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This article describes the role of a pre-sales engineer / sales engineer / SE in its entirety and helps you to become aware of your capabilities and learn how to use them effectively.

What are Sales Engineers?

Sales Engineers drive the technical portion of the sale. Sales Engineers typically peer with a Sales Person who is responsible for the overall sales success in a group of accounts.

Job Titles for the Sales Engineering Role

A diverse list of titles are ascribed to the Sales Engineer function depending on: the organization, the product type, the market, and the focus of the sales team. Some examples include:

  • Sales Engineer (SE
  • System Engineer (SE
  • Solutions Engineer (SE)
  • Sales Specialist (SSP) : typical sales & Expert in a specific solution
  • Consulting Engineer (CE) - typically more focused on delivering Engineering Services, but may also responsible for SE role.
  • Solutions Consultant (SC) - Also focused on Engineering Services as well as some Pre-sales duties.

I know what you are thinking: "I am confused" with so many titles for the same role. But don't worry, it also depends on the industry. In IT, for instance, we often use the terms pre-sales engineer, solution engineer, system engineer or sales engineer.

Why are Sales Engineers Valuable?

Top Sales Engineers are highly-valued for their sales savvy, technical acumen and facility with the products they sell. They also need to understand the industry they operate in and the problems faced by their prospects and customers. Sales Engineers typically have deep subject matter knowledge as well. Sales Engineers can be of value to prospects and customers if they share insights and best practices that they have learned through real-world experience.

What are the Duties of a Sales Engineer?

Duties of a Sales Engineer may include:

  • Product Demonstrations - Showing a product to a prospect to help them to "see" how it would help them go from where things are today to a much better situation with your product.
  • Technical Presentations - these are white board or slide based talks that help the SE position the product and show product value to their prospects.
  • Talking with prospects and customers - This includes formal and informal settings, but the overall goal is to show the prospect that your are a trusted, professional adviser that can add value and insight and really help them with their challenges.
  • Handling Technical Product Questions - This is a critical aspect of the job. Prospects need accurate and detailed answers about how your product will work in their unique environment. They will typically have already learned a lot of detail from the web so the more technical product knowledge you have the better.
  • Supporting Product Evaluations - evaluations or proof of concept (POCs) engagements are where your prospects uses your product in their environment to see how it performs and if it is a good fit for them. As an SE it is you job to help make them successful with your product.
  • Doing Competitive Analysis - As an SE you may be asked to do detailed technical competitive analysis of other products in your marked. Your technical knowledge coupled with your understanding of the industry and players will allow you to help you and your sales person to position your product as the best alternative.
  • Creating and Delivering Technical Sales Messages - Once you fully understand your prospects needs, you will need to advocate a solution. This requires you to craft and deliver a value message that shows your prospect the clear value of using your product verses what they are currently doing and verses other offerings in your market. These messages need to be concise, relevant and compelling to be effective.
  • Supporting Customers - All customers using complex or technical products need fast, effective support. As an SE you can strongly differentiate you and your team by providing excellent support.
  • Working in a Companies Forums and kick-offs - Trade show are an activity that you may be asked to participate in. You will be asked to speak with prospects about your product and perhaps do a demonstration of it. Trade shows can be a great way to quickly learn about typical questions prospects may ask and to sharpen your demo skills.
  • Presenting at Conferences and Seminars - As a technical member of the sales team you are uniquely qualified to create and deliver technical talks about your product. This is a great way to raise your profile in the industry where you work and can help establish you and your company as experts.
  • Blogging - You may be asked to write blog articles to help customers and prospects to understand complex topics or product features. This is another way to position yourself as a expert.
  • Creating Articles, White Papers and Web Content - Similar to blogging, creating articles, videos and white papers can help drive traffic to your web and leads to your team. Articles help prospects to understand your product and how it fits into the industry.
  • Supporting Sales Channels - SEs are often required to support and sometimes manage third party channels such as Manufacturers Rep and Distributors.

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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