An Interview with a Contract Representative

Press conference microphones isolated on whiteWelcome to Installment #5 of our Interview Series titled “An Interview with….” where gains the insights of people from various positions across the pharmaceutical industry.  Through this interview series our hope is to bring you the honest thoughts and observations of those already doing it…those already in the industry in various capacities experiencing the day-to-day.  In this case we bring you the thoughts and observation of a contract representative.  For those of you that are unaware of what exactly a contract representative is, it is a representative that is hired by a contract organization of which is employed by another organization.  Sometimes pharmaceutical companies that have no sales force hire a contract organization to sell a product(s).  Or an organization that already has a sales force but needs assistance in selling a product(s) might hire a contract organization to assist in the selling process and compliment their own already established sales force..

Many times a contract is limited in time and scope which can potentially make the contract representatives time limited to the length of the contract.  There are some advantages however.  Many times within the contract, there are stipulations that allow the the parent organization to officially take on the contract sales force and make them official employees.  Typically if the contract sales force executes well, and drives business results, this may assist in getting them hired as full fledged employees of the parent organization.  Here is an interview with a Contract Representative. Tell our audience how you came to be a Contract Representative in the Pharmaceutical Industry?
Contract Representative: I got medically retired from the Army Special Forces and wanted a job where I could still have a positive impact on people’s lives. I reached out to numerous contacts and kept hearing I would be great in the sales world. Having been an 18 Delta in the military (Special Forces Medical Sergeant), the Pharmaceutical Industry was one of my top choices for my new career. Breaking into the pharmaceutical sales rep world without any prior experience is almost impossible, so when the opportunity came along to get my foot in the door with a contract company I jumped at the chance.  You have been a Contract Representative for almost a year….what are your general thoughts/observations of the Pharmaceutical Industry thus far?
Contract Representative: It’s a lot more competitive and complicated then what I initially thought. The product training is intense and the expectation at the conclusion of training is that you are an expert with your respective products. There is so much more to the industry than dressing nice and trying to sweet talk the doctors, which was the stereotype I always believed. All of the reps I’ve encountered to this point in my career are very intelligent, driven, focused and passionate.  Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years professionally?  Do you believe the experience of being a Contract Representative will assist you in getting there?
Contract Representative:  In the next 5 years, I see myself with either a medical device or pharmaceutical company, but not as a contract representative. I do believe being a contract rep will assist me in reaching my 5 year plan because this opportunity has allowed me to prove myself and gain experience to become more desirable to companies looking to hire successful and experienced reps.  If you could go back and do it all over again, would you try to enter the industry by way of a contract organization?
Contract Representative:  Entering the industry by way of a contract organization would not be my first choice, due to the fact you are only guaranteed a job for as long as the contract exists. On top of that you typically have 2 different managers, 2 separate email accounts and 2 varying view points on how you should do your job. The pharmaceutical industry is already stressful and high pressured enough without having to deal with this additional distraction. What do you believe is the perception of the contract sales force by the customer (the pharma company that hired the contract sales force)?
Contract Representative:  That the contract reps are vital to the success of the customer’s products, but are dispensable once they have served their purpose and the product growth has leveled out.  If you could do anything else other then sell pharmaceuticals, what would it be?
Contract Representative:  Orthopedic Medical Device Sales