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Become A Sales Engineer

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Working As A 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

  • $88,379

    Average Salary

What Does A 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 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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Sales Engineer jobs

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Sales Engineer Demographic

Gender

  • Male

    86.9%
  • Female

    10.5%
  • Unknown

    2.6%

Ethnicity

  • White

    78.1%
  • Asian

    9.6%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    9.0%
  • Unknown

    2.6%
  • Black or African American

    0.7%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    34.7%
  • German

    7.6%
  • French

    7.4%
  • Chinese

    7.4%
  • Portuguese

    7.2%
  • Carrier

    6.8%
  • Mandarin

    6.1%
  • Japanese

    5.3%
  • Arabic

    3.8%
  • Russian

    2.3%
  • Italian

    2.1%
  • Korean

    1.9%
  • Hindi

    1.7%
  • Thai

    0.9%
  • Cantonese

    0.9%
  • Swedish

    0.8%
  • Turkish

    0.8%
  • Greek

    0.8%
  • Persian

    0.8%
  • Dakota

    0.8%
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Sales Engineer

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Sales Engineer Typical Career Paths

Sales Engineer Education

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Real Sales Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Chief Sales Engineer Acendre Inc. Arlington, VA Jan 04, 2016 $250,000
Sales Engineer, Emerging Markets Finance JP Morgan Chase & Co New York, NY Apr 10, 2016 $225,000
Sales Engineer Softline International USA, Inc. Miami, FL Jan 09, 2016 $220,000
Manager, Sales Engineer Stemaco U.S.A., Inc. Hudson, OH Sep 09, 2016 $200,000
Staff Sales Engineer Vmware, Inc. San Mateo, CA Mar 10, 2016 $187,000
Staff Sales Engineer Vmware, Inc. Burlingame, CA Oct 10, 2016 $187,000
Sales Engineer Beltway Industries LLC Houston, TX May 25, 2016 $180,000
Sales Engineer IV Dell Marketing L.P. Laguna Niguel, CA May 01, 2015 $171,095
Sales Engineer Preco, Inc. Winter Springs, FL May 28, 2015 $170,000
Sales Engineer Google Inc. New York, NY Aug 09, 2015 $165,200
Sales Engineer Google Inc. New York, NY Jul 12, 2015 $165,000
Sales Engineer Moose Boats Inc. Vallejo, CA Dec 20, 2016 $165,000
Sales Engineer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jun 27, 2016 $164,900
Sales Engineers-IV HCL America, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Oct 08, 2016 $164,653 -
$230,000
Sales Engineer L&T Technology Services Limited Edison, NJ Apr 27, 2016 $106,746
Sales Engineer L&T Technology Services Limited Edison, NJ Apr 30, 2015 $106,746
Sales Engineer Polaris Software Lab (India) Ltd. Iselin, NJ May 12, 2015 $106,746
Sales Engineer Polaris Software Lab (India) Ltd. Piscataway, NJ Sep 25, 2015 $106,746
Sales Engineer Polaris Software Lab (India) Ltd. Iselin, NJ Apr 22, 2015 $106,746
Sales Engineer Polaris Software Lab (India) Ltd. Iselin, NJ Apr 28, 2015 $106,746
Sales Engineer L&T Technology Services Limited Edison, NJ Apr 03, 2016 $106,746
Sales Engineer L&T Technology Services Limited Edison, NJ Jul 03, 2016 $106,746
Sales Engineer (Petroleum Equipment) Landy Energy Services, Inc. Sealy, TX Oct 03, 2016 $85,093
Sales Engineer Ekabel, LLC Katy, TX Sep 01, 2015 $85,093
Sales Engineer Prosoft It Services, Inc. Rochester, NY Apr 15, 2015 $85,000
Sales Engineer Cadcam-E.Com Inc. Farmington Hills, MI Sep 01, 2015 $85,000
Sales Engineer Arnold Fastening Systems, Inc. Rochester Hills, MI Feb 15, 2016 $85,000
Sales Engineer U.S. Tsubaki Holdings, Inc. Sandusky, OH Apr 26, 2016 $85,000 -
$110,000
Sales Engineer (Robotics) Kuka Robotics Corporation Shelby, MI Sep 13, 2015 $85,000
Solutions Engineer-Sales Engineering Salesforce.Com, Inc. Chicago, IL Aug 10, 2015 $85,000

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Top Skills for A Sales Engineer

ProductLineTerritorySalesOEMMechanicalContractorsCustomerBaseCustomerServiceTradeShowsProjectManagementTechnicalSalesSupportRFPHvacAnnualSalesCustomerRelationsBusinessDevelopmentNewCustomersCustomerRequirementsNewAccountsInternetCADAdditional

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Top Sales Engineer Skills

  1. Product Line
  2. Territory Sales
  3. OEM
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Functioned as supplier advocate for industrial systems and component product lines.
  • Increased territory sales by 228% in first year.
  • Worked with Application Engineering to develop and suggest products for specific applications, collaborated with OEM accounts and authorized distributors.
  • Promoted products throughout North America via presentations to customers, professional organizations, mechanical contractors, and engineering consultants
  • Established virgin territories while developing distributors as well as expanding customer base.

Top Sales Engineer Employers

Sales Engineer Videos

SEU 001 What Is Sales Engineering?

A Day in The Life - Technical Sales Engineer

What I Do - Simon - Sales Engineer

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