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    What Do You Need To Know About Medical Representative Roles and Responsibilities?

    Becoming A Medical Representative

    A medical sales representative, in my opinion, is trained, not born. It's true that people have innate talent and to hone such ability for pharmaceutical sales, they need some polishing.

    Medical Representative Definition

    There are many types of sales, and medical sales are one of them.

    Salespeople who sell medical products, in the pharmaceutical industry for a pharma company, is called a medical representative.

    If you asked me, after being in this profession for slightly over a decade, I could point out very few differences between a sales rep in medical line to those outside it. They are necessarily the same, technically.

    If you were to check out this whole blog, you'd find that the process a representative in pharma has to go through is more or less the same as other reps in other industries.

    To set the stage and make thing more transparent, here's my simple definition of the medical representative:

    Salespersons who sell medical products, services, devices, or combination on any of those, to pharma industry.

    The target market is typically doctors, pharmacies, or grouped under Health Care Providers (HCPs).

    Medical Representative Duties

    We have a look at the definition. We know who the target market is. These make it easier to look at their duties as a medical sales rep.

    As reps for a pharmaceutical company, they're expected to:

    • 1) Learn all they can learn about the products they are going to promote. To cut it short, what they need to know is whatever printed on products package inserts.
    • 2) Support HCPs in providing medical related info or other relevant support that they need.
    • 3) Uphold the image of pharma company they represent by ethically conducting business. They need to steer away from medico-legal boundaries set up in the legislation.
    • 4) Carry out marketing and promotional activities to create awareness of the company's product. Like the business conduct, they need to keep to the letter of the law.

    True Work of Medical Representative

    I've been around for quite some times now. Since I graduated, this is the only job I know. I have quit once, but I came back ...

    ... And I came back for a reason.

    I pride myself in getting involved with this career. It has put food on the table and put clothes around my body.

    More than that, it has changed me to a person I am today. I learn a lot of useful lesson during these years. I came to the conclusion that this job is actually more than just transferring the product to revenue for the company.

    It's more than that ...

    ... It's about becoming a person moving or progressing with life, and contribute to society along the way.

    If I may, I want to put putting society as the main priority and company second. The company serves community and not the other way around.

    The actual value (and work) of a medical representative, is a change agent.

    Becoming a medical representative calls for a higher understanding of what selling is about.

    It's not about the money only, although it's essential, more than that, it's about moving from right to better and to the best in what he or she does.

    Roles and Responsibilities of Medical Representative in Pharma

    What we want to look at here is pretty simple.

    We need to answer one question, and that question is summarized as:

    "What do medical reps do?"

    Simple, right?

    For a pharma company, medical representatives are persons responsible for promoting a company's product. The target market is mainly Health Care Practitioners (HCP): doctors and pharmacists.

    It can be in Government or Private market segment, and even institution, like Universities.

    Duties of the Medical Sales Representative

    Medical reps will be assigned a product or products. These products are targeted to one or multiple health disciplines, for example, general physician, respiratory, Gastro, and others.

    Their duties are to:

    Other Role of Medical Representative in Pharma Company

    Have you ever heard of "corporate social responsibilities"?

    What this entails is actually, in this case, a pharma company contribution to the society where it exists.

    It could be as simple as an awareness campaign on the issue, like recycling, or it can take more involvement from other social function, for example, a 5 km charity run.

    In short, it's all the effort to give back to the society where the company operates.

    As you can see, what medical reps do is more than what was printed on the offer letter under 'medical rep job description.' Medical representative job responsibilities are related, but not limited, to company's strategies to serve the market.

    Medical Representative Responsibilities: Fulfilling the Top Responsibility For Medical Reps

    What could be on the top spot for medical representatives responsibilities?

    Could it be something that listed in their job description?

    Could it be something that they include in their resume?

    If you were a medical rep, what would be your answer?

    My answer: product presentation

    It's what pharmaceutical companies pay their salesperson for.

    In fact, pharma sales reps will spend more than 90% of their times, presenting a product in front of prospects. A typical sales call for them is 8 doctors and 2 pharmacists. Altogether, 10 customers a day.

    Imagine the amount of time needed to put the company products in front of every prospect ...

    ... But that's just a typical sales call per day.

    The call could be more or less, depending on factors, such as geological, specialty, and manpower. The fact of the matter is, presenting pharma products to the customer is the top responsibility for a medical sales rep.


    Nowadays, pharma sales reps really can spend just seconds with health care providers. Most of it is just to make a quick inquiry, and rarely they got the time to do a complete presentation ...

    ... But there's a better way around it.

    They can learn how to do the simple yet effective presentation, and when they're done, the message will stick in the HCPs' head.

    Medical Representatives Responsibilities: Get This One Right And Your Medical Sales Job Prosper

    What could be the single, most important responsibility for medical sales representatives to take care of, that will make their job prosper?

    I'm throwing this question to you, regardless if you were working as a pharma sales rep or not, and happen to read this.

    Why is it important?

    Let me tell you a story:

    I am a medical sales rep. I work for a Pharmaceutical company and promote its product, and it happens to be in the diabetes mellitus portfolio.

    Somewhere, right after the middle of this year, the company I work with is collaborating with another Pharma company to promote a drug, and it's targeting the 'Oral Hypoglycemic Agent' market segment.

    If you're familiar with this market, I believe you can guess what drug it is.

    During the collaboration, right before we were sent out to the field, we were given a set of customers list, stated as obtained from one of the most trusted sources of customers info, and cost more than five figures of the currency.

    It costs RM Xx xxx.00 ...

    ... That's what I meant.

    Once we got our hand on the list, I was pretty excited!

    No! I was ecstatic, actually.

    Imagine, days, weeks, months, perhaps years, of collecting relevant customers info is in our hands with just a fraction of the (potential) profits.

    Isn't it sweet? ...

    ... Or so I thought it was.

    When I and my counterpart drill down the details, we found something disturbing, and we feel like asking for a refund, or maybe, re-channeling the cost of obtaining the data to us.


    Let me tell you why:

    1) There are inactive customers on the list. Customers who no longer exist anywhere, on the face of the earth. Most of them can be found down under, in a place called cemetery! I wonder why their names were not taken out.
    2) Misrepresentation (or maybe bloated) of figures regarding customer's buying power. This data records the purchase that customers did for other competitors product. What the computer that computes the data can't see are the actual customers ...

    ... They are what Medical Representatives called 'runner account.'

    And what that refers to is accounts that are being used for the sake of purchasing. These are not genuine users. The reps will run here and there to clear the stock purchased, hence the term 'runner.' It's pretty amusing because it's not the customers who run here and there...
    3) Wrong geographical area. I think that it is due to how the company collects the data. It happens. It may or may not be a big deal.

    Working with such data now does not become sweet ...

    ... It's a drill.

    It's like starting from ground zero!

    And this is mainly due to only one reason:

    The inability of the parties involves doing one thing right.

    And that one thing is gathering, reliable, up-to-date information.

    And this is the one thing, if done correctly from the beginning, will make your medical sales job prosper.

    How can't you prosper with the right info in hand, right?

    On the other hand, having the wrong info will make you suffer:

    You have to clean the data up, like in my case, and you got to validate them back. The process takes time, and we are, unfortunately, in the middle of a race for a share of voice (reads market share).

    How can you avoid working with the wrong info and get things right from the beginning?

    Medical Sales Representatives Responsibilities: How to Handle Medical Rep Job Toughest Responsibility

    Do you know what the most robust job as medical representatives is?

    Do I hear product training?

    Do I hear a product presentation?

    Do I hear building relationship?

    Do I hear the correct answer:

    Handling objection!

    Excuse me for the exclamation mark there because, seriously, objections handling has been the defining factors for candidates to steer away from the sales job.


    That's why I called it 'the toughest job' as medical sales reps.

    I can see some of them already nodding in agreement.

    Why handling objection is a tough job?

    I can share with you that, the only reason why the objection is severe, is because many people take it personally.

    On a personal level, all of us have experienced being rejected or some sort:

    When we were a child, our parents rejected our 'foot thumping' protests for those shiny toys

    When we grow up, some of us (not all luckily), experience being rejected for sharing a feeling called 'love.'

    When we were old, we experience the rejection of asking a low premium for insurance coverage.

    Well, actually, the last point was just a joke, but the bottom line is:

    We DO experience rejection at some aspect of our life.

    Rejection, then, is standard...

    ... But that normal is usually accepted at a personal level.

    On a professional level, it should be viewed differently, but still, it's taken personally.

    The feeling never transcends the barrier of personal.

    When the feeling hurts, it really hurts ...

    ... That's why rejection is harsh because it happens at a deep, emotional level.

    Don't you feel that dealing with emotion is tough?

    Try comforting a child who's throwing a tantrum at the shopping alley:

    How easy do you think it is?

    Harsh, indeed, right?

    So why am I bringing this issue up?

    Do you know that emotional stuff could not be dealt with using other than emotional things as well?

    I know people like to use logic to counter emotion.

    If logic is effective against emotion, I believe, most of the manic and depressive problems in this world will be close to non-existence.


    You have an understanding that dealing with emotion is tough.

    You probably have faced it at some point in your life.

    You also, now, know why I called handling an objection is the toughest job there is as medical sales representatives.

    How to Write a Job Description For Medical Representative

    What do you want to include when writing a job description for a medical representative?

    This is important when you are aiming to attract qualified and able candidate to represent your pharma company.

    Here's a simple outline you can use:

    Job title:
    It implies what you want them to do.

    The place where you want to base them. It's also a good idea to include the number of position available.

    What they really need to do if they were hired.

    What you are looking for in a candidate; academically or non-academic.

    Final note:
    Other things you need to include for the position.

    Contact info:
    How they can reach you for details or other information.

    Let's look at an example:

    Title: Medical Representative

    Location: Fort Knox (2 positions)


    1. Develop sales in assigned territory as defined by the company.
    2. Promote company products to medical doctors, specialists, and pharmacists in Hospitals, Clinics, Retail Pharmacy, and other relevant segments.
    3. Support health professionals or customers with product information.
    4. Service, maintain, and develop existing and new customers.


    1. Excellent interpersonal skills and able to work independently with a given target.
    2. Self-disciplined, result driven, and possess a high level of integrity.
    3. Must have own transport and willing to travel as required.
    4. Experience in sales will be an added advantage with the opportunity for career advancement within the company.
    5. Fresh graduates are also encouraged to apply.

    The remuneration will commensurate with qualification, experience, attitude, and passion.
    Interested candidates are invited to apply online, write in, or fax-in their detail CV including current and expected salary, along with a recent passport size photograph (n.r.) to:

    Human Resource Department,
    ABC Company,
    123-456, Highway Centre,
    Road 256, 43210 Fort Knoxx
    Telephone: +320 889 7760
    Fax: +320 889 7761
    Email: hr@abccompany.com

    All application will be handled in strictest confidence.

    Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

    I hope this helps you with writing your job description for medical representative.

    Medical Representative Job Description: Why Interpersonal Skill Always In Job Description

    If you're applying for medical representative sales job, you'll find that interpersonal skill is always included in the description.

    Why is it always there?

    What's the importance?

    The short answer is relationship building.

    It's a known fact that people prefer to buy from people they know.

    Those days, during the consultative pharma sales model, people listen from people they know. To take the concept further, people do business and keep doing business from people they trust.

    How you build trust?

    You start by building a relationship.

    One essential ingredient for relationship building is time:

    It takes time to build a relationship
    It takes time to gain trust
    It takes time to bond.

    Another ingredient is the right method or strategy:

    We might think that people who click quickly with others is because it comes naturally to them. A closer look reveals that they, actually, do employ simple methods, directly or indirectly, to gain rapport and gradually trust.

    A Medical Representative job description always includes good interpersonal skill in.

    It might not be clear why it is so until we bring forth the 'trust factor.' Selling, and ultimately a business, need trust to make it smooth.

    We already did it ourselves, don't we? ...

    ... We do buy from people we trust ...

    ... We do business with people we trust.

    And relationship building is critical to trust.

    Interpersonal skill is like a large umbrella. Build a healthy and meaningful relationship is under that umbrella. That's why new medical representative recruits are described as having excellent interpersonal skills.

    You can build your skill to establish a relationship before you join a pharma sales company. You can use that skill in your day to day interaction.

    It's a handy skill:

    A husband can use it
    A wife can use it
    A son or daughter can use and benefit from it.

    How you build such a useful skill?

    You trained for it.

    Can you see the usefulness and value of the right relationship in your business and life?


    1. A trained and competent medical representative is the key to success. Knowledge and ability to communicate, present and promote the proposed product to the consumer is a necessary part of the work.

    2. A trained and competent medical representative is the key to success. Knowledge and ability to communicate, present and promote the proposed product to the consumer is a necessary part of the work.


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