A Sales Engineer is a sales representative equipped with the scientific know-how of a technical product. You might be familiar with a sales representative whose job is to connect and convince customers to buy a company’s product. Now, add an engineer with sales, and it becomes a sales engineer, that is a salesperson with technical knowledge. Here we will see about the Sales Engineer Job. And its description, Skills, and Salary.
A sales engineer does not sell products directly to the customer but mainly to other businesses. They work for B2B (Business to business) sales of a company. A sales engineer is an engineer who has the technical knowledge and a salesperson who is good at interpersonal skills.
Who is a Sales engineer?
Companies that produce technological products such as software, computer solutions, tech gadgets, pharmaceutical products, etc hire sales engineers to reach potential clients and sell their products. Typically a sales representative is good with marketing and persuasion skills, but when it comes to explaining the technical aspects of a product. A sales engineer is the best fit for the job.
For example- A software company wants to sell accounting software to other companies to help them deal with their financial transactions. So they need a sales engineer who is aware of the software specifications of the product and possesses communication skills to convince the clients.
A sales engineer is like a subject matter expert on the technical aspects of a product and a good salesperson. They are trained about the product specifications and can explain the product demonstrations to the client and answer the technical doubts of the customer.
What does a sales engineer do?
The job of a sales engineer is diverse. A typical day in the life of a sales engineer starts with meeting the research and development wing of the company, having a meeting with sales representatives, briefing the client and answering their questions, learning about the customer’s demand, briefing your manager about the progress and suggesting ideas to improve the product.
A sales engineer is the product representative of the company. Sometimes they work along with sales representatives to boost product sales. The responsibilities of a sales engineer include:
1. Target customers: A sales engineer has to find out the target customers for the product that they have to sell. The target customers are generally other companies who require their product. Acquire new customers by staying competitive in the market.
2. Preparing presentations: Sales engineers need to prepare presentations for the client. Generally, they have to explain the technical expertise of the product, how it works, how it will help the customer, its application, and specifications.
3. Traveling: A sales engineer has to travel a lot. To client sites, for product research, to understand the customer requirements. If you are working for a top company then, you might have to take up international travel as well. Hence, The job of a sales engineer can be hectic at times.
4. Working on solutions: A sales engineer works on developing solutions for clients. If a client wants some modifications before buying the product or clearing the technical doubts regarding the product. So they have to tailor solutions for the client.
5. Reaching Target Sales: Sales engineers receive commissions on sales along with their salary. Hence they have to work hard and reach the targeted sales of the product to claim their sales commission.
6. Managing clients: An important aspect of being a sales engineer is maintaining client relationships through interpersonal and negotiation skills. You have to meet client demands on time and ensure customer satisfaction through your services.
7. Manage product delivery: A sales engineer has to ensure the delivery of the product to the client and handle the payment and billing process.
8. Follow up: Once the product is launched and delivered to the client/customer, a sales engineer has to follow up with the customers for feedback on the product and help in making it more customer-friendly.
9. Working on reports: A sales engineer has to prepare a detailed report on product analysis. For example- sales numbers, customer satisfaction, feedback, conclusion, etc are mentioned in the report.
10. Staying updated: Sales engineers have to update themselves about new technology in the market and enhance their products accordingly to stay competitive and gain customers’ trust.
Apart from day-to-day responsibilities, a sales engineer has to work closely with the sales representatives in the company and hold meetings to discuss sales. Sometimes the job of a sales engineer can be tiring, and they may have to work unusual hours.
Skills you need to be a Sales Engineer
Given that, the job of a sales engineer is diverse and technical. They have to be an engineer and a salesperson for a firm. Hence a sales engineer has to be equipped with many skills.
1. Sales skills: As the job title is sales engineer, the first and foremost skill you need is the ability to sell. Sales skills include finding target customers, briefing about the product, and selling the product.
2. Interpersonal skills: The job of a sales engineer demands meeting a lot of people to understand the customer’s needs and sell the product, and for that, interpersonal skills come in handy. Interpersonal skills are the ability to communicate effectively and build good relationships.
3. Communication and negotiation: As a sales engineer, communication and negotiation are your power tools. Negotiation is possible with good communication, and when you negotiate well, you sell excellently.
4. Teamwork: Teamwork is the ability to work well with a team through effective coordination. A sales engineer has to work with various teams, including research, sales, manufacturing, design, etc. Hence you have to learn to be a part of the team to become a better sales engineer.
5. Analytical and problem-solving skills: Analytical skill is the ability to analyze information and draw conclusions to boost sales and problem-solving is necessary for technical details of a product.
6. Report writing and presentation: As a sales engineer, you need to prepare a product assessment report, product specification reports, and product performance report, and work on presentations for the client. The presentations will demonstrate the technical aspects of a product.
7. Technical knowledge: A sales engineer is well equipped with every technical detail. Technical expertise in at least one domain is necessary for a sales engineer.
8. Patience: Sale is a job of patience and optimism. You need to have patience with the client, with your time, and more importantly, with yourself to see results. The more patient you are, the more you will love this job.
9. Emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence or EQ helps you analyze a potential client. If you can understand your client’s needs, you can deliver better.
10. Public speaking: Sales engineers have to present product demos in front of many clients, and it’s an opportunity to convince a large audience. Hence public speaking gives you confidence about your abilities, skills, and the product you ought to sell.
11. Flexibility: Sales engineers have to be flexible with their work timings and in working with different departments in a company to become technical experts on a particular product.
12. Research and development: A sales engineer is a crucial part of the research and development team. They overlook the product’s technical data and work together with R&D.
13. Management skills: Sales engineers collaborate with sales representatives, and they also manage clients and work with their teams productively. Hence management skills are like an add-on bonus for further career progression.
14. Business ethics: As a sales engineer, your personality has to be convincing and optimistic for the client to show interest in what you are selling. Business ethics are a set of values where you apply general ethics in business meetings, decision-making, and activities. These values reflect positively on your personality.
15. Confidence: You need to show confidence in yourself and whatever you are selling to convince your customers. Trust me. Self-Confidence can sell things quickly when combined with technical expertise.
These skills will endow a sales engineer with a productive career ahead. All you have to do is focus on yourself, understand your weakness and strength and work upon them, and you are ready to be a sales engineer.
Qualifications you need to become a sales engineer
The fundamental qualification of a sales engineer is a graduate degree in engineering or a related field. It can be computer science, physics, Biochemistry, or Any technical domain which interests you.
For example, If you have a graduate degree in computer science, you can work for Adobe or Google because these are tech companies and need expertise in computer science. Similarly, a graduate degree in Biochemistry or a related field will be suitable for a sales engineer in Pharmaceutical Industry.
Generally, employers prefer to hire candidates with some experience in sales for Sales engineer roles. At least a brief internship in sales or marketing can boost your sales engineer resume.
Hence, to become a sales engineer you need:
- A Graduate degree in any technical field or a related subject Remember that many employers prefer to hire you even if you do not have a graduate degree but have the skills and experience to do the job.
- Interest in sales and marketing
- An internship or previous experience in sales
- Technical knowledge and skills of a sales engineer
- Expertise in any technical subject
Now, you are ready to become a sales engineer.
Career Path of a sales engineer
Working as a sales engineer might be demanding, but this profession is full of learning, and you will have to handle many responsibilities in an organization as you are going up the Appraisal ladder. Sales engineers start their careers as sales engineer trainees, and they become team leaders or corporate managers in the latter part of their careers.
- Sales engineer Trainee: As a trainee, one has to work with various departments to understand a product and its technical aspect and how to sell that product effectively.
- Associate Sales engineer: Your responsibilities will increase, and you will officially target clients, prepare technical sales reports, etc.
- Corporate Sales Engineer: You will travel to meet clients, represent your company and provide technical expertise to other businesses using your product, and try to boost your sales.
- Senior Corporate Sales engineer: You will work on client feedback, help in the research and development of the product, meet other businesses to present your product, advise your juniors and work with them to achieve targets.
- Team leader: You have to handle everything from clients to sales with your team and reach your target sales.
After that, you might be promoted to Area sales engineer manager or branch manager depending on your performance and the company you work for. It’s safe to say that the job of a sales engineer becomes less hectic as you progress in your career.
Expected Salary as a Sales Engineer
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor of Statistics, the occupation of Sales engineers will grow by 7%-8% by the year 2030. Many companies want candidates with some technical skills for their sales department.
The average salary of a sales engineer in the U.S is approximately $82,000+ Sales incentives per annum. You can earn extra and maybe up to $120,000 a year if you are successfully boosting your company sales. The pay scale increases as you gain experience.
- Entry-level pay: $60,000+ Sales commission Approx.
- Mid Career: $82,000+ Sales commission Approx.
- Late Career:$100,000+ Sales Commission Approx.
- As an experienced sales engineer: $150,000+ Sales commission approx.
Remember that some employers might offer a stable salary rather than any sales commission like a regular employee. The field of sales is competitive, and hence to make sure that a company sells efficiently, they offer sales commission to their sales engineers as a bonus if they can bring in extra sales.
The salary of a sales engineer might differ by many factors such as:
1. The company you work for: Top organizations offer high salaries compared to small companies. Hence a sales engineer in T-Mobile can earn more than someone from a local company.
2. Work Location: The salaries in cities like New York or Texas are higher than those working in Indianapolis. So, you might be working hard and end up earning lower than your counterparts in New York.
3. Expertise: A sales engineer with a computer science specialization will earn more than someone with a physics specialization. Hence, your salary might differ depending on your expertise.
It might sound demotivating to know the hard truth about salaries as a sales engineer, but hard work has no substitute, and if you are boosting sales with your expertise then, there is always more money in this field.
Job Satisfaction as a sales engineer
Working as a sales engineer is hectic, but not if you start enjoying what you do. According to payscale.com, sales engineers have given a rating of 3.5/5 for job satisfaction which means 3 out of 5 sales engineers are satisfied with their job.
Is sales engineering a Good Career Choice?
Whether Sales engineering is a good career choice or not depends on the person doing the job. You might enjoy it, or you might not. You won’t have a correct answer until you work in this field, but here are a few perks and challenges of being a sales engineer for you to decide your career choice.
|1. Traveling and meeting new people regularly.||1. Sometimes selling can be difficult as a technical expert.|
|2. Steady Career growth||2. Lack of authority as a sales engineer|
|3. Learning new things and enhancing your skills.||3. Hectic working hours|
|4. Good pay and exit options||4. No promotions after a certain time.|
|5. Autonomy in the workplace||5. Job might become frustrating due to a lack of constant motivation|
Top Companies for Sales engineers in the U.S
Many companies in the U.S hire sales engineers regularly and provide good perks and salaries to them. A few of them are:
- Adobe Inc.
- Procore Technologies etc.
Sales engineering is one of the careers in demand around the world right now. Salespersons are good at selling, but if you hire someone good with technical expertise and sales both then, there are high chances that a company will achieve customer satisfaction and efficient sales.
A sales engineer is a lucrative career choice, but it might not be for everyone. Hence, Go for internships, interact with other sales engineers and try to know the working conditions and other challenges of sales engineering before you decide to embark upon your journey as a sales engineer.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the employee benefits of a sales engineer?
A. A sales engineer receives all the employee benefits as any other employee. Like Health insurance, Paid time off, Pension plan, etc.
2. What are the exit options for a sales engineer?
A. If you have a certain amount of experience working as a sales engineer then, you can exit and try other roles comfortably. You can work as a product manager and use your sales and marketing expertise. You can go for an MBA or further studies or work as a technical specialist.