few tips and advice to few of those challenges a pharmaceutical sales representatives faces almost every day. But even an expert advice can’t really help you much unless you face it yourself. Every day is a new challenging day and every day teaches you something in this field.
It is such a field where you continuously strive hard to brush up your communication skills to pass your message to the doctor effectively, to maintain good relations with them and to turn failures into success as much as possible. Before choosing this career it is very much important to analyze your eligibility and your skills. Staying motivated at difficult times is the biggest challenge. If you are motivated enough to face all the challenges and learn something new every day, then this might be for you.