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How to Become a Sales Engineer

Do you have a technical mindset? Are you passionate about sales? If so, a position as a sales engineer could be the perfect career path for you. Sales engineers sell their company’s technical and scientific products to other companies to help improve their profits. It is important for sales engineers to have good interpersonal skills to help meet the needs of their customers. 

Sales engineers work in business-to-business sales to sell new technology or products that will help their clients increase their sales efficiency or company operations. You must be a customer service expert as you listen to customers and find solutions to their problems. Some sales engineers will be required to have a background in engineering to help develop new products or suggest program improvements. 

This job offer is unique since it allows you to use your technical mindset to promote growth and sales for the company. Sales engineers will discover creative ways to sell products to different companies based on their business models and goals. If you are willing to learn and build strong customer relationships, you will likely be offered job promotions and raises for your hard work.

Sample job description

As a sales engineer with [Your Company Name], you will be responsible for becoming an expert in product knowledge in order to effectively communicate the benefits and advantages of the products to customers. The ideal candidate is capable of creating and presenting presentations to potential clients in order to effectively communicate the features of the products to clients. You must be able to provide these detailed presentations in an easy-to-understand and comprehensive way to clients who may not have a technical background. This is one of the most important aspects of the position as we want clients to be able to fully understand what the product is, what it does, and how it can most benefit them. The ideal sales engineer will have a background in sales and will understand sales psychology in order to effectively involve the sales process in their presentation for the highest possible close ratios. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Explain details of the technology in layman’s terms
  • Talk to customers using non-aggressive sales tactics
  • Consulting product development 
  • Prepare for live demonstrations 
  • Negotiate contract terms and conditions
  • Observe equipment and make sure it meets the clients’ standards
  • Stay in communication with sales team members
  • Obtain product knowledge 
  • Create sales processes 
  • Monitor sales 
  • Adjust sales processes and tactics as needed 
  • Set and achieve sales goals
  • Knowledge of the VoIP industry 
  • Expert in sales

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering or related field
  • Years of sales experience and technical experience 
  • Certifications related to sales or engineering is a plus

Required skills and qualifications

  • Tech-savvy with advanced product knowledge
  • Great written and verbal communication skills
  • Self-driven and able to work alone
  • Product expertise to demonstrate and show customers
  • Works well under pressure
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Superior organizational skills
  • Strong negotiation skills 
  • Excellent customer service skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Ability to speak two or more languages
  • Advanced working knowledge of Microsoft and Google
  • Professional engineering license

Typical work environment

Sales engineers can spend some time in an office setting but they spend the majority of their time traveling to showcase the tech that they are selling. Usually, they have large territories to cover. There may be times when they are traveling days at a time, but it all depends on what region they are in and what the primary sales method their company uses.

Typical hours

Sales engineers work full time and put in 40 hours a week, if not more, as their success strongly correlates to their sales. Most sales engineers work on commission or salary plus commission. Overtime is common as they have certain deadlines to meet.

Available certifications

Though there isn’t a requirement to gather certifications to become a sales engineer, it can definitely set you apart in the hiring process. Certifications can also improve your knowledge, leading to higher sales performance. Here are some of the certifications you can receive:

  • Certified Sales Professional (CSP). This certification shows that you are experienced in handling vital customers and can consistently meet target sales, which employers love to see. To qualify for this certification, you’ll need a college degree and at least 35 hours of accredited training.
  • Project Management Professional Certification (PMP). Project management is important in any field of work, but especially as a sales engineer when you’ll be handling multiple clients. To qualify, you’ll need a four year degree and 36 months leading or managing projects and clients.

Career path

Although it is possible to become a sales engineer without a college degree, those who earn a bachelor’s degree are often hired more than other candidates. In order to become a sales engineer, you need to have years of sales and technical experience. Students who hope to become a sales engineer should study sales methodology and be knowledgeable in tech and IT. Once becoming a sales engineer, you can work your way up through the ranks, earning higher commissions on every sale.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 41-9031

2020 Employment63,800
Projected Employment in 203068,800
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 8% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift5,000 increase

Sales engineer employment will continue to increase in the years to come. It is projected that employment will increase 8% between now and 2030, as average amongst other occupations. As the rise of technology continues to grow, that means the rise of products will increase and sales engineers will be more in demand than ever to explain the products to both consumers and businesses.