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5 Need-to-Know Facts About a Career in Biotech Sales

It’s an exciting time to be in biotech sales. Innovations are at an all-time high as biosensors, 3D bioprinting, bioenergy, and many more new developments change the face of health care. Aside from selling products they’re passionate about, biotech sales reps continue their impressive upward income trend. 

In our 2020 Medical Sales Salary Report, biotech sales reps saw the biggest year over year increase at 11%. With this considerable boost, respondents in this category also reported the highest total compensation, averaging $198,282.

An exciting salary is just one of the benefits of working in the biotech sales industry. Before you leap into this career, we want to ensure you have all of the facts. If you decide it’s the right move for you, you’ll have the information needed to write a detailed cover letter and resume. 

Here’s what you need to know about the promising field of biotech sales: 

Biotech sales products

Biotechnology is a specialized field determined to improve the lives of patients. In this field, biochemists, geneticists, and other scientists use cellular and biomolecular processes to develop medicines and other products. Today, this technology even has the power to use living cells to 3D-print various parts of the human body, including skin, heart valves, and cartilage.  

In layman’s terms, biotech sales reps sell specialized pharmaceutical-type products and vaccines. Once the products are FDA-approved, it’s the rep’s job to become an expert on the product by understanding the intricacies of how it works, side effects, and the diseases or illnesses it prevents, cures, and aids. 

Where you’ll find biotech reps

Biotech sales reps sell their wide array of products in a variety of markets. The three primary markets include physicians, surgery/operating rooms, and hospitals. 

In our 2020 Biotech Sales Salary Report, half of biotech sales reps reported their primary market as the physician office. However, those selling to hospitals and surgery/operating rooms report the highest average total incomes at $231,444 for hospitals and $201,077 in the surgery/operating rooms. 

How they spend their time

Like reps in other fields, biotech sales reps often have flexible work schedules. They formulate their days based on client meetings, pitches they need to create for those meetings, and any additional company obligations. 

How much time they spend on the road greatly impacts their goals. Those reporting the highest base salaries, commissions/bonuses, and average total incomes in our reports spend 50% of their time traveling. There’s a sizable $38,625 difference from those on the road just 25% of the time.  

Earning potential

Successful careers in complicated medical sales fields are often equated with a multitude of direct sales experience. But if you’re new to the biotech industry, you still have the opportunity to take home an impressive paycheck. 

In fact, biotech sales reps with less than two years of experience reported an average total compensation of $150,667. And the reps sticking it out for the long haul of 20 years or more earn approximately $221,209. 

The earning potential in biotech sales doesn’t just come from hard-earned commissions and bonuses. Companies are showing their support for reps with increasing base salaries year after year. This year, base salaries jumped from $121,947 to $134,388.

Of course, if you choose to climb the ladder to become a sales manager, your earning potential increases ($261,833). Even so, this year’s salary report revealed field sales reps earn an impressive  $191,602 in total average compensation.  

How to become a biotech sales rep

Biotech sales rep jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree and experience in life sciences. Many of these positions require one to two years of direct experience, which can be in related fields like the pharmaceutical sales industry or even in laboratory research. 

It’s also critical to already have in-depth knowledge of the company’s products, life sciences, and biotechnology. All of these are required to help you gain a deep enough understanding of the products to discuss with customers and answer any questions that may come up. 


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