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Pharmaceutical Sales Reps, a dying breed?

23 Oct 17 - 12:00AM Carl Marotta  | Skills Alliance blog

Pharmaceutical Sales Reps, a dying breed?


After six years of recruiting in the Life Sciences Sales & Marketing space, hopefully 10,000+ hours of expertise positions me to see market trends; and I have seen some huge industry changes. Health Economics & Market Access has grown out of recognition from 2010, alongside the emergence of new technologies and operating platforms within Clinical, Quality Assurance & Medical Affairs. There have been countless new regulations put in place, and of course the imminent regulatory changes Brexit brings to our industry.

Quietly in comparison to these events and ‘noise’, but significantly, my network is constantly telling me that “the future of pharmaceutical sales is changing”. The traditional approach of recruit top performing sales professionals from rivals in order to increase market share, is dare I say, no longer the norm?

The commercial need has not diminished but looking at the next generation of Pharmaceutical Sales professionals, the game is changing. The sales results and associated attributes are no longer the pre-requisite for hiring companies, the need has not changed but the approach has. I have met with 3 of the top 10 global Pharmaceutical companies during October and the consensus is that a science-led patient centric approach is now the main recruiting driver with Sales Reps. To some extent, aligning the face of the company with the expertise behind the scenes of the MSLs and Market Access teams.

What will your commercial team look like in 7 years? Are you going to focus on ‘top billing’ Sales Reps or will your team make-up and KPIs reflect a different approach to generating Sales? There will always be a place in the industry for commercially minded primary & secondary care representatives, but could there be a new generation of professionals coming through that don’t focus on high level targets and commission?

My years of experience say yes, so how is your team set up to on-board, reward and hire the next generation?


Jake Byrne

Commercial Lead


+44 20 3823 4158