Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

Pharmaceutical sales representatives meet with health care providers such as doctors, clinics, and hospitals, and persuade them to order and prescribe drugs manufactured by the companies they represent. Unlike other sales positions, many pharmaceutical sales representatives are not responsible for direct sales. Instead, their goals are to assess the needs of a health care provider’s patients and make the health care provider aware of products that can meet their patients’ needs.

Pharmaceutical sales representatives must possess presentation skills in addition to being adept at relationship-building, influencing, and communication. They tend to visit the same health care providers multiple times to make sure they know the latest pharmaceuticals for sale. Also, pharmaceutical sales representatives attend conferences and industry events to network with pharmacists and other health care providers.

Sample job description #1

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

Sample job description #2

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

Sample job description #3


  • 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

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a pharmaceutical sales representative is $89,400 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$88,900$120,300
Los Angeles, California$100,300$135,700
Denver, Colorado$83,600$113,100
Washington, DC$101,850$137,750
Miami, Florida$83,200$112,600
Orlando, Florida$76,750$103,850
Tampa, Florida$77,500$104,850
Atlanta, Georgia$81,300$110,000
Chicago, Illinois$93,450$126,450
Boston, Massachusetts$101,050$136,750
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$80,550$109,000
New York City, New York$106,400$143,950
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$86,650$117,200
Dallas, Texas$84,350$114,100
Houston, Texas$83,600$113,100
Seattle, Washington$97,250$131,600
National Average$76,000$102,800

Sample interview questions

  • What education and training do you have that prepares you for a position as a pharmaceutical sales rep?
  • What methods do you use to ensure you meet your sales goals?
  • What sales accomplishment are you the most proud of?
  • What methods do you use to identify new prospects?
  • How do you assess the needs of a potential client?
  • How do you prepare a sales pitch for different audiences?
  • How do you build a rapport with potential clients?
  • What do you do about a firm “no” answer from a prospect?
  • Tell me about a time when you closed a difficult sale? How did you overcome the challenges?
  • What would you do if you saw a doctor or colleague doing something unethical?
  • What is the best sales advice you’ve ever received?
  • What motivates you the most in this job?
  • Try to convince me to prescribe this drug to my patients as if I am a doctor.

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