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Working As a Field Sales Engineer

  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $89,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Field Sales Engineer Do

Sales engineers sell complex scientific and technological products or services to businesses. They must have extensive knowledge of the products’ parts and functions and must understand the scientific processes that make these products work.

Duties

Sales engineers typically do the following:

  • Prepare and deliver technical presentations explaining products or services to existing and prospective customers
  • Confer with customers and engineers to assess equipment needs and to determine system requirements
  • Collaborate with sales teams to understand customer requirements and provide sales support
  • Secure and renew orders and arrange delivery
  • Plan and modify products to meet customer needs
  • Help clients solve problems with installed equipment
  • Recommend improved materials or machinery to customers, showing how changes will lower costs or increase production
  • Help in researching and developing new products

Sales engineers specialize in technologically and scientifically advanced products. They use their technical skills to explain the benefits of their products or services to potential customers and to show how their products or services are better than their competitors'. Some sales engineers work for the companies that design and build technical products. Others work for independent sales firms.

Many of the duties of sales engineers are similar to those of other salespersons. They must interest the client in buying their products or services, negotiate a price, and complete the sale. To do this, sales engineers give technical presentations during which they explain the technical aspects of the product and how it will solve a specific customer problem.

Some sales engineers, however, team with salespersons who concentrate on marketing and selling the product, which lets the sales engineer concentrate on the technical aspects of the job. By working as part of a sales team, each member is able to focus on his or her strengths and expertise. For more information on other sales occupations, see the profile on wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives.

In addition to giving technical presentations, sales engineers are increasingly doing other tasks related to sales, such as market research. They also may ask for technical requirements from customers and modify and adjust products to meet customers’ specific needs. Some sales engineers work with research and development (R&D) departments to help identify and develop new products.

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How To Become A Field Sales Engineer

A bachelor’s degree is typically required to become a sales engineer. Successful sales engineers combine technical knowledge of the products or services they are selling with strong interpersonal skills.

Education

Sales engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field. However, a worker without a degree, but with previous sales experience as well as technical experience or training, sometimes holds the title of sales engineer. Workers who have a degree in a science, such as chemistry, or in business with little or no previous sales experience, also may be called sales engineers.

University engineering programs generally require 4 years of study. They vary in content, but all programs include courses in math and the physical sciences. In addition, most programs require developing strong computer skills.

Most engineering programs require students to choose an area of specialization. The most common majors are electrical, mechanical, or civil engineering, but some engineering departments offer additional majors, such as chemical, biomedical, or computer hardware engineering. However, some undergraduate programs offer a general engineering curriculum; students then specialize in a particular area either on the job or in graduate school.

Training

New graduates with engineering degrees typically need sales experience and training before they can work independently as sales engineers. Training covers general sales techniques and may involve teaming with a sales mentor who is familiar with the employer's business practices, customers, procedures, and company culture. After the training period, sales engineers may continue to partner with someone who lacks technical skills yet excels in the art of sales.

It is important for sales engineers to continue their engineering and sales education throughout their careers. Much of their value to their employers depends on their knowledge of, and ability to sell, the latest technologies. Sales engineers in high-technology fields, such as information technology and advanced electronics, may find that their technical knowledge rapidly becomes obsolete, requiring frequent retraining.

Advancement

Promotions may include a higher commission rate, a larger sales territory, or elevation to the position of supervisor or sales manager.

Important Qualities

Interpersonal skills. Strong interpersonal skills are a valuable characteristic for sales engineers, both for building relationships with clients and effectively communicating with other members of the sales team.

Problem-solving skills. Sales engineers must be able to listen to the customer’s desires and concerns, and then recommend solutions, possibly including customizing a product.

Self-confidence. Sales engineers should be confident and persuasive when making sales presentations. 

Technological skills. Sales engineers must have extensive knowledge of the technologically sophisticated products they sell in order to explain their advantages and answer questions.

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Field Sales Engineer Jobs

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Field Sales Engineer Career Paths

Field Sales Engineer
Regional Sales Manager Director Of Sales
Senior Sales Director
11 Yearsyrs
Regional Sales Manager General Manager Account Manager
Major Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Regional Sales Manager General Manager Director Of Sales
Director Of Sales & Business Development
12 Yearsyrs
District Sales Manager Sales Manager Account Manager
Global Account Manager
9 Yearsyrs
District Sales Manager Project Manager Product Manager
Group Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
District Sales Manager Sales Manager Director Of Sales
Director Of Sales, Americas
13 Yearsyrs
Sales Engineer Account Manager Product Manager
Market Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Engineer Sales Manager Sales And Marketing Manager
Regional Sales And Marketing Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Sales Engineer Project Manager Division Manager
Division Sales Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Business Development Manager Regional Business Manager National Account Manager
Channel Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Business Development Manager Regional Business Manager National Sales Manager
International Sales Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Business Development Manager
Global Business Development Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Territory Sales Manager
Eastern Regional Sales Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Engineer Sales Engineering Manager
Director Of Sales Engineering
12 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Manager Marketing Program Manager
Sales Program Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Product Manager National Account Manager Global Account Manager
Global Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Regional Accounts Manager Corporate Account Manager Inside Sales Manager
Regional Sales Manager, Mid Atlantic Region
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Sales Engineer Engineering Manager Sales Engineering Manager
OEM Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Regional Accounts Manager National Accounts Sales Manager Eastern Regional Sales Manager
North America Sales Manager
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Sales Engineer 3.7 years
Marketing Engineer 2.9 years
Top Careers Before Field Sales Engineer
Internship 3.2%
Engineer 3.2%
Top Careers After Field Sales Engineer
Owner 3.7%
President 2.7%
Consultant 2.6%

Do you work as a Field Sales Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$89,000
Show Salaries
$62,000
Min 10%
$89,000
Median 50%
$89,000
Median 50%
$89,000
Median 50%
$89,000
Median 50%
$89,000
Median 50%
$89,000
Median 50%
$89,000
Median 50%
$130,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
United Technologies
Highest Paying City
Berkeley, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
4.1 years
How much does a Field Sales Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Field Sales Engineer in the United States is $90,014 per year or $43 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $62,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $130,000.

Real Field Sales Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Field Sales Engineer NXP Semiconductors USA, Inc. Cedar Park, TX Aug 06, 2015 $133,770
Field Sales Engineer NXP Semiconductors USA, Inc. San Jose, CA Jan 13, 2015 $130,000
Field Sales Engineer Cavium, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 16, 2013 $125,278 -
$143,000
Field Sales Engineer NXP Semiconductors USA, Inc. Round Rock, TX Aug 06, 2012 $123,282 -
$174,400
Sales Application Engineer-Field Sales-Drives Tmeic International Corporation Houston, TX May 17, 2016 $108,971
Field Sales Engineer Blackberry Corporation Sunnyvale, CA Apr 21, 2016 $106,766 -
$116,000
Field Sales Engineer Intel America's Inc. San Francisco, CA Mar 20, 2015 $105,000 -
$145,300
Field Sales Engineer 3VR Security, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 25, 2014 $100,000 -
$110,000
Sales Engineer-Field Sales Twilio Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 09, 2016 $96,000
Field Sales Engineer Intel Corporation San Francisco, CA Feb 03, 2014 $94,500 -
$129,500
Field Sales Engineer Intel America's San Francisco, CA Feb 03, 2014 $88,552 -
$129,500
Field Sales Engineer Amphenol TCS Milpitas, CA Aug 20, 2015 $82,938
Field Sales Engineer National Instruments Corporation Portland, OR Sep 15, 2013 $77,500
Field Sales Engineer Plant Automation Services, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 11, 2010 $75,000
Field Sales Engineer National Instruments Corporation Mountain View, CA Dec 07, 2009 $74,241
Field Sales Engineer On Semiconductor Seattle, WA Apr 06, 2015 $73,070 -
$80,000
Field Sales Engineer National Instruments Corporation Portland, OR Mar 04, 2011 $72,000
Academic Field Sales Engineer National Instruments Austin, TX Feb 09, 2016 $71,552
Academic Field Sales Engineer National Instruments Corporation Berkeley, CA Jul 01, 2012 $71,424
Academic Field Sales Engineer National Instruments Corporation Alexandria, VA Sep 06, 2014 $71,100

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Top Skills for A Field Sales Engineer

  1. New Product Development
  2. Sales Territory
  3. OEM
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided sales/marketing input as a member of a new product development team.
  • Developed a new sales territory comprising the states of California and Nevada Produced sales in excess of $1 million.
  • Called on OEM manufactures in the electrical and electronic manufacturing industry for an electronic component distributor in Southern California.
  • Achieved revenue growth in territory from $7M to a projected $8M in 2014, 114% of quota.
  • Established 14 new accounts since joining the company, 6 of which were established during a historical economic downturn year-2009.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Field Sales Engineers

  1. Utah
  2. Texas
  3. Colorado
  4. New Mexico
  5. Nevada
  6. Idaho
  7. California
  8. Mississippi
  9. Florida
  10. Oregon
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  • (312 jobs)

Field Sales Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

85.0%

Female

9.9%

Unknown

5.1%
Ethnicity

White

62.6%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Black or African American

10.0%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

4.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

69.6%

French

8.7%

Portuguese

4.3%

Chinese

4.3%

Dakota

4.3%

Carrier

4.3%

Mandarin

4.3%
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Field Sales Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

12.6%

Texas A&M University

9.8%

University of Phoenix

7.0%

University of New Hampshire

4.9%

Arizona State University

4.9%

Syracuse University

4.2%

San Jose State University

4.2%

Santa Clara University

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.2%

Babson College

4.2%

University of Dayton

4.2%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.2%

Northern Illinois University

4.2%

Drexel University

4.2%

Northeastern University

4.2%

University of Arizona

4.2%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

3.5%

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

3.5%

North Carolina State University

3.5%
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Majors

Business

26.7%

Electrical Engineering

24.9%

Marketing

6.6%

Mechanical Engineering

5.8%

Computer Science

3.8%

Management

3.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.3%

Industrial Technology

3.0%

Finance

2.8%

Education

2.2%

Project Management

2.0%

Chemical Engineering

2.0%

Computer Information Systems

1.8%

Physics

1.8%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.7%

Engineering

1.7%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.7%

General Sales

1.7%

Petroleum Engineering

1.5%

Industrial Engineering

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.2%

Masters

20.2%

Other

16.7%

Associate

5.7%

Certificate

2.9%

Diploma

0.6%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Updated May 19, 2020