Sales Engineer

Position TitleSales Engineer
Alternate Title(s)Technical Sales Engineer, Senior Sales Executive, Vice President of Sales, Key Account Manager
Education & Training LevelBachelors required, prefer graduate degree
Education & Training Level DescriptionSales engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field. 
Brief job description Sales engineers sell complex technological products or services to businesses. They must have extensive knowledge of the products’ specifications, weights, parts, and functions and must understand the processes that make these products work. They combine their technical knowledge of the products or services they are selling with strong interpersonal skills.
Preferred Level of EducationBachelor’s degree
Preferred Level of ExperienceSee the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information.
Estimated/Expected SalarySee the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information.
Job Profile

Technical Sales Engineers have an in-depth technical knowledge of all turbines, components, and systems as well as options within the portfolio. They prepare presentations for customer engineering teams, lead technical discussions, and participate in responses such as Request for Information, Request for Proposal, Funding Opportunity Announcements, etc. to ensure the technical information is correctly identified. A sales engineer creates and tracks their pipeline informing management of new developments and opportunities.

Sales Engineers typically do the following:

  • Prepare and deliver technical presentations that explain wind turbines, component parts, and services to customers and prospective customers.
  • Confer with customers and engineers to assess equipment needs and to determine system requirements.
  • Collaborate with sales teams to understand customer requirements and provide sales support.
  • Plan and modify products to meet customer needs.
  • Recommend improved materials or machinery to customers, showing how changes will lower costs or increase production.
  • Help in researching and developing new products.

Sales engineers specialize in technologically and scientifically advanced products. They use their technical skills to explain the benefits of their products or services to potential customers and to show how their products or services are better than their competitors' products. Some sales engineers work for the companies that design and build technical products. Others work for independent sales firms.

Many of the duties of sales engineers are similar to those of other salespeople. They must interest the client in buying their products or services, negotiate a price, and complete the sale. To do this, sales engineers give technical presentations during which they explain the technical aspects of the product and how it will solve a specific customer problem. Some sales engineers, however, team with sales staff who concentrate on marketing and selling the product, which lets the sales engineer concentrate on the technical aspects of the job. By working as part of a sales team, each member is able to focus on his or her strengths and expertise.

In addition to giving technical presentations, sales engineers are increasingly doing other tasks related to sales, such as market research. They also may ask for technical requirements from customers and modify and adjust products to meet customers’ specific needs. Occasionally, sales engineers work with research and development (R&D) departments to help identify and develop new products.

Job Skills
  • Complex problem-solving skills. Sales engineers be aware of market, technology and environmental issues, and then recommend solutions, possibly including customizing a product (e.g., recommend policy incentives).
  • Interpersonal skills. Strong interpersonal skills are a valuable characteristic for sales engineers, both for building relationships with clients and effectively communicating with other members of the sales team.
  • Self-confidence. Sales engineers should be confident and persuasive when making sales presentations. 
  • Technological skills. Sales engineers must have knowledge of the technologically sophisticated products they sell in order to explain their advantages and answer questions.
  • Communication skills. Sales engineers must sell their products at wind industry trade shows, and in person.
  • Sales skills. Sales engineers have the ability to recognize an opportunity and the drive to seek it out to put their company at an advantage over competitors.
  • Evaluative skills. Sales engineers need to understand the interplay between resource, siting, and policy, and be able to evaluate opportunities to stay ahead of the competition. They need to streamline their sales and development cycles.
Resources

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Sales Engineer

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