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Sales engineer skills

You are an IT professional with good interpersonal skills and an ability to excel in your technical projects.

You have probably asked yourself one day, how can I excel in a field that I do not master?

like Sales, project management, account management, customer support, marketing. That usually requires years of experience.

This article is made for you ... we will address the key points that make the success of a sales engineer (SE) / pre-sales engineer.

"Good pre-sales engineers can have a huge effect on sales success.

But why are they so important?

What are the 6 key attributes a sales engineer must acquire to excel in their role?

The six attributes that make a Sales Engineer stand out from the crowd are:

1) Sales Engineers Fill Gaps

A sales engineer interacts with many disparate groups and helps create a fit between the product and the customer. Sales Engineers can act as:

A Bridge Between Customer Groups

Sales Engineers help to craft sales messages to their prospects' management, technical end users and executives. To appeal to this broad audience requires an understanding of sales techniques, technology, and the problems faced by their customers and prospects.

The Voice of the Customer

Sales Engineers act as the eyes and ears of their companies' technical marketing and engineering departments. Daily contact with customers allow Sales Engineers to become the "Voice of the Customer" This feedback helps their company to better understand the unique needs of their clients.

An Extension of Engineering

Many highly technical products and services must be adapted to a prospects particular needs and environment. Often, Sales Engineers can modify and extend hardware and software to provide customers with as close to an ideal solution as possible.

2) Sales Engineers Understand Relevant Technology

To succeed, Sales Engineers need to understand the impact and importance of technology to their customers. The following types of technology background are essential to the Sales Engineer.

Product Technology

The core technology behind your product is the key to how you differentiate it from the competition. If you understand the benefits of your products core technology, you can easily position it as a solution to your customer.

Supporting Technology

Supporting technology can be anything from products used with your as part of a process to tools to help your customers be more efficient or effective with your product. By understanding these products, you can help your customer solve "big picture' problems that involve your product as well as others.

Product Implementation Detail

Understanding the way a product is implemented, allows you to always understand your products at a deeper level that your customer. This deeper understanding allows you to extrapolate the capability of your product in specific situation and to make judgments about what is and is not possible with the underlying architecture.

Competitive Technology

Understanding the technology behind your competitors' products and how your competitors products are implemented allow you to exploit weaknesses in their solution. You can creatively compare and contrast your solution against theirs and relate "what if" scenarios that show how your product is superior.

In-house Alternative Technology

In addition to understanding the technology behind your product and its' competitors, it is also key to understand how your customer might build an in-house solution to the problems solved by your product. Armed with this knowledge you can paint an accurate picture of the real costs of "make versus buy".

3) Sales Engineers Understand the Customers' Business & personas

Great Sales Engineers understand the problems faced by their customers and the goals they want to achieve. Business knowledge positions you as a resource and allows you to gain trust through competence and the value of the information you provide. You are not seen as just selling products, but as a trusted adviser who understands the real needs of the customer.

To succeed, Sales Engineers must learn to deal with different personalty 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.

4) Sales Engineers Can Present and Demo Succinctly and Effectively

Sales Engineers are called upon to perform technical demonstrations and presentations. One harmful side-effect of knowing your product well is that you may find it difficult to relate it to prospects with little or no experience with your type of product. This may cause you to lose your prospect in a sea of detail. Many Sales Engineers treat a Demo or Presentation like a training session, which can make your product appear to be complex than it should be. The right balance of detail is key to a successful demo or presentation.

5) Sales Engineers Can Communicate on a Technical and Personal Plane

Relationships matter. If a prospect likes you, all things being equal, they will chose you and your product over the competition. Communication is the cornerstone of a good relationship. To help build a relationship with your prospect, you need to spend some time on both technical topics and on general topics. A good Sales Engineer is comfortable at both.


technical sales process


It's the first contact with the customer, its usually established by the sales representative following the prospecting phase, Lead Generation.

During this phase, It is recommended to know the decision makers, the customer's business model and budget.


Once you know the key technical decision makers, you’ll need to understand what problems they need to solve and the goals they have. You’ll also need to help them understand the impact and severity of problems that they may not be aware of. There are three key areas of discovery that you need to understand:

Now - What is happening now, what is the current situation, what would they like to change? What pains are they experiencing and what goals are they trying to reach. What is the impact of their pain on their lives?

How - How are they doing things today, what is the process, the detail?

Wow - What would things look like in an ideal world?

Once you understand these three key areas, you are ready to craft and deliver a value message that compels them to act!

Presentation & Demo

With a firm understanding of their technical needs and the impact they have on the organization, you can prepare and deliver a demo that proves your product can meet their needs. Using your understanding of the Now, the How and the Ow, you can craft value messages that will clearly show them the value of moving from what they are doing Now to Wow with your product!


For many complex or big-ticket items, a product evaluation is required. Your job is to shepherd the evaluation and to show them how your product solves problems that they care about.

Technical Close

In a technology sale, the close may be as simple as asking for the next steps at the conclusion of each encounter. Your job is to keep the sale on track and moving forward at all times. The Sales representative will close the actual order in most technology sales situations.

Support and follow-up

This critical, yet often neglected step is the best way to protect your customer from being poached by your competition and to increase year to year revenue. You need to demonstrate that you are there for them even after the sale is made. 

And to conclude, the task that starts to be more and more requested, is to be a proactive by feeding the blogs or social networks through technical videos or presentation to increase the community around your solution and attract new customers.

For this purpose, Mazer consulting has introduced the SMTech sales and marketing training, which combines the technical part with sales and marketing (Sales & Marketing in Tech), promoting inclusion and the sharing of ideas. Instead of creating a separation between these entities, a simple process was established to join marketing and sales to the technical part.

This is done through the creation of technical content (videos, articles, presentations) by giving you the necessary tools to cut through the clutter, automate customer follow-up and create value for your existing customers and prospects.

Our ultimate goal is to develop your advanced sales and marketing skills (SPIN Selling, copywriting, storytelling) and to apply them correctly within your team in order to gain productivity, time and avoid being overwhelmed by useless and sometimes redundant tasks.

For more informations, check our trainings page  : Trainings

Fill out our contact form and be part of those who have taken the plunge

You will be added to the group* of pre-sales engineers / sales engineers (or aspiring to become one) to exchange ideas and share your knowledge.

*Group restricted to professionals ! Thank you.

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