A medical representative’s role is to sell products in order to increase their company’s sales
This is achieved by changing the prescribing habits of GP’s, selling on the benefits of the product for the relevant patient group.
Medical representatives are assigned to work in “territories”; the territory is broken down by post codes known as ‘Bricks’. Targeted GP’s are selected based upon prescribing habits and specialist clinical interest. Your job is to sell to this selected group of healthcare professionals.
Medical representatives need to be resilient and persistent, as a great deal of effort is required to see a GP if a relationship has not already been established. Being effective in this role means standing out from other representatives and giving the receptionist reason to let you come back to see a GP.
Each Medical Centre may have a policy as to when medical representatives have access to their Clinicians and Nurses, it is important to discover this information and take appropriate action. This may be before, during or after surgery either via appointment, on spec or lunchtime / breakfast meetings. Often decisions must be made as to whether to wait to see one GP in a certain surgery or to go on to see another GP and then come back. In such cases, having a back up plan and structure to your day is a way of utilising your time effectively.
Other surgeries see on an appointment basis. Although appointments are generally kept, some can be booked up to a year in advance and so it is wise to always check that appointments are still okay before arriving at a surgery. GP’s are extremely busy people and it is necessary to respect this.
It is good to understand that the receptionists, also known as “gatekeepers”, are a vital part of relationship building. The receptionist manage a Doctors time so developing an empathetic relationship is essential; otherwise you may create an unnecessary barrier to the GP’s in that surgery.
The representative needs to set an agenda for the call before going in to see a GP. Then by asking open/probing questions, the needs of the GP can be uncovered in relation to how best the particular product can benefit the patient. Thereby selling the product effectively. At this stage promotional literature will be left with the GP. The full sales story is a concept sell and as such the role of a medical representative is to change prescribing habits and behaviours of the prescribing GP and support team. It is always vital at this stage to seek a follow up call, to ascertain how the product is working on the patients. Having agreed an appointment with the Doctor, confirm this with reception and put it in the surgery diary. In order to see a GP you may be required to wait in the surgery until he or she is free. You will need to make a judgement call as to whether waiting or coming back would be the most effective use of your time. A representative must be extremely well organised and competent in their role, by maximising usage of your time you will also maximise business potential. Communication plays a major part for a medical representative not only in terms of their customers but also in communication (verbal or written) with other members of their team, in order to work effectively together.
The role of a medical representative may often incorporate promoting products to hospital doctors, and may also call on nurses and pharmacists in order to promote business and to gain a good understanding of whether their products are actually being used. Collaboration with Pharmacists is vital to medical representatives, as they are a source of important information.
A proportion of a representative’s time is spent performing administration tasks such as planning pre call objectives and writing up post call notes or planning and organising speaker meetings. This is an important part of the role, as the job does not simply involve calling on customers, it is also necessary to relay information to other members of a team and to head office so activity is not duplicated and can be monitored.
Organising a territory effectively is the key to gaining success in all aspects of the position, and teamwork is vitally important to this process. About every 4 to 6 weeks you will have a meeting with your regional manager and the team. These meetings generally review the performance of the team on territory and an overview of the latest regional sales analysis data (RSA). Your Manager will also conduct field visits on a regular basis where your personal development needs are identified. Goals and objectives are set for you to work towards achieving.
The role of a medical representative is challenging, exciting and competitive. A tenacious approach coupled with the ability to adapt to different situations are key attributes to a successful career within the Pharmaceutical Industry as a Medical Sales Representative.