If you’re in technical sales and working as a technical sales engineer, you might be wondering if it’s possible to make $300K a year. The short answer is yes. It’s possible for an industrial sales engineer to make $300k a year, and even more than that. It won’t be easy but it is definitely doable. Read on to learn how.
The Technical Sales Landscape
First, you need to understand the landscape of technical sales. A large percentage of sales people in technical sales are 40 years old and above. They’ve been working in the industry for at least ten years and have been doing a good job. They’re happy with what they’re making and they’ve become complacent. Technical sales engineers in this group are doing what they’re used to doing, which works to a certain level, but are not looking to grow their sales anymore by large amounts.
A smaller percentage of technical sales engineers and industrial sales engineers are younger. They have recently started in technical sales and have the drive and hunger to go after as many sales as they can. Unlike the older sales people, they probably have less family responsibilities and have more time and energy to be more aggressive. They are in the position to get a share of sales from their competitors. No matter what age you are, strive to be in this group.
How Much Should A Technical Sales Engineer be Making?
Take a look at your current position. If you’ve been working in technical sales for about 2 to 4 years, you should be making a low of $75k a year to maybe $110k a year. If you’re not in that range, take a good look at your sales skills and see why you aren’t at that level yet. It might also be because of your employer. Make sure the company you work for has a commission plan in place. If not, you should definitely take this up with your employer. In technical sales, commission is a big motivator and determines how much money you can make.
Your commission should be 1% to 3% on sales, not on profit. A technical sales engineer has no control over how much profit a company makes because administrative and operational tasks are beyond their control. What they do have control and an influence over is sales. If this is not the set-up with your employer, negotiate. If this doesn’t work, you might be better off looking for another employer with a commission scheme in place.
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Use Social Media to Reach Your Sales Targets
The new way of going after sales is through social media. For technical sales engineers, the best social platform to use is LinkedIn. Use it to engage with and reach your prospects. Create interesting and relevant content to interest and engage with your network. Build professional relationships through LinkedIn by commenting on people’s posts, liking content, and sharing posts. All this effort will eventually lead to a meeting.
Go After Cold Calls
Older technical sales engineers make cold calls more often than using social media. Cold calls still work to a certain extent, but it shouldn’t be your main sales strategy. Approximately 20% to 30% of people you cold call will answer the phone. Continue to call prospects until they answer. Just make sure that this is done together with other sales techniques.
Plan Out Cold Visits
Cold visits will work probably 10% of the time. Again, continue to use this technique together with other technical sales techniques, especially social media. When you plan your visits, make sure to use Google My Maps to visit as many people in the same area as you can and make the most of your time. You can upload a contact list to My Maps and it will create a personal map for your plotting out where your contacts are.
Follow Up All Your Prospects
Once you’ve connected with people via LinkedIn or through a call, set a meeting. More importantly, don’t show up and throw up during the meeting. This means don’t show up and just throw up information. If you’re a sales engineer with a technical background, you don’t have to give all the technical information during your first meeting. What you should do is ask questions and engage your prospect. Get to know the pain points of your potential customer. This is how you’ll be able to offer a solution to their problem.
When they’ve asked for a quote, make sure you get it to them as soon as possible. Don’t wait a week or more to send it back. Try to give it to them in less than a week, two days if possible. When you’ve given the quote, make sure to follow up until you close the deal.
Make sure everything you do is to keep your sales pipeline full. Use social media, call people, and follow up until you are able to make a sale. Work hard and work consistently and making $300K a year will be well within your reach.
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