What Is a Sales Engineer? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.
Sales engineers use sales and technology expertise to sell complex scientific and technical products and services. Here’s what to know about a sales engineer’s salary, needed skills and how to become one.
What Is a Sales Engineer?
Sales engineer is a position at the crossroads of sales and engineering. In order to be successful, these professionals must have the technical knowledge to thoroughly understand complex product features along with the ability to sell.
What Do Sales Engineers Do?
Sales engineers sell technical products and services, troubleshoot customer issues, research products and suggest tech improvements.
Sales Engineer Responsibilities
- Develop a comprehensive understanding of products and services offered.
- Market complex products and services to customers.
- Tailor products and services to meet customer needs.
- Recommend tech upgrades and improvements.
Day-to-Day Responsibilities of Sales Engineers
- Meet with customers to assess their needs.
- Conduct research.
- Prepare presentations and product demos for customers.
- Arrange for product delivery and installation.
- Answer questions and troubleshoot customer issues.
- Collaborate with other sales team members.
Types of Sales Engineers
This position is often divided into pre-sales and post-sales engineers. Pre-sales engineers focus on connecting customers with the right products and services, while post-sales engineers tend to handle installation, troubleshooting and answering customer questions after a sale.
Sales Engineers Within a Company
Sales engineers commonly work closely with sales representatives as well as the product managers who oversee the product development process. They may report to the head of the sales department or customer success leadership.
Importance of Sales Engineers
Sales engineers are experienced salespeople, but also bring much-needed knowledge of technical fields like computer science that enable them to advise customers and inform sales processes.
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Sales Engineer?
Qualifications to Be a Sales Engineer
- Technical expertise.
- Understanding of sales techniques.
- Ability to conduct product, customer and market research.
- Experience with troubleshooting technical issues.
- Product development knowledge.
- Familiarity with sales tools and software.
Sales Engineer Prerequisites
- A bachelor’s degree.
- Bootcamps and courses to sharpen technical knowledge and skills.
- Professional sales certifications.
Sales Engineer Hard Skills
- Understanding sales strategies.
- Product marketing.
- Conducting research.
- Technical knowledge.
- Using sales tools and software.
Sales Engineer Soft Skills
- Communicating and collaborating with team members.
- Answering customer questions.
- Problem-solving mindset.
Tools and Programs Sales Engineers Use
- Microsoft Teams
How to Become a Sales Engineer
Sales Engineer Education and Experience
Becoming a sales engineer usually requires a bachelor’s degree in a technical field like engineering or computer science, though some go the route of studying in a more sales-oriented area such as business or marketing. Professionals can also supplement that formal education with general sales courses and certifications as well as ones specific to the sales engineer function. Sales engineer job postings also typically request at least one year of sales experience.
Sales Engineer Certificates and Courses
- 20 Top Sales Training Programs and Courses to Know
- Certified Sales Engineer
- Certified Professional Sales Person
- meSE Sales Engineer Certification
Sales Engineer Career Path
Working as an entry-level sales representative can provide the necessary sales experience to prepare technically inclined professionals for a sales engineer job, or they can begin their career as an associate sales engineer. There are a variety of career paths for sales engineers, including becoming a senior sales engineer, product manager or customer success manager.
Sales Engineer Salary and Job Outlook
Although employment in sales occupations as a whole is projected to see minimal change from 2021 though 2031, employment for sales engineers is estimated to grow by 6 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The full compensation package for a sales engineer depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average sales engineer salary.