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The future of being a Medical Sales Rep: what do you need to know?

Posted on: 24 Aug
The Pharmaceutical industry continues to evolve- and with it, the role of the Medical Sales Representative. Thanks to the rapid development of technology and science, more frontiers are opening up in the world of medicine and medical devices, creating new opportunities for Medical Sales reps to test themselves and branch out into new areas. With the industry in the UK continuing to grow, amid significant levels of CAPEX investment, the future is bright, bringing in a trade surplus of £3bn every year and innovating towards the future.

However, with these new opportunities come new things that Medical Sales Representatives need to be aware of, if they want to stay ahead in an industry that’s rapidly changing. 

Here’s what you need to know.

The switch to consultant

Though the job of being a Medical Sales Representative is diverse, and involves everything from paperwork to budgeting, the key to making a success out of your career is building strong relationships with your clients, whether they are pharmacists or GPs. Indeed 71% of salespeople agree that closing deals is the most important aspect of their job; however, there are also signs that this is starting to change in the Pharma industry.

The strenuous regulations that make navigating the world of selling and marketing within Pharmaceuticals so difficult also create some challenges when it comes to closing deals. Due to this complex web of regulations, Sales Representatives don’t have as much influence over decision making as they once did. Information is much more freely available than it used to be, and simply informing clients about the product that they want to sell isn’t a viable prospect any more when it comes to piquing their interest. 

Instead, tomorrow’s Medical Sales Reps will be expected to take control of a larger customer base, balancing selling their product with patient care and relationship building. The role is becoming much more patient-centric and relationship-focussed than it used to be, and reps are expected to engage with a variety of people on every level of the supplier chain as part of their day job. Medical Sales Representatives will also become much more focussed on advising their clients, even getting stuck into demonstrating how their product works in person. In the future, a sales-oriented approach will be replaced by a relationship-focussed one- and strong communicators will be needed to make it work. 

Making the leap to digital 

Technology has been making inroads into the Pharma industry for quite some time. Giants like Apple and Google have long been investing in developing cutting-edge Biotech products that are due to shake up the Medical Sales market. With new devices like smart contact lenses, which can monitor the level of glucose in the eyes, mobile apps like Novartis’ FocalView, which lets patients participate in clinical trials from home, and even leaps forward in areas like CRISPR gene and genome-editing technology, the frontiers of science have never seemed so broad. 

Not only does this open up the role for Medical Sales Representatives who want to diversify into the digital space, but it also opens up the ways in which they can communicate with clients. Quite apart from multichannel marketing in Facebook, Twitter or even WhatsApp, sales reps can also use mobile apps to track their customer accounts, manage relationships and even streamlining their sales processes with digital tools. At the same time, the increased capabilities of big data will let consultants analyse and target clients more effectively than ever before. If you want to get ahead, you’ll need to have a skill for using technology.

New frontiers

The Pharma industry is changing. As more and more patents expire, generics will come onto the market, whilst the popularity of orphan drugs is rapidly increasing. This, combined with the slew of new Biotech and medicines making their way onto the market, means that the role of the Medical Sales Rep will undoubtedly change. Are you ready for it?

At IQVIA, we keep our finger on the pulse of the changing market so we can continue to provide a stellar service to others- and match our brightest candidates to the jobs of the future. Browse our articles for more insights, or start your journey by looking at our vacancies.