Structure a Sales Team for Pharma Sales in 10 Easy Steps

Executive Summary: This comprehensive guide unveils a step-by-step approach to crafting an efficient and effective pharmaceutical sales team.

The steps are as follows:

  • Analyze the key factors influencing sales team structure.
  • Design an effective team structure.
  • Allocate resources.
  • Develop specializations.
  • Promote cross-functional collaboration.
  • Implement training and development.
  • Set clear goals and metrics.
  • Provide necessary tools and technology.
  • Monitor and adapt.
  • Address challenges.

The structure of your sales team can make all the difference between stagnation and success.

A structured sales team enhances the effectiveness of interactions with healthcare professionals, institutions, and other stakeholders.

In this article, we’ll cover the 10 steps to create a well-structured and efficient pharma sales team.

How to Structure a Sales Team for Pharma Sales

Structuring a sales team for pharmaceutical sales involves careful planning and consideration of various factors to ensure effective coverage, communication, and sales performance.

Here's a comprehensive guide on how to structure a sales team for pharmaceutical sales:

1. Analyze the key factors influencing sales team structure

Analyzing the key factors is essential as they directly influence the efficiency and effectiveness of a pharmaceutical sales team.

And an effective team can help enhance customer engagement, optimize sales efforts, and maximize revenue generation by addressing the unique needs of diverse products, audiences, regions, and sales channels.

Let’s take a look at some of these key factors:

A. Product Portfolio

Different product lines and therapeutic areas have distinct characteristics and target audiences. Specialized teams can better understand and effectively communicate the unique value propositions of each product.

This factor influences the need for separate teams to handle diverse products, ensuring in-depth product knowledge and tailored interactions with healthcare professionals.

B. Target Audience

Different audiences have varying needs, which requires sales teams with specialized knowledge and approaches. And the pharmaceutical industry serves various stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and patients.

Tailoring teams to specific target audiences enables focused communication and relationship-building.

C. Geographical Scope

The reach of a pharmaceutical company can vary from local to global.

Geographic differences influence market dynamics, regulations, and customer preferences.

Sales teams may need to be organized based on regions, countries, or even cities to cater to local nuances and efficiently manage sales operations.

D. Sales Strategy

The chosen sales channels and strategies significantly impact the sales team structure.

Direct sales to healthcare professionals might require specialized teams for face-to-face interactions. In comparison, wholesalers or distributors might involve distinct teams for managing relationships and transactions.

Additionally, online platforms or e-commerce strategies necessitate digital-savvy teams focused on online interactions.

2. Design an effective team structure

Based on the influencing factors, design a sales team structure that aligns with your company's goals.

This structure could include:

A. Territory-based teams

Divide your sales teams based on specific geographic regions.

This allows sales reps to establish strong relationships within their assigned areas – leading to a better understanding of local healthcare needs and more personalized interactions.

B. Product-specialized teams

Create teams that focus on specific product lines or therapeutic areas.

This specialization allows sales reps to become subject-matter experts, ensuring comprehensive knowledge about the products they are promoting and enhancing credibility among healthcare professionals.

C. Audience-segmented teams

Tailor teams to cater to different customer segments.

Having teams dedicated to healthcare professionals, hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies allows for specialized approaches that address the unique needs of each audience.

3. Allocate resources

The next step is to evaluate each region's workload and market potential.

Allocate resources based on factors like patient population, healthcare facilities, and potential customer base.

This ensures that every region is well-staffed and not overburdened.

4. Develop specializations

Consider introducing specialized roles within the sales team structure.

For instance, you might have key account managers who handle large clients and maintain strong relationships – ensuring personalized attention and a better understanding of their specific needs.

Another example could be having medical science liaisons. These individuals provide technical expertise to healthcare professionals. They bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and clinical practice, offering valuable insights during interactions.

5. Promote cross-functional collaboration

Cross-functional communication ensures a holistic approach and prevents knowledge silos.

How can you do that?

Facilitate regular cross-functional meetings where reps from different teams share insights and updates.

Moreover, you can encourage collaboration on projects that involve multiple teams.

For instance, a product launch could involve sales teams, marketing teams, and medical experts working together for a successful rollout.

6. Implement training and development

As the pharmaceutical industry evolves, reps need to stay updated on product information, regulations, and industry trends.

Provide comprehensive training on pharmaceutical products, including their features, benefits, and mechanisms of action. This ensures that sales reps are well-informed about the latest developments.

Additionally, offer training on industry regulations and compliance standards.


Adhering to legal and ethical guidelines is crucial, and sales reps need to be well-versed in these areas.

7. Set clear goals and metrics

Defining clear performance metrics for each team and individual provides clarity on expectations and helps measure success.

However, these targets should be realistic yet challenging, motivating sales reps to strive for excellence.

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with company objectives. Metrics could include revenue generated, market share captured, and customer satisfaction scores.

8. Provide necessary tools and technology

Equip your sales teams with the tools and technology needed for efficient sales operations.

These could be:

  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Systems: To track interactions, manage pharma leads, and streamline communication.

  • Data analytics tools: To analyze sales trends, customer behavior, and pharma industry insights, guiding informed decision-making.

  • Communication platforms: To facilitate seamless interaction among team members, ensuring quick sharing of information and updates.

9. Monitor and adapt

Conducting regular performance reviews helps identify areas of improvement and provides an opportunity for coaching and skill development.

You can also establish a feedback mechanism where sales reps can share their insights, challenges, and suggestions. Incorporating their feedback allows for continuous refinement of the team structure.

10. Address challenges

While creating the pharma sales team structure, you need to ensure that it's adaptable and flexible.

The pharmaceutical industry is dynamic, and your sales team structure should be adaptable to changes in market conditions, customer preferences, and sales strategies.

You need to be prepared to address challenges such as:

  • Changes in the market landscape.
  • Evolving customer needs.
  • Shifts in sales strategies.

Plus, anticipate potential challenges and develop contingency plans.

Having strategies to address unforeseen circumstances ensures that the pharma sales team can navigate challenges effectively.

Wrap Up

Structuring a sales team for pharmaceutical sales demands a thoughtful and strategic approach.

You need a team that effectively engages with healthcare professionals, delivers value to customers, and contributes to the growth and success of your pharmaceutical business.

By implementing these detailed steps, you can create a well-organized, specialized, and adaptable sales team.

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