What is a Sales Engineer

Do you have an interest in engineering? How about sales? Do you think of strategies to boost market interest in a product? Well, if you answered yes to these questions, we have found a great career for you: sales engineer!

Sales engineers are sometimes called solutions engineers, systems engineers, and solutions architects, among other things. But whatever you call them, you can expect them to be great salespeople. As you may have guessed, they should also be strategic, since they devise ways to boost sales. They should also understand engineering concepts, because they will need to know what they're talking about when they pitch products to clients. If you want to be a sales engineer, you better start brushing up on your engineering knowledge and learn how to make a successful sales pitch.

As a sales engineer, you should know how to build trust. It wouldn't hurt you to be friendly and charming as well!

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.

Learn more about what a Sales Engineer does

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
$84,403
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
103,713
Job Openings
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Average Salary for a Sales Engineer

Sales Engineers in America make an average salary of $84,403 per year or $41 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $118,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $60,000 per year.
Average Salary
$84,403
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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 to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Sales Engineer Demographics

Sales Engineer Gender Statistics

male

85.5 %

female

10.3 %

unknown

4.2 %

Sales Engineer Ethnicity Statistics

White

79.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

8.7 %

Asian

7.1 %

Sales Engineer Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

36.6 %

French

7.7 %

Portuguese

7.4 %
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Sales Engineer Education

Sales Engineer Majors

19.7 %

Sales Engineer Degrees

Bachelors

74.5 %

Associate

12.3 %

Masters

9.4 %

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High School / GED
Associate
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Master's
Doctorate

Top Colleges for Sales Engineers

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

3. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$12,424
Enrollment
15,201

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

5. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

6. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

7. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

8. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

9. University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Lincoln, NE • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,242
Enrollment
20,592

10. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567
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Online Courses For Sales Engineer That You May Like

Pre-sales Skills: Prospecting, Lead Generation, Qualifying
udemy
4.4
(270)

Lead Generation and pre-sales skills: Learn lead generation, introducing yourself & qualifying your lead in 3 hours...

Customer Service, Customer Support, And Customer Experience
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(282)

Customer service, customer support, and customer experience training. Loyal clients through world-class customer service...

Sales Fire: B2B Sales & Business Development for Startups
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4.3
(533)

The Ultimate Sales Methodology for Business Development & B2B Sales to Learn Sales Strategy, Sales Skills & Deal Closing...

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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, 8.8% of Sales Engineers listed Sales Process on their resume, but soft skills such as Interpersonal skills and Problem-solving skills are important as well.

  • Sales Process, 8.8%
  • Customer Service, 7.7%
  • Technical Support, 5.1%
  • Customer Requirements, 4.4%
  • Prospective Customers, 4.0%
  • Other Skills, 70.0%
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12 Sales Engineer RESUME EXAMPLES

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, Colorado, Virginia, and California. Sales Engineers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $105,725. Whereas in Colorado and Virginia, they would average $99,375 and $97,594, respectively. While Sales Engineers would only make an average of $94,393 in California, 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. Washington

Total Sales Engineer Jobs:
1,628
Highest 10% Earn:
$166,000
Location Quotient:
1.13
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:
1,315
Highest 10% Earn:
$161,000
Location Quotient:
1.12
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. District of Columbia

Total Sales Engineer Jobs:
589
Highest 10% Earn:
$161,000
Location Quotient:
1.78
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
Full List Of Best States For Sales Engineers

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 Google was the best, especially with an average salary of $127,094. Cognizant follows up with an average salary of $93,618, and then comes Oracle with an average of $122,835. 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 Hexcel, Smartsheet, and Xerox

Sales Engineer Videos

Becoming a Sales Engineer FAQs

Are sales engineers real engineers?

Yes, sales engineers are real engineers. Sales engineers typically need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field.

However, a person who wants to be a sales engineer without an engineering degree can still become a sales engineer if they have previous experience in sales as well as technical experience or training.

The role of a sales engineer is to sell complex scientific and technological products or services to businesses. To do this, they must have extensive knowledge of the products' parts and functions and understand the scientific processes that make them work.

This is why sales engineers are real engineers; while they are not doing engineering work, they need to have an engineering background to properly perform the duties of their position.

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 the competition.

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 to explain the product and how it will solve a specific customer problem.

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How do I become a technical sales engineer?

To become a technical sales engineer, a person typically needs a bachelor's degree in engineering and sales experience. Successful sales engineers combine technical knowledge of the products or services they are selling with strong interpersonal skills.

The base requirement to become a technical sales engineer is usually a degree in engineering. University engineering programs generally require four years of study. Most of these programs include courses in math, physical sciences, and technical computer courses.

Once a person has graduated from their degree, they should pursue some sales experience before getting a job as a technical sales engineer.

This experience will help them develop general sales techniques and may involve working with a sales mentor familiar with the business practices, customers, procedures, and navigating company culture.

Technical sales engineers need 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.

Learn more about this question

How do sales engineers get paid?

Most sales engineers get paid through a combination of base salary and commission, and bonuses. Most employers offer a combination of salary and commission payments or salary plus a bonus. However, some sales engineers who work for independent sales companies may earn only commissions.

Commissions are typically based on the value of the sale that the sales engineer has made. Bonuses, however, depend on various factors that might include the individual's performance, the performance of all workers in the group or district, or the company's performance.

Earnings from commissions and bonuses can vary significantly from year to year depending on the sales engineer's own sales ability, the demand for the company's products or services, and the overall economy.

The best way for sales engineers to leverage their career and earning potential is to strategically approach their sales to maximize their commission with focused sales. This, in turn, will help them earn better bonuses and potentially move up in their career.

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How long does it take to become a sales engineer?

It takes about five years to become a sales engineer. This is because a person typically needs a bachelor's degree in engineering as well as sales experience. Successful sales engineers combine technical knowledge of the products or services they are selling with strong interpersonal skills.

The base requirement to become a technical sales engineer is usually a degree in engineering. University engineering programs generally require four years of study. Most of these programs include courses in math, physical sciences, and technical computer courses.

Once a person has graduated from their degree, they should pursue some sales experience -- usually at least a year -- before getting a job as a technical sales engineer.

This experience will help them develop general sales techniques and may involve working with a sales mentor familiar with the business practices, customers, procedures, and navigating company culture.

Technical sales engineers need 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.

Learn more about this question

Is being a sales engineer a good career?

Yes, being a sales engineer is a good career option. This role is ideal for people who have studied engineering and are excited to work with customers to provide a solution to their problems.

The role of a sales engineer is to sell complex scientific and technological products or services to businesses. To do this, they must have extensive knowledge of the products' parts and functions and understand the scientific processes that make them work.

This combination of technical knowledge and people skills makes the role of a sales engineer appealing to many people who do not find other engineering roles engaging.

In addition to these benefits, sales engineers also have opportunities to earn a lot of money in their roles.

Sales engineers have very competitive total compensation since technical sales are a hard skill to hire for, and sales engineers can often make more than product managers, engineers, or scientists.

The median annual wage for sales engineers is around $108,000 in a year. The lowest ten percent earned $60,000 or less a year, while the highest ten percent earned more than $184,000 in a year.

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