Technical Sales Engineer Job Description
Technical sales engineers use their extensive knowledge of a technical product’s features and operations to sell and provide support for these products to businesses. They assess a customer’s technical needs, explain details about technical products, place orders, attend sales events and trade shows, collaborate with sales teams, and assist in the development of new products. Technical sales engineers tend to work in a designated territory and could travel depending on the size of that territory. They might work for computer or software manufacturers, telecommunications companies, electronics or electrical product manufacturers, or in the automotive or aeronautical fields. Technical sales engineers typically work full-time, though travel and attending weekend-related events like trade shows could inflate 40-hour work weeks as needed.
Technical Sales Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
Technical sales engineers work in a variety of industries. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary, but there are several core tasks associated with the job, including:
Sell Technical Products
Technical sales engineers spend a good portion of their day meeting with existing and potential customers, explaining product features, presenting and demonstrating new products, and determining which products meet the needs of each individual customer. They complete proposals, write up sales orders, prepare sales documents, and negotiate contract terms.
Provide Technical Support
One of the main responsibilities of a technical sales engineer is to provide post-sales support for customers. In this role, they discuss and troubleshoot any problems with a recently purchased product, make minor adjustments or repairs, and log issues to be discussed with the production team.
Manage Sales Territory
It is up to technical sales engineers to grow a sales territory. They create relationships with existing customers and make frequent visits to customer sites to ensure all products are working effectively. They also meet with potential customers to discuss new and upcoming products, and provide leadership to other sales members.
Attend Trade Exhibitions, Seminars, and Conferences
Technical sales engineers are typically the face of their company at trade shows, where they discuss products and product development with interested parties. They also attend training seminars and industry conferences to learn about industry trends and sales techniques, as well as network with other sales engineers.
Discuss Product Enhancements and New Product Development
Since technical sales engineers are usually the first individuals to test out new products to customers, it is up to these individuals to record any issues, note consistent problems, and offer ideas to enhance technical products. Technical sales engineers might also be called upon to offer suggestions during new product development.
Technical Sales Engineer Skills and Qualifications
If you’re looking for a career that combines strong technical knowledge and sales ability, and that offers a level of independence and the opportunity to meet new people on a consistent basis, then you might consider working as a technical sales engineer. We’ve looked at several online job postings to determine that many employers seek candidates with the following skills:
- Computer skills – technical sales engineers should have a strong understanding of basic computer hardware and software systems, and be able to explain them in a clear, concise manner
- Sales skills – the ability to effectively close sales deals is a major aspect of being a technical sales engineer
- Communication – from demonstrating products to preparing sales reports, technical sales engineers must display strong verbal and written communication skills on a daily basis
- Listening skills – it takes strong listening skills for technical sales engineers to understand what products their customers need and to provide adequate technical support when discussing any issues with a specific product
- Interpersonal skills – having a friendly, outgoing personality and possessing the ability to work with people of various cultural and social backgrounds is a huge plus for technical sales engineers
- Multitasking – it’s not uncommon for a technical sales engineer to spend a day meeting new customers, closing deals, arranging meetings, gathering materials for a trade show, and addressing a technical issue with a recently sold product
- Problem solving – whether it’s a technical issue with a software product or a detail that’s hanging up a sales deal, technical sales engineers must be solution-driven individuals with strong problem-solving skills
- Work independently – technical sales engineers typically spend much of their day traveling from one customer location to the next and must be able to make decisions about sales and support with little or no supervision
Technical Sales Engineer Education and Training
In many cases, employers seek job candidates for technical sales engineer positions who have completed a bachelor’s degree program in an area of engineering, such as computer engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, or chemical engineering. Coursework in math, chemistry, physics, computer science, and business administration are usually recommended. Sales techniques and knowledge of specific products are usually addressed in on-the-job training programs, where novice technical sales engineers might work under an experienced engineer for a determined amount of time.
Technical Sales Engineer Salary
As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2017, technical sales engineers earn a median annual salary of nearly $99,000. Those in the 10th percentile are paid about $57,000 per year, while those earning at the top end of the spectrum can realize a median yearly wage of more than $162,000.
Professionals employed in the wholesale electronics industry and by computer design companies tend to make the highest annual average salaries, at $114,500 and $113,000, respectively, the BLS states. Technical sales engineers working in Delaware enjoy the highest annual mean salary in the US at nearly $142,500, followed by Maryland (about $132,000) and Virginia (nearly $129,000).
Overall, technical sales engineers should see a seven percent employment growth rate through 2026, according to the BLS. A generous 20 percent growth rate is expected to be seen over the same time period by technical sales engineers who work in the area of computer systems design. More than 80,000 technical sales engineers are projected to be employed by 2026.
Are you sold on a career as a technical sales engineer? If you feel that this is a career you’d like to pursue, refer to the resources listed below to get more details about what you can expect and what you need to do to get started and be successful.
National Society of Sales Engineers (NSSE) – check out the LinkedIn page for this organization, which provides networking, professional development, and educational opportunities for students and professionals in this field.
Mastering Technical Sales: The Sales Engineer Handbook, 3rd edition – two successful technical sales engineers guide you through the most updated methods and strategies to bring your career to the next level. Learn about new systems, remote demonstration technologies, and much more.
The Evolving Sales Engineer: Updated Version – use this book to find out what’s expected of the modern technical sales engineer, what one needs to work with sales managers and executives, and which techniques and skills serve these professionals best.
SE Guy the Sales Engineer Guy – get insight into best practices and strategies for technical sales engineers, such as how to do a demo or use social media, with this effective blog.
We the Sales Engineers Podcasts – get tips on everything from building relationships to how to get started in sales engineering through interviews with industry professionals in these eye-opening podcasts.
Making the Technical Sale: Real World Training for the Successful Sales Consultant – what differentiates technical sales from general sales? What is the role of a technical sales engineer? Which pit-falls and issues can you expect to encounter as a technical sales engineer, and how do you overcome them? Learn the answers to these and other important questions facing one who is new to the industry with this detailed book.
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