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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:
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.
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Sales Support Engineer
Top Careers After Sales Support Engineer
Hispanic or Latino9.0%
Black or African American1.1%
Sales Support Engineer
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University of Phoenix10.6%
University of Wisconsin Extension6.1%
University of Massachusetts - Boston4.5%
Iowa State University4.5%
University of Texas at Dallas4.5%
University of Southern California4.5%
University of Pittsburgh -4.5%
Texas A&M University4.5%
Florida International University4.5%
University of Dayton4.5%
New Jersey Institute of Technology4.5%
Fairleigh Dickinson University4.5%
Portland State University4.5%
Northern Illinois University4.5%
University of Maryland - University College3.0%
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign3.0%
Sales Support Engineer
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Technical Sales Support Engineer||Ericsson Television, Inc.||Duluth, GA||May 02, 2012||$147,960|
|Structures Sales and Support Engineer||Tekla, Inc.||Kennesaw, GA||Oct 01, 2010||$130,000|
|Cisco Sales Support Engineer||VOX Network Solutions, Inc.||Brisbane, CA||Jan 11, 2015||$120,000|
|Sales Support Engineer||Wartsila North America, Inc.||Long Beach, CA||Aug 31, 2014||$112,069|
|Sales Support Engineer-Compressors||UOP LLC||Des Plaines, IL||Oct 01, 2014||$103,666|
|Technical Sales Support Engineer||M-I LLC Aka M-I Swaco||Houston, TX||May 22, 2012||$103,248|
|Sales Support Engineer, Associate Manager||SONY Latin America, Inc.||Miami, FL||Apr 11, 2015||$100,879|
|Technical Sales Support Engineer||Schlumberger Technology Corporation||Garden Grove, CA||Jan 02, 2016||$98,750|
|Sales Support Engineer, Associate Manager||SONY Latin America, Inc.||Miami, FL||Jan 03, 2014||$95,454|
|Technical Sales Support Engineer||M-I LLC Aka M-I Swaco||Houston, TX||May 07, 2012||$91,080|
|Sales Support Engineer||Salesforce.Com, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Nov 29, 2013||$90,376|
|Senior Sales Support Engineer||Salesforce.Com, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Jan 01, 2014||$90,000|
|Sales Support Engineer, Services||Wartsila North America, Inc.||Houston, TX||Sep 22, 2012||$90,000|
|Pre-Sales Support Engineer||Informatica Corporation||Austin, TX||Jul 25, 2015||$88,899|
|Area Sales Support Engineer, Agreement Services||Wartsila North America, Inc.||Fort Lauderdale, FL||Sep 07, 2013||$85,400|
|Sales Support Engineer-Transformers||Siemens Industry, Inc.||Cary, NC||Mar 24, 2016||$85,000|
|Tech Sales Support Engineer||Schlumberger Technology Corporation||CA||Aug 08, 2013||$84,000|
|Technical Sales Support Engineer||Schlumberger Technology Corporation||Canonsburg, PA||Oct 17, 2016||$84,000|
|Technical Sales Support Engineer||Schlumberger Technology Corporation||Frisco, TX||Aug 27, 2014||$84,000|
|Pre-Sales and Support Engineer||Entriq, Inc.||San Diego, CA||Sep 12, 2010||$82,000 -
|Technical Sales Support Engineer||Schlumberger Technology Corporation||Addison, TX||Oct 01, 2010||$81,996|
|Technical Sales Support Engineer||Schlumberger Technology Corporation||Canonsburg, PA||Jan 16, 2015||$74,589 -
|Product Support Engineer/Sales Support Engineer 2||Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.||Knoxville, TN||Sep 19, 2012||$73,000|
|Product Support Engineer/Sales Support Engineer 2||Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.||Knoxville, TN||Dec 12, 2011||$73,000|
|Sales Support Engineer||Arkadin, Inc.||New York, NY||Oct 01, 2011||$72,000|
|Technical Sales Support Engineer||Smith International, Inc.||Houston, TX||Dec 22, 2013||$71,400|
|Sales Support Engineer||ECO Engineering, LLC||Cincinnati, OH||Oct 01, 2012||$71,100|
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