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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 Technical Sales Engineer
Top Careers After Technical Sales Engineer
Hispanic or Latino11.5%
Black or African American0.6%
Technical Sales Engineer
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University of Phoenix13.3%
University of Houston6.3%
Ohio University -5.5%
Pennsylvania State University5.5%
Arizona State University4.7%
Rochester Institute of Technology4.7%
Texas A&M University4.7%
Old Dominion University4.7%
University of Texas at Austin4.7%
Georgia Institute of Technology -4.7%
University of Pittsburgh -4.7%
California State Polytechnic University - Pomona3.9%
New York University3.9%
Florida International University3.9%
Michigan State University3.9%
Texas Tech University3.9%
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University3.9%
University of Connecticut3.9%
Technical Sales Engineer
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|IT Sales Engineer||Estuate Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Aug 28, 2015||$141,960|
|Senior Principal: Technical Sales Engineer||Computer Sciences Corporation||Fremont, CA||Mar 02, 2015||$135,637|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Dassault Systemes Americas Corp||Auburn Hills, MI||Feb 09, 2016||$132,000|
|Technical Sales Engineer||U.S. Tech Solutions Inc.||Jersey City, NJ||Jun 24, 2016||$130,500|
|IT Sales Engineer||Estuate, Inc.||Quincy, MA||May 19, 2016||$130,000|
|Tech Sales & ENG Director-Auto Parts & ADV Material/Resins||Robert D. Stewart Corp, D/B/A The Stewart Company||Erlanger, KY||Sep 15, 2015||$128,960|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Weatherford International, LLC||Magnolia, TX||Jun 26, 2015||$127,504|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Dassault Systemes Americas Corp.||Waltham, MA||Aug 26, 2016||$126,174|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Dassault Systemes Simulia Corp.||Auburn Hills, MI||Dec 16, 2016||$125,763|
|Senior Technical Sales Engineer||S.W.I.F.T. Pan-Americas, Inc.||Miami, FL||May 10, 2015||$124,542|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Seiko Instruments U.S.A., Inc.||Torrance, CA||Jun 14, 2016||$123,427|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Seiko Instruments U.S.A., Inc.||Torrance, CA||Dec 02, 2016||$123,427|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Lydall Thermal/Acoustical, Inc.||Novi, MI||Aug 19, 2016||$120,000 -
|Technical Sales Engineer-Latin America||Global Tubing, LLC||Dayton, TX||Sep 18, 2016||$119,500|
|Telecommunications Technical Sales Engineer||Alcatel-Lucent USA, Inc.||Miramar, FL||Sep 15, 2015||$103,087|
|Asia Technical Applications & Sales Engineer||Intricon, Inc.||Longmeadow, MA||Mar 08, 2016||$102,986|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Quadrant Distribution LLC||San Antonio, TX||Mar 31, 2016||$102,461|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Dassault Systemes Simulia Corp.||Dearborn, MI||May 09, 2016||$100,062|
|Technical Sales Engineer||EZEN Computer Services Inc.||Plano, TX||Jan 11, 2016||$100,000|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Deepflex, Inc.||Houston, TX||Sep 03, 2015||$100,000|
|IT Sales Engineer||Estuate, Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Jan 15, 2015||$100,000|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Applied MacHinery Corporation||Spring, TX||Feb 18, 2015||$100,000|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Dassault Systemes Simulia||Johnston, RI||Nov 19, 2015||$87,256|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Applied MacHinery Corporation||Houston, TX||Jul 30, 2015||$85,093|
|IT Sales Engineer||Estuate, Inc.||Princeton, NJ||Aug 23, 2016||$85,000|
|IT Sales Engineer||Estuate, Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||Mar 22, 2015||$85,000|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Rosemount, Inc.||Houston, TX||Dec 26, 2016||$85,000|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Permasense Americas Inc.||Houston, TX||Sep 15, 2015||$85,000|
|Technical Sales Engineer||Sacramento Computer Power, Inc.||Sacramento, CA||Sep 09, 2015||$84,989|
|IT Sales Engineer||Rumba Solutions LLC||Michigamme, MI||Nov 09, 2016||$84,000|
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