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Sales Engineer Careers, Jobs and Training Information

Sales Engineer Career and Job Highlights

  • A bachelor’s degree in engineering is required for this type of work. In addition many sales engineers have previous work experience specializing in a specific area of engineering.
  • Employment growth in this area of work is anticipated to increase due to the technical nature and vast number of products expected to be sold.
  • Job opportunities working in independent agencies are likely to be especially abundant.
  • Earnings are founded on a combination of both salary and commission.

Sales Engineer Career Overview

Sales engineers , also referred to as manufacturing agents, work as sales representative or technical support workers. Using their engineering skills, these specialized sales reps help customers determine which products or services best fit their needs. Aside from customer interactions, sales engineers may also work in other departments of their company such as research and development, production, and engineering. Some may work for private firms where they determine how products and services can be fashioned or customized to best suit the needs of the customers. Sales engineers may also spend time advising customers on how to make the best use of the products or services provided.

Good sales tactics are very important in this line of work. Sales engineers display and expound upon the various products or services they are selling persuading the potential customer, with the use of their technical knowledge, as to why their product is better than that of a competitor. In situations where there is no comparative competitor’s product, the job of the sales engineer shifts slightly and focuses on the usefulness of the product or service. For instance, a sales rep may endorse the amount of time or money a customer will save by purchasing a particular product or service.

The vast majority of sales engineers working in today’s field have earned bachelor’s degrees in engineering. And, many of these have acquired previous job experience working in a specific area of engineering. Through principles and theories of mathematics and science, engineers unravel answers to various technical problems. Their work can be seen as a connection between commercial function and scientific finding. Many sales engineers choose to focus in a specialized area of engineering. For instance many of the sales engineers selling electrical products and services have degrees in electrical engineering, while many who sell chemical products have degrees in chemical engineering.

The job duties of sales engineers tend to be similar to those of other salespersons. Capturing the customers interest they must be competent and friendly while making a sale. In many job situations, sales engineers work with a team of other sales persons who focus directly on the marketing and sales portion of the job; this then make it possible for the sales engineer to work on the more technical aspects of the job. When working as a team, each team member is able to employ his or her strong suits and expertise.

The sales techniques used by most sales engineers tend to vary from the strategies used by other sales employees. Different than traditional sales techniques which focus on brining the features and benefits of a product to the surface and then leaving the customer to decide whether or not a specific product would be useful to them, sales engineers often see their product or service as a way to cure or alleviate a client’s problem.

Along with drawing new clients to the business and maintaining existing ones, most sales engineers also help solve any problems that may come up once a piece of merchandise has been installed. Sales engineers may often be called to serve as a link between the customer and the establishment for which they work. Because of their experience in dealing with a wide range of client requests, sales engineers may also help other employees build ideas and develop new products.

Small independent firms, direct manufacturer, and service providers are all businesses in which sales engineers are likely to find work. Sales engineers working for an independent firm may sell a variety of products from a number of different suppliers, and are often paid on a commission basis.

Sales Engineer Training and Job Qualifications

Individuals interested in becoming a sales engineer should seriously consider earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering. While some establishments higher workers with previous sales and technical experience or training, most require an engineering degree. Individuals with degrees in chemistry, or business may also be considered qualified enough to take positions as sales engineers.

Undergraduate acceptance requirements for most engineering schools include mathematics such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, physical sciences such as biology, chemistry and physics, as well as general courses in humanities, computer science, social studies, and English. Engineering programs may vary from school to school. Some programs emphasize theoretical pursuits in preparation for graduate school, while other focus on industrial practices, making students ready for a future job in industry. Before choosing a specific program, students should explore various curriculums and carefully assess the school’s accreditations. Upon selecting a university, students must choose a an are of specialty within the engineering program. In some cases a general engineering curriculum may be offered. Students are then at liberty to specialize on the job or in graduate school. Common specialties within the engineering program include mechanical, electrical, or civil engineering. Much of the curriculum between these specialties may over lap and engineers trained in one area of work may end up working in another related domain.

It is very common for sales engineers to first work as engineers. Many find the experience of working as an engineer a necessary step in their training, as it provides them with the technical background needed to effetely sell the products or services endorsed by their employer. Others move into the profession because of better earnings and advancement potential, or for others, simply because they wanted a new challenge.

New graduates may find that they need sales experience and training in addition to their engineering degrees in order to be considered for employment as a sales engineer. Sales mentors who are familiar with the business can be an excellent resource to graduates placing their feet into the field for the first time. Mentors can inform graduates on various business practices, sales procedures, customer services, and the over all culture of the business. Even after training has been completed, sales engineers may choose to continue partnering with someone who excels in the art of sales.

Advancement opportunities for sales engineers may include promotions with higher commission rates, elevation in position, or acquisition of a larger sales territory. In other situations, sales engineers may venture out to find another firm offering higher earnings and a chance for increased freedom. Reasonably few sales engineers are self-employed.

Continuing education is important for sales engineers as much of their value to their employers depends on their understanding of the latest technology. Technical information and quickly become obsolete, especially in areas of advanced electronics or information technology.

Sales Engineer Job and Employment Opportunities

Employment opportunities for sales engineers are expected to grow along with the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Growth in this area of work is likely to arise due to an increasing number and variety of goods that are expected to be sold. It is also expected that the competitive pressures and advancing technology will drive companies towards more frequent improvement and updates in their product designs, and will push the need to optimize their manufacturing and sales processes. As companies expand their sales force, new positions will be created. Other job openings will arise each year as employees transfer to other professions or leave the work force.

In an attempt to control costs, it is expected that manufactures will continue contracting out more and more of their sales functions to independent sales agencies. Because of this, job opportunities for sales engineers in independent agencies and for self-employed sales engineers should be more plentiful.

Changing economic conditions as well as legislative issues and consumer preferences all have an effect on the employment opportunities and earnings available to sales engineers each year. Salespersons with technical expertise, an appropriate knowledge of things pertinent to this area of work, as well as individual qualities necessary for profitable sales will be most successful in finding work.

Historical Earnings Information

Earnings and compensation rates vary significantly among companies. The type and price of the product sold can also influence wages. A system of salary and commission, or salary plus a bonus are used by most employers. In most cases commission earnings are based on the number of sales an employee has made, bonuses are paid according to performance; either on an individual basis, a group basis, or on the over all performance of the company. Commission earnings and bonuses may fluctuate significantly from year to year in accordance with customer demand, sales ability, and the overall state of the economy.

In the year 2002, median annual earnings of sales engineers including comissions were $63,660. Yearly wages between $48,650 and $84,880 were earned by the middle 50 percent, and the lowest 10 percent made less than $37,430. The highest percent of sales engineers made earning greater than $108,080 each year. Sales engineers working in computer systems design, and other related services earned an annual median income of $77,100 in 2002, while earnings for sales engineers working with commercial equipment and professional supplies in the merchant wholesalers industry brought in about $53,170.

Sale engineers working for manufactures are generally given compensation for transportation, meals, hotels, customer entertainment and other related business expenses on top of their regular earnings. And, some sales engineers may receive frequent-flyer mileage, or personal use of a company vehicle in combination with standard benefits. Other companies offer free vacations, trips, or other gifts as incentives for exceptional employee performance. Sales engineers working in independent firms should expect a higher yet less steady income, and frequently, comparatively few benefits.