A Technical Sales Engineer is a professional that focuses in the sale and commercialization of specialized technology and electrical appliances. They are usually employed by industrial manufacturers of technological goods and services, including computer, telecommunication, and other forms of applied technologies. Sales Engineers may also work independently using their knowledge of technology and Engineering to provide advice to individual customers looking to purchase specialized machinery.
All professionals working in the field of sales can be divided into two groups depending on whom they sell to, there’s business-to-customers (B2C), selling directly to the final consumer, and Business-to-Business (B2B), selling on large scales to other smaller businesses. Technical Sales Engineers most usually work in a B2B mode.
The thing that really separates a Technical Salesperson and a regular Salesperson is the level of knowledge they need to have in order to successfully sell specialized machinery and technology. Technical Salespersons need to have a deeper understanding of the usage, specifications, and special requirements the products they sell.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Sales Engineers are required to complete.
- Selling products to existing clients and looking for new possible clients:
- Conducting customer research to better assess their needs and requirements in order to provide the best service and recommend the product that is best for them;
- scheduling special meetings with regular customers to present new products;
- displaying an extensive knowledge of the product they promote in order to answer all customer questions and inquiries;
- creating sales presentations using reports and visual aids in order to promote their product or service;
- liaising with manufacturers in order to create a product that is specifically designed to satisfy a customer’s special needs;
- negotiating prices and sales contracts; and
- overseeing and conducting sales agreements, transportation, and installation of goods.
- Providing assistance and post-sale follow up to customers:
- Assisting customers with any difficulty or problem they may have with the product, by providing technical support, as required; and
- acting as a liaison between the customer and the company.
- Keeping records of all sales activities and submitting reports to employers.
- Meeting and/or exceeding weekly, quarterly, monthly, and annual sales targets for the assigned territory and business.
- Attending networking events in order to identify potential business opportunities.
- Working alongside Sales Associates and Marketing staff to develop and implement business strategies aimed to increase company’s market share:
- Focusing on the technical aspects of the job; and
- developing and implementing new and original sales strategies.
- Liaising with R&D departments in order to create new products and services:
- Actively participating with and providing input to the product development teams and supporting their initiatives; and
- monitoring competitors, carrying out market research, and keeping up-to-date on the latest industry trends and materials in order to identify possible improvements for the company’s products or services.
- Holding special technical presentations to explain the functions and inner workings of recent products to new and existing customers.
- Liaising with colleagues and using customer feedback to better assess and cover all customer needs and requirements.
- Working with the sales team to provide a better service to customers.
- Designing and implementing improvements/adjustments on existing products to better satisfy customer needs.
- Providing post-sale assistance and support to customers, when needed.
- Making accurate and helpful recommendations to customers regarding what they need and will better suit them.
- Staying up to date with new products and technologies.
The average Sales Engineer salary is $68,506 per year or $35 per hour. This is around 2.1 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $48,000 while most experienced workers make up to $96,000. These results are based on 77 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Technological skills:
- Having a deep understanding of the technological intricacies of the product they’re selling in order to give an accurate description when required;
- being able to provide excellent technical support; and
- possessing the necessary technical acumen to understand complex concepts and translate them in a way that customers can understand.
- Adaptive personality with the ability to learn and apply new sales strategies quickly:
- Being resilient when facing challenges.
- Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills:
- Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, with other members of the Sales team and in order to build relationships with clients;
- having a friendly and engaging personality in order to create positive interactions with clients;
- providing high levels of customer service to existing clients and potential customers; and
- being confident and persuasive enough to be able to make the sale; and
- being polite and patient while dealing with difficult clients.
- Being resourceful, energetic, driven, structured, and displaying a strong desire to take initiative.
- Strong organizational, operational, and planning skills in a customer service and sales focused environment:
- Multitasking; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment;
- being proactive and goal-oriented;
- being able to work independently with minimal supervision and as part of a multidisciplinary team; and
- being able to handle time constraints while achieving the required goals.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
- Identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner;
- taking into consideration customer feedback and recommendations when creating newer versions of a product; and
- being able to gather, monitor, and analyze all types of quantitative and qualitative data into sales reports.
Due to the nature of the work of a Sales Engineer, technical knowledge and experience is essential on a daily basis. There are plenty of job opportunities available for professionals in this field as long as they possess the necessary qualifications. Most employers look for candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, or Physics. Experience in Sales and Business Administration is also a quality that can become an asset in this field. Most employers look for candidates with 5 to 10 years of experience in any field that may be related with sales or technology.
Career progression for a Sales Engineer is mostly based on a system of experience and achievements. Once a Sales Engineer has proven capable of managing different functions they may be promoted to an administrative or entirely technical role.
Most Sales Engineers receive a base salary that is usually complemented by commissions based on sales. Furthermore, in many cases, Sales Engineers are required to travel long distances in order to meet with clients, therefore, most companies often provide them with a vehicle to do so or cover whatever travel expenses that may arise. In order to receive a company vehicle, the Sales Engineer is required to possess a valid driver’s licence.
Typical working hours for Sales Engineers often irregular due to the mix of office and field work they are required to perform. It is not uncommon for them to work extra hours.