How to Become a Technical Sales Engineer
The job of a technical sales engineer is both exciting and lucrative, but there are a few things you need to consider if you’re learning how to become a technical sales engineer. Not everyone can become a technical sales engineer, but most people can if they’re willing to work hard and develop some good habits.
If you’re already an engineer and interested in shifting to technical sales, you have an advantage in the technical aspects of the job. However, chances are your path is going to involve working on your communication and teamwork skills. Another consideration is your runway for financial stability. Technical sales engineers make good money, but it takes time to grow your list of contacts. Good things take time, and you need to make sure you have that time.
But a vibrant and successful career is absolutely possible if you follow these steps:
Step 1: Assess Your Personality
Step one on how to become a technical sales engineer definitely involves some honesty and self-awareness. Not everyone has the personality for it. If you want to become a technical sales engineer, you first need to assess your personality. You can think of this as unofficial sales engineer qualifications.
You need to take a good look at yourself and answer the following questions:
- Are you outgoing?
- Are you the type of person who enjoys meeting new people regularly?
- Are you willing to call the same person four times or more in an effort to follow up?
- Do you thrive under pressure, or do you dread being pressured?
If you’re a bold extrovert, then a job in technical sales is right up your alley. On the other hand, you might dislike talking to new people or hate traveling. Maybe you like working independently and you prefer the certainty of a regular salary versus commissions. In this case, being a technical sales engineer might not come naturally, but it’s still possible.
You can work on developing your non-technical and communication skills, especially if you are willing to put in the work and find the right resources. At the end of the day, your personality matters less than how much you want to become a technical sales engineer. You just need to be willing to work on improving yourself.
Step 2: Assess Your Skills
After you assess your personality, you need to take a look at your skills. Knowing whether your sales engineer qualifications matchup is definitely a must in figuring out how to become a technical sales engineer. If you come from an engineering background, you’ll already have those skills. This will be your comfort zone, and you won’t need to work much on this. However, even in technical sales, non-technical skills are more important than technical skills.
You can also consider soft skills as part of sales engineer qualifications. Great technical sales engineers are good communicators, know how to work in teams, and can manage their time well. Focus on honing your non-technical skills to set you apart from other technical sales engineers.
Remember that sales are eighty percent people and twenty percent sales. To be a successful technical sales engineer, you simply can’t get by without people skills. In other words, you need to build trust and relationships with potential clients.
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Step 3: Manage Expectations
You may hear that technical sales engineers make $70,000 to $90,000 or more. Yes, this is certainly possible, but these figures are for individuals with the highest sales engineer qualifications. If you are new to technical sales, you’ll have to consider entry-level positions first, which are more in the $45,000 to $65,000 base salary. For engineers wondering how to become a technical sales engineer, they may even need to consider a pay cut when they are first starting out.
This is why you need to manage your expectations. Companies will be taking a risk when they hire someone new with no experience. Usually, it will take at least three months to see if their investment in you is worth it. Don’t expect to start making a lot of money when you start. Think of this as a long-term plan. Like any successful technical sales engineer, you need to start at the bottom and work your way to the top.
Absorb and Learn Everything
Although you should have the attitude of always being open to learning, it is essential when you are a new technical sales engineer. Absorb and learn everything you can from the people around you. If you’re new to a company, learn everything you can about all the accounts, customers, and competitors.
Learn about your company’s value proposition versus other companies. Watch videos, read books, take courses, and learn as much as you can about sales and sales engineer qualifications. There is so much great content available nowadays that you just need to put the time and effort into learning everything. Keep an open mind and take note of valuable tips and advice that will help you become a better technical sales engineer.
You Have to Hustle
If you’re serious about becoming a successful technical sales engineer, you need to hustle. Especially if you’re new to technical sales, this is the time you need to grind. Follow up with your prospects as much as is needed to close a sale. Be willing to travel, work late nights, work harder than everyone around you. Build continuously on your sales engineer qualifications until you reach the top.
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