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Why should you work in medical sales?

Are you wondering if medical sales is a good career?

All over the world, the medical and pharmaceutical sectors are booming, and nowhere more so than in the UK. With a thriving ecosystem of researchers, engineers, designers, and clinicians, the UK boasts one of Europe's most competitive life science markets. 

It is a global centre for pharmaceutical drugs, devices, and more. With the sector’s projected revenue for 2024 set to reach $215.8bn, it's fair to say that the UK life science sector is thriving. 

Medical sales could be the perfect job fit for people looking to take on a new challenge.

Flexible, capable, and motivated medical sales reps provide an essential link between pharmaceutical, medical, and biotech companies and the healthcare system. 

Given that drug companies spend $985 million developing a new drug - and that doesn’t even account for the money spent on drugs that don’t pass regulations - medical sales representatives are crucial to getting these drugs out into the market.

Whether you’re a fresh graduate or an experienced professional considering switching to a new line of work, here’s why medical sales should be a consideration for your career.

Why work in medical device sales

1. It’s flexible

Working as a medical sales rep is the ideal career path for those who value a flexible work schedule. Sales representatives have control over their own diaries, arranging appointments with GPs and medical practitioners at times that best suit them—within reason. 

Couple this with the fact that hybrid working is here to stay, even in the post-Covid era, and it is clear to see just how much freedom you can enjoy in this field of work.

What’s more, the nature of the job will mean you're not tied to your desk as you’ll spend time travelling to see established clients and clinch new sales deals. In medical sales, being independent is part of your day-to-day routine, and with more companies offering flexible options, it's up to you to find the working pattern that works for you.

2. It’s well paid

Working as a medical sales representative allows you to control your earnings. Alongside the bonuses that come with closing deals, pharmaceutical rep salaries are typically well-remunerated.

You can boost your salary when you factor in benefits like a company car, laptop, cell phone, and private health insurance in the UK— and the bonuses only increase as you climb the career ladder.

For those incentivised financially, a career in medical sales is a great option.

3. You can make a difference

Alongside all the benefits of doing a good job, working in medical sales allows you to make a real difference in patients’ lives. And since 82% of people look for purpose and personal recognition in their jobs, this is fast becoming one of the top motivators for today’s workforce. 

As a medical sales rep, your day-to-day tasks involve cultivating and maintaining long-standing relationships with customers, GPs, and medical staff, all to improve patient care. 

Whether you work with medical devices or new medical drugs, the product you sell could prolong a patient’s life by years—or drastically improve the quality of life for a person with a chronic disease. For many sales representatives, that’s a key reason for working in the industry.

4. You have a lot of responsibility

As a medical sales representative, you'll get to work with large pharmaceutical companies and healthcare giants, helping them make their groundbreaking projects a success.

Though international drug companies pour millions of pounds into developing new drugs, strict regulations make marketing these products extremely restrictive—especially in the UK and Europe. 

This means that sales representatives play a key role in getting these products out into general circulation, whether pitching products to senior commissioning groups or educating patients and healthcare professionals on the benefits of a drug. 

It’s a lot of responsibility and creates an atmosphere where ambitious people can thrive. The products don't sell themselves—it’s largely down to the skills of the sales rep—and this is one of the common misconceptions about medical sales representative careers.

5. You can keep learning

One of the best things about working in medical sales is that you don’t need a degree to start or progress. Sales reps come from a wide range of backgrounds, from working in nursing to careers with the police. 

While medical experience or a science degree is preferred, it’s not always necessary. Experience selling and the ability to absorb large amounts of information about medicines and therapies are just as important.

Choose the right company, and you’ll have access to a comprehensive initial training program and all the information you need to get qualified—which is what we offer at IQVIA.

As a medical sales rep, you’ll get to network with key opinion leaders and industry experts. By putting your communication skills into play, you can make strong connections with these contacts and learn about new opportunities in the medical sales industry.

This is a great career path for anyone with a growth mindset since you’ll also receive ongoing training to keep up with the changing demands of the job, new products, and technological advances. 

These technologies mean that the role is ever-changing and guarantee that you’ll never stop learning—one of the key reasons people love working in medical sales.

6. It’s varied

You won’t just be clinching sales deals as a medical sales representative; despite common preconceptions, a career in sales is remarkably varied. 

Apart from branching out into selling hundreds of different products—like new orphan drugs, medical imaging devices, home health devices, and health IT—you’ll also be giving presentations, conducting training sessions, and even helping out surgeons in the operating theatre.

If that weren’t varied enough, you’d also be researching new leads, managing budgets, and filing paperwork to comply with the strict governmental regulations. One thing we claim as certain: whether in the office or on the road, you won’t be bored!

Take control of your future with IQVIA

At IQVIA, our consultants will work hard to match talented applicants to the best jobs in medical sales and support you at every stage of the recruitment process. It’s our goal to help customers make a difference in the healthcare and life sciences sector and to do this, we know we need brilliant people. 

View our medical sales representative jobs here and take the first step towards an exciting career with IQVIA, or start by learning how to become a medical sales rep.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is medical device sales a stressful job?

Medical device sales can be demanding, requiring technical knowledge, relationship-building skills, and the ability to meet sales targets. 

The stress level can vary based on individual preferences and the specific company or product. The industry's dynamic nature can add excitement for some, while others may find it challenging.

What are the benefits of working in medical sales?

Working in medical sales comes with various benefits. These may include competitive salaries, performance-based incentives, opportunities for career advancement, and the chance to contribute to healthcare advancements. 

Additionally, professionals often enjoy flexibility, networking opportunities, and the satisfaction of making a meaningful impact on healthcare.

Are medical sales rep skills transferrable?

Working as a medical sales representative is more than just a job - it's the first stepping stone on the path to an exciting career.

Once you’ve excelled in a medical sales representative role and shown that you have the key traits you need to thrive in medical sales, there are many different directions you can take in your career.

A common career move is to step up to a key account manager role, where you’ll be responsible for increasing sales through customer collaboration. Alternatively, you might advance to a project sales manager if you want to learn how to improve your leadership skills in medical sales.

There are various other career paths that you’ll discover, but the important thing in medical sales is to always think about where you want to take your career next.

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