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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 Senior Sales Engineer
Top Careers After Senior Sales Engineer
Hispanic or Latino8.5%
Black or African American0.7%
Senior Sales Engineer
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University of Phoenix14.3%
University of Texas at Austin6.1%
George Mason University5.6%
Pennsylvania State University5.2%
University of Houston5.2%
Michigan State University4.8%
Arizona State University4.8%
George Washington University4.3%
Santa Clara University4.3%
Southern New Hampshire University4.3%
Wayne State University3.9%
New York University3.9%
West Virginia University3.5%
Southern Methodist University3.5%
Johns Hopkins University3.5%
University of Pittsburgh -3.5%
University of South Florida3.0%
Senior Sales Engineer
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|SR. International Sales Engineer||Fonemed||Miami, FL||Dec 15, 2015||$196,186|
|SR. Manager, Sales Engineering and Customer Support||Trend Micro, Inc.||Jersey City, NJ||Jul 26, 2015||$195,208 -
|Senior Sales Engineer||U.S. Western Multitech, Inc.||Anaheim, CA||Jun 21, 2016||$166,608|
|Senior Sales Engineer||Otherlevels Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Apr 20, 2015||$165,000|
|Senior Sales Engineer||Vuesol Technologies Inc.||Alpharetta, GA||Jun 30, 2016||$164,000|
|Senior Sales Engineer||Vuesol Technologies Inc.||Alpharetta, GA||Mar 14, 2016||$164,000|
|Senior Sales Engineer||Aerospike, Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Jun 25, 2015||$160,000|
|Senior Sales Engineer, Mobile Devices||AWI USA LLC||Plainview, NY||Sep 19, 2015||$160,000|
|Senior Sales Engineer, Mobile Devices||AWI USA LLC||Plainview, NY||Sep 26, 2016||$160,000|
|Senior Sales Engineer||Aerospike, Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Feb 11, 2015||$160,000|
|Senior Sales Engineer||Trianz, Inc.||Santa Clara, CA||Oct 28, 2016||$160,000|
|Senior Manager Jc45-Sales Engineers||Cognizant Technology Solutions U.S. Corporation||Boston, MA||Jul 21, 2016||$136,490|
|Senior Manager Jc45-Sales Engineers||Cognizant Technology Solutions U.S. Corporation||Boston, MA||Jul 20, 2016||$136,490|
|Senior Sales Engineer||Splunk, Inc.||Chicago, IL||Mar 06, 2015||$136,000 -
|SR. Sales Engineer||Nanya Technology Corporation USA||San Jose, CA||Mar 30, 2015||$135,000 -
|SR. Sales Engineer||Nanya Technology Corporation USA||San Jose, CA||Apr 22, 2016||$135,000 -
|Senior Sales Engineer||Enterprise Solutions, Inc.||Santa Clara, CA||Mar 12, 2015||$133,411|
|Senior Sales Engineers||HCL America Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Oct 31, 2016||$133,078|
|Senior Sales Engineer||Enterprise Solutions, Inc.||Santa Clara, CA||Sep 09, 2016||$133,078|
|SR. Sales Engineer||Vacom Systems, LLC||Heber, UT||Jan 11, 2016||$116,875|
|Senior Manager Jc45-Sales Engineer||Cognizant Technology Solutions U.S. Corporation||Holliston, MA||Feb 12, 2015||$116,418|
|Senior Manager Jc45-Sales Engineers||Cognizant Technology Solutions U.S. Corporation||Franklin, WI||Nov 06, 2016||$115,170|
|Senior Sales Engineer, Latam||O3B Networks||Manassas, VA||May 07, 2015||$115,000|
|Senior Manager Jc45-Sales Engineers||Cognizant Technology Solutions U.S. Corporation||Franklin, WI||Jul 20, 2016||$114,899|
|Senior Manager Jc45-Sales Engineers||Cognizant Technology Solutions U.S. Corporation||Franklin, WI||Jul 21, 2016||$114,899|
|Senior Sales Engineers||HCL America Inc.||Redmond, WA||Jun 24, 2016||$113,963|
|Senior Sales Engineers||HCL America Inc.||Jersey City, NJ||Apr 02, 2016||$112,341|
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