Recruiters recognize that the pharmaceutical industry differs from most others with regard to sales. One of the factors that sets this industry apart is that more than any other, it is driven by competition. Pharmaceutical companies are constantly competing with one another in order to come up with revolutionary drugs that:
- Are more effective
- Trigger fewer or less serious side effects
- Take care of more than one ailment
Another factor that separates pharmaceuticals from most other areas in sales is that salespeople in this industry sell directly to doctors. These are experts who are leaders in their field; which means that they will not buy a product until they are absolutely convinced that it is a good choice for their patients. Some of the qualities that are therefore imperative when recruiters are looking to fill a pharmaceutical sales position include:
1. Availability for Frequent Travel
Most sales people in pharmaceuticals spend a fair amount of time on the road and in different cities. The ideal candidate is therefore one who is able to travel often and at times, able to travel on very short notice.
Pharmaceutical sales people are responsible for arranging meetings with doctors and other health care professionals in different areas. Since they represent the manufacturers of the drug that they are representing, their role also includes providing samples of the drug to doctors. As a result of this practice, health care professionals are better able to understand the merits of the drug, and make an informed decision.
2. Eloquence and Communication Skills
Pharmaceutical sales people deal with facts. They cannot afford to be vague or to get their facts wrong. Some of the aspects that they talk about when discussing a drug may include:
- What drug is it?
- What is the purpose of the drug?
- Who does it help?
- Why choose this drug and not others in the market?
- Any counter-indications?
The sales person needs to be able to do this within very few minutes and as such; the recruiter’s interest is perked when they interview a candidate who possesses excellent communication skills. These skills are demonstrated through aspects such as:
- Their ability to capture and retain their listener’s attention
- Their ability to handle rejection with grace, as opposed to either:
- Giving up to easily while there is still a sale to be made
- Pushing too hard and antagonizing the health care professional as a result
- Their ability to deliver information concisely, within a limited amount of time
3. Educational Background
Some pharmaceutical companies may express that they prefer their salespeople to have a background in a scientific subject, preferably biology. This background in biology is often very helpful because the sales person is better able to respond to questions regarding the drug; how it is going to work in the body, and how it is expected to interact with other drugs that the patient may be taking.
In some cases however, this is not necessarily a requirement. This is especially true when the recruiter meets a candidate who demonstrates an aptitude for learning fast, as well as readily applying the information that they have acquired.