Sales engineers are at the forefront of technology product and service consumption, which contributes to their high job demand. In addition to the education and experience questions you’ll be asked during your sales engineer interview, there are some less obvious questions that you should prepare for.
Beyond your technical skills, potential employers will want to know more about your communication style, the quality of your analysis, and your appreciation for company culture and processes. Read below to learn more about the sales engineer interview questions and answers that you can expect in your job interview.
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What Is a Sales Engineer?
A sales engineer is a tech professional who combines the skillsets of a typical sales representative and an engineer. This mixture of specializations allows them to deliver on successful sales projects designed for industrial and commercial markets. To become a sales engineer, you should have a bootcamp education or technical degree.
When dealing with a potential client, sales engineers are expected to make a sale based on technical information and understanding. As they primarily sell technology products, clients expect them to thoroughly explain how the product or service works and provide answers to any technical questions.
Answers to the Most Common Sales Engineer Interview Questions
The hiring process for a sales engineer has been designed to assess your capacity to handle the multiple facets of this job. The hiring manager will have drafted a series of sales engineer interview questions that aim to establish how qualified you are for the position. This article provides insight into the top technical, behavioral, and general questions you can expect.
Top 5 Technical Sales Engineer Interview Questions and Answers
Sales engineers are hired specifically for their background in engineering. This position differs from standard sales positions because of the extensive knowledge required to explain and sell sophisticated technology. As a result, you can expect interview questions that test your technical knowledge and skills.
What Is a Typical Sales Call Like for a Sales Engineer?
Sales engineers work in industrial and commercial markets and specialize in selling technology that requires in-depth explanations. On a sales call, they will typically be explaining the purpose of the technology, along with technical reasons to invest in it. Of course, the nature of a call will depend on the technology being sold and the client on the other end.
What Do You Know About Our Products?
To answer this question, you must research the company and its products before the interview. Employers will want to know that you fully understand their products and can explain them in detail. Additionally, you’ll want to discuss the technical aspects of their products and the benefits of investing in them.
Who Do You Think Are Our Customers?
This is another question that requires you to research the hiring company beforehand. It’s important to be familiar with the company’s customer base to effectively sell products to them. In your answer, you should include brief descriptions of who the customers are and why they would need the products being sold.
What Software Have You Found Useful for Your Job?
Among the skills that are most associated with a sales engineer position are IT security and infrastructure, cloud computing, cyber security, machine learning, business analytics, and big data analytics. Your answer should ensure the hiring manager that you are familiar with the software required to perform these tasks.
What Experience Do You Have with Remote Access Software?
VMware ESXi is the remote access software that is most associated with the responsibilities of a sales engineer. However, answering this question will completely depend on your own personal experience with remote access software. If you don’t have experience, you can mention the steps you’re taking to learn more about it.
Top 5 Behavioral Sales Engineer Interview Questions and Answers
Interviewers use behavioral questions to better understand who you are and how you react to certain stressful situations. Additionally, these questions help them assess your suitability for the position and your connection to their company culture.
How Do You Cope with Highly Stressful Situations?
In any sales position, there are many frustrating situations that occur. This is multiplied by the fact that as a sales engineer, your role requires you to take complex information and simplify it for clients. This can create an added layer of stress on both ends, especially for difficult people. Your answer should display your ability to handle these situations professionally.
How Do You Ensure Your Audience Understands Complex Technical Terms?
The fundamental value of a sales engineer is that they are equipped to explain technology and answer related questions that regular sales representatives can’t. A huge portion of your responsibility is in your duty to explain complex concepts and terms in simple and ordinary language. To answer this question, you may want to use an example of how this can be done.
What’s the Biggest Challenge You’ve Faced in Communicating Technical Details? How Did You Overcome It?
As you aim to simplify terms, descriptions, and explanations to clients, you’ll likely run into situations that challenge your method of doing so. Although answers to this question will differ depending on the methods used, your answer should demonstrate that you’re able to adapt your communication based on these challenges.
What Inspires You to Do Your Job Well?
Answers to this question will vary depending on the company you’re interviewing with as well as your previous work experience. While you can certainly use previous experiences to answer this question, your answer should be diverse enough to assure the interviewer that your motivation will transfer to this new position.
What Successful Sales Projects Have You Participated In?
In addition to describing the successful sales projects that you’ve participated in, you’ll want to offer details that offer insight into your role in their success. These details can include your exact role, any challenges that you contributed to resolving, or any other important pieces of information.
Top 5 General Sales Engineer Interview Questions and Answers
General questions are used by interviewers to learn more about who you are and whether you would do well in their company. Although many general questions can seem unrelated to the position you’re interviewing for, it’s important that your answers are centered around the position.
What Would You Do If a Client Was Facing a Technical Issue and None of Your Suggestions Were Working?
This question offers a great opportunity for you to reflect on previous experience. You can describe a situation where this did occur and explain what you did to resolve it. In addition to changing methods for clearer understanding on the client’s part, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from colleagues or superiors.
How Would You Compare the Benefits of Using Our Product Over a Competitor’s Product?
This question requires you to thoroughly research the company beforehand. Your research should focus on who the hiring company is, their products or services, a focused understanding of one or two products or services, and a general idea of who their competitors are. Knowing these unique features and benefits can assist in answering this question.
A Key Client Requests a Feature We Don’t Currently Offer. How Do You Respond to the Client?
To answer this question, you have to be familiar with the company’s products. You can talk about how you would stay calm in this situation and explain a replacement solution. In some cases, you might be able to persuade them to purchase something else. This answer can be a good representation of your sales skills.
Your Manager Sets a Goal that You Think Is Unrealistic. How Do You Respond to It?
This question focuses on your communication skills and thought process. Answers will vary depending on personal tendencies and preferences. However, your answer should display professionalism in your thought process and excellent communication skills. Remember that it’s also professional to respectfully let your manager know that an unrealistic deadline can’t be met.
Who Have You Worked with Previously, and What Was Your Contribution to the Sale Cycle?
Employers often ask questions that have already been answered in your resume, and there are several reasons they do this. Regardless, you can use this opportunity to elaborate on some of the information and highlight some of your successes that weren’t described in your resume.
Tips to Prepare for a Sales Engineer Interview
1. Learn More About the Company
During your sales engineer interview, you can expect several questions that focus on who the company is, what they offer, and why you want to work for them. To assure the interviewers of your interest in the company, it’s helpful to learn as much as you can beforehand so that you’re able to provide thorough and accurate answers.
2. Research the Company’s Customers
As business is always evolving, it would benefit you to have a genuine appreciation for what existing customers expect from the company you are about to work for. That provides you with a foundation when trying to attract a whole new demographic without compromising the relationship with existing clients.
3. Emphasize Professionalism
While employers want to know that you have the education and experience for the position, they’ll also want to know that you have the soft skills for the job. During your interview process, your answers should reflect a high level of professionalism in your communication, thought process, decisions, solutions, and anything else involved in the position.
What Skills Should I Put on My Sales Engineer Resume?
On your resume, you should include your presentation skills, communication skills, and capacity to foster healthy client relationships. A sales engineer is expected to have in-depth knowledge of company culture, the sales process, technical products, technical requirements, sales forecasts, sales quotas, client expectations, product development, and business language.
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Most hiring managers are looking for a team of sales engineers who can guarantee the online safety of a prospective client. In simple terms, IT security and infrastructure involve the installation of preventative measures that help prevent unauthorized access, modification, deletion, and theft of resources and data.
Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence, which places particular emphasis on exploratory data analysis. Machine learning is intended to equip you with the skills needed to make a computer perform tasks without actually programming that computer to do so. You would need to know how to maintain this level of functionality in your role as a sales engineer.
At the heart of VMWare ESXi is the deployment and service of virtual computers, all of which are central to the sales process. Working knowledge of technical products like this is likely to be a requirement in a sales engineer job description. You can learn how to use this tool in one of the best tech sales bootcamps.
How to Find Sales Engineer Jobs
Sales engineers often use popular job search platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor. However, you might be better off searching for work on platforms that are specifically designed for your profession. Some of these include AngelList, J. Patrick & Associates, and FlexJobs.
AngelList is unique in that it deals primarily with startups. For engineering positions, startups can usually afford to offer higher salaries to their employees and can be an excellent investment for you, professionally. AngelList lists hundreds of sales engineer positions throughout a variety of cities.
J. Patrick & Associates
Of all the recruitment agencies available, J. Patrick & Associates is among the highest regarded by people searching for sales engineering placements. It provides job listings in many different cities, and if you don’t see any that you like, they give you the option of registering with them to receive emails on opportunities you may be interested in.
A defining feature for a platform like FlexJobs is that it promotes the search for high-quality remote and flexible jobs. Jobs that fall within this bracket are strongly associated with startup companies, where the hiring process is strongly geared towards finding people who will also invest in their company.
Sales Engineer FAQs
What Does a Sales Engineer Do?
A sales engineer is responsible for selling technically sophisticated products and services. They usually work on sales teams and provide excellent customer service to hit lofty sales targets.
How is a Sales Rep Different from a Sales Engineer?
Sales representatives typically use persuasion to entice customers to invest in their product or service. Sales engineers utilize their extensive engineering background to provide detailed technical information and answer questions that clients might have.
How Much Does a Sales Engineer Make?
According to PayScale, the average salary of a sales engineer is about $74,590. With a successful sales project or more sales opportunities, you can earn double this amount.
Which Companies Hire Sales Engineers?
Among the more popular employers of sales engineers are companies like Eaton Corporation, Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric, Cisco Systems, and Google. However, many companies and industries hire sales engineers.
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