Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Do?

A pharmaceutical sales representative sells prescription drugs and medical equipment to hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices. These individuals promote pharmaceutical companies’ products to healthcare providers, educate them about the benefits and risks of the products, and build relationships with their clients. Pharmaceutical sales representatives must have a thorough understanding of their products, as well as the healthcare industry, in order to market them effectively.

These representatives typically have a degree in a science-related field, such as biology or chemistry, and must possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills in order to communicate effectively with healthcare providers. Also, they must be able to work independently, manage their own sales territory, and possess a strong sales and marketing background. Travel may be a significant part of their job, along with attending industry conferences and staying up-to-date with industry developments.

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National Average Salary

Pharmaceutical sales representative salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative is:


Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
Job Descriptions

When it comes to recruiting a pharmaceutical sales representative, having the right job description can make a big difference. Here are some real world job descriptions you can use as templates for your next opening.

Example 1

[Your Company Name] is searching for a motivated and competitive pharmaceutical sales representative to become a key link between our company and healthcare professionals. You must have exceptional people skills, attention to detail, and a persuasive personality to thrive in this fast-paced position. As a pharmaceutical sales rep, you will need to assess client needs and recommend products to present to them. Your ultimate goal will be to increase the visibility of our products and to maximize sales.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Assess client needs and promote suitable products
  • Meet with targeted doctors and health care providers and utilize sales skills to persuade them to prescribe the company’s products
  • Give providers product information and deliver drug samples
  • Develop relationships and network with doctors, health care providers, and pharmacists

Education and experience

This position usually requires a bachelor’s degree. College coursework in life sciences such as biology and chemistry, as well as sales, marketing, advertising, and business administration, are most common in this occupation.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Written and verbal communication skills, including relationship-building and influencing
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite or similar software, including spreadsheets and databases
  • Expertise in negotiation skills
  • Strong sense of organization and time management

Preferred qualifications

  • Personable, extroverted personality
  • Ability to recognize and generate sales leads
  • Ability to exercise independent judgment

Example 2

Responsible for achieving sales objectives by effectively implementing marketing strategies and sales plans in assigned territory/territories.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Meet all quarterly sales objectives for products within designated territory
  • Implement marketing and sales strategies as directed by Supernus leadership
  • Participate in off-site sales meetings and training programs as required
  • Demonstrate mastery of all selling skills as outlined in the initial training program and subsequent Plan of Action (P.O.A.) meetings
  • Demonstrate advanced product knowledge of competitive products
  • Maintain up-to-date call records for physicians and other key customers
  • Follow policies for distribution of marketing material and samples
  • Develop and maintain a physician universe and territory management plan designed for efficient coverage/call frequency on high volume physicians and other key customers
  • Assist with special projects as assigned by management (e.g. managed care pull-through programs, pre-launch initiatives, customer support outside of designated territory/territories, etc.)
  • Develop and maintain a positive business climate
  • Submit reports and paperwork accurately and on time
  • Maintain a professional, business-like appearance at all times

Education, experience, and other requirements

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree (B. A. or B.S.) from a four-year accredited college or university
  • Minimum 2+ years business to business sales experience preferred
  • Documented sales results and examples of awards/achievements (top 25%) is required
  • Working experience during college highly preferred
  • Travel within territory, and to/from meetings/trainings, required
  • Must live near the center of territory or be willing to relocate to it
  • Must hold a valid driver’s license
  • Must produce documented sales results and examples of awards/achievements
  • Working experience during college preferred
  • May need to work evenings and weekends as needed (conferences, programs, etc.)

Knowledge, skills, and core competencies

  • Excellent organization, interpersonal, and communication skills
  • Sound judgment and decision-making ability
  • Proficient with Excel, Word, PowerPoint (Microsoft office)
  • Must exercise logic and common sense when confronted by varying circumstances or conditions not covered by established practices or procedures
  • Drive to consistently go above and beyond
  • Initiative
  • Tenacity
  • Resilience
  • Integrity
  • Teamwork & collaboration
  • Accountability

Example 3

Essential job functions

  • Manage territory, making a daily plan of sales calls using analytical skills and judgment, pulling customers and targets from digital data
  • Independently drive a company vehicle daily in a safe manner in accordance with company policy
  • Make multiple stops during established work day to communicate with physicians and pharmacists
  • Operate a digital tablet or other device to appropriately demonstrate marketing and sales tools to contribute to the sales process
  • Complete monthly product sample and marketing material inventory; may involve activity during all weather conditions
  • Provide current and comprehensive clinical knowledge of products and effectively communicate the clinical and economic benefits of the products to medical professionals in a verbal manner
  • Schedule and participate in informational lunches and dinner programs including speaker engagement to provide clinical knowledge of disease state and treatments to physicians and other medical professionals
  • Record all visits made to physicians and pharmacists on a daily basis using digital device or appropriate paper form when device is unavailable
  • Meet established program sales goals and market share targets within territory by utilizing effective sales techniques in order to influence targeted physicians, hospitals and pharmacies
  • Submit all business expenses in a timely manner according to policy
  • Travel independently to training and meetings; this may involve air travel and overnight stay depending upon location.
  • Comply with all FDA, AMA, PhRMA, HIPAA, and Safety guidelines
  • Comply with all company policies
  • Maintain a regular work schedule
  • Dress appropriately for professional position

Additional responsibilities

  • Possess knowledge of medical, healthcare, or pharmaceutical industry
  • Learn and understand regulations related to healthcare industry
  • Learn and disseminate complex clinical and biological information
  • Display strong independent work ethic, self-motivating
  • Use time efficiently; set goals and objectives
  • Uphold organizational values

Example 4


  • Develop deep professional/industry knowledge in multiple disease states
  • Identify and develop business relationships with key customers, state, and local advocacy groups, teaching institutions, key influencers/prescribers, and managed care organizations and establish oneself as a true diabetes/endocrine expert and resource
  • Drive sales growth of the product portfolio
  • Build outstanding customer experiences by engaging in active dialogue to understand the customer’s needs and delivering appropriate resources and relevant information to influence appropriate use of product portfolio
  • Effective selling of multiple products on a single call
  • Effective account management skills to develop an account/MD target list, evaluate, and set an appropriate territory workload, and achieve key efficiency parameters
  • Sell in a changing health care environment, utilizing critical thinking and strategic mindset to understand the environment (payer, health systems, business) and gain access to the customers to make an impact on patients’ lives
  • Operate with high integrity and comply with policies and procedures

Basic qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree as well as professional certification or license required to perform this position (if required by a specific state)
  • Valid driver’s license and acceptable driving record
  • Qualified candidates must be legally authorized to be employed in the United States

Additional skills and preferences

  • Bilingual skills as aligned with territory and customer needs
  • Live within the territory or within 30 miles of territory boundaries
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with ability to coordinate with partners
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills
  • Ability to collaborate in a team environment
  • Ability to build and maintain lasting relationships with key accounts and caregivers
  • Demonstrated ability to learn, apply, and communicate technical/scientific knowledge

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • Pharmaceutical Representative Certification (PRC). UTSA offers a fully online certification program to candidates looking for complete foundational knowledge of being a pharmaceutical sales representative. This course is entirely self-paced and guides them through medical terminology, pharmaceutical ethics, communication skills, and selling techniques. Candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or at least two years of professional sales experience in a related field to qualify. Once they do, they have six months to complete the course and prepare for their PRC exam. 
  • Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP). Gain a broad knowledge in the world of sales through a Certified Professional Sales Person course. Candidates will learn the best sales habits and behaviors to make them stand out among other sales representatives in any field. There are no prerequisites to start a CPSP course. However, as it focuses only on sales, candidates will have to seek out other programs to learn the pharmaceutical side of the industry.

Sample Interview Questions

  • How do you build trust and credibility with your clients and healthcare providers?
  • What strategies do you use to stay updated on the latest industry news and developments?
  • In what ways do you ensure that your products are promoted responsibly and ethically in your work?
  • What strategies do you use to ensure you meet your sales targets, and how do you manage your sales data and track your progress?
  • What is the best way to promote a new technology or product to healthcare providers who may be skeptical of new trends?
  • What motivates and keeps you focused while working in a highly competitive and rapidly changing industry?
  • What skills and qualities do you think make a successful pharmaceutical sales representative, and how have you applied these to your experience in pharmaceutical sales?
  • Is there a time when you navigated a complex sales process with a healthcare provider and successfully closed the sale?
  • What are your best practices for managing your sales territory and prioritizing your resources?
  • Can you describe a time when you handled a difficult customer or client and managed to resolve the issue and maintain a good working relationship?

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