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What it takes to be a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative?

Updated on April 25, 2013

There are various medicines in the market for curing different health ailments. It is the duty of the pharmaceutical sales representatives to sell medicines and medical supplies to different medical professionals like pharmacists, healthcare managers and physicians. This is not an easy job and it requires certain innate characteristics to close a deal successfully. Yes, educational qualifications and training are also important otherwise how will a sales representative be aware of the medicinal products and other vital details related to them.

In the field of sales, interpersonal qualities are given more importance than the academic background. It is also a fact that a pharmaceutical sales manager cannot work successfully without a good combination of personal characteristics, skills of a good salesperson and scientific and technical knowhow of the products.

Interpersonal qualities and skills

Excellent communication skills and a pleasant personality are required in aspiring pharmaceutical sales representatives. Listening to the clients and understanding their requirements is another trait. Closing a deal is a bit tough task that is why, patience, convincing ability and negotiation skills are necessary to accomplish the tricky job. The capacity to deal with different people is a requirement.

A pharmaceutical sales representative is required to travel extensively to visit healthcare facilities for meeting physicians. Without mental and physical stamina, it is not possible to travel far on a regular basis.


Any particular degree is not needed to be a pharmaceutical sales representative. Most employers have a preference for employing candidates for such role who have a bachelor’s degree. Candidates having a four-year degree in pharmaceuticals get an edge over other candidates. Good science background and a strong base of knowledge in pharmaceutical marketing are the major requirements. Taking up subjects like physics, chemistry and mathematics in high school will prepare you for this job. You may pursue a course in business communications which is helpful when venturing into this profession.

These educational qualifications and skills form to be the eligibility criteria of applying for pharmaceutical sales representative jobs.

Now, let us move on our discussion on the other important aspects of the career of a pharmaceutical sales representative.


Proper training of pharmaceutical sales representatives on specific products is necessary. In order to close better deals, sales representatives need to be equipped with accurate information about the chemistry of the medicines, what illnesses the medicines treat, their efficacy and their probable side-effects. While closing a deal, the clients will obviously have queries on these aspects. The sales representative has to satisfy the queries with the help of knowledge and confidence.

Pharmaceutical companies usually conduct extensive training of the new pharmaceutical sales representatives.

Salary and factors determining it

The annual average salary of a pharmaceutical sales representative in the UK is between £20,000 and £30,000. In addition to this, there are bonuses, incentives and vehicle allowance. If you work in a company which has a global presence, you may get the opportunity to travel overseas for work.

Many companies pay their sales representatives on the basis of commissions on actual sales while some companies follow a fixed salary system for their sales representatives. Several factors determine the salary of such professionals. Changes in global economy and product market affect sales and thereby, cause changes in the salary amount of the sales representatives as well.

Career advancement opportunities

The pharmaceutical industry will continue to grow as long as the aging of population maximises the requirement of medicines. There will no downturn in the number of jobs for the aspiring pharmaceutical sales representatives.

If you have the desired skills and qualifications and the passion to accomplish your dreams, nothing can stop you to shape a bright career as a pharmaceutical sales representative. You may take help of CD Sales Recruitment service to come across suitable job opportunities


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      veeresh . 3 years ago

      It's good