Medical sales representatives (widely referred to as reps) are a key link between medical and pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals. They sell their company's products, which include medicines, prescription drugs and medical equipment, to a variety of customers including general practices, primary care trusts (PCTs), hospitals and pharmacies. They also work strategically to increase the awareness and use of their company's pharmaceutical and medical products.
Medical sales reps are usually based in a specific geographical location and specialise in a particular product or medical area. They may also make presentations and organise group events for healthcare professionals, as well as working with contacts on a one-to-one basis.
Typical work activities
In any setting, the process of selling involves contacting potential customers, identifying their needs, persuading them that your products or services (rather than those of competitors) can best satisfy those needs; closing the sale by agreeing the terms and conditions; and providing an after-sales service. Medical sales representatives do all of this and more.
Tasks often include:
arranging appointments with doctors, pharmacists and hospital medical teams, which may include pre-arranged appointments or regular 'cold' calling;
making presentations to doctors, practice staff and nurses in GP surgeries, hospital doctors and pharmacists in the retail sector. Presentations may take place in medical settings during the day, or may be conducted in the evenings at a local hotel or conference venue;
organising conferences for doctors and other medical staff;
building and maintaining positive working relationships with medical staff and supporting administrative staff;
reaching (and if possible exceeding) annual sales targets;
planning work schedules and weekly and monthly timetables. This may involve working with the area sales team or discussing future targets with the area sales manager. Generally, medical sales executives have their own regional area of responsibility and plan how and when to target health professions;
regularly attending company meetings, technical data presentations and briefings;
keeping up-to-date with the latest clinical data supplied by the company, and interpreting, presenting and discussing this data with health professionals during presentations;
monitoring competitor activity and competitors' products;
maintaining knowledge of new developments in National Health Service (NHS), anticipating potential negative and positive impacts on the business and adapting strategy accordingly;
developing strategies for increasing opportunities to meet and talk to contacts in the medical and healthcare sector;
staying informed about the activities of health services in a particular area.
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