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.
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.
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:
There are many skills that are helpful when going into sales engineering. Here are a few:
- Presentation skills. The ability to present in many different situations to different audiences and be able to tell a story that is going to resonate with the audience you are in front of. Here is a good resource: https://tonymelrose.com/the-blog/presentation-skills-are-foundational-skills-part-four-know-the-situation
- Technical skills. Not only do you need to have some basic technical knowledge, but the ability to act as a "translator" between non-technical and technical folks is key! (PS this post is written by a sales engineer that is not super technical)
- Organizational skills. This role requires juggling many things at once. Staying organized is critical.
- Time Management skills. You'll often get pulled in many directions and have many asks on your plate. Being able to prioritize and manage your time will not only help you succeed but will keep you sane as well.
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.
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,
You have a lot of great answers here and the one thing I would add is being genuinely curious about the problems people are trying to solve. The more you make it about your client and what will help them, the more they will be willing to engage with you meaningfully.
The industry, technology and sales cycles are ever changing, so it's those who keep learning who continue to thrive.
1 - Understand the detailed capabilities of your product or service.
2 - Learn customer stories to highlight how customers are using your product or service.
3 - Develop specific examples of the business benefits of your product or service.
4 - Practice your presentation skills and storytelling.
In my experience, team members often enjoy the sales engineer role as it blends many different skills together. In addition, the daily activities for the role are often different.
I wish you the best as you explore this role!
Initially we here at Micro Focus believe that, you should have a solid understanding of what you will be speaking to, being able to articulate the topic. Other Major skills needed would be:
-Communication, Listenting skills
-Passion for the solutions
- Being technically savvy is not enough, It is also important to understand your customer's business and produce Returns on Investment figures.
- Try interning at a Technology firm that would provide you the foundation needed.
- Relationship skills as you will be part of a team
Tyler recommends the following next steps:
1. Understand the problem
2. Understand how does this affect the customer
3. Know how we can provide a solution to the given problems (or not)
4. Present the solution that's easy to understand and addresses the customer's need
Hope this helps!