Highly technical companies usually encounter challenges when selling complex technologies to a general market. That’s where successful sales engineers come in. They play an essential role in the sales process within various major industries.
Graduates with engineering degrees, especially those with business or communication interests, might consider a career in tech sales. Below are details on how to find entry-level sales engineer jobs, alongside a list of required skills for a career in this field.
What Is a Sales Engineer and Why Is It Important?
Sales engineers (SE) are specialized sales representatives in industrial and technological markets. They provide services to businesses and prospective customers, primarily by selling advanced electronics.
Their primary role is to understand a client’s needs and develop a creative solution. Clients depend on a sales engineer’s technical expertise in state-of-the-art technological products to decide on specific system designs.
What Is the Job Outlook for Sales Engineering?
The computer systems design industry is projected to show consistent growth, especially in sales engineering jobs dealing with computer software and hardware. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 2020-30 sales engineers’ jobs have a projected growth of eight percent.
This projected steady employment growth comes from independent sales companies that sell products on behalf of manufacturers that outsource their sales staff to minimize costs. In a world so reliant on technology, this is a crucial role for businesses in a wide variety of sectors.
Top Reasons to Pursue a Career in Sales Engineering
- Financially rewarding. The annual average wage for sales engineers is $108,830, a combination of salary and commission payments that depend on a sale’s value.
- Job security. The continuous growth of the tech industry creates a lot of job openings for a dedicated sales engineer with strong technological skills.
- In-demand. Most companies, especially software as a service (SaaS) businesses, have started to transition online, which drives up the demand for sales engineers and expands their base of customers.
- Flexible working hours. Companies often let their sales teams work on their own time as long as they meet their annual sales target.
- Strong career options. Sales engineering is a position with lots of career opportunities. You can choose to work your way up within the sales engineer role or shift into full-sales, product development, or project management careers.
What Does an Entry-Level Sales Engineer Do?
Sales engineers use their extensive knowledge of technical products to convince prospective customers to buy products and services, mediate the cost, and take customer payments to complete a sale.
Entry-level sales engineers give sales presentations to explain technical products’ components and what services they can provide to businesses. They also do market research, customer service, and work with other departments to determine, design, and develop new products.
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Types of Entry-Level Sales Engineer Roles
Inside Sales Engineer
Inside sales engineers work inside their offices using cold leads to reach prospective customers. They primarily sell through phone, email, or online methods. They build strong business relationships with clients by being their primary contact. In addition, an inside sales engineer can sustain and maintain an existing customer relationship to retain business.
Outside Sales Engineer
Also called a field sales engineer, this professional will visit prospects and clients in person. They attend trade shows and expos to demonstrate products and conduct collaborative client discussions to gain new business or grow relationships. Mostly working solo, outside sales engineers must be self-motivated and goal-oriented to meet their sales goals with minimal supervision.
A pre-sales engineer is also called a prospecting sales, sales development, or lead generation sales engineer. They research and identify untapped sales potential, evaluate the feasibility of leads, and forecast the possible results.
A valuable characteristic for sales engineers is good decision-making to determine if they should pursue a potential customer and what sales strategies to use for the best profitable results. This skill can help you find the best opportunities for success.
Common Responsibilities of Entry-Level Sales Engineering Jobs
- Attend trade shows and other marketing events.
- Market research to manage and interpret customer requirements.
- Make technical presentations and demonstrate the product to convince clients.
- Calculate and analyze costs, negotiate contract terms, and close the deal.
- Help manufacturers design and adjust custom-made products for the customers’ needs.
- Provide after-sales technical support services to mitigate customer complaints.
- Meet an annual sales target and prepare and file official reports.
How Much Do Entry-Level Sales Engineering Jobs Pay?
According to Salary.com, the average base salary for a sales engineer in an entry-level position is $76,430. The annual wage range depends on multiple factors like sales ability, technical knowledge, previous sales experience, technical experience, and cash compensation for meeting annual sales goals.
Entry-Level Sales Engineering Jobs That Pay the Most: Overview
|Job||Average Salary||Min. Education/ Training||Associated Mid and Senior Roles|
|Software Sales Engineer||$102,333||Bachelor’s degree in engineering or any tech science major||Senior Solution Sales Specialist,
Enterprise Software Account Executive
|Solution Sales Engineer||$96,004||Bachelor’s degree in engineering or IT-related majors||Senior Solutions Consultant,
|Computer Hardware Sales Engineer||$93,340||Two-year associate degree with hardware and networking subjects||Senior Network Architect,
Lead Hardware Engineer
|Mechanical Sales Engineer||$86,396||BS in Mechanical Engineering or any common majors related to engineering||Senior Sales Engineer,
Business Development Manager
|Technical Sales Engineer||$79,500||Associate or Bachelor’s degree in engineering or any tech or business majors||Technical Marketing Manager,
Senior Technical Sales Engineer
|Industrial Automation Sales Engineer||$69,580||BS in Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering||Senior Automation Consultant,
QA Automation Engineer
|Aerospace Sales Engineer||$68,979||BS in Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering||Senior Aerospace Sales Engineer,
Aerospace Sales Manager
|Electrical Sales Engineer||$63,393||BS in Electrical Power Engineering||Senior Electrical Consultant,
|Construction Sales Engineer||$59,764||BS in Civil Engineering or related field||Senior Sales Engineer,
Best Entry-Level Sales Engineering Jobs: A Closer Look
Software Sales Engineer
Software sales engineers help clients identify their technology needs and match them with the best software solution. The employment of sales engineers in software sales is on the rise as tech development companies create and develop more sophisticated products.
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- Present, demonstrate, and advise clients on the software options that best match their needs.
- Negotiate contracts and costs with clients and submit orders for processing.
- Convey client needs with software developers.
Solution Sales Engineer
Solution sales engineers identify and understand customer requirements, formulate strategies, and calculate costs for proposals. They have to ensure the integration of a specified condition into the developed solution systems by working closely with solutions engineers.
- Create process flow diagrams and deliver technical proposals to customers.
- Use communication skills to collaborate with different departments to support and implement the proposed solution, from order to delivery.
- Support pre-sales, including solution design, quotation calculations, testing, and extensive customer-centric communication.
Computer Hardware Sales Engineer
These experts need to take advanced courses in math, statistics, and physics. They must undergo product training, and they also require coding skills in various coding languages. Computer hardware sales engineers test, debug and refine the electronics in circuit boards, computers, and storage devices according to a client’s needs.
- Collaborate with a client to determine the exact problem to be resolved and plan the best solution.
- Plan product development with the client’s particular restrictions in mind.
- Log data from various tests to guarantee consistent results in a reaction to a set of applications and codes.
Mechanical Sales Engineer
Mechanical sales engineers work with a wide variety of industry leaders within major industries, including biomedical, manufacturing, and utilities. You will need strong communication and listening skills in addition to technical skills to succeed in this role.
- Review a technical product based on customer feedback on product performance.
- Pinpoint current and potential customer service needs by establishing rapport with clients and building a base of customer contacts.
- Adapt products and services to serve customer needs, ensuring customer satisfaction.
Technical Sales Engineer
In addition to the common sales skills shared across various sales engineering posts, an entry-level technical sales representative must have some additional skills, like technical knowledge and previous sales experience.
- Advertise and sell tech products to end-users using technical knowledge, provide sales recommendations, and excellent customer service.
- Adapt existing products to accommodate customer requests, answer customer questions, and deal with customer complaints.
- Prepare sales estimates, revise based on negotiations, and establish new customer accounts by closing the sale.
Industrial Automation Sales Engineer
Industrial automation sales engineers provide internal and external technical support and sell solutions-based products, mostly in business-to-business sales. They develop, implement and manage plans to grow market share with existing product portfolios and new product launches.
- Develop annual sales forecasts from identified target accounts.
- Determine leading competitors to obtain competitive sales briefs and collaborate with management to develop annual business plans.
- Provide post-sales technical support.
Aerospace Sales Engineer
An aerospace sales engineer has to be well-versed in the art of sales to sell technologically advanced products in specialized business sales channels for specific business clients. This may require extra background education in the technical needs of your field.
- Market research to identify new prospects for the assigned products.
- Use sales skills to persuade the customer to source their needs while favoring the company.
- Create, execute and manage deliverables, and help develop the sales and marketing plan.
Electrical Sales Engineer
You can earn more in this role if you have an electrical engineering background or certifications from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), or the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Electrical sales engineers usually sell electrical equipment, like electric motors, radars, and power generation equipment.
- Understand electrical engineering concepts and prepare technical presentations like catalogs, samples, and compliance sheets to sell and promote products to existing and prospective customers.
- Report sales goals, figures, and possible deals for new products and services.
- Contact customers via a provided email address to offer necessary post-sales support and confirm customer satisfaction and feedback.
Construction Sales Engineer
Construction companies consult these professionals about the necessary electrical products to fit the engineering design plans of buildings and houses, like switchboards, lighting panels, and safety switches.
- Provide demos of advanced products to help customers understand how the products can assist them in delivering results.
- Ensure post-sale customer service by providing technical support on troubleshooting, documentation, and escalation.
- Provide recommendations on product performance, testing, market analysis, and competitor shiftings.
Systems Sales Engineer
Systems sales engineers are experts in high-technology fields like enterprise networking and virtualization, and they’re great at problem-solving to resolve customer issues. Engineering knowledge and product training provide systems sales engineers with an understanding of the company’s products, systems design, and electronic markets.
- Use analytical and problem-solving skills to match tech-focused solutions with clients’ needs.
- Provide creative solutions for clients’ custom systems design needs by offering company products.
- Ensure that the marketed system is running without any issues.
What Types of Companies Hire Entry-Level Sales Engineers?
Companies from three major industries, industrial, commercial, and software, are the major employers of sales engineers. Some top companies that hire entry-level sales engineers are Lucid Software, Twilio, and Microsoft. These companies hire sales engineers for focused sales and distribution of technological products throughout electronic markets.
Career Progression: Mid and Senior-Level Sales Engineering Roles
Mid-Level Sales Engineering Jobs
Senior Solutions Consultant
- Average salary: $115,227
- Related entry-level roles: Systems sales engineer, solution sales engineer, software sales engineer.
- Responsibilities: Lead solution testing, develop innovative business solutions.
Senior Sales Engineer
- Average salary: $119,931
- Related entry-level roles: All entry-level sales engineers across all sales engineering departments.
- Responsibilities: Oversee and provide customer experience training and sales training to junior sales team members.
Senior Solutions Developer
- Average salary: $157,160
- Related entry-level roles: System sales engineer, solution sales engineer.
- Responsibilities: Review code work for accuracy and functionality, delegate tasks to team members.
Senior Network Architect
- Average salary: $148,490
- Related entry-level roles: Computer hardware sales engineer, software sales engineer.
- Responsibilities: Design, install, troubleshoot and monitor network architecture.
Senior Sales Engineer Jobs
Sales Engineering Manager
- Average salary: $117,954
- Related entry-level roles: All entry-level sales engineer roles.
- Responsibilities: Recruit, train and manage sales support staff, monitor daily sales activities, and implement devolved sales strategy.
Director of Sales Engineering
- Average salary: $118,824
- Related entry-level roles: All entry-level sales engineer roles.
- Responsibilities: Coordinated project management, present budgets plans.
Senior Product Manager
- Average salary: $129,873
- Related entry-level roles: All entry level sales engineer roles.
- Responsibilities: Oversee product development from conceptualization to delivery, develop product strategies that yield a high investment return.
Applications Engineering Manager
- Average salary: $160,786
- Related entry-level roles: Solutions sales engineer, software sales engineer.
- Responsibilities: Lead research and manage daily tasks of application engineers.
How to Get a Job in Sales Engineering
Generally, a bachelor’s degree, technical skills, a stand-out sales engineer resume, and some form of sales education are needed to become a sales engineer. These professionals integrate technical knowledge with strong interpersonal skills. However, these aren’t the only specialties that successful sales engineers have. Below, we’ll detail how to get a job in sales engineering.
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Required Skills for an Entry-Level Sales Engineering Job
- Excellent written and verbal communication. Similar to interpersonal skills, good written and verbal communication is essential for collaborating with teammates and presenting products to potential clients.
- Technical knowledge. Sales engineers need extensive knowledge of products and technology to convince customers to buy their products.
- Strong interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills like negotiating and problem-solving are important when dealing with customer needs.
- Market awareness. Be knowledgeable of market competitors’ strengths and weaknesses to convince clients to pick your company’s products.
Top Certifications for an Entry-Level Sales Engineer
- Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP): This certification proves you have the training you need to become a top-performing sales professional.
- Certified Professional Salesperson (SCPS): This credential allows you to learn all about sales management to boost your sales.
- Huawei Certified ICT Expert (HCIE): This training will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to optimize, revamp, and manage a complex communication network.
- Huawei Certified ICT Professional (HCIP): Assess and certify your knowledge of cloud-native ideas, fundamental knowledge, and usage skills of PaaS products.
- Huawei Certified ICT Associate (HCIA): This will assess and certify your fundamental knowledge and usage skills of HUAWEI CLOUD services.
Can You Get an Entry-Level Sales Engineer Job with a Coding Bootcamp?
Yes, you can get entry-level solutions, software, system sales, or computer hardware sales engineering jobs with a coding bootcamp certification. A bootcamp is a great opportunity to gain technical knowledge to help you sell products, and some offer specialized sales programs.
Top Sales Engineering Bootcamps
Best Resources for Sales Engineering
Experienced sales engineers, like John Care, sometimes have blogs sharing their extensive knowledge and sales experiences. This is a great way to learn from experts in your field and avoid making the same mistakes they did.
There are a lot of accessible webinars available that are highly useful to SEs in their training period. Some examples are How to Maximize Your SE Salary: The Inside Scoop and Technical Sales: The Role of the Sales Engineer.
We The Sales Engineers is a great online resource. They broadcast interviews with sales professionals on how to break into an SE role and make countless sales. They also air talks with SE trainers such as John Care and sales trainers like Anthony Iannarino.
Is a Career in Sales Engineering for You?
Yes, a career in sales engineering might be perfect for you if you have a combination of technical skills, interpersonal skills, and sales ability. If you have strong computer skills and problem-solving skills and are not afraid to take additional courses in math and sales education, then a career in sales engineering sounds right for you.
Entry-Level Sales Engineering Jobs FAQ
How Long Does it Take to Become an Entry-Level Sales Engineer?
It usually takes more than four years to become a sales engineer, since sales engineers have university degrees. After finishing the general engineering curriculum, a sales engineer might want to work with another sales engineer to learn the art of sales.
Is Sales Engineering a Good Career?
Yes, sales engineering is a promising career. It pays well, and there are multiple ways to progress your career. Sales engineers enjoy high earning potential due to their average base salary plus their earnings from commissions. Successful sales engineers also have various ways to advance their careers.
Do Sales Engineers Need to Code?
Yes, sales engineers perform low-level coding as part of the selling process, including programming and configuration. They have to tweak the products while presenting them, to accommodate a customer’s request.
Is sales engineering a stressful job?
Yes, it can be stressful. Since it is a performance-oriented role, there is pressure to meet the sales target by following a focused sales strategy, opening new customer accounts, and closing deals. Technical presentations and demos can also be nerve-wracking. Successful sales engineers thrive under this type of pressure, and can even receive awards for customer service.
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