Initial training is provided by the employer and involves incorporating product and medical knowledge as well as promotion and sales techniques. This training may take up to six months. After this, time may be spent with an experienced medical sales representative before gaining your own sales territory. Some companies introduce new staff to the business by placing them initially in an office-based role, providing administrative support to the sales team, before they move into a full sales role.
The Prescription Medicine Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) requires medical sales representatives to sit the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Medical Representatives Examination during their first year of employment. They have a maximum of two years to pass it.
The examinations require knowledge of the human body, pathology, pharmacology, body systems and three specialist areas (out of a possible 15) that can be selected by the candidate. You can even take this exam before getting work as a sales rep in order to make yourself a more qualified candidate when applying for entry-level jobs. See the ABPI website for further details.
Sales training is also offered by professional institutes. The Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM) , for example, runs courses aimed at aspiring sales personnel as well as established practitioners. They offer a range of awards, certificates and diplomas in sales.
Continuing professional development (CPD) is vital at every stage of a representative's career and involves keeping abreast of new products, developments in research and competitor behaviour.
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