Sales engineering is often referred to as the combination of sales and science that exist in commercial and industrial environments. Buying decisions in such markets are typically made much more cautiously than those in consumer situations, being based less on fashion, style, or emotional reasoning and more on practical information and scientific analysis.
Businesses with highly specialized products or services will usually need to employ sales engineers to oversee the manufacturing and distribution of these goods, and these engineers will have extensive training in marketing, production, and sales. A sales engineer will often work as part of an integrated marketing department, taking an active role in the formulation of new product ideas, testing the product to determine whether or not it meets customer needs, and analyzing various market trends to determine how the product can be sold most effectively.
Sales engineers are not only involved in the process of developing the products or services of the company, but they are also involved in the process of researching and implementing new marketing strategies and techniques to maximize sales. As one who has worked as an engineer, I know firsthand just how important this part of the job is. I can tell you from personal experience, how often I have spent weeks and months on a task only to find that I cannot fully implement my plans and techniques because I did not thoroughly research the product's marketability.
As sales engineers, we must always be sure of our ability to accurately assess a product's potential. We must always remember that we are not building a one-size-fits-all machine; we are building a machine that will be able to deliver results for the company if the plan is properly implemented. Unfortunately, many new sales engineers don't have this level of understanding.
Sales managers often overlook this part of their team because they believe that salesmen are the ones responsible for finding the most cost-effective way to implement their sales plans. It is the job of the salesperson to understand the cost of implementing the plan and finding the best solution for the company's particular situation.
Successful sales engineers have a great deal of insight into the ways that a company can utilize its resources and still keep its costs under control. They understand that sales are a function of two functions, first of all the selling skills of the salesperson, and second, the manufacturing capabilities of the product or service. If the company spends too much money in manufacturing, it may end up having to compromise its ability to maintain its profit margin.
Sales engineers must have a wide range of knowledge to be effective at their job, and therefore are expected to be able to do research and learn about a product or service from many different sources. When a sales person is hired, they are often told that their knowledge is needed in order to provide effective support in their work. They must be able to do research on a product, develop an effective marketing plan, and implement it in a manner that maximizes the company's profitability. Sales people are also expected to understand how to measure . . . . . . various aspects of a product in order to identify the factors that will make a product's sale.
Salespeople are trained to use statistical data to help determine what factors should be considered in determining which products or services to focus on and which ones to ignore. In the same way, sales engineers are also expected to understand and apply various techniques for assessing a product's effectiveness.