THE BEAUTY OF A PROFESSION CALLED “MEDICAL REPRESENTATIVE”
The job of a Medical Representative requires going out and meet highly qualified and informed customers like Physicians, and also not that much qualified trade customers like Stockists, Retailers, etc. In other words, the job of a Medical Representative prepares us to be outgoing and enjoy meeting and convincing different types of customers.
It requires hard work, i.e. from morning to night. Typically if a Medical Representative starts his job by 9 am in the morning, he may complete his day’s work may be by 9 or 10 pm. In other words we can say Medial Representatives’ working hours are dependent upon the practice timings of the customers, i.e. Doctors. In between, when the Doctors are not practicing, from 11 am to 4 pm, he can do other works like visits to CFA/Depot, Stockists, Retailers, lunch, and also personal work, if any. Thus, this job prepares us for hard work, which is necessary, not only in our professional life, but also in our personal life.
Two wheeler - a must for the job. From morning to evening he should be seen driving his two wheeler. Therefore he should own a two wheeler with a valid Driving Licence. Thanks to this job, we become expert two wheeler drivers!.
They should be well mannered, well behaved, with a good dressing sense. He should believe in presenting a formal picture of himself like wearing a tie, daily shaving, bathing, changing inner wears, socks, hair and nails properly cut, shoes and working bag neatly polished, using deodorant/perfume often, etc. Great opportunity to dress well, and become a well mannered person!
This profession gives us the opportunity to interact with highly qualified and respected members in the society, i.e. Doctors. Communication is an important tool to convert the customers to the Company’s products. Therefore successful Medical Representatives are the ones whose communication is very good. Good communication skill can be acquired through practice, practice and more practice. If the communication/detailing of a Medical Representative is interesting and engaging, the customers may be willing to give a little more time as well. Thanks to this profession, we make sincere efforts and improve in our articulation/communicating ability!
Sincerity, hard work, better organized and disciplined, ensures success in the job. Preparing the Customers list strictly as per marketing strategy of the organization, for each product, giving the required frequency of visits to each customer, using the physician samples, gifts, and other promotional inputs as per strategy, good detailing of each product, and demanding prescription for the products detailed, promoting the products ethically without looking for short cuts, pruning the customers list at regular intervals, like deleting the names of customers who have not contributed or contributed very little, or no scope for getting anything substantial in the near future, inspite of our best efforts, and adding a correct replacement for such deleted customers, etc. all will come under this heading. Thus, this job inculcates good habits like discipline, and better organized, in all of us.
Above all, successful Medical Representatives should have an unending appetite to do well, hit the objectives month after month consistently, earn incentives regularly, thus improving the quality/standards of life of self and family members, and always look for career growth. Even if career growth opportunity comes with a transfer, should accept it gladly, do well in the promoted assignment also, and then look for further growth in career. Sky is the limit for growth in this job. I have seen people having reached the position of Vice Presidents, Marketing Managers, National Sales Managers, etc. from the entry level Medical Representatives, in 12-15 years time. Most of them don’t flash hi-fi/fancy degrees, but are simple graduates. However they have performed very well in each and every stage of their career, thus earned their career growth.
Should like to handle hi-tech gadgets, as most of the Pharma Companies expect their Field Force to use/handle android applications/handsets, online reporting systems, analysis of work/performance from the various reports available in the online reporting system and arrive at corrective measures, e-detailing, SMS (Messaging), whatsapp, etc. Thus, thanks to this job, we become tech savy!
This profession also helps us to come out of bad habits, if any, like drinking alcohol, smoking, pan/tobacco chewing, etc. Since most of the Doctors - who are our customers, and health conscious - do not like such bad habits, we tend to come out of such bad habits, if any, due to the requirements of the job, and the customers.
Above all, this profession gives us the opportunity to do a bit of social service as well - promote drugs/medicines to the practicing Doctors, who in turn use the products promoted to treat their patients, and give relief to them.
From the Company’s side, they should contribute their bit by selecting the right candidates for the job, train them well, ensure on the job training, guiding, motivating (by the Line Managers), prompt in disbursement of samples/promotional inputs, salaries, incentives, reimbursement of expenses, and also taking care of the career aspirations of the deserved (consistent performers). In addition, Companies should come out with products that can offer distinct advantages over the existing ones (instead of ‘me too’), effective sales/marketing strategies for each product, etc. thus facilitating the Field Force to excel in their performances, i.e. ‘win-win’ situation for both.
This profession has also created many entrepreneurs. Many Field Force, after working for a few years, have turned themselves into successful businessmen, running Retail, Wholesale, Manufacturing, and also Marketing businesses successfully.
I am sure the job of a Medical Representative in Pharma Industry (Sales & Marketing function) is one of the few best options available to youngsters of today, willing to acquire the above discussed requirements quickly, and are eager to do well, and come up in life. The starting salary may not be that attractive in some Companies, but for consistent performers, the take home salary inclusive of attractive incentives under various headings, can be lucrative. As mentioned earlier, for consistent performers, sky is the limit for earning and career growth in this profession. Fortunately, there are many players in Indian Pharma Industry, with lot of vacancies to fill up at the entry level in the Field. Don’t you think joined as a Medical Representative, and retired as a Vice President or National Sales Manager from a MNC Pharma Company, with a good quality life already in place, is far better than having joined as a Clerk, and retired as a Head Clerk or Superintendent from a mediocre Business House?.
(The author Mr. V.Srinivasan has over 35 years of rich experience in Pharma Industry, having headed Sales/Marketing Administration, HR, Personnel, and Training functions. Besides he has over 400 published articles to his credit in India and abroad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)