What is a Sales Engineer

The sales job no one talks about...

Good morning sales fam. We’ve got a short week with Thanksgiving on Thursday. And a heads up… to help save your inbox from the outrageous amount of Black Friday emails you’ll be getting, we told the intern he could take off Thanksgiving (which means no email on Thursday). We’ll be back next Tuesday 🫡 

In today’s Follow Up:

  • What is a Sales Engineer? 🧠 

  • Responding to “not interested” email ✍️ 

  • Sales across the internet 🖥️ 

  • 4 new remote sales jobs 🤑  

What is a Sales Engineer?

Meet the Sales Engineer.

They’re the rare breed who actually understands how tech works (and how to sell it).

But just like when someone says they’re “in finance”, most people don’t know what they actually do.

So to figure this out, we hit up our friend Patrick Daniel, who’s a Sales Engineering leader in the cyber security space.

He’s been in the SE game for 15+ years, so he knows a bit about what they really do… 

So without further ado, let’s dive in. 👇

What is a Sales Engineer?

We’re the guys who do all the work so you can collect your commission checks. 🙂

Just kidding (mostly).

The Sales Engineer is responsible for the technical portion of the sales cycle.

If you’re selling a complex enterprise solution, it’s likely you’re selling as an account team. Ex: A sales rep working with a Sales Engineer (SE).

We show the customer how the stuff works and make sure the solution can (and will) deliver value.

But the SE is more than just a tech nerd. They have to be able to sell.

Translating complex tech topics into easily understandable language is the mark of a great SE.

The Sales Engineer makes the hard things look easy.

What Do Sales Engineers Actually Do?

The list is long! Most of the time, we do whatever it takes to win deals.

This includes things like:

- Demos
- Technical presentations
- Sizing/scoping of licenses and hardware
- Building relationships with customers and prospects
- Product expertise (not just your own product)
- And much more.

How Do You Really Feel About Sales Reps?

We love them - mostly!

We wouldn’t make the kind of money we do without them.

They get the responsibility of making quota, while we just get paid.

A tight partnership between an AE and SE is a beautiful thing to watch. It’s a work marriage that actually works, and they can get rich together (which is a nice bonus).

How Much Do Sales Engineers Make?

Dedicated pre-sales engineer OTEs average between $175k-$240k, if you’re in the field selling to enterprise customers.

If you’re more senior you can make more. I you’re more junior, less.

Sometimes, companies have inside SEs who are fully remote, and many resellers have “hybrid” SEs who handle both pre-sales and post-sales projects.

How Does Someone Become a Sales Engineer?

Most SEs start out working in IT.

They gain hands-on experience and specialize in a certain area (networking, security, storage, cloud, etc). Over time, they build connections with vendors, resellers, and integrators, and ultimately get the opportunity to make the jump to SE.

For most, it’s an accidental transition, ex: they get approached by a vendor.

This is why many SEs have 10-15+ years of tech experience before becoming an SE.

But you can dramatically shortcut this process if your goal is to become a Sales Engineer.

Hiring managers are looking for 3 things:

- Technical knowledge.
- Sales skills.
- Low risk.

If you check these 3 boxes, you have a great chance of getting hired.

Build technical knowledge through hands-on experience, industry knowledge, and certifications. Build sales skills by watching how vendors structure their conversations with you.

And make yourself a safe candidate to hire (low risk).

This means building connections with the team ahead of the hiring process, writing your resume and LinkedIn to emphasize SE qualities, and being intentional about your technical path and career goals.

Anything else you want to leave us with?

In my (unbiased) opinion, being a Sales Engineer is the best job in corporate America.

It pays well, has a lot of freedom, and many opportunities for networking and upward career mobility.

Have you thought about becoming a sales engineer?

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Sales Tip of The Day 💡 

When a prospect responds to your email with “not interested”, try asking them for help.

Example response:

✍️Thank you very much for letting me know. I need to update my manager later, and curious if you can help me out? Is it because 1) you already have a solution in place, 2) it’s not good timing, or 3) you don’t handle this?

It’s unlikely you’ll change a “not interested” into an “interested” through email, but if you can find out the reason why, you can use it in future outreach.

Sales in the News 🗞️ 

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Sales Meme of the Day

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