Pharmaceutical sales jobs have gone from being the way into the middle class or even upper middle class to the unemployment line. This year isn't over and already more than 45,000 sales representatives in the pharmaceutical industry have been cut, reports Shareen Pathak in Sales-jobs.fins.com.
Primarily the layoffs result because of two developmenents. One is a shift in focus in the industry from marketing back to research. Patents are expiring. The next blockbuster has to be found. Secondly, medical doctors have been shutting their doors to sales reps, preferring to educate themselves about medications as a more objective route.
The good news is that sales is a binary sort of track. Either you can sell or you can't. Those who can will be able to reinvent themselves in other industries related to medicine, science, or technology. The first step is to conduct informational interviews, which can take place online, with sales representatives and sales managers in other fields. The goal is to elicit candid input on whether, given your specific background, you can make the transition. Eventually you'll nail down possibilities, both as a rep in the field or for a position in sales management.
When you do, immerse yourself in that new area of expertise. That might entail doing your own research, requesting to shadow a salesperson in that sector, and taking courses or seminars in the basics of that business, ranging from the technical to the operational side. You may also have to learn new technologies for making sales calls online.