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Engineering Career Resources


Sales Engineer Job Description

Sales Engineer Job Description

Sales engineers, sometimes also known as field applications engineers, have a job that combines the principles of engineering with sales. Sales engineers are responsible for providing technical support to clients who purchase a manufacturer’s product, or to customers of a distributor that sells the product. They can also be employed at engineering consulting firms.

Sales engineers are typically part of an organization’s sales team, but their role is usually to strategize highly technical solutions pre-sale. Their in-depth knowledge of complex products, technology and solutions helps organizations identify clients’ needs, sometimes even before the client is aware of them. They use their technical know-how to explain to prospective clients the benefits of their products, how the products are useful and why their products outperform their competitors’. During the transaction and post-sale, it is the role of the sales engineer to address client concerns or implementation glitches with upper management.

Skills

Sales engineers must have a talent for sales first and foremost. They must have excellent communication and people skills, and be ready to travel. A strong technical knowledge of the products and services that they are selling is a must. Sales engineers must also be familiar with the products’ parts and their functions, as well as the processes that make them work.

Strong writing skills are essential, as sales engineers spend a lot of time preparing technical presentations for clients and potential customers. They must be able to explain technical properties of a product to non-technical staff and clients.

In addition, because sales engineers meet with prospective clients and collaborate with teams of experts when identifying customers’ needs and providing input on product design, good business skills, commercial awareness, and a commitment to follow-through are essential.

Qualifications

Successful sales engineers typically have an engineering degree. The most common academic degrees are those in electrical, mechanical and civil engineering. However, some sales engineers might have a background in science or business. For most entry-level jobs in sales engineering, a bachelor’s degree is sufficient. Graduates typically receive training on the job when they join a company.

Continuing education is a must: Sales engineers must always be up-to-date on the latest standards and requirements, as many of their clients operate in heavily regulated industries.

Work

Since the sales engineer’s role is a hybrid of selling and engineering, their day-to-day duties will vary. On any given day, a sales engineer may be holding training courses, either internally or at a client location, about how a product or technology functions. They also might meet with upper management to explain and troubleshoot issues with a client, or with the sales team to brainstorm new business and customer solutions. They also often serve as internal consultants to provide feedback during the development and improvement of products to best meet customer needs. Sales engineers typically travel often, sometimes internationally, to attend trade shows and business conferences. They also might work irregular hours to meet client needs. Income and job security depend on successfully completing sales, so sales engineers spend a lot of time ensuring that the product is superior and that the customers are happy.