The distinctive element of a sales engineer role is the candidate’s in depth knowledge of a specific market. These markets are often very technical so as well as a strong personality and a proven track record of sales, candidates must be confident of their ability to understand the product and their clients’ needs.
A Sales Engineer combines their sales expertise with technical knowledge of a specific product or industry.
The clients a Sales Engineer sells to are usually businesses rather than consumers and can include hospitals, where knowledge of medical equipment is needed, factories where candidates need to be fully aware of the manufacturing processes involved and which tools or equipment the client is likely to need, or farms, where it's essential to have an extensive knowledge of agricultural products and their uses.
These are just a few examples - Sales Engineers are employed across a wide variety of different industries and are an integral part of the sales process. Whatever the industry you work in, some typical daily duties might include:
Regular contact with existing clients to establish their ongoing needs.
Speaking to new clients to understand their business and their requirements.
Negotiating and closing deals for new and existing clients.
Providing after sales service and account management.
Attending trade shows and industry conferences.
The preparation and delivery of complex sales presentations.
Providing training to new and existing clients on specific products.
Giving feedback from clients to product development team so that future products can be improved.
It really depends on the job - for example an engineering firm may require their Sales Engineers to have a degree in an engineering-related subject whereas a healthcare business may simply require a number of years' experience selling a similar product. It's also quite often the case that Sales Engineers begin their careers in the design or manufacturing process and graduate to the sales side of the business over time.
Recent salaries for roles advertised at time of writing (Dec 2009) include:
Up to £30,000 plus OTE for a Field Sales Engineer working for a plastics business based in Birmingham.
£42,000 plus benefits for a Regional Sales Engineer working for a building services business based in Hertfordshire.
£60-100,000 OTE for a Sales Engineer working for a heating business based in South London.
£50-120,000 OTE for a Technical Sales Engineer working for a Healthcare company based in Central London.
Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
£23 Annual days Holiday allowance, Pension Plan, Healthcare Plan)
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