CSS ProSearch: Pharmaceutical Sales Salaries and Trends

CSS ProSearch has had a strong hold on the healthcare space (encompassing pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnology, and diagnostics industries) since 1994 and has worked with 500+ clients, becoming a trusted resource for them as we place over 5,000 candidates. 

It takes transformational sales talent to ensure success and maintain growth under demanding market conditions, but finding experienced, knowledgeable, and successful sales professionals has never been more difficult.” Says Stephanie StaianoSales Director, CSS Prosearch 

In a tight market that is only getting more competitive by the day, growing companies need every advantage available to them. CSS ProSearch sales recruiters provide those advantages.  

While specializing in multiple industries within the healthcare sector, with some positions overlapping in responsibilities and requirements, this blog will specifically focus on pharmaceutical sales. Pharmaceutical sales is heralded as a high payout, recession-proof job sector, making it a very attractive line of work. 

What does a pharmaceutical sales position look like?


To thrive in pharmaceutical sales, you must be money motivated as compensation consists of a base salary and commission (which is sometimes uncapped). Total compensation varies based on the company, the product being sold, and the experience/background of the salesperson. The base salary for pharmaceutical sales positions ranges from $60K to $150K with total compensation typically ranging from $100K to $200K with the possibility of making even more. 

One big determiner of pay is the specialty of the product being sold—the more specialized, the higher the possible compensation. This often results in salespeople consulting with more niche doctors, like a neurology, cardiology, or rare disease practice, versus the easier-to-come-by general practitioners. However, since these products are more complex, the representatives selling these products need to be experts on the products. 


When it comes to pharmaceutical sales, positions tend to be primarily outside sales, regardless of if the role is more hunting or farming. Travel to client locations can drastically differ and is almost entirely dependent on territory, which is influenced by the size of the company the salesperson works at. For instance, if the company is very large, they likely have many sales representatives. If they have a lot of sales representatives, the representatives will have smaller territories (to prevent internal competition) and therefore will not have to travel as much. Alternatively, if a company is smaller with minimum sales representatives, sales representatives could have large territories encompassing multiple states, meaning more travel. 

To make up for this expense, pharmaceutical companies will often offer salespeople a company credit card for travel expenses and/or a company car with gas, insurance, and maintenance being covered by the employer. 

Perks and Benefits 

Commission isn’t the only highlight for healthcare salespeople—there are a number of perks that sweeten the pot. Companies offer great incentives for top performers, including uncapped commission, bonuses, sales accelerators (increased commission once you hit your quota), and President’s Club (an all-expense-paid trip to a desirable location for salespeople that meet/exceed their quotas). 

Pharmaceutical companies often realize that their win should be their employees’ win. Because of this, many public companies offer their employees stock options and some start-up companies offer their employees equity in the company.  

While being money-minded is essential for a sales role, there are other factors that motivate employees, and flexibility is a growing motivator. Since travel is often a vital part of a healthcare salesperson’s position, companies understand that the traditional 9 to 5 workweek just isn’t feasible for their employees, leading the company to offer more remote opportunities. 

Internal Growth 

Since salespeople must know the product(s) they are selling inside and out, pharmaceutical companies are willing to train and educate their employees so that they can excel in their role. This includes sending salespeople to trainings, tradeshows, conferences, and even university if the salesperson does not have a background in chemistry or other applied sciences. 

Interested in growing your career in Pharmaceutical sales? Looking for your next President Club Winner? 

Being a pharmaceutical salesperson is no easy task, but the position has great rewards for those that are up for a challenge and willing to put in the time and effort, which can be grueling. 

CSS Prosearch recruiters are experts in the job market and can get you into your next pharma role or find your company a top-performing pharma salesperson.” Says Abby Prince, Managing Director, CSS Prosearch.  

We specialize in the following positions within the pharmaceutical space as well as the healthcare and technology industries: 

  • Primary Care/Specialty Sales Representative 
  • Territory Manager 
  • Account Manager 
  • Account Executive – Payer/Provider 
  • Account Executive – Life Sciences 
  • Clinical/Product Specialist 
  • Sales Director 
  • VP of Sales 

Who is ProSearch? 

CSS ProSearch is a recruiting firm that places top sales and marketing talent for growing businesses in the healthcare, technology, and consulting verticals. 

Our sales recruiters take a consultative approach to recruiting, acting as a true partner in the success of both our clients and our talent. With over 50 years of combined experience, our team combines best-in-class recruiting practices, technology, research and innovative approaches to deliver exceptional service with every engagement. 

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