Pharmaceutical Sales Training Positions
Sales training jobs include sales trainer, technical training specialist, regional trainer, and national sales trainer, with each title carrying increasing responsibility. Management jobs are typically called sales training managers. Within the group are also other positions, such as instructional designers, project managers, and media specialists, since training is increasingly delivered through technological media such as CDs or web sites. Typically, such programs are highly modularized and completed on the sales reps' personal time. Sales training is not an entry-level job, usually requiring several years of experience as a field sales rep to break in. Most companies tap their best field sales reps to become trainers. Sales trainers plan, organize and manage the programs needed to bring newly hired reps in line with the company's products and sales process.
A sales trainer's responsibilities fall into three categories: training delivery, administrative, and professional development. Trainers must conduct on-site training sessions within his/her assigned geographic area (this could be either a district or larger geographic region), manage the self-study portion of training programs, conduct generic selling skills programs as well as new-hire training programs. Self-study learning programs typically have highly technical basic science and extensive product knowledge modules.
Traditionally, this training component was delivered in massive, self-study binders containing hundreds of pages of information. More recently, this same material has been put into Web-based sites or alternatively, on CDs. Since companies expect studying to occur during off-work hours, the newer formats enable reps to access information in discrete chunks at their convenience. Self-study programs also contain testing which trainers administer; trainers also track student performance and ultimately evaluate a rep's readiness to present to physician customers. So a trainer's role is rich in responsibility and consequence.
Beyond self-study, trainers apply all manner of tools, ranging from contests to competitive games to role-play exercises, in workshops and other in-class learning events designed to develop the verbal, presentation, and sales skills of their reps. These learning experiences represent one of the most creative parts of the trainer's job.
Administrative responsibilities include evaluating trainees and communicating performance information to training management. An important third duty is to ensure reps understand and comply with company and industry policies, especially the all-important Pharmaceutical Industry Code of Ethics. This code limits the total value of gifts made to physicians and restricts the subsidies provided physicians to attend educational events sponsored by the rep's company. Company policies may recognize limits placed by the FDA on the promotion of a company's product to certain at-risk patient populations.
Sales trainers also spend some time developing themselves and their peers. Professional development typically involves setting up, attending, or managing Train-the-Trainer sessions. These are learning events focused on building trainers' classroom delivery skills, and involve much meticulous planning, testing, and refining. Professional development duties also include networking among peers to develop contacts and to learn about other company products. Cash compensation for sales training managers ranges from $79K to $121K.