The responsibilities of a sales engineer can differ depending on the company, the industry, and the goods being sold. Technical sales engineering is nonetheless in high demand, especially in the software market.
Experienced sales engineers must understand fast-paced markets and deal with quickly evolving technologies. Because the software industry sells complex solutions, technical knowledge and the use of industry tools like sales cloud demos are necessary for bringing those products to market.
These engineers serve as the bridge between the development and sales teams, ultimately finding ways to appeal to the potential buyer through their combined knowledge.
Defining the Software Sales Engineer
Leading into the definition, a sales engineer assists in a company’s sales process regarding technologically advanced products. A brand of candy bar will have an entirely different sales cycle than a complicated tax filing software package.
Enterprise applications come with a variety of features, integrations, and requirements that the engineer must communicate effectively to the client. In the case of B2B sales, that client is another business.
Sales engineers bridge the gap between product development and the sales team, using their specialized knowledge to help close the transaction with the customer. This unique job is in high demand, with many tech sales engineers generating high salaries and serving vital roles in their respective companies.
Qualities of a Successful Software Sales Engineer
Bridging the gap between enterprise software developers and B2B clients is a challenge that not many professionals can take on. As such, software sales engineers need to have several qualities:
- Relevant education, such as a Bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, or any other related technical field. Some business knowledge is necessary as well, and many sales engineers receive software sales training while on the job. They also take experience from working alongside other sales representatives regarding the company’s specific sales process.
- Sales experience. Software sales engineers do exist to speed up the sales process, after all. Depending on the company, you could be selling directly to the client or simply work with the dedicated sales team, ultimately leaving the actual sales work to them.
- Communication skills. Whether you’re talking with other sales members or the clients directly, being able to interpret and convey highly technical software concepts in an easy-to-understand way is an essential skill. Being clear and succinct matters when it comes to communicating complicated software features.
- Collaboration skills, or being a “team player” so to speak. You must work well with the sales representatives and programmers to develop a selling strategy that appeals to the client well.
- Problem-solving. Your approach to sales must be solution-oriented. Clients buy software because they want it to address some of their pain points. A sales engineer can find ways to make the software more appealing by showing off the right features and what they do to fix problems. In the case of pre-sale engineers, your job might also include finding the right software package that fits a customer’s needs the best.
- Willingness to learn. Sales engineering is not a stagnant market. As technology and sales protocols evolve, you will need to keep up with the industry by seeking regular education and experience.
Just as important are the tools you need for the job. Software sales engineers use a variety of platforms and services, including note-taking applications and communication platforms.
Popular Sales Tools
Sales engineers typically have to work with a customer relationship manager (CRM). These software suites help manage interactions both past and present with the clients. Programs like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics are examples of this.
There’s a high chance you will also perform sales demos of your software. Because enterprise software features are complicated, it’s better to show your client how they work through an interactive simulation rather than through words only. Many cloud services offer sales demo environments where you can provide demonstrations online in a convenient setting.