The Nuances of Life Scientists – Sales Success Through Knowing Your Customer

In our first article about this new report, we examined the multi-functional role life science sales representatives play in 2018. However, companies looking to fine-tune their sales teams to see the best results must keep in mind that not every customer is the same, and not every approach will be equally successful. You must develop life science sales strategies that are in line with the expectations and preferences of your customers. Even for industry veterans, the landscape of buyers in this field are constantly changing, and there are several significant trends spanning across regions, customer ages, and other segmentations that aren’t obvious, but are still critically important.

On a macro level, before implementing changes for individual reps and accounts, suppliers need to know how to structure their sales force – by technique, by product category, or by any other potential organization. Interestingly enough, life scientists in different regions say that different sales force structures are best suited to their needs and their way of looking at products.

While European scientists largely prefer sales forces to be organized by discipline (such as molecular biology vs. materials science), scientists from Asia and the Pacific believe sales teams organized by product category (i.e., instrumentation vs. reagents) are most useful in supporting their research. This could reflect a region’s business culture, or even the most common types of lab structure and function of research in a given geographic area.

These organizational structures can also be combined to provide additional granularity of expertise when scientists are figuring out who from your company they should contact with product questions. For example, about 14% of all life scientists surveyed said they preferred supplier sales teams to be organized by both technique and product category (i.e., a sales rep for PCR consumables). This type of information is helpful not only for team coordination, but also for deciding to train your team to be experts vertically and/or horizontally.

The data segmentations by age that we provide in this report also uncover useful insights. Millennial life scientists with purchasing authority place much more importance in the ability of sales reps to assist them in the logistics of placing an order compared to older, more experienced scientists. Again, this gives insight into work flow as well as who within the lab is in charge of making purchases.

Importance of Sales Reps in Logistics and Order Placement by Age – 2018


Thoroughly knowing your target audience, their preferences, and their motivations is often the largest step toward winning their business. Our 2018 report on Maximizing Sales Rep Effectiveness for the Life Sciences is the best tool available for both sales and business development teams looking for an objective expert perspective on how to train and adapt their teams for greater success and higher sales. This report not only provides suggestions on how to improve sales communications, but also examines potential reasons why a representative may not be making a strong connection with your clients.

Click here to download the report’s brochure, which contains a detailed Table of Contents and some sample data. For any specific questions you may have, please reach out to us at [email protected] or by phone at 703-778-3080 x19. You can also click here to schedule a 30-minute call with Devin, our publications sales rep, who would be happy to answer any questions you might have or give a quick walk-through of the report’s contents.