Sales Engineer Salary Breakdown for an Aspiring Sales EngineerSep 02, 2022
There are many careers that involve sales in some way, but those careers aren't all the same. In some cases the selling is very direct, right to the consumer. But there are many B2B sales jobs, as well.
When one business is selling a technologically or scientifically advanced product to another business, they often facilitate this with someone who has the job title sales engineer. Here is what you need to know about sales engineers, their average salary, and what they offer to the companies they work for.
What Does a Sales Engineer Do?
Sales engineers, primarily, sell scientific and technological products to businesses. While it's common for these companies to have more standard or traditional salespeople, the engineers have additional information and product knowledge they can provide. These engineers are the ones who bridge the gap between sales roles and product development.
Since they have a lot of applied technical knowledge, they use that to help sales reps persuade interested prospects. When a business is trying to choose between a couple of different products or companies, they're more likely to choose the one that can provide them with technical specs, details, and a more complete level of information.
There are a lot of different ways these engineers can help the companies they work for. Their exact role, average salary, and work environment will depend on the company they're with. While they all perform similar types of tasks and bring a certain kind of value to their companies, the details of how they operate can be very different.
Typically, sales engineers can be expected to spend a lot of time with their colleagues who are sales reps, and with potential clients. They'll be talking about the details of the products and what those products can offer to the clients, along with helping the sales reps find the best strategies to drive additional sales more easily.
How Much Does a Sales Engineer Make?
An average sales engineer salary can vary depending on the company, years of experience, skills, and other factors. Average sales engineer salaries range from around $80,000 up to $200,000, with many of the jobs falling into the $110,000 to $115,000 range. It's possible for sales engineer salary ranges to be as little as $55,000 or as high as $380,000, but these are uncommon.
Asking about the average sales engineer salary they can expect to receive is an important aspect for anyone who's seeking this job because they need to know whether the solutions engineer salary they're being offered is going to be a good fit for their goals and level of experience. Generally, the more skills an engineer has and the longer they've been working in the field, the higher their salary.
However, there are always outliers to that, and the possibility that a particular company will be offering more or less than an engineer would typically expect to get. In those cases the engineer may want to look elsewhere, especially if they have other offers. Sales engineers can be in demand because of the detailed nature of their job, and recent sales engineer salaries may be higher or lower than the common sales engineer salary they're expecting.
How Can Sales Engineers Increase Their Salary?
The best way for a candidate to increase their potential sales engineer salary is actually twofold. First, they need to have the right skills and continue to develop them. Second, they need to be good at their job. Even if they have all the skills on paper, they still have to show in practice that they can provide what a company is looking for.
Anonymous sales engineer employees often provide average salary and average additional cash compensation information through job market sites that have the latest tech news, jobs, and other details. Solutions engineer reported details on the average base salary for tech companies can be very helpful to understand the average total compensation the engineer can expect.
Sales engineers who don't have a lot of specific skill training can also be at a disadvantage, so they will want to make sure they are getting the training they need to advance. Some companies offer training options for their engineers, but many companies are looking to hire a sales force that already has the needed skills for the job at hand.
What Kinds of Skills Affect Sales Engineer Salaries?
The average sales engineer salary can be affected by a lot of factors, and the skills that engineer has is one of the biggest factors to consider. With the right skills, a sales engineer can make themselves into a commodity such as a chief technology officer or senior solution architect, that is much more in demand in their industry.
IT Security & Infrastructure
Sales engineers who are well-versed in IT security and infrastructure can provide valuable information to tech companies that may be looking to protect themselves and their hardware more fully. Building quality infrastructure through digital platform engineering isn't easy, and any company hiring for that role will want to hear from a confident sales engineer regarding the merits of a particular system or product.
Companies are starting to trust more of their information and data to the cloud, but they still have choices when finding the right leading global provider to help them. As a sales engineer, it's necessary to show them that one company's cloud computing solution is superior to the options offered by other companies. Without doing that, it's easy to lose a potential client.
Machine Learning & AI
Machine learning and AI are on the cutting edge of technology advancements. The more a sales engineer can provide details about what a particular company's options provide, the more likely it is that a client will choose that company's solution. It's not always easy to sell something that can be purchased from others, but a good sales engineer will know what details to provide.
Cybersecurity is extremely important for any company, as it doesn't just protect the business. It also protects the clients of that business, and having those clients trust the company can go a long way toward how well that company grows. Sales engineer jobs can showcase why a particular cybersecurity option is the best one, which will help bring in more clients.
Being able to analyze a business is definitely a skill. It's a bit of an art, and also a science. With that mix, a sales engineer can more easily explain a product to the client, and also show that client why it's the right product for their business. If a potential client feels like the sales engineer and sales rep don't understand their business, they may not feel confident in the ability of the product to help their company meet its goals.
Satellite Communications (SATCOM)
Communications are a big part of a sales engineer's workday. They have to be able to communicate properly, and they also need to showcase the value of doing that for clients who have questions. Explaining to a client what SATCOM can offer is important, and needs to be done in such a way that the client sees the value of it for their company. Even if they think it's a great product, they also need to see why they need it.
Without data analytics, most companies would really be in the dark about what their customers want and need from them. They wouldn't have demographic information, or understand which customers are buying their products and which ones are turning away or heading to a competitor. A sales engineer needs to be able to show a client why their data analytics products are necessary, and why they're the right ones for the client's business needs.
Popular Career Paths for Sales Engineers
Sales engineers generally take one of two career paths. Either they work their way up in the company they're with, or they have needed skills from time in the industry and take that to a company in need of an engineer. Either way, the path can be a good one that provides lucrative employment and a fast-paced work environment with the opportunity for creativity.
Most sales engineers work with technological and scientific companies, as those are the markets where they're the most in demand. Less complicated types of products typically don't need engineers, and standard sales reps are sufficient. But for highly detailed products, the need exists to bridge the gap between the development of the product and the actual sales representative.
How to Become a Sales Engineer?
Earning a degree and finding a specialty that they want to work with are generally the first steps for a budding sales engineer. Master's degrees typically aren't required for entry-level positions. Having the right skill set also matters, and the above-mentioned skills are all valuable. Other skills that a sales engineer needs include:
- Business writing
- Microsoft Office
- Public speaking or demonstrations
From that point, they can start seeking out entry-level sales engineering positions. Those may not come with a lot of prestige, or a high sales engineer salary. These positions also might not be in the exact field, industry, or niche the engineer ultimately wants. But they are a foot in the door, and that is the most important thing about them. Entry-level positions provide the opportunity for significant work experience, and that experience can help shape the future for the sales engineer.
It's usually around two years in an entry-level position before there's an opportunity to move up to a more senior role. Advancing every two years on average, into a more senior role, is realistic for most sales engineer positions, and sales engineer salaries typically advance with the job title. It may also be necessary to get additional education, such as a master's degree or specific types of certifications.
A technical graduate degree can make a significant difference in the amount of money a sales engineer can earn, and the types of jobs that are open and available for them. For anyone serious about moving up in the field, continuing their education and developing additional skills should be two of the main focal points.
Common Sales Engineer Work Environments
The work environment for a sales engineer is largely dependent on the company and the industry. Some sales engineers spend most of their day in local meetings with potential clients and company sales reps. Others spend a lot of their time in planes, trains, and automobiles, getting from one place to the next, so they can meet with potential clients around the country or even around the world.
Their hours will vary, but they'll generally work full-time. They may have to get up early to take a call from someone in another timezone, or stay up late for a presentation via Zoom to someone halfway across the planet. Most of the time, though, they can work more standard office hours, although their travel times may extend into earlier or later hours on some occasions.
Overall, the work environment of a sales engineer is fast-paced, and they'll spend a lot of their time in meetings while they explain the merits and details of the company's product to potential clients at interested companies. Being able to address the technical details of those products, and explain their value in ways that help the sales rep, is a big focus of what a sales engineer does, and a large part of their value to any company that hires them.