Indian pharmaceutical industry is one of the fast growing sectors of the Indian economy and ranks life-of-a-medical-repamong the top-15 drug manufacturing countries in the world. Much of this credit goes to Medical Sales Representatives(also known as MR, ABM, PSR) who are solely responsible for the promotion of products among Physicians, Hospitals and pharmacies, and accountable for sales results. They act as the face of the Pharma company – contributing to a better quality of life for customers, building goodwill, increasing the company’s market share.

We interviewed Mr. N. George – a 3 year experienced Specialist Medical Rep who works at a top Vaccine marketing company in India. This interview gives us a first hand insight into the life and challenges of a Medical representative.

What are the qualities to be a successful medical rep?

I think its all about adaptability, presence of mind and wit which makes you click in the field. Product knowledge, eloquence, psychological sensitivity and individual approach to each Doctor all plays an equally important role.

What qualification is necessary for a career in Pharma sales?

A degree in Pharmacy or science background with biology as a major is mostly preferred. But i have seen other degree holders with a flair for selling become successful. In fact my colleague has a B.Tech Electric Engg degree, and he is the best performer for 2 consecutive quarters. It really doesn’t matter till you love what you do, some one joins this field by choice; some by chance.

What career growth can one expect in pharma field?

Growth potential is immense if you perform. Its a performance oriented job as you grow when company grows. When you meet sales target, company makes profit and you get a big bonus. I have observed “specialist” roles within sales function like

  • Specialist Representative – Hospital Sales, Cardio,
  • MSL (Medical Science Liason)
  • Public relations
  • Training Manager- Regional or National level
  • Sales management – ASM, RSM, ZSM, NSM
  • Product Management – Specialist marketing

How is a typical day in the life of a medical rep?

A typical day starts by 9 am either reviewing my diary or by spending some time on my laptop. By 10 am i start my journey with my two wheeler and visit pre-scheduled doctors. I also carry samples with me to give it to my doctors. I also network with nurses, hospital purchase officers and other administrative people. This gives me an edge over other competitors and help me get fresh orders. A lot of time (30-40%) is spent in waiting rooms and busy roads. If i get time , i also make it a point to visit the nearby chemists and distributors. I also make it a point to use my smartphone to save my day report. This way i can have it sent by the end of the day without delays. This daily report helps my managers to track and monitor the sales performance in my region and help me fulfill my targets.

Do you like your profession?

Yes, its personally and professionally very satisfying. There is a lot of stress and travel, but at the end of the day when you know that the product you were marketing has cured a life threatening disease – its very rewarding. One more thing that i like is that – i can plan my own day and meet my targets my way. I like the independence and room given to me by my company.

Have you ever manipulated Doctors to prescribe a product that may not be appropriate?

I have experienced myself and also heard from my friends in the industry that some companies lure doctors in the form of Air tickets, holiday trips or an expensive gift. But i personally never indulged in any of this. The doctors whom i meet in my specialty, are very much respectable and the only bribe you can give them is – knowledge! The only way i can grab their attention and make them write my product is by helping them take prudent decisions backed by recent clinical trial or a case studies. Its my job to be knowledgeable about my product and share the same with doctors. By following this simple rule – i have more than 230 doctors writing my products as of today.

What do your manager expect from you?

I am responsible for the promotion of my company’s products among medical professionals and pharmacies. I am accountable for sales results in my territory. My main goals include contributing to a better quality of life for my customers, building goodwill, increasing the company’s market share.

Tell us some tips and tricks for selling?

It’s all about analyzing the pharmaceutical market, i have been assigned to. Every given market comes with some Pros and Cons. Once that is analyzed – I learn everything about the product I am going to present; example, its advantages, whether therapeutic (composition, properties) or marketing (name, dosage form, etc.) ones, and its disadvantages (such as, adverse reactions). Thirdly i get more and more insights about the product’s competitors. This helps me in short and in the long run to effectively pitch and sell my product.

What’s your goal when you are inside the doctors cabin?

I give them updated and useful information on indications, dosage, symptoms and side effects. Aspiring Medical Reps should remember – if they try to preach the doctor, it wont help. They have studied medicine for more than 5-7 years. Merely pointing them to the right and credible medical journal or clinical trial paper is enough. But, this requires constant coordination with other departments and management, following the media, public statements, latest research and developments.

What’s the most important factor according to you; that helps make good Medical Reps?

I could build and maintain relationships with prescribing specialists and general practitioners, a feat that was greatly due to the rigorous training and education provided to me over time. E-learning definitely has a big role because e-learning does not comes in the way of my daily work. I can learn and test my skills from anywhere anytime. I think technology is a key enabler when it comes enhancing field productivity.

 

Dipesh Majumder

Dipesh Majumder

Chief Evangelist at Medismo PharmaSoft
I am a Marketing Technologist, a strategist & a visionary with over 8 years of experience in traditional & digital marketing. I have been responsible for the development & execution of sales force effectiveness strategies, tools, processes for global Pharma sales organizations. Lead key initiatives, critical projects & continuous improvement activities.

Chennai, India · http://www.medismotech.com
Dipesh Majumder