The Current State of Competition in Technical Sales
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics, technical sales engineers will be in high demand for the next 10 years and their employment is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029 – faster than average for all occupations. These statistics show that there is a lot of growth and opportunities in technical sales.
Aside from this, there’s a big need in the industry for technical sales people who fit a certain profile. Read on to see if you are part of this much-needed demographic and who you would be competing against.
New Sales Engineers vs. Veterans
In today’s technical sales landscape, there are usually two groups of people. The first group is made up of people from the younger generation – men and women in their early to mid-twenties, new to the industry, who bring in a lot of energy and excitement to their work. Although they’re still lacking in the skills and technical aspects of the job, as well as experience, they make up for it in excitement and drive.
The second group of salespeople are those from the older generation – veterans who have been in sales for 20, 30, 40 years. This group has the experience and know-how, but many have become complacent and comfortable. They no longer have the hunger and drive that younger technical sales engineers have.
The Middle Ground
There’s a big gap between the two groups – these are people who are in between the two age groups – those in their 30’s to early 40’s. There are not many sales people who are around this age and with the corresponding experience, so there’s a lot of opportunity in technical sales for people who fall under this demographic group.
People of this age usually have at least 5 to 10 years of experience, which puts them right in the middle of the previous groups we mentioned. Many companies are looking for this middle ground – not for people who are just starting their careers and also not those who have been in the business for decades. When they can’t find anyone in the middle, that’s when they settle for someone younger and new to the industry or possibly even look for people who have had years and years of experience.
If you’re in your 30’s to early 40’s, there’s room for you in the industry and many opportunities for you to be successful. You have more experience than people in their 20’s and you are also most likely have more drive and energy than people who have been doing the same job for decades. There are many companies and organizations who are looking for technical sales engineers in this age group.
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The Importance of Energy and Commitment
When looking at competition in technical sales, age and experience is a factor of how competitive you can be. However, more than your age, you have to come into technical sales with energy, devotion, and commitment to hustle and grind every day.
If you have that kind of attitude coming into this industry – no blank dates on your calendar, never a dull moment, traveling to meet prospects whenever you can – that’s what’s going to make a huge impact on your income. A lot of people in technical sales have become complacent, or they’re simply tired, and this is where you come in and go after the opportunities they miss out on.
Complacency kills sales people. The minute a sales engineer becomes complacent and comfortable, this is when they stop pushing harder. They’re marked by self-satisfaction and they have their steady stream of clients from their little book of business that gives them commission of $150,000 to $175,000 and they’re happy with this result year after year.
Many people in technical sales are happy with those results and there’s nothing wrong with that. But with those people happy and resting on their laurels, and if there are no other sales people from their organization, the company could be missing out on important technical sales opportunities.
The complacency of these technical sales engineers means that there are huge opportunities for you, even if you might be new in the industry, to grab those opportunities and make the most out of them. You have the chance to take away business even from people who have been in technical sales for years. The important thing is to maintain the drive and commitment to go after new prospects and work on closing sales.
The Competitive Landscape
Technical sales is an extremely competitive field, but it’s important to note that it is also friendly at the same time. There are no personal rivalries. Everyone is professional, for the most part, no matter what industry they are working in. As a whole, technical sales engineers are professionals who do not take competition personally.
With that being said, there are many opportunities for younger and even those who are not-so-young who have the drive and energy to come in and make a significant amount of money by feeding off people who have become complacent or don’t want to adapt to change. This is specifically for people in their 30’s and early 40’s who have just the right amount of experience to give them an edge over younger people in technical sales and who also still have a lot of energy and drive compared to those who are older.
For example, there are older technical sales engineers who don’t want to or simply can’t adapt to new ways of how to do technical sales. Maybe they haven’t realized that many customers now prefer communicating via LinkedIn or other social media channels. There are also customers who don’t like going to trade shows and instead prefer doing their own research. These are situations where older people in technical sales might be missing out on opportunities.
This also demonstrates the importance of being able to adapt to change. If you don’t adapt your communication style or how you find new prospects then you will lose business. If you can’t adapt and evolve, you’re going to start becoming a dinosaur and lose out to other technical sales professionals who can.
The field of technical sales is competitive, but it’s a competition you can win. As long as you bring drive, energy, and commitment with you, you’ll be able to succeed and reach all your professional goals.
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