If you want to keep your toe in science, but are looking to move away from lab work, technical and scientific sales could be an option for you.
Industries including pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, medical devices and laboratory equipment suppliers employ scientists in customer-facing roles where they use scientific expertise and communication skills to ascertain customers’ needs and sell products including drugs, specialist chemicals and medical equipment.
The expertise gained by undertaking scientific research and using specialised equipment can make PhD-qualified candidates especially suited to selling specialty items.
Roles in medical and technical sales include:
Sales is a target-driven profession, and key skills include:
- confidence and persistence
- persuasion and negotiation skills
- patience and self-motivation
- analytical and planning skills
- flexibility to adapt to different ways of working
- good networking skills
- business awareness
As well as those who deal with sales activities, this area of industry employs many others who support technical sales, including market research, business intelligence and sales analytics.
These roles focus on undertaking the research and gathering and interpreting relevant data and information that companies can then use to ensure that their products and services achieve maximum market success.
The quantitative skills developed during postgraduate research also lend themselves well to these roles, with some job advertisements in this area specifying a preference for a postgraduate degree/ PhD.
The British Healthcare Business Intelligence Association (BHBIA) has a useful careers resource where you can find out more about these commercial roles in the medical and pharmaceutical field.
Find out more about medical and technical sales
Medical and technical sales case studies