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Career profile Sales Engineer

Also known as Product Sales Engineer; Sales Engineer; Sales Engineer, Account Manager; Sales Engineer, Engineered Products; Senior Sales Engineer; Technical Sales Engineer

Sales Engineer

Also known as Product Sales Engineer; Sales Engineer; Sales Engineer, Account Manager; Sales Engineer, Engineered Products; Senior Sales Engineer; Technical Sales Engineer

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$60,730 - $184,190 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Persuasion
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Collaborate with sales teams to understand customer requirements, to promote the sale of company products, and to provide sales support.
  • Sell products requiring extensive technical expertise and support for installation and use, such as material handling equipment, numerical-control machinery, or computer systems.
  • Plan and modify product configurations to meet customer needs.
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What does a Sales Engineer do?

Sales Engineers sell business goods or services, the selling of which requires a technical background equivalent to a baccalaureate degree in engineering.

What kind of tasks does a Sales Engineer perform regularly?

Sales Engineers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Collaborate with sales teams to understand customer requirements, to promote the sale of company products, and to provide sales support.
  • Sell products requiring extensive technical expertise and support for installation and use, such as material handling equipment, numerical-control machinery, or computer systems.
  • Plan and modify product configurations to meet customer needs.
  • Confer with customers and engineers to assess equipment needs and to determine system requirements.
  • Prepare and deliver technical presentations that explain products or services to customers and prospective customers.
  • Arrange for demonstrations or trial installations of equipment.
  • Create sales or service contracts for products or services.
  • Develop, present, or respond to proposals for specific customer requirements, including request for proposal responses and industry-specific solutions.
  • Visit prospective buyers at commercial, industrial, or other establishments to show samples or catalogs, and to inform them about product pricing, availability, and advantages.
  • Research and identify potential customers for products or services.
  • Provide technical and non-technical support and services to clients or other staff members regarding the use, operation, and maintenance of equipment.
  • Recommend improved materials or machinery to customers, documenting how such changes will lower costs or increase production.
  • Develop sales plans to introduce products in new markets.
  • Diagnose problems with installed equipment.
  • Provide information needed for the development of custom-made machinery.
  • Keep informed on industry news and trends, products, services, competitors, relevant information about legacy, existing, and emerging technologies, and the latest product-line developments.
  • Document account activities, generate reports, and keep records of business transactions with customers and suppliers.
  • Maintain sales forecasting reports.
  • Identify resale opportunities and support them to achieve sales plans.

The above responsibilities are specific to Sales Engineers. More generally, Sales Engineers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Communicating with People Outside the Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Selling or Influencing Others
Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Sales Engineer salary?

The median salary for a Sales Engineer is $108,830, and the average salary is $117,270. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Sales Engineer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Sales Engineers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Sales Engineers earn less than $60,730 per year, 25% earn less than $79,670, 75% earn less than $148,040, and 90% earn less than $184,190.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Sales Engineers is expected to change by 7.8%, and there should be roughly 7,300 open positions for Sales Engineers every year.

Median annual salary
$108,830
Typical salary range
$60,730 - $184,190
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
7.8%

What personality traits are common among Sales Engineers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Sales Engineer are usually higher in their Enterprising, Realistic, and Investigative interests.

Sales Engineers typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Sales Engineers typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Lastly, Sales Engineers typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Sales Engineer tend to value Achievement, Working Conditions, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Sales Engineers strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Sales Engineers strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Sales Engineers strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Sales Engineers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, cooperation, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Sales Engineers, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

What education and training do Sales Engineers need?

Many Sales Engineers will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Sales Engineers usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Sales Engineers

  • 0.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 3.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 11.8% completed some college coursework
  • 6.8% earned a Associate's degree
  • 57.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 17.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.9% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Sales Engineers

Sales Engineers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as sales and marketing, customer and personal service, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Sales Engineers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Important Abilities needed by Sales Engineers

Sales Engineers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Sales Engineers need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Sales Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Sales Engineers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Sales Engineers frequently use skills like persuasion, reading comprehension, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Sales Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Persuasion
Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.