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5 unexpected skills you need to work in medical sales

Medical Sales is a popular career choice. The pharmaceutical market is valued at around $1.3 billion, and with growth showing no signs of slowing down, there are ample career opportunities for ambitious sales reps. Plus, with a wide range of products and drugs to specialise in, it also gives you the chance to help bring pioneering, life-saving drugs and equipment to hospitals and surgeries around the country.

However, a career in medical sales can also be challenging and work-intensive. The demands of the role are varied, involving everything from researching new drugs to managing the budget for the product you’re selling. Though of course it is essential to be a good salesperson, the job requires a varied set of skills for you to thrive, some of which might take you by surprise. 

If you’re considering making the leap and applying for a career in medical sales, here are the skills you need to succeed. 



Be a good researcher 

Medical sales isn’t just about selling the newest and best medical products to medical centres. It’s also about being aware of what’s happening within the growing healthcare market. As a medical sales representative, you’ll need to take into account the business and scientific needs of healthcare professionals. You’ll likely specialise in selling one particular drug or device and if you want to hold your own with the doctors you’ll be talking with you’ll need to do your research and learn about what it is, the effects it has and how it’s performing in the market. 

That’s not all: as a salesperson, some your responsibilities will involve identifying and establishing new business opportunities for your company, or for your product. It’s worth taking your time and doing your research to establish an awareness of how business is conducted within the market; this commercial awareness will be invaluable when negotiating contracts or analysing the competition.

Be sociable

One of the main things medical sales representatives quote when asked why they love their job is that they have the chance to make a difference to other people’s lives. A large part of being a sales rep revolves around being able to talk to others and build a rapport with them. In fact, around two-thirds of a rep's time is spent on non-sales activities, including interacting with customers. This is one of the reasons why the future of medical sales reps is being a consultant.

Many sales representatives come to enjoy the relationship they have with their customers, and the sense of satisfaction that comes with being able to make a difference. If you’re planning on becoming a medical sales representative, being able to connect with people makes all the difference when it comes to clinching sales deals, opening up new client markets and being able to gain an edge over your competitors.

Be conscientious 

Being a successful medical salesperson is all about grit. You need to be persistent when it comes to selling your products, because not everybody will want to buy them, but the feeling you get when you do is worth it. If you put the hard work in, and do your research properly, chances are your effort will pay off with a good sale, and therefore with a bonus. 

In addition, your job as a medical sales representative will involve a lot of paperwork: you’ll be required to keep meticulous records, manage your spending budgets and even review the sales performances of your product- or your team, if you’re a manager. Not only does this require an excellent attention to detail, but you need to be organised to avoid potentially embarrassing mix-ups; as a result, putting in the hard work really does pay off!

Be open to new experiences

If you’re thinking about making the transfer from another industry, medical sales has a precedent for hiring people from a diverse range of industries and roles. 

Why? One of the greatest strengths anybody can have, especially a salesperson, is an ability to learn quickly and have a wide set of transferrable skills that can be used to make the best of every situation. Working in medical sales is a great chance to get stuck into a role that will let you operate across several different areas, from talking to customers and connecting with patients’ families to doing in-depth, medical research on the latest drugs that are being released. The best way you can make the most of it is being open to new experiences; as a medical sales rep, the constant variety in your job will certainly ensure you get them! 

Are you ready to make your next career move?

Whether you’re planning on becoming a medical sales representatives or still deciding, we at IQVIA always invest the time and effort into connecting the best talent to the best medical sales roles. Browse our latest medical sales rep jobs and see where a career with IQVIA could take you.

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