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Working as a Sales Engineer

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.

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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Average Salary$87,025
Job Growth Rate6%

Sales Engineer Jobs

Sales Engineer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Sales Engineer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Sales Engineer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Sales Engineer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Sales Engineer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Sales Engineer

Top Careers After Sales Engineer

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Sales Engineer

Sales Engineers in America make an average salary of $87,025 per year or $42 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $121,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $62,000 per year.
Average Salary
$87,025

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range80k - 142k$107k$106,726
Salary Range78k - 142k$105k$105,387
Salary Range81k - 132k$104k$103,741
Salary Range80k - 126k$101k$100,774
Salary Range73k - 117k$93k$92,684
Salary Range73k - 113k$92k$91,664
$57k
$142k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Sales Engineer
Sales Engineer
Aerotek
Aerotek
09/23/2020
09/23/2020
$55,00009/23/2020
$55,000
Sales Engineer
Sales Engineer
Ctr Corporation (Dba Ctr Group)
Ctr Corporation (Dba Ctr Group)
09/21/2020
09/21/2020
$65,00009/21/2020
$65,000
Sales Engineer
Sales Engineer
Aerotek
Aerotek
08/28/2020
08/28/2020
$95,00008/28/2020
$95,000
Sales Engineer
Sales Engineer
Aerotek
Aerotek
08/25/2020
08/25/2020
$55,00008/25/2020
$55,000
Sales Engineer/Telecom Software
Sales Engineer/Telecom Software
Safari Solutions
Safari Solutions
08/21/2020
08/21/2020
$80,00008/21/2020
$80,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Sales Engineer Demographics

Gender

male

85.5%

female

10.3%

unknown

4.2%

Ethnicity

White

70.4%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Black or African American

7.5%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.6%

French

7.7%

Portuguese

7.4%
See More Demographics

Sales Engineer Education

Degrees

Bachelors

57.6%

Masters

23.9%

Associate

9.1%

Top Colleges for Sales Engineers

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Tuition and fees
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA

Tuition and fees
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA

Tuition and fees
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

6. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Tuition and fees
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

7. Boston University

Boston, MA

Tuition and fees
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY

Tuition and fees
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

9. University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Lincoln, NE

Tuition and fees
$9,242
Enrollment
20,592

10. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Tuition and fees
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Sales Engineer

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Sales Engineer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.1% of sales engineers listed sales process on their resume, but soft skills such as interpersonal skills and technological skills are important as well.

  • Sales Process, 10.1%
  • Technical Sales, 5.5%
  • Technical Support, 5.2%
  • Customer Service, 4.7%
  • Customer Requirements, 3.7%
  • Other Skills, 70.8%
  • See All Sales Engineer Skills

Best States For a Sales Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a sales engineer. The best states for people in this position are Washington, Idaho, Colorado, and Virginia. Sales engineers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $106,193. Whereas in Idaho and Colorado, they would average $105,956 and $105,107, respectively. While sales engineers would only make an average of $99,946 in Virginia, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Idaho

Total Sales Engineer Jobs:
427
Highest 10% Earn:
$178,000
Location Quotient:
2.24
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Colorado

Total Sales Engineer Jobs:
1,627
Highest 10% Earn:
$178,000
Location Quotient:
1.42
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Utah

Total Sales Engineer Jobs:
556
Highest 10% Earn:
$160,000
Location Quotient:
1.14
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
View Full List

Sales Engineer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a sales engineer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless sales engineer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Sales Engineer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless sales engineer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

How Do Sales Engineer Rate Their Jobs?

What do you like the most about working as Sales Engineer?

IF you have enough experience you get to walk around different manufacturing plants and tell them how you solution will impact their bottom line. every day is different. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Cold Call is pretty bad because your success rate is 1-2%. Surprises when a competitor sells to a company you did not know about and your marketing folks cant help find them. Show More

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Top Sales Engineer Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ sales engineers and discovered their number of sales engineer opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that HCL America Inc. was the best, especially with an average salary of $76,703. TriZetto Healthcare Products follows up with an average salary of $78,774, and then comes Google with an average of $127,289. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a sales engineer. The employers include Okta, Johnson Controls, and KONICA MINOLTA

1. HCL America
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$76,703
Sales Engineers Hired: 
719+
2. TriZetto Healthcare Products
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$78,774
Sales Engineers Hired: 
258+
3. Google
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$127,289
Sales Engineers Hired: 
183+
4. NetSuite
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$106,079
Sales Engineers Hired: 
140+
5. Cisco Systems
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$113,155
Sales Engineers Hired: 
116+
6. Johnson Controls
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$48,404
Sales Engineers Hired: 
105+

Sales Engineer Videos

Recently Added Sales Engineer Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020