(Scientists & Sales Reps Part I) What scientists think about the sales reps they interact with, and how their expectations are changing

Ever wonder what the infamous protagonist in Death of a Salesman’s product was? Playwright Arthur Miller never says.

Maybe he was a life science sales rep, since New England would have been a prime territory, and at one time, sales reps would have been “pounding the pavement” and “beating on doors,” just like Willy Loman did.

But that was then. If you’ve been around for awhile, you’ll probably remember when sales reps were lugging around large catalogs, dropping off print brochures in the lab and attending the scientific conferences that customers were most likely to be at. And maybe that was you!  But while all of this outreach is still viable to some degree, thanks to the Internet and eCommerce platforms, that model of selling is long gone.

In recent years, purchasing analytical and life science products has become a consumer-driven business. Scientists research products in online journals, third-party websites, on social media platforms, through company-sponsored online content and via vendor websites, just to name a few places that labs can gather information on products.

In fact, in our February 2013 report on Advertising to Life Scientists, we found that over half of the researchers we surveyed use a general search engine like Google at LEAST once a day to obtain product information directly related to the research they conduct in their labs – and let’s not forget that their personal success is intimately tied in to making the right choices about the products they choose.  They take this very seriously.  But they no longer need to rely on sales reps to tell them what’s new. Labs can learn about, compare and purchase many of their products without ever talking to a live body at a supplier company at all.