8 Perks and benefits you should be showcasing when hiring life science sales professionals21 Mar, 20238 Minutes
With the adoption of AI and automation, advancements in data processing, and an abundance o...
With the adoption of AI and automation, advancements in data processing, and an abundance of recent collaborations across the life science industry, products are now reaching commercialisation at a greater rate and a faster speed than we’ve ever seen. It means that the demand for skilled life science sales representatives is on the rise, and hiring managers and business leaders must understand the unique needs and desires of this talent pool to create a competitive Employer Value Proposition (EVP) that attracts and retains.
If you’re hiring this type of talent you already know some of the main drivers of the workforce – a healthy base salary and a competitive and transparent commission or bonus structure. It’s a good starting block for building your offering for your commercial teams, but there are some lesser-discussed benefits, perks, and offerings that are particularly appealing to life science sales reps. These ones might not be the main motivator for a potential candidate looking to join your team, but they could help you stand out in a market where offerings tend to be quite similar, help to engage your current sales workforce, and positively influence potential hires who are juggling multiple job offers.
Access to cutting-edge research and technologies
Life science sales representatives know that their success hinges on staying ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest research and technological advancements. The right research can help inform reps of opportunities they wouldn’t usually detect, as well as avoid pursuing bad-fit prospects. The tech that puts that information in front of the rep is paramount too, and should see you closing deals faster.
Tech aside, any research partnerships you have with other firms or institutes within the life science sector that support your commercial strategy are also worth publicising to candidates. Showcasing this type of partnership shows a commitment to the company mission and the wider sector you’re serving. By showcasing the sales enablement research and tech commercial department has access to, you’re showing your commitment to the success and professional growth of those within the team.
Tailored training programs focused on life science sales
In a field as specialised as life sciences, generic sales training just won't cut it. Top performers are looking for tailored training programs that address the unique challenges of selling complex products and services. If you’re hiring from outside of your niche or bringing on talent who are totally new to the life science industry, the learning curve is steep.
The underlying science, regulatory environments, costs of product development and reimbursement challenges all need to be fully understood by sales and business development reps in order to communicate the value proposition of a product and sell its impact to a target population. It’s estimated that the ROI of high-quality sales training is 353%, so it can really support in accelerating a commercial effort.
Tailored training programs can be devised in a few ways; you may have the internal resource and knowledge to provide ongoing L&D yourself, may opt to partner with external suppliers, or offer formal mentorship programmes within your own workforce. Either way, it’s important to offer transparency when it comes to how you develop your reps and empower them to stay informed.
Remote and flexible work options to facilitate client engagement
You may have flexibility built into your EVP already; post-pandemic 82% of business leaders planned to allow their teams some kind of flexibility, whether it’s remote working or flexibility with hours.
Sales reps often need to meet with clients, attend conferences, or travel to research facilities. For them, offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or adaptable hours, aren’t only about that extra time saved commuting. It can help accommodate these commitments and enable sales reps to manage their work-life balance more effectively. It helps in keeping your team engaged and feeling like they’re receiving a fair deal, and supports those that have remits that cross borders and time zones to use their own discretion when it comes to hours worked or the location they’re working from.
Customised career paths with opportunities for vertical and lateral growth
Ambitious life science sales reps are looking for career paths that allow to climb the corporate ladder, but many may choose to side-step into another commercial discipline, such as marketing, post-sales support, or account management.
Transparent career paths, with clear progression milestones and opportunities for advancement across other commercial disciplines, will demonstrate your flexibility and commitment to nurturing your teams for the long-term.
Mental health and wellness initiatives for high-stress environments
The high-pressure environment of life science sales can take a toll on the mental health of sales representatives, and more candidates than ever believe their employers could be doing more to support their mental health in the post-pandemic era.
Forward-thinking firms are listening, prioritising mental health and wellness initiatives to support their sales teams, and they’re shouting about it. Consilient Health, a mid-sized pharma commercialising products in the women’s health, endocrinology, bone health and urology, have been recognised for their employee assistance programme that includes working flexibility, access to mental health first aiders, and company-wide access to Headspace.
Biogen are another firm hailed for their efforts to support employee wellbeing - last year the biotech ranked 14th overall for benefits promoting wellbeing in the official Great Place to Work Institute ranking. The firm offers wellness programs, global medical assistance, internal health advocates and telemedicine services.
Demonstrated commitment to social impact and environmental sustainability
We’re in life sciences, so we’re passionate about improving lives and making a positive impact on the world. Showcasing your company’s dedication to social impact and environmental sustainability can make your company more attractive to candidates who value purpose-driven work.
A number of prominent firms have set ambitious environmental targets and outlined their plans to achieve them. These initiatives benefit the world we live in, but also show an alignment between a company’s values and the values of those within it.
Aside from environmental targets, firms are showcasing a commitment to social causes too. From upward mobility to health equity, there are several examples of commitments made or charitable partnerships formed that demonstrate a firm’s belief in making the world a better place to live in.
A collaborative and inclusive culture
Life science sales reps benefit from working in close collaboration with researchers, product development teams, and marketing – but how often are those teams actively encouraged to meet and share ideas within your firm?
Fostering a work environment where cross-departmental collaboration is enabled and encouraged promotes a good workplace culture, and supports the development of the whole team. Departments or individuals working in silo can be damaging both to company culture and to your potential as a business, so encouraging as much communication between functions and ensuring all voices are represented should be an essential part of your engagement strategy.
Ongoing feedback and recognition for achievements
It might sound obvious, but you might be surprised at how many management teams lack both a formal and informal system for providing feedback or praise.
Although they’re often compensated for high performance, sales reps appreciate regular feedback and recognition for their hard work and achievements. Implementing a recognition process can help your sales team identify areas of improvement and continue to excel in their roles. It’s ideal content for showcasing your company culture, too – many of the smaller clients we work with outwardly showcase their successes and spotlight members of their team. It gives prospective new hires a look into how much you value the work of your team on channels like LinkedIn, Twitter or your own careers site.
To attract and retain the best life science sales representatives in 2023, employers must focus on providing unique benefits and offerings that cater to the evolving needs and desires of this specialised workforce. By implementing some or all of these strategies, you can build a strong EVP that sets you apart in the competitive life science recruitment landscape and engages the high-performers you value in your team.
Remember, the key to success is not only attracting great talent but also fostering an environment where your highest performers can thrive. With the right mix of benefits, perks, and offerings, you could be well on your way to establishing yourself as a standout employer.
Eloise is an expert in staffing commercial departments within medical device companies. For support in building out your own EVP, engaging the sales or marketing professionals you need, or gathering insights on what makes your ideal talent profiles tick, reach out to her on LinkedIn or contact SEC here.