If you have extensive knowledge of tech products and an interest in sales, you might be wondering how to become a sales engineer. It’s an extremely well-paid field with a bright outlook for anyone who wants to combine their love of tech with a lucrative career in sales.
In this guide, we’ll look at the different educational backgrounds, levels of technical knowledge, and the hiring process if you want to become a sales engineer. We’ll also look at potential job opportunities and salaries if you choose to pursue this field.
What Is a Sales Engineer?
A sales engineer is a professional responsible for selling technology-based products. The professionals usually work for tech or manufacturing companies. These professionals have advanced knowledge of the function and development of sophisticated products. Their expertise allows them to act as links between the sales team and product development.
Due to the nature of their work, sales engineers are not confined to the office. They often travel to meet new potential clients and sign deals on behalf of the company. Their work schedule is dependent on the clients’ needs. They also liaise with colleagues within the organization to continually update and improve products.
Sales Engineer Job Description
A sales engineer’s job description overlaps with that of sales professionals in the field. Whether you are in telecommunications, manufacturing, or the electronic market, you are responsible for making the company profitable. Employers of sales engineers expect sales engineers to engage with customers at all times and understand their needs.
Presenting to clients is a big part of a sales engineer’s job description. Sales engineers must have advanced technical product knowledge to be able to deliver a successful sales pitch and provide prospective customers with updated information on new machinery and services.
They are also responsible for carrying out regular market research and commonly team up with the research and development team to ensure they produce sophisticated products that cater to customer requirements.
Sales Engineer Salary and Job Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), sales engineers earn an average salary of $108,830. However, you can easily make more than $100,000 with some additional training and market-relevant skills. Salaries for sales engineers vary from company to company. Some companies offer a base salary, with the opportunity to make more earnings from commissions.
Between 2020 and 2030, BLS indicates that job growth in sales engineer jobs will be eight percent, which is higher than the national average of four percent. This equates to more than 4,100 new job opportunities, making it a prosperous field to get into.
Top Reasons to Become a Sales Engineer in 2021
There are many reasons to join the profession, ranging from good job opportunities and salaries to having a varied and exciting job role. Below are some of the top reasons why you should become a sales engineer in 2021.
- Numerous job opportunities. You won’t be limited to just one job position. For example, you can easily become a pre-sale engineer, a solutions engineer, or a computer sales engineer. These are well-paying sales jobs requiring sales engineering skills.
- High demand. The current job market has a growing need for people with this expertise. BLS predicts strong industry growth over the next few years, predicting that an additional 4,100 job opportunities will become available between 2020 and 2030.
- Varied job description. A sales job is the perfect career for people who like to not be confined to an office and are looking for a fast-paced, varied work environment.
- Salary. The average wage is impressive, at £108,830, with lots of opportunities for higher earnings. You may also be entitled to additional commission payments.
Sales Engineer Job Requirements
Hiring companies tend to have similar job and education requirements for most sales engineer positions. The role is extremely varied so a good combination of technical skills and people skills will set you up for success. You also need to understand the art of sales, with a record of meeting sales targets.
- Bachelor’s degree. You often find hiring companies looking for professionals with degrees in technical fields or marketing as an education requirement. However, it is possible to enter the field without a degree.
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills. This is one of the most essential skills to develop, as communicating with the sales staff or development team is a big part of the job.
- Understanding of sales. You’ll also need to be sales savvy and have some sales training or relevant work experience. It’s important to be able to spot opportunities to grow the company’s customer base.
- Technical acumen. Having a technical background or an engineering background, or at least a good grasp of scientific products, will boost your chances of landing the job. You must be able to understand complex topics and advanced technical details to be able to make the sale.
Types of Sales Engineer Careers
There are many types of sales engineer positions, so you won’t be limited to one career path. Take a look at some of the job titles that might be available to you below.
A sales representative possesses the right skills to conduct sales deals on behalf of the company. Companies rely on them to bring in new customers, which makes them an important point of contact between businesses and prospective clients. Because they oversee the entire sales cycle of a product, their role is to help ensure its profitability.
Computer Sales Engineer
Computer sales engineers are responsible for selling technological products of their company. They do a lot of networking, meeting clients’ requests, and sales contract negotiations. In addition, they conduct research to ensure they make good decisions and recommendations.
Solutions engineers present and sell software systems and products to clients. They’ll use their expert technical knowledge to understand their clients’ needs and offer them solutions.
Sales Engineer Meaning: What Does a Sales Engineer Do?
The tasks that a sales engineer does vary from day to day. One day they may be presenting to clients, another they might be giving advice and relationship building, or working with colleagues in the product development team. Below we’ve listed some of the most common duties of sales engineers.
Deliver Client Presentations
In order to introduce the company’s products to clients, you must be able to pitch them in a way that moves clients to make the sale. This could be via technical presentations and product demonstrations. It is important to be tech-savvy and have excellent sales presentation skills.
You’ll need to develop a good understanding of the requirements from customers through regular interactions and good professional relationships. Their specifications and ideas are then communicated back to colleagues so that relevant adjustments can be made to the product features.
Resolve Client Issues
A well-trained sales engineer makes sure product facilitation is seamless. You’ll work with clients to resolve any issues or challenges they may encounter with the features of the product. This helps foster strong relationships with clients, ensures successful sales transactions for the company, and creates repeat customers.
Collaborate with other Teams
You’ll work with colleagues across the organization, including software engineers, customer service officers, and product developers. You’ll work collaboratively to continually develop the product in order to make sales.
Essential Sales Engineer Skills
Successful sales engineers have a very particular combination of skills. Take a look at some of the technical skills hiring managers look for below.
Market Research Skills
You must have a solid grasp of the market and the company. You need to conduct competitive analysis to gain a deeper understanding of the market and remain competitive. This will enable you to have valuable input into product design and development.
Having excellent communication and interpersonal skills is a prerequisite, as you meet clients and deliver insights daily. This is also pertinent when explaining or introducing advanced products through technical presentations. In addition, you need to communicate with team members to develop the products that best fit the clients’ needs.
A talent for identifying sales opportunities and making the sale is a must. You’ll need to have an in-depth knowledge of the company’s products and sales process and be able to build good relationships with clients to make the sale.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Sales Engineer?
It could take up to four years to become an expert sales engineer. However, it is possible to shorten the process and acquire the necessary knowledge in less time, for example by attending online classes or signing up for a bootcamp.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become a Sales Engineer?
Yes, coding bootcamps can give you expertise in software development and other in-demand tech skills, which will help you understand the products offered in the tech industry. Bootcamps typically take between a few weeks to a few months to complete.
Additionally, tech sales bootcamps train professionals in the best practices of sales engineering. The career-oriented curriculum helps aspiring professionals gain knowledge and expertise to navigate the tech sales field.
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One of the most significant advantages of bootcamps is their reputable partnerships with major companies. They often have good hiring relationships with companies like Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn because of the job-specific curricula they offer. Many of the top workers in tech companies have attributed success in their career paths to bootcamps.
Can I Become a Sales Engineer From Home?
Yes, you can become a sales engineer from home, thanks to a wide range of education providers offering courses online for professionals to acquire in-demand skills and knowledge. This is largely due to the current pandemic restrictions, although some platforms were already offering online courses before COVID-19.
How to Become a Sales Engineer: A Step-by-Step Guide
Becoming a sales engineer is not as challenging as you may assume. This step-by-step guide will show you how to launch your career.
Step 1: Attend Bootcamp
Tech sales bootcamps train professionals in in-demand sales techniques and tools. You will learn programming, digital marketing, and sales processes, all of which will set you up for a successful career. These short courses can boost your career prospects, regardless of whether or not you’ve already done a four-year degree.
Step 2: Seek an Entry-Level Position
In this industry, grit and experience matter. To gain some hands-on experience, you should first apply for an entry-level position in a relevant area. Recruiting managers look for candidates who have shown they can handle tasks and take on challenges. Beginners can start by applying for sales representatives jobs and build their way up.
Step 3: Get Certified
One of the easiest ways to showcase your skills to potential employers is by getting a relevant certification. Most experienced sales engineers have a minimum of one professional certification under their belt. Certifications not only prove that you possess the necessary skill set but they also open up doors to better-paying positions.
Best Schools and Education for a Sales Engineer Career
Below are multiple education pathways for you to launch your career in sales engineering. Some companies have college education requirements, whereas others focus on your experience rather than your level of education. If you don’t want to pursue a four-year degree, there are other viable routes into the field.
Sales Engineer Bootcamps
There are no sales engineering bootcamps specifically, but tech sales bootcamps provide a good foundation for the field. You will be trained to understand the high specifications of technical products and services, and how to pitch sales.
Alternatively, you can join a coding bootcamp to learn programming, software development, full stack development, or web design. This could boost your understanding of specific products and services, depending on the area you want to get into.
Vocational schools are designed to give you specific practical skills to help you navigate in certain industries. They can be a way to acquire in-demand knowledge and technical experience.
Community colleges are fantastic for students looking for affordable and short college courses. They offer a two-year degree that gives you foundational knowledge in a specific subject area. You can also choose this option if you’re not sure yet if you want to pursue a four-year degree, as you can usually transfer to a bachelor’s degree afterward.
Sales Engineer Degrees
While there are no degrees specializing in sales engineering, you can consider a degree in a relevant field. Common majors include computer science, business administration, or information technology. These focus on the skills and education necessary for sales engineers. The tuition is high but having a bachelor’s degree can be beneficial to your career opportunities.
The Most Important Sales Engineer Certificates
If you want to be a step ahead of the curve, you must look into getting a professional certification. There are particular sales engineer certifications that will help you gain traction in the industry. Below we’ve listed two examples of sales certifications that are well known in the industry.
CPSP is a common certification among sales professionals, sales executives, and business owners. It uses modern and best practices in sales to help professionals change their outlook on sales. It shows you are able to think strategically about the client’s practical and psychological processes that move them into action.
If you want to authenticate your expertise in handling sales projects, this is a highly recommended certification for early to mid-career professionals. The certification is a showcase of your professional competence and desire to excel in the industry. Tuition costs are $875 for AA-ISP members, while non-members pay $1,020.
How to Prepare for Your Sales Engineer Job Interview
Job interviews are one of the most important steps in impressing prospective employers. Whether you are beginning at the bottom or a high-achieving sales guru, you should not underestimate the need to prepare well for an interview. Below are some questions to help you gauge your level of preparedness before you apply for a job in the sales industry.
Sales Engineer Job Interview Practice Questions
- Why should we hire you?
- Why are you applying for this position?
- Do you have any previous sales experience?
- Are you familiar with our products and services?
- Tell us about a time you overcame a challenge.
Should I Become a Sales Engineer in 2021?
Yes, you should become a sales engineer in 2021. A career in sales engineering is relatively easy to launch and is highly rewarding. These experts are well sought after by companies that need to push their range of products to customers. As a sales engineer, you’ll easily be able to land a well-paying job with good career prospects.
Sales Engineer FAQ
Yes, it’s also possible to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge through bootcamps, vocational schools, or online courses.
No, it’s not hard to become a sales engineer. While it will be challenging, there are numerous platforms and resources available to help you learn the best practices and techniques adopted in the field.
Yes, sales engineering is a great career. Not only will you enjoy a good annual salary and job security, you will get the satisfaction of seeing the business grow as a result of your hard work. You also get to regularly interact with colleagues from other departments and meet influential people in the industry.
Not every sales engineer is an engineer. You don’t necessarily need an engineering background to be a sales engineer. While some have a degree in engineering, others have degrees in other disciplines and relevant experience. You’ll need basic engineering knowledge, but the role focuses on customer relations, acting as a link between the development team and potential customers.
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