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Overview of Veterinary Sales

Veterinary sales continues to emerge as a growing field in the area of healthcare sales.  It has been joked about that individuals will place the care of their pets ahead of their spouse or other loved one, but we can’t substantiate that in this commentary!  That being said, obviously pet owners are serious about the care of their pets and will seek out appropriate services from veterinary professionals.  Outside of small pets, the equestrian and bovine world utilize services through the more rural and ranching environment. Like the dental sales model, managed care is not so much a concern, since there are few formularies that will limit the use of products.  Most of the business is provided on a fee for service environment so products are charged to the customer at the point of service.   There are many products and services offered in the veterinary field.  These may range from veterinary pharmaceutical items to new types of therapy equipment including digital x-ray and the like.  The veterinary sales representative could really benefit from a background in animal health or animal science.

Training and Education in Veterinary Sales

Most pinnacle type sales positions, like veterinary sales, prefer a four-year degree from and accredited college or university.  Most of these positions will require these degrees to be considered for employment.  Depending upon the position, it may be required to have an animal science or biology degree.  Although these clinical sales positions may prefer someone with a science background, others may be satisfied with simply a marketing degree.  Recently, clinical sales companies are looking more towards those with a more science/clinical background. These individuals can enter into the field and can communicate with prospective veterinarians in a more consultative role.

Additionally, the anatomy of treated animals is very diverse in some veterinary practices.  A strong knowledge base in this subject area can be critical to success. Still, some companies prefer individuals with strong business-to-business sales experience such as cell phones, copier, rental car, or uniform sales type backgrounds and will train the successful candidate in disease states and product marketing.

Opportunities in Veterinary Sales

Example of veterinary companies include Pfizer Animal Health, 3 M, Alpharma, and Fort Dodge Animal Health.

Salary in Veterinary Sales

The compensation rewards of successful sales representatives in veterinary sales typically may exceed that of a primary care sales representative calling upon traditional physicians.  Many companies provide a significant base salary with the ability to earn much more in commission or other variable compensation.  A significant number of positions in the veterinary sales field start in the $75K range with potential total income of 100K+.  Veterinary sales positions are a popular sales destination position and many are finding that the industry can provide more long-term stability than typical pharmaceutical sales roles.

Job Outlook in Veterinary Sales

Although changes are occurring almost daily in the medical sales industry, of which veterinary sales is a part, the future looks bright.  The need to take care of our pets, cattle, horses, etc., is an important part of our culture and daily responsibilities.  To satisfy this demand, there will be a continued need for marketing representative and managers at all levels.  As new products come to market, new demand will be created for all of these sales professionals.  Expect to cover large geographic territories in this type of sales.  Additional training, flexibility and education will help the assertive candidate win in veterinary sales.  Even in tough economic times, top talent is always in demand especially when “Fido” is involved!

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