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what are the needed skills to be a good sales engineer ?


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Bernard’s Answer

Hi Rana,

Title is SALES ENGINEER. Two words, two jobs. Sales engineers not only need to have the technical expertise, but also the ability to tell stories of accomplishing success and how to overcome challenges in the simplest and to the point as possible.

Thank you Bernard! Rana M.

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Jay’s Answer

Hi Rana — great question! Nothing beats customer empathy. Learn to put yourself in the customers shoes and try to solve a problem rather than maximize your sales numbers. Also, don't be afraid to leverage the expertise of your colleagues. Since you are wearing multiple hats as a Sales Engineer, your peers might now more in-depth information on any one topic.

Thank you Jay! Rana M.

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Adam’s Answer

In a previous role I was sales engineer at a technology company. I think the best thing is to know your product inside/out. You don't need to know every single little detail but the main details and how these aspect will help your customers. That should be the main focus, what does this product do, what value does it add? Then taking that value add and applying to your clients specific need(s). Obviously you need to understand what those needs are first but those should be uncovered more in a discussion with open ended questions vs yes/no questions such as what is a pain point within xyz area of your business? What do you need to help the business grow, etc. Then applying your product/solution to help them achieve such or aid them thus adding value.

Thank you Adam! Rana M.

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stefan’s Answer

Hi Rana,

Learn as much as you can about your products and services. Also know and listen to your customers. Follow up to stay in touch with current and past customers. See if they can provide any feedback or suggestions. This also lets them know you haven’t forgotten them after making a sale. Your customers will likely research other options and compare costs. It’s helpful to know your competitors products and services. You will be better able to explain the advantages of what you have to offer. Stay current with changes that will or could impact your field and keep looking for new customers.

Good luck and keep learning.

Thank you Stefan! very helpful. Rana M.

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Earl’s Answer

One of the top skills needed to be a successful Sales Engineer would be to learn how to listen, and respond to let people know you heard and understand.

Also, knowing when to ask more questions. Many people are embarassed to ask questions--the great Sales Engineer is a lot like a five year-old, who is very curious, and asks lots of question like "why", "how", and "how come"?

Finally, someone who believes in investing in themselves to learn, learn, learn. Sure, about technology, but also about the different business that your potential customers (or your friends and family) run or work in. I know more than I thought I'd ever know about healthcare and how hospitals run-I never thought a Sales Engineer would need this knowledge, until I started the job.

Earl recommends the following next steps:

Youtube--empathetic listening / listening skills
Go to a tech company with sales staff, and investigate an intership
Read/watch technology news sources

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Thomas’s Answer

Many sales engineers start out in other roles, specifically gaining a deep understanding of how their products work. These roles could include development, support or services.
As you are building your technical background, SE's require great listening and presentation skills. You must understand the problem you are trying to solve for the customer and the outcomes they are trying to achieve with your product, versus just demoing the product. Customer empathy and the problems you are trying to solve, helps with getting alignment and understanding of what your product and services you are selling help with.
Finally, be a life long learner in your field as it is constantly changing.

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Adam’s Answer

I agree with Jay. I was previously a sales engineer so I can say the best thing to do is listen. Understand what their problem is and figure out how your product/services can address it. It also helps when that same product/service can save them time or money. This way they see the true value in it and not just another thing that they need to buy. There are also a mix of different type of customers so some might just flat out tell you what their problem is while others will make you work for it. This is where asking pointed/open ended questions will be helpful and allow you to gain insight to what their day to day is like and how you could put yourself in their shoes and then find a solution. Also I've found that customers don't like to have product shoved down their throat. They want something that's customization that will help their business and add value.

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Stephen’s Answer

You will need the ability to work with many different stakeholders - internal and external, to be successful. It is also necessary to explain things in a concise meaningful way to ensure what you are presenting is understood by audiences from many varied background and experience levels - both technical and business.

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Ray’s Answer

Hi Rana:

Being a Sales Engineer is the perfect mix of deep technical knowledge and people (sales) skills. It is uncommon that people have both. So Sales Engineers are always needed and are a very important position.

You need to be an expert on your solution and to a certain degree the industry in general. This will allow you to help solve problems for your clients.

You also need people skills. The ability to present, to connect with people, to understand their needs (even if they don't always), and to work in collaboration with clients and your sales team.

I was a Sales Engineer for around 7 years and it was one of the most rewarding and challenging positions


I hope this helps.

Best of Luck,
Ray

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Harsimran’s Answer

1) Ability to deal with pressure
2) Willing to work long and irregular hours
3) Ability to work both in a team and independently
4) Confidence

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Suraj’s Answer

Two things:

1. Know your product. Understand the impact and importance of technology to the clients.


2. Work Well with All Types of People. Learn to deal with different personality types. Understanding what is important to a prospect and how they “see” the world allows you to relate to them in a way that they understand.

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Scott’s Answer

1) Organized
2) Disciplined
3) Strong Communication skills
4) Strong listening skills

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Mark’s Answer

A good sales engineer knows the product they are selling inside and out, but a great one is able to paint a vision of the future and link a product's capabilities to the business value that the prospective buyer will receive.

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Doug’s Answer

How to be a good sales engineer:

1. Listen to the problem from the customer. Repeat the problem in any different way you can to make sure you understand what they are looking to accomplish.
2. Tell a story, introduce statistics into the conversation to sell your story.
3. Earning the customers trust will get you far as a sales engineer. For me, I use to make sure I answered all emails, calls etc in a timely manor. Make them feel as if they are important. They will give you more the harder you work for them!
4. Even if you are not familiar with the solution, let them you know will get back to them with a response. Do the work and find the answer or explain why its not possible.
5. Record your demo's pitching the product. Compare to other engineers who are successful. Adopt any things they maybe doing.
6. Be personable, these are other people outside of just your product or work. Connect with them on a personal level.
7. Prepare with your sales rep, know when you will talk and when they will talk. Be on the same page before the call.

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laikei’s Answer

I think this is a good question . If you want to be a sale engineer, you can probing more about the customer what he/she needs, and listen customer needs so that u can provide the best things/product to customer.

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Yeuk’s Answer

Lots of great answers above. I'd add:

Understand and show how your product/solution adds value to your customer, identify what business problem it really solves, what KPI's may improve, connect it to their strategic goals.

Active listening > Active talking. Don't feel you must always be talking. It needs to be a conversation. When was the last time you loved being endlessly talked at.

Be humble and curious.

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Mike’s Answer

Sales Engineering can be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling career choice. I like to think of myself as the technical half of a sales team. I sometimes say that our job is using technology to solve business problems. As articulated above, the most important skill is listening, followed closely by communication. You will often hear the term solution selling, but first it is imperative that you understand the problem you are trying to solve. There is where your creativity and technical skills come in. It is like solving a puzzle. You build your demo, getting feedback from your team, and from the customer if possible. The pièce de résistance is the demonstration, when you get to present your solution. And then you do it again. A different challenge every week. It never gets boring. Many different personality types can be successful SEs, but every one I have met has been a problem solver, a master of trivia, an excellent communicator, and a good listener.

Mike recommends the following next steps:

If you are technical, get some sales experience. Get in front of a customer.
If you care not comfortable presenting to a crowd, step out of your comfort zone.
Talk to a sales rep to see how he or she works with their SE counterparts.
Read John Care's Mastering Technical Sales: The Sales Engineer's Handbook

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Daniel’s Answer

Hi Rana,


A Sales Engineers role offers you the ability to get into Engineering and Sales, which requires a strong personality and ability to read and connect with others. In many fields, Sales Engineers are called upon to select or give advice to Design Engineers on specific products. This is where the engineering aspect becomes relevant. While connecting (selling) to Design Engineers you need to be familiar and competent in the Engineering Field (thermodynamics, heat transfer, etc.).

It is worth noting that Sales roles are driven by results. In order to excel in a Sales Engineer role, you need to be able to sell or convince someone to buy your product. If you are not able to do this, your ability to advance will be hindered.

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Tania’s Answer

Hi Rana!! I have been in a Technical sales position all my career. For me the most important part is being able to move from a technical conversation to a product/sales conversation easily, you need to be technical savvy about what you are selling enough to explain it and answer technical people's questions, but at the same time you have to be able to relate the technology you are selling to business outcomes, what will be the benefits your customer will get from what you are selling?, what is the future state your customer is looking for using what you are selling? Keeping both in mind at all times will make you successful :)

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Art’s Answer

From what I have learned as a Pre-Sales Engineer, the most important part of the job is being able to get to the root of a customer's business issue. Many times, customers are coming to me due to my expertise as an engineer with the answer in their mind without a good understanding of what problem they are trying to solve. By breaking down the problem to its simplest form, you are able to ensure your engineered solution is a perfect fit for the customer's needs and this also ensures you can justify the value to the cost of your solution. This also allows you to qualify out quickly which with lots of customers you might be speaking to, it's important to know where to spend your time.

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