Scientific Sales

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • Oct 05 2022

A career in scientific sales is the perfect way to combine an interest in physics with an interest in business or marketing.


What is scientific sales?

Scientific sales involves companies producing products like medicines, prescription drugs and medical equipment and selling their products to potential customers. Scientific sales representatives deliver product samples, answer questions about products, and aim to convince customers that their products are the best on the market. The most popular customers are GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and pharmacists, making the industry a vital link between healthcare professionals and medical companies.

How has the scientific sales industry evolved over time?

Until the early 1900s, there was very little regulation on how drug companies could advertise their products. Companies were free to come up with any formula they wished, patent them, and market them with a number of unsubstantiated claims. 

Consumers would then spend money on a drug that was either completely ineffective, or downright harmful, with many drugs containing dangerously high levels of alcohol and mercury. As regulation was introduced in both the UK and the US, pharmaceutical companies began to target doctors and nurses with their products. As people began to live longer and develop diseases associated with old age, patients relied on their doctors more than ever before, with doctors seeking new pharmaceutical solutions. 

To ensure that customers aren’t unfairly convinced to buy a product, there is numerous legislation in place. For example, there are laws in place banning drug companies from giving ‘gifts of substantial value’ to doctors. The culture of the job has also changed. In the past, the best sales consultants were high-energy and extroverted. Although these traits are still valued in the industry, team-working and collaboration skills are now highly valued. 

What is the future of scientific sales?

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many scientific sales consultants to conduct business online. The success of online meetings means that many healthcare professionals now favour a hybrid approach to sales, as it gives them greater flexibility. 

In a similar vein, there is an increase in technology within the pharmaceutical industry, with a number of companies using smart wearables and AI technologies. 71% of scientific sales representatives now use social tools like LinkedIn to help close a sale, showing just how integrated healthcare and technology have become. The culture of the industry also continues to evolve. Instead of focusing on selling the product, sales consultants now balance sales with patient care and nurturing relationships.

What are the typical responsibilities of a scientific sales consultant?

As a scientific sales consultant, you’ll work closely with potential customers. You’ll demonstrate the product and convince customers that your product best fits their needs. You’ll also be on hand to provide support and advice with the product after the sale has been completed. You can find out more about the life of a scientific sales consultant here