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Become A Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

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Working As A Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Make Decisions

  • $83,766

    Average Salary

What Does A Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Do

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. They contact customers, explain product features, answer any questions that their customers may have, and negotiate prices.

Duties

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives typically do the following:

  • Identify prospective customers by using business directories, following leads from existing clients, and attending trade shows and conferences
  • Contact new and existing customers to discuss their needs and explain how specific products and services can meet these needs
  • Help customers select products to meet customers' needs, product specifications, and regulations
  • Emphasize product features that will meet customers' needs and exhibit product capabilities and limitations
  • Answer customers' questions about prices, availability, and product uses
  • Negotiate prices and terms of sale and service agreements
  • Prepare sales contracts and submit orders for processing
  • Collaborate with colleagues to exchange information, such as selling strategies and marketing information
  • Follow up with customers to make sure they are satisfied with their purchases and to answer any questions or concerns

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives—sometimes called manufacturers’ representatives or manufacturers’ agents—generally work for manufacturers or wholesalers. Some work for a single organization, while others represent several companies and sell a range of products.

Rather than selling goods directly to consumers, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives deal with businesses, government agencies, and other organizations. For more information about people who sell directly to consumers, see the profile on retail sales workers.

Some wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives deal with nonscientific products such as food, office supplies, and clothing. Other representatives specialize in technical and scientific products, ranging from agricultural and mechanical equipment to computer and pharmaceutical goods. For more information about people who specialize in sales of technical products and services, see the profile on sales engineers.

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives who lack expertise about a given product frequently team with a technical expert. In this arrangement, the technical expert—sometimes a sales engineer—attends the sales presentation to explain the product and answer questions or concerns. The sales representative makes the initial contact with customers, introduces the company's product, and obtains final agreement from the potential buyer.

By working with a technical expert, the representative is able to spend more time maintaining and soliciting accounts and less time needing to gain technical knowledge.

After the sale, representatives may make follow-up visits to ensure that equipment is functioning properly and may even help train customers' employees to operate and maintain new equipment.

Those selling consumer goods often suggest how and where merchandise should be displayed. When working with retailers, they may help arrange promotional programs, store displays, and advertising.

In addition to selling products, wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives analyze sales statistics, prepare reports, and handle administrative duties such as filing expense accounts, scheduling appointments, and making travel plans.

Staying up-to-date on new products and the changing needs of customers is important. Sales representatives accomplish this in a variety of ways, including attending trade shows at which new products and technologies are showcased. They attend conferences and conventions to meet other sales representatives and clients and to discuss new product developments. They also read about new and existing products and monitor the sales, prices, and products of their competitors.

The following are examples of types of wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives:

Inside sales representatives work mostly in offices while making sales. Frequently, they are responsible for getting new clients by “cold calling” various organizations, which means they call potential customers who are not expecting to be contacted in order to establish an initial contact. They also take incoming calls from customers who are interested in their product, and process paperwork to complete the sale.

Outside sales representatives spend much of their time traveling to and visiting with current clients and prospective buyers. During a sales call, they discuss the client's needs and suggest how they can meet those needs with merchandise or services. They may show samples or catalogs that describe items their company provides, and they may inform customers about prices, availability, and ways in which their products can save money and boost productivity. Because many sales representatives sell several complementary products made by different manufacturers, they may take a broad approach to their customers' businesses. For example, sales representatives may help install new equipment and train employees in its use.

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How To Become A Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Educational requirements vary, depending on the type of product sold. If the products are not scientific or technical, a high school diploma is generally enough for entry into the occupation. If the products are scientific or technical, sales representatives typically need at least a bachelor's degree.

Education

A high school diploma is sufficient for many positions, primarily for selling nontechnical or scientific products. However, those selling scientific and technical products typically must have a bachelor's degree. Scientific and technical products include pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, and industrial equipment. A degree in a field related to the product sold, such as chemistry, biology, or engineering, is often required.

Many sales representatives attend seminars in sales techniques or take courses in marketing, economics, communication, or even a foreign language to improve their ability to make sales.

Training

Many companies have formal training programs for beginning wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives that last up to 1 year. In some programs, trainees rotate among jobs in plants and offices to learn all phases of producing, installing, and distributing the product. In others, trainees receive formal technical instruction at the plant, followed by on-the-job training under the supervision of a field sales manager.

New employees may be trained by going along with experienced workers on their sales calls. As they gain familiarity with the firm's products and clients, the new workers gain more responsibility until they eventually get their own territory.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Many in this occupation have either the Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative (CPMR) certification or the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) certification, both offered by the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF). Certification typically involves completing formal technical training and passing an exam. In addition, the CPMR requires 10 hours of continuing education every year in order to maintain certification.

Other Experience

Although not required, sales experience can be helpful, particularly for nontechnical positions.

Advancement

Frequently, promotion takes the form of an assignment to a larger account or territory, where commissions are likely to be greater. Those who have good sales records and leadership ability may advance to higher level positions, such as sales supervisor, district manager, or vice president of sales. For more information on these positions, see the profile on sales managers.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Sales representatives must be able to listen to the customer’s needs and concerns before and after the sale.

Interpersonal skills. Sales representatives must be able to work well with many types of people. They must be able to build good relationships with clients and with other members of the sales team.

Self-confidence. Sales representatives must be confident and persuasive when making sales presentations. In addition, making a call to a potential customer who is not expecting to be contacted, or “cold calling,” requires confidence and composure.

Stamina. Sales representatives are often on their feet for long periods of time and may carry heavy sample products.

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Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Jobs

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Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Career Paths

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
Territory Representative
Area Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Territory Business Manager Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist Specialty Sales Representative
Area Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Representative Sales Manager Regional Sales Manager
Central Region Sales Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist Sales Professional Specialty Sales Representative
Clinical Business Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Medical Sales Representative Specialty Sales Representative Sales Trainer
District Business Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Sales Professional Specialty Sales Representative Sales Trainer
Divisional Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Specialist Regional Sales Manager Business Development Director
Executive Director Business Development
12 Yearsyrs
Medical Sales Representative Sales Professional Specialty Sales Representative
Hospital Account Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Account Manager Regional Sales Manager
National Accounts Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Trainer District Business Manager
Regional Business Director
12 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Account Executive District Sales Manager
Regional Business Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant Territory Manager
Regional Territory Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Territory Manager Sales Manager District Manager
Senior District Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Consultant District Sales Manager Senior Account Executive
Senior Executive Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialty Sales Representative Territory Manager Territory Business Manager
Senior Territory Business Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Representative Account Executive Territory Manager
Senior Territory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialty Sales Representative Senior Sales Representative Territory Sales Manager
Senior Territory Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Consultant Territory Manager
Territory Business Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Top Employers Before
Top Employers After
Specialist 2.4%
Consultant 2.0%

Do you work as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative?

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Demographics

Gender

Female

58.2%

Male

40.0%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

62.9%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

12.1%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

3.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.4%

French

9.9%

Italian

5.3%

German

3.3%

Japanese

2.9%

Arabic

2.9%

Mandarin

2.1%

Portuguese

2.1%

Chinese

2.1%

Russian

1.6%

Swedish

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Greek

1.2%

Gujarati

0.8%

Dutch

0.8%

Korean

0.8%

Afrikaans

0.8%

Cantonese

0.8%

Tagalog

0.8%

Persian

0.8%
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Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.6%

Florida State University

6.3%

University of Alabama

5.6%

University of Central Florida

5.5%

Michigan State University

5.4%

Auburn University

5.0%

Western Michigan University

4.7%

Pennsylvania State University

4.6%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

4.5%

University of Florida

4.5%

Purdue University

4.5%

Texas A&M University

4.3%

West Virginia University

4.3%

University of Mississippi

4.3%

Texas Tech University

4.1%

Ohio State University

4.1%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.1%

University of Arizona

4.1%

University of Kentucky

3.9%

University of Southern Mississippi

3.8%
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Majors

Business

29.5%

Marketing

14.8%

Communication

7.7%

Biology

5.9%

Nursing

5.7%

Psychology

5.3%

Management

4.6%

Education

3.1%

Public Relations

2.8%

Finance

2.7%

Pharmacy

2.6%

Political Science

2.3%

Kinesiology

2.3%

Health Care Administration

2.1%

English

1.7%

Elementary Education

1.7%

Economics

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.3%

Sociology

1.3%

Criminal Justice

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

66.0%

Masters

20.3%

Other

7.1%

Doctorate

2.1%

Associate

2.1%

Certificate

1.8%

License

0.3%

Diploma

0.3%
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Internship
Temporary

Real Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Biopharmaceutical Sales Representative Amgen Inc. Thousand Oaks, CA Jul 16, 2015 $112,894
Sales Representatives, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Induchem USA, Inc. New York, NY Dec 18, 2007 $97,573
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative New Age Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 12, 2011 $78,000
Territory Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Inventiv Health, Inc. Somerset, NJ Jun 20, 2012 $60,000 -
$65,000
Executive Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Glaxosmithkline LLC New York, NY Nov 14, 2010 $50,651 -
$93,915
Executive Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Smithkline Beecham Corporation New York, NY Oct 03, 2009 $45,476 -
$93,915

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Top Skills for A Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

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  1. Sales Territory
  2. Pharmaceutical Products
  3. Market Share
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed a pharmaceutical sales territory promoting and selling cholesterol products to over 100 targeted Internal Medicine Milwaukee Physicians.
  • Developed and managed business relationships with targeted physicians and customers focusing on the promotion of BMS and BI pharmaceutical products.
  • Focused on market share growth and established long-term relationships with physicians while giving prioritized product presentations.
  • Targeted primary care physicians and cardiologists scheduling visits and communicated the benefits of various products for patient treatment.
  • Managed Santa Rosa/San Francisco territories, marketing and selling respiratory, urology, cardiology to pharmacies and primary care physicians.

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Top Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Employers

Jobs From Top Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Employers

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Videos

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, (Drug Rep), Career Video from drkit.org

The Reality Of Pharmaceutical Medical Sales Jobs

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