Technical Applications and Support/ Sales/ Marketing

Product launch

Career Tracks

Technical Applications and Support:
  • Field Application Specialists or Field Application Scientists
  • Technical Support
  • Technical Trainers
  • Field Technical Engineers or Service Engineers
  • Business Analysts or Subject Matter Experts
  • Account Management and Field-based Sales (aka sales reps, territory managers, etc)
  • Senior Sales Management
  • Drug Sales Representatives
  • Sales Operations
  • Inside Sales (do not travel, makes calls)
  • Technical Sales Specialists (expert on product lines)- *Typically hold a PhD or significant lab experience required
  • Field Application Specialist or Field Application Scientists- give demos, presentations and help customers assemble and get instruments up and running
  • Brand Managers
    • Promotional marketing
    • Medical education marketing
    • Patient, consumer, community, or direct-to-consumer marketing
    • Strategy
  • New Product Planning, New Product Development, or Market Planning
  • Product Development Management
  • Global or International Marketing, Global Strategic Marketing, or International Market Planning Product Management
  • Managed Care Marketing- work to get products on approved treatment lists
  • Commercial Strategy, Analysis and Planning
  • Market Research
  • Health Outcomes Research- work on reimbursement plans
  • Marketing Products to the Scientific Community

Roles and Responsibilities 

Technical Applications and Support:
  • Field Application Specialists or Field Application Scientists
    • Pre-Sales Support
    • Product Adoption
    • Post-Sales Support
    • Product Development and Marketing
    • Keeping Technically Updated
  • Technical Support
    • Telephone Assistance Cases
    • Reporting Malfunction Problems to Manufacturing
    • Product Development Experts
  • Technical Trainers
    • Course Design
    • Training Delivery
    • Internal Training
    • Sales Support
  • Prospecting- finding new customers
  • Territory and Account Management
  • Sales Management
  • Community Outreach Programs
  • Generating Research
  • Product Development Strategy
  • Priming the market- get the market ready years before launch
  • Brand championship and management
  • Positioning
  • Promotion
  • Public Relation
  • Pricing
  • Competition Assessment
  • Analytics
  • Business Development

Are you a good Candidate? 

People who flourish tend to have:
Technical Applications and Support, Sales and Marketing:
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work well in a team and matrixed environment
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to listen well
  • Highly organized project and time-management skills
  • Flexibility to adapt
  • Ability to manage stress and be comfortable with responsibility
  • Stamina and boundless energy
  • Strong motivation and ambition to succeed
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Creative talent
  • Exceptional Decision-making skills, Particularly when there are inadequate data
  • Curiosity and breadth of knowledge
  • Competitive nature
  • Interest in people
  • Optimistic attitude
  • Ability to work in an innovative environment
  • Ability to pay attention to detail and see the big picture at the same time
In addition to the list above, Technical Applications and Support tends to have: 
  • Heart of a servant- loves helping others
  • Tremendous amount of patience
  • Exceptionally good listening skills
  • Diplomacy skills- tactfully keep difficult people from dominating sessions and defuse disagreements
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • Ability to provide balanced responses to customers who disagree
  • Thick skin- customers can be brutal at times
And Sales tends to have: 
  • Drive, integrity and a strong ethical character
  • Discipline and persistence
  • Resilience
  • Enthusiasm for the product
  • Specific knowledge of the product and the marketplace
  • Ability to think quickly
  • Entrepreneurial attitude
  • Flexible thinking
  • Strong ability to solve technical problems
  • Ability to quickly identify clients' personality styles and "read" human behavior
  • Polished personal presentation- dress well and be presentable

Tips for entry

Technical Applications and Support:
  • Any degree level can be accepted, with enough lab experience. PhDs often have an advantage because of their knowledge and creative, problem solving skills. PhDs tend to also have greater credibility with customers.
  • Talk to FASs or account executives at large industry meetings. Dress like you are going to an interview.
  • Apply to companies whos products you have used.
  • Consider working in discovery research to gain industrial experience and then transfer. 
  • Call a companies technical support department and ask whether they are hiring.
  • If you are interested in technical training, show your experience in designing and teaching courses, either in college/university setting or ask to volunteer to help within a company if you are already working at a company.
  • Requirements:
    • Scientific Sales- basic research experience. Hands-on experience is often more important than degrees. Sometimes more specialized sales employees with advanced degrees are needed. Technical specialists typically require a PhD or masters. MBA degrees are advantageous but generally not mandatory.
    • Drug Sales- Most reps start out in primary care sales which doesn't require a higher ed degree. Working in specialty sales requires a deeper understanding of the science, competition and disease state; qualifications vary based on specialties, ranging from college degree to masters or MBA. For Sales Management, business qualification is required. 
  • Paths to...
    • Establish relationships with sales reps. Ask for informational interviews. 
    • Spend a day with a sales rep. 
    • Consider applying for a field application or technical specialist position- will expose you to sales process without being directly responsible for revenue generation.
    • Apply for a sales position at a company you respect that sells products you have used. Its easier to sell what you know and respect.
    • Consider applying to positions with contract manufacturers or venders that sell services to sales operations. Its a good immersion into the sales world.
    • Contact your doctor and ask for referrals to their favorite sales reps. 
    • Biotechnology companies tend to hire experienced sales personnel whereas pharmaceutical companies train entry-level applicants. It might be easier to start at a pharmaceutical company.
    • Apply to companies that will invest in training you. Most large pharmaceutical companies have excellent training departments and will spend the time and money to develop you into professional sales executives. Expect the first 3 months to be training. Smaller companies are short on resources.
    • With a science background, try applying to companies that sell biologics or scientifically cutting-edge drugs. Your science expertise will be most valued.
  • Start as a sales rep. Great way to learn about how marketing works and how the customers make purchasing decisions.
  • Obtain an MBA or work in a management consulting firm.
  • Participate in an internship in a biotech or pharma company.
  • Apply for market research or outcomes research analyst positions; great entry level positions.
  • If sales is not for you, consider starting in a role in medical affairs.
  • Apply for a technical service representative, field specialist or project manager or join a product development team. These positions work closely with marketing teams.
  • Consider analyst or associate positions at consultancies or agencies that provide services to marketing departments; Vendors that specialize in advertising, market research, publication planning, communications, public relations, etc. 
  • Think about ways to work more closely with customers, working with a contract research organization, perhaps as a clinical monitor where there is direct contact with doctors and patients.
  • If you are currently working in a biotech company, request if you can intern or rotate in the marketing department. Sometimes there might be a marketing function in other departments.