A few weeks ago, I posted on my personal Facebook account a job opportunity for people who wants to become a Medical Sales Representative. Surprisingly, a lot responded, sending me their CVs and asking me what Medical Representatives, or Medreps, do. And that’s why I decided to write a detailed explanation of what we actually do on a day-to-day basis.
I started November 2014, fresh graduate, coming from a no-sales and marketing course. I graduated with a degree in Biology, so selling stuff will be the last thing I considered doing.
But yes, I am in sales.
Was it hard? Honestly, if you think about it, yes. You have to please everyone– doctors, pharmacists, your doctor’s secretaries, hospital admins, even security guards. In sales, unfortunately, you’re at the bottom of the hierarchy. Some hospitals don’t even allow reps inside the premises so you have to think of ways just to meet your doctors HAHA
Okay, to let you in to the med rep world, this is what we do: we sell drugs and stalk doctors for a living. We visit doctors in the hospitals and clinics, hold roundtable discussions, different activities, just to promote our products. You know when you visit your doctor and they gave you a piece of paper with lists of medication/s for whatever illness you have? We need to make sure that its our brand on that prescription. Even the ones they put on your IV drip when you are confined in the hospital, it has to be our brand. And the ones you get from the pharmacies (Mercury Drug, Watsons, your local botika, etc.) when you self medicate your headaches? We need to make sure its our brand. It needs to be on that doctor’s prescription. That’s what we do. We convince doctors to write our brand and not just some generic drug.
Imagine buying a chocolate. It could be Snickers, M&Ms, Toblerone, Fererro. But what will you do to convince your doctor to recommend Flat Tops instead? It’s like that. Only, we sell (legal) drugs.
It doesn’t end there. You have to monitor your sales, meet your monthly quotas, get your ROIs. You know, the technical stuff. The more important part of the job.
Perks of being a Medical Representative
But it’s not all about numbers. Most of the time, it’s pure joy. You only get stressed when it’s cut off week (and you know you won’t hit your target numbers, usually last week of the month). But other than that….
Some companies give cars upon deployment. Others when you hit your quota for the first months. Others, like my previous company, it depends on the boss. But to make the long story short, you get to drive a car, for free. Free gas, free maintenance, free parking fees. All you have to do is learn how to drive, and drive.
I got mine after almost a year. But that was my fault. My boss always ask me to get a license and everything, but I always potpone it. Maybe because I never thought I could drive. But yeah, as soon as I learned how to drive and got my driver’s license, I got my company issued car days after.
As promised, gas are free (we were given fleet card), parking tickets are reimbursed, maintenance fees are provided by the company. If I want to use it for personal out of town trips, all I have to do is ask permission (thru written request) from my office and I am good to go. Of course, you have to shoulder everything (gas included) for that trip. You cannot reimburse that. Grabe na yun, girl. Haha
This is what’s good in sales. You get to have an extra cash depending on your performance. Unlike your normal 9-5 jobs wherein all you expect is your monthly salary, in sales, you get to have more. Considering you perform well. Incentives depend on your quotas and the percentage you hit. It also depends on the company, some gives better compensation than the other.
This is the best part, at least for me.
Doctors and pharmacists have their yearly conventions. Surgeons have PCS, OBGYNs have POGS, internists have PCPs, pharmacists have PPHA, to name a few. And most of them are held outside Manila. Usually, they change venues every year, covering Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. And once you sponsor a certain number of doctors/pharmacists in that given convention, if you’re lucky, you get to come with them. All expenses paid by the company: plane fares, hotel accommodations, food, etc. Some big companies also offer international travel incentives if you hit your annual quota!!
Like what I said, this is what I personally love about my job. In four years, I get to travel to different parts of the Philippines– Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Ilocos, Palawan, to name a few. I even got to go to Balesin Island Club for free. Sayang di ako nakapag-Batanes and Siargao!! Lol.
My company doesn’t have travel incentives, though. But other companies do.
Few times a month, even. Given that you’re working in the field, and your boss, being a busy person that they are, they cannot get to be wherever you are all the time. You only report to them thru texts and emails, but other than that, you’re as free as a bird. But of course, you cannot get to do whatever you want. If you want that extra cash (see item #2), you have to work really hard, with or without your boss around.
My former boss handles a total of 9 reps in our team, and usually, he tries to work with every single one of us every week. So that will give you 1/9 of a chance in a week. 1 out of 9, and we only have 5 days per week! Hihi
And with that…
Technically, we are required to be in the area at 9 am. But your actual work don’t start until 10am or around lunch time. Ang siste, most doctors only allow coverage after clinic hours, usually around 12-1pm. So that would be the only time you get to be busy. Then the next, around 3-7pm na.
I come to work at 8 in the morning, for some reason. But like what I said, I don’t go to the hospital until around 10:30. Some doctors allow ambush coverage (like when you see them in the lobby, etc), some before they start seeing patients. But the usual work time would be around 11-12nn. But boy, the adrenaline rush!! Sometimes, you will experience 5 doctors who are ready to see reps all at the same time! Minsan, magkakaibang building and floors pa. But after that, you’re free again until around 3-5:00pm. Some even until 7-8:00 in the evening. Talk about OT*?
You have plenty of time to do side works and personal errands. Like how I managed to sell stuff and deliver them for free at some point. Hehe.
That’s just some of the perks I could think of. You could have more bonuses when your company hits their target sales for the year (it happens to us every year!). Then you get to stay at hotels and make friends with doctors. We could just text our doctor friends if we have personal questions about our personal health issues. Plus the people you meet, districtmates, counterparts, etc.
But there are also the cons, like –
- If you’re not lucky with your boss. Or colleagues. And I choose not to elaborate on this one. But you get what I mean right? Some people could really be plain mean and assholes.
- If you are assigned far away from your home. Most of the time, when you apply for a medrep position, you don’t get to know which area will you be assigned in. Usually, you will find out about this after your training. You don’t get to choose, it really depends on what area is in need of a rep. But they are quite considerate on this one naman. As much as they could, they will give you somewhere near your place of residence. But you really cannot tell.
- Suspension of work don’t happen very often. It will pretty much depend on your own judgment, to file an emergency leave or just deal with the typhoon and flood on your way to work. Private companies usually decide on work suspensions on their own, and we don’t usually get that.
- There is no over time pay. Yes, no OT pay. Whether you come to work at 8:00 in the morning and left at 8:30pm, you still get the same day salary as when you go home at 5:00pm sharp. But of course, extra points yun sa doctor mo that you patiently waited for them. Ding, ding, ding, benta benta benta!!!
I’ve been to three pharma companies already since 2014 and I can say that each company differs in a lot of things. So it really depends on what you are after for in a job or company. But so far, those three companies give very good benefits not just for you but for your family as well. I don’t know. It feels so much better knowing that you’re in the healthcare industry. I’m very thankful to every company I’ve been part of.
So if you’re a sales person, or planning to enter the world of sales, go ahead.
They are not really particular with what course you took in college. I am a Biology major, my friends are mostly registered nurses, some are HRM and Tourism graduates. As long as you pass the interviews and exams, you’re good to go.
If you’re interested, feel free to send me your CVs thru firstname.lastname@example.org
So, there. What did I miss? I think I pretty much covered everything. But if you have any questions, feel free to let me know.