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Common misconceptions about medical sales representative careers

Posted on: 29 Jun

A medical sales representative’s career can be extremely varied, rewarding and lucrative - so why do misconceptions still abound about this line of work?

If you’re considering launching your medical sales representative career or are simply curious about how these roles differ from standard sales jobs, take a look at some of the common myths about medical sales representatives – and why they’re wrong.

Anyone can do it

You need more than simple sales skills to be successful as a medical sales representative, although strong communication and persuasive skills will certainly help. Many reps have experience within chemistry, biology or healthcare, and can interpret and convey scientific and medical concepts confidently.

As the critical link between medical and pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals, you’ll promote a therapy area or individual product, meaning you need to have a deep understanding of not only that area or product, but also how it fits into the wider context of the healthcare industry. This may involve interpreting data to understand health trends, reading up on new clinical studies and knowing what the competition is doing. Professional sales skills are essential, but they must be complemented by a willingness to gain a deep understand of the industry.

The products will sell themselves

No matter how successful the product is, it will be difficult to sell if a medical sales representative lacks industry insight or relationship building skills. These are both key to the success of a sales rep. Salespeople need to be able to understand the products and therapies they represent inside out, understanding how they fit into the market and meet patient needs. They also need to be able to clearly communicate this information to doctors and other clients, which involves strong people skills and the ability to forge partnerships over time. A medical sales rep will work with healthcare decision makers such as GPs, consultants, pharmacists and practice managers, becoming a trusted party of their territory’s medical community, and this is what will ultimately help sell their products.

It’s all about the money

Salespeople are sometimes thought of as cutthroat, money-chasing professionals who will stop at nothing to get a sale. However, this isn’t true of medical sales representatives. In this industry, care and compassion are as much a part of the job as securing the deal. In fact, 35% of medical sales representatives say the best part of their job is the ability to make an impact and difference to people’s lives. This is a key driver of motivation across the industry, as representatives can truly influence which products can go on to positively benefit patients and improve healthcare. In addition, medical sales representatives enjoy how stimulating the work can be and the intellectual challenges it presents. Of course, the commission-based nature of medical sales does help, as does the competitive nature of the market.

Take your medical sales representative career further with IQVIA

At IQVIA, we pride ourselves on delivering a great service and transforming patient lives. We’ve been recognised as one of the world’s best service providers by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals and have a firm belief in investing in our people, helping them to push their careers further.

Ready to take the next step? View our latest medical sales representative jobs or read more of our blogs to find out what it’s like working at IQVIA.