Pharmaceutical Sales

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Pharmaceutical sales jobs offer a mix of some of the most sought-after job qualities across the board, namely, high compensation, the opportunity to travel, and plenty of independence. The perks of your pharmaceutical sales gig will change depending on the type of drugs you're selling, the region of the country in which you're working, and your own innate abilities. For bull-dog sellers, there's really no earnings cap thanks to the smart incentives structures fashioned by sales managers.

A rep just starting out might make a modest salary of $30K or $40K--not bad, but nothing close to his or her true earnings potential. In the first years, expectations of a sales rep might be somewhat lower (as there's a sharp learning curve), but that doesn't mean quotas don't apply. The numbers will be lower, but that rep must still hit those targets if he or she hopes to advance in the field.

Bonuses and Pharmaceutical Sales Jobs

The reason pharmaceutical sales jobs are so alluring to many applicants is their bonus structures. Say the salary of $30K, mentioned previously, is the base of a rep's incentives package. After that, he or she can make an additional five, 10, or even $20K, depending on performance. In a down year, that rep may make no bonus whatsoever. What's worse, if he or she falls short of quota for more than one year (or, in some highly competitive industries, one quarter) that rep can expect to be fired.

Sales reps who've been at the game of pharmaceutical sales for many years may see bonuses as high as $40K or $50K, though this is uncommon. Bonus figures hinge mostly on the type of drug being sold, the number of competitors in the field, and the number of rival drugs on the market. It's up to the individual rep to be well acquainted with all this data before he or she sets out with briefcase in hand.

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