Many products and services, especially those purchased by large companies and institutions, are highly complex. Sales engineers—who also may be called manufacturers’ agents, sales representatives, or technical sales support workers—work with the production, engineering, or research and development departments of their companies, or with independent sales firms, to determine how products and services could be designed or modified to suit customers’ needs. They also may advise customers on how best to use the products or services provided.
Sales engineers sell and consult on technologically and scientifically advanced products. They should possess extensive knowledge of these products, including their components and processes. Sales engineers then use their technical skills to demonstrate to potential customers how and why the products or services they are selling would suit the customer better than competitors’ products. Often, there may not be a directly competitive product. In these cases, the job of the sales engineer is to demonstrate to the customer the usefulness of the product or service—for example, how much money new production machinery would save.
$57,342 – $95,426 including commission. (United States)
A bachelor’s degree in engineering usually is required to become a sales engineer. However, some workers with previous experience in sales combined with technical experience or training sometimes hold the title of sales engineer. Also, workers who have a degree in a science, such as chemistry, or even a degree in business with little or no previous sales experience, may be termed sales engineers.
Employment of sales engineers is expected to grow by 9% between 2006 and 2016.