|Scientific Telesales and Customer Services
If you are a recent science graduate with one years’ laboratory experience, possibly gained as an industrial placement within life sciencesor biotechnology, or are an experienced scientist looking to move into the commercial side of the industry, your first move may be into ascientific telesales or customer services role. These positions are office based, dealing with customers over the telephone, and provide good training for moving into scientific sales. Experience of this kind therefore considerably improves your chances of being recruited into a trainee scientific sales position.
Scientific Sales Representative
As a field-based scientific sales representative you are responsible for all sales on a given territory. Your primary role is to sell your product to customers and to source new business opportunities. You are the customer’s point of contact with your company, and as such must be able to assist them with product advice and troubleshooting support. You must also be able to deal with any shipping or delivery issues. A successful career in science sales requires:
- developing your sales skills and product knowledge
- relationship-building with your customers
- being aware of and actively seeking new business opportunities and contacts
- being well organised with good time and territory management
Field Sales is the gateway to many roles within a company. Normally, you would need to gain 3-5 years experience in a scientific sales role before moving on.
Senior Sales Representative/ Territory Manager/ Account Manager
These roles require several years of scientific sales experience and usually involve more responsibility for your own budget, territory and customer management. You will also have more autonomy in negotiating discounts and pricing with customers, and in handling criticalsales. You will have more influence over company management and a better position for future promotion.
Scientific Product Specialist/ Manager
You may move into this role from field sales, having gained expertise and experience with a specific product line. You will focus on a narrower product portfolio, possibly a single product. It will involve you further in the technical and marketing support of you product(s), and give you greater responsibility for its success. It usually involves coverage of a fairly large geographical area. It develops yourtechnical and scientific marketing skills as well as your ability to sell what is usually a more complex and/ or higher value product.
International Sales/ Export
Roles of this kind involve dealing with international customers and distributors. They typically involve large amounts of international travel. Most companies look for national scientific sales experience when recruiting into these roles.
After 5-10 years scientific sales and management experience, you will be well placed to consider senior commercial roles, involving leadership and direction of sales and scientific marketing strategies at a national or international level.
A scientific career in pharmaceutical, agrochemical, food or biotechnology industries may begin at technician level. You will typically be working within a particular discipline such as Microbiology or Molecular Biology. You may be working in a service laboratory performing routine techniques, in areas such as Production, Manufacturing, or in a Research and Development setting. You will be required to work to defined protocols and to adhere to appropriate regulatory requirements. You may also gain experience in Quality Control (QC), Quality Assurance (QA), Compliance and Validation. Career progression may lead to Senior Technician and Laboratory Management.
You will analyse samples according to standard protocols and regulations, and reliably record, process and compile data. You may be responsible for the day to day operation of specific laboratory functions. You will develop expertise in analytical techniques and other laboratory procedures. Techniques used tend to build on a chemistry background. With 1-2 years’ experience you may progress to Senior Analyst.
You may be employed as a Technologist following 1+ years of relevant experience. You are employed to provide technical expertise and project management skills to product development. You will ensure that process scale up, demonstration and validation activities for new products are completed in accordance with agreed timelines and in compliance with operations, customer and regulatory requirements. You will develop a depth of process understanding and awareness that demonstrates your expertise in your field.
You will work in a Research & Development setting, usually providing technical assistance on specific projects. You will also be required to develop protocols and may have the opportunity to provide creative input into project direction.
Working in Research & Development, you will be involved in the evaluation and development of new procedures and products to meet market requirements. You will also work to resolve technical issues and introduce the necessary changes to production. You will work as part of a team and may develop supervisory skills.
Senior Scientist/ Laboratory Manager
You will have several years’ experience in a particular area which you can bring to the supervision and management of a laboratory team. You will also be responsible for ensuring that all regulations are complied with and relevant Quality standards are adhered to. You may also develop your commercial awareness in dealing with clients’ requirements.
Clinical Trials are conducted by the Pharmaceutical industry and by Clinical Research Organisations (CROs) to assess the effects, risks, efficacy and benefits of a medicinal product. Phases of clinical research include: trials on healthy humans to study safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; therapeutic studies of efficacy and safety in a small number of relevant patients; and larger short and long-term studies. Further studies are conducted at and after the launch of a new product to monitor safety and side effects in large-scale use.
Clinical Data Co-ordinator/ Clinical Trials Administrator
These roles may represent entry level opportunities for graduates with no prior experience looking to move into Clinical Research Associate positions. They involve handling trial data and/ or related administrative tasks according to the appropriate regulatory requirements.
Clinical Research Associate
A clinical research associate (CRA) sets up, monitors and completes clinical trials. Main duties include developing and writing trial protocols and data collection forms, co-ordinating Ethics Committee and Regulatory Authority applications and approvals, setting up the study centres, monitoring the trial throughout its duration, writing visit reports; discussing results with a medical statistician, and preparing final reports. CRA positions are generally on one of three levels, with increasing responsibility: Level 1: involving site visits to administer the trial; Level 2: more involvement in protocol development, writing research reports etc; and Level 3: involvement in management of projects up to international scale. Further career progression may be into clinical trials management/executive positions.
Regulatory Affairs Officer
Regulatory affairs officers ensure the appropriate licensing, marketing and legal compliance of pharmaceutical and medical products. Combining knowledge of scientific, legal and business issues, they enable products to meet the required legislation. They advise on and co-ordinate the approval and registration of pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines, complementary medicines, chemicals, pesticides and other products. Regulatory affairs officers represent the link between their company, its products and regulatory authorities, including the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency. Competition is strong for new graduates. Experience in regulatory affairs will considerably improve your chances.