Sales Engineer

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Founder and CEO - Vergo
We needed an SDR to help us book meetings with hard to reach prospects and that's exactly what we got.
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Our RevPilots sales consultant taught us exactly what we needed to do when it came to B2B sales.
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Co-Founder and CEO - Archetype

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What Is a Sales Engineer?

A sales engineer is a professional who occupies a unique position at the intersection of business, engineering, and sales. They are primarily responsible for selling complex scientific and technological products or services to businesses. The role requires a deep technical knowledge and the ability to translate that knowledge into practical solutions that meet customer needs.

Typically, sales engineers have a solid technical background—often with a degree in engineering or a related technical field. This expertise is crucial for understanding the company’s products and services. Their primary duty is to explain the advantages of the products or services and how they can solve specific problems within an industry.

In the career trajectory of a sales engineer, they may also be referred to as solutions engineers or technical sales engineers. Unlike traditional sales roles, they must be able to engage with buyers on a technical level, often providing support and guidance through a product lifecycle.

This role bridges the gap between customers’ technical needs and the ability to provide an effective solution. They work closely with the research and development or engineering teams within a company to ensure that the offerings align with the client’s requirements.

The benefits of having a sales engineer on the team are clear. They help companies to more effectively sell complex products or services. Sales engineers are instrumental in tailoring offerings to customer needs, fostering understanding, and aiding in the deployment of technical solutions to the marketplace.

Education in a scientific or engineering discipline supplemented by experience in sales or business equips them to excel in this role. The combination of a strong technical field understanding with interpersonal skills makes the sales engineer a key asset in IT sales, engineering services, and beyond—contributing significantly to the success of both field sales and the company as a whole.

What Does a Sales Engineer Do?

A Sales Engineer combines technical expertise with sales skills to provide advice and support on a range of products. They are a vital link between the company and its customers, ensuring that the technical features of the product meet specific customer needs.

  • Technical Presentations & Proposals: They craft detailed and informative technical presentations that effectively communicate the benefits and features of complex products to potential customers.
  • Solution Focused: Their role is solution-centric; they design and modify systems to meet customers’ requirements, often customizing existing products or creating new solutions.
  • Educating Customers: Educating clients about product specifics is a primary responsibility, which often involves hands-on demonstrations and answering technical questions.
  • Sales Process Engagement: Sales Engineers work closely with the sales team to coordinate sales projects, acting as technical experts during sales pitches and negotiations.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: They liaise with the product development team, sharing customer feedback and system requirements, which informs future product development strategies.
  • Equipment & Tools Management: Sales Engineers are expected to have a thorough understanding of the operational use and maintenance of the equipment and tools they are selling.
  • Customer Service & Relationship Management: They focus on developing and maintaining long-term relationships with clients, offering continuous customer service to manage and interpret their requirements.
  • Project Coordination: Responsible for preparing and delivering technical documentation for bids and tenders, ensuring that all technical terms and conditions are addressed.

In essence, a Sales Engineer is a key part of a company’s sales force, leveraging their technical expertise to boost sales and enhance customer satisfaction while collaborating across departments.key

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Sales Engineer skills encompass a blend of interpersonal, technical, and business acumen. These professionals are adept at understanding customer needs, articulating technical information, and driving sales to closure.

Interpersonal And Communication Skills

Sales Engineers must possess strong interpersonal skills to build relationships and trust with clients. Effective communication skills are critical for explaining complex technical concepts in easily understandable terms. They must excel in:

  • Relationship-building: Cultivating lasting connections with clients and industry stakeholders.
  • Presentations: Conveying information compellingly through various mediums, including face-to-face and digital communication.
Technical And Analytical Skills

The role requires an in-depth understanding of engineering principles and products. Sales Engineers demonstrate:

  • Technical support and problem-solving skills to address client concerns.
  • Analytical skills: Evaluating customer needs and technical challenges swiftly.
Business And Sales Skills

A comprehensive grasp of the sales process is essential for Sales Engineers. Their business toolkit includes:

  • Sales experience: A track-record of engaging in the entire sales cycle effectively.
  • Industry knowledge: Awareness of market trends ensures that solutions meet the contemporary demands.
Educational And Training Requirements

Typically, a bachelor’s degree in engineering disciplines such as computer science or chemical engineering is necessary. Sales Engineers often pursue:

  • Technical degree: Earning a relevant degree to gain foundational knowledge.
  • Certifications: Such as Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP), to enhance sales proficiency.

Sales Engineers act as the critical link between the technical expertise of product development teams and the practical needs of clients. Their primary responsibility is to elucidate the technical features and capabilities of equipment or products to the sales team and potential customers.

  • Sales Support: They assist the sales teams by preparing and giving detailed product presentations. They ensure that sales teams are equipped with the necessary technical expertise to sell complex products.
  • Customer Interaction: Sales Engineers frequently interact with clients and customers, identifying their needs and demonstrating how a product can meet those needs.
  • Technical Expertise: They are adept at explaining complex technical information in a way that is understandable to non-technical clients, often customizing presentations to the client’s level of expertise.
  • Product Development Collaboration: They work closely with product development teams to relay feedback from customers or to suggest modifications that could result in a better product fit for the market. They may also be tasked with bringing new ideas based on market needs to the attention of the research and development teams.
  • Problem-Solving: These engineers troubleshoot issues related to the equipment or product. They provide support and expertise to resolve technical challenges encountered by customers or the sales team.
  • Knowledge Enhancement: They keep abreast of advancements in their field to maintain a competitive edge and partake in additional training as required by their management.

Their role bridges the gap and ensures that the product offerings align closely with market demands and customer expectations, all while supporting the sales team in achieving their targets.

Sales Engineers are known by various titles that reflect their role straddling both technical expertise and sales acumen. The alternative titles for a Sales Engineer often highlight the specific aspect of their role or the industry they are involved in.

Technical Sales Engineer: This title emphasizes the technical expertise the role requires. These individuals possess a deep understanding of the technical components of their products or services, combined with the ability to convey that understanding to a non-technical audience.

Solutions Engineer: Focused on creating tailored solutions for customers, Solutions Engineers collaborate closely with clients to understand their needs and craft bespoke solutions that align with those requirements.

Other titles that fall under the umbrella of Sales Engineer include:

  • Presales Engineer: They concentrate on the technical presentation and demonstration of products before the sale is made.
  • Customer Solutions Engineer: Highlighting the customer-oriented aspect of the role, these professionals specialize in adapting products to client needs.
  • Sales Consultant (Engineering Products): This title reflects a consultative approach to sales, offering technical advice alongside product sales.

In some industries, particularly software and technology, the following titles might also be used interchangeably:

  • Applications Engineer
  • Field Sales Engineer
  • Systems Engineer (Sales Focus)

Each title reflects a blend of sales prowess and technical knowledge, essential for guiding customers through complex purchasing decisions. A person in this role typically serves as a bridge between the technical team and the customer, ensuring that products meet customer needs while also being technically viable.

A Sales Engineer and an Account Executive often work together in the technology and service sectors, though they have distinct roles. A Sales Engineer primarily deals with the technical aspects of a product or service, while an Account Executive focuses on relationship management and sales strategy.

Key Responsibilities
  • Sales Engineer: They provide technical expertise and support in the sales process. Their tasks include demonstrating product features, explaining technical aspects to non-expert customers, and tailoring solutions to customer needs.
  • Account Executive: This role is about managing client relationships, understanding customer needs, and closing sales. They lead the sales cycle from identifying prospects to negotiating contracts.
Relationship Between Roles

Their collaboration ensures that a client receives both an understanding of the product’s technical potential from the Sales Engineer and the relational customer service from the Account Executive. The Sales Engineer provides the Account Executive with the necessary technical knowledge to make accurate sales pitches.

Skills Required
 Sales EngineerAccount Executive
Technical KnowledgeExtensiveModerate
Sales SkillsModerateHigh
Customer ServiceTechnical support focusRelationship management focus

In practice, a Sales Engineer may help to clarify complex product questions that arise during a sale, while an Account Executive uses their relationship to maintain customer loyalty and upsell when appropriate. Both roles are essential to the sales process, working in tandem to drive business success.

A Sales Engineer acts as the vital link between complex technological solutions and clients, ensuring products meet the customer’s needs. They possess a blend of technical prowess and sales acumen, often revealing how products can solve specific problems.


  • Collaborate with sales teams to understand customer requirements and provide sales support.
  • Secure and renew orders and arrange delivery.
  • Plan and modify products to meet customer needs.
  • Help clients solve problems with installed equipment.
  • Recommend improved materials or machinery to customers.

Qualifications & Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering or related field.
  • Proven work experience in sales engineering or related role.


  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to relate technical information to non-technical customers.
  • Excellent technical and problem-solving skills.


  • Bachelor’s in engineering, computer science, or related field preferred.


  • Hands-on experience within the relevant industry is typically expected.

Sales Process:

  • Knowledge of CRM software and Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Understanding of the sales cycle, from lead generation to closing.

Work Environment:

  • Sales engineers often work in offices, but may travel to visit clients or attend conferences.

Salary & Benefits:

  • Competitive salary with commission based on sales.
SalaryVaries by experience and region.
CommissionOften provided as a percentage of sales.
BenefitsHealth insurance, retirement plans, paid time off.

Job Outlook:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates steady growth in the field.

Websites like Glassdoor provide additional insights into employer ratings, salary reports, and the job satisfaction of current and former employees.

To embark on a career as a Sales Engineer, one generally needs a combination of education, certifications, and skills tailored to the overlap of technology and sales.

Education: A bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, or a related field establishes a foundation of technical knowledge essential for the role. Relevant coursework should include subjects in both engineering and business.

Certifications: While not always mandatory, certifications can bolster a candidate’s resume. Organizations such as the National Association of Sales Professionals offer credentials that can validate a Sales Engineer’s expertise and commitment to the profession.

Training & Skills: Sales Engineers should cultivate a blend of salesmanship and technical skills. They typically receive on-the-job training to understand company-specific products and sales techniques. Key skills include:

  • Analytical thinking to understand complex product features
  • Communication skills to explain technical details in layman’s terms
  • Interpersonal skills to nurture client relationships

Experience: Practical work experience is invaluable. Entry-level positions or internships in technical support, sales, or engineering can provide exposure to the industry. As one gains experience, they may progress into the Sales Engineer role.

Employment: Prospective Sales Engineers can find opportunities across various industries that offer complex technical products or services, from software companies to industrial equipment manufacturers.

Resources: Aspiring Sales Engineers can benefit from joining professional associations and utilizing resources offered by them, such as networking events, workshops, and further learning opportunities.

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