At its very core, the job of a medical sales consultant is to market, sell and distribute pharmaceutical products to relevant medical establishments.
This job, however, isn’t retail: the responsibilities of a medical sales consultant are far more arduous than those of a glorified drug dealer.
Medical sales consultants meet with doctors and hospital teams, conducting presentations in an attempt to persuade potential clients to use their company’s pharmaceutical goods. Of course, you can’t flog something if you don’t know what it is you’re selling - especially if your prospective clients have several medical degrees tucked under their lab coats.
You need to know your pharmaceuticals pretty well, and you must keep an eye on any rival ‘products’ and developing trends in the market. Essentially, the job of a medical sales consultant combines networking, customer service and developing an in-depth knowledge of specific pharmaceutical goods.
Salary & benefits
As an entry-level medical sales consultant, you will earn between £15,000 and £25,000 per annum. Senior consultants, however, can earn as much as £35,000 a year.
In addition to basic pay, medical sales consultants earn commission from every single sale made.
Medical sales representatives don’t really work in an office environment. Rather, they usually work at home or out of a ‘mobile office’ (i.e. their car).
You may be required to work evenings occasionally, as you will need to work around the schedules of your potential clients. However, most meetings occur within the confines of the working week.
Life as a medical sales consultant does involve a lot of traveling around your local area, but you normally won’t stray too far from your patch.
To become a medical sales consultant, you don’t really need a science-related degree. After all, you won’t (or at least shouldn’t!) be prescribing any medication. Indeed, you will only be selling them to medical professionals.
Some niche companies (e.g. those selling dentistry equipment), however, may prefer applicants with a relevant academic background, though many employers actually prefer medical sales consultants with a business or marketing degree.
Training & progression
Most medical sales consultants undergo an initial training period which focuses on sales techniques. Additionally, if you don’t have a science background, you’ll also probably have to undergo extra training to enhance your medical knowledge.
While there is no academic requirement, you will need to pass an examination facilitated by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).
After gaining more experience, you can progress into a managerial position. Many medical sales representatives with a relevant scientific background tend to branch out and look for other employment in hospitals. Alternatively, you can always explore sales opportunities in other industries.