Career Advancement for Sales Engineers
Sales engineers are science and technology specialists who use their knowledge to explain and sell technical products or services. Several responsibilities of a sales engineer include product presentations and demonstrations, installations, and technical troubleshooting. The role of sales engineer is similar to that of other sales jobs in that sales engineers are responsible for sales presentations, client management, price negotiation, and sale completion. Some sales engineers may enter the field with a bachelor's degree in engineering, though others may have a combination of sales and technical experience. The sales savvy and communication skills required for this job can open up several advancement opportunities in the sales and marketing field.
|Job Title||Median Annual Salary||Job Growth (2018-28)*||Qualifications|
|Sales Manager||$124,220 (2018)*||5%||Bachelor's degree (possibly); technical and sales experience|
|Marketing Manager||$134,290 (2018)*||8%||Bachelor's degree; sales or marketing experience|
|Director of Analytics||$126,673 (2019)**||20% (market research analysts and marketing specialists)||Bachelor's or master's degree in mathematics or related field; management experience|
|Vice President of Sales||$139,886 (2019)**||6% (top executives)||Master's degree in marketing, sales, or business administration (MBA); extensive management experience|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com
A sales engineer with strong organizational and leadership skills can move into the role of sales manager. A sales manager oversees a company's sales department, including the recruitment, hiring, and training of new team members. They direct the organization's sales strategy by examining sales statistics, setting goals, and assigning territories to specific sales staff. They work alongside other company management, as well as outside distributors and dealers. Common qualifications for a sales manager include a bachelor's degree, 1-5 years of sales experience, and proven leadership experience.
A sales engineer may also use his/her leadership skills and sales experience in the role of marketing manager. Marketing managers lead a company's marketing department, developing strategies that best benefit the organization's bottom line; increase customer satisfaction; and grow product demand. A marketing manager can work alongside product development, customer relations, and sales departments, developing marketing strategy from initial product or service conception through to the active sales process. Previous marketing or sales experience and a bachelor's degree in marketing or similar are common requirements. A strong candidate for a marketing management position will also have experience with digital advertising.
Director of Analytics
A sales engineer who enjoys data analysis and statistics may find advancement as a director of analytics. A director of analytics provides management over an analytics team. Hiring and training of staff is a common job requirement. Directors of analytics also spend time on market research statistical analysis, analyzing data in order to find product opportunities or risks and providing the organization with a marketing forecast. A common requirement is a bachelor's or master's degree in mathematics or a similar field. Management experience and proven, high-level analytics skills are also necessary.
Vice President of Sales
A sales engineer who has successfully moved up the sales career ladder may find a move into the role of vice president (VP) of sales the natural next step. VP of sales is a high-level management position. These professionals oversee the work of sales managers or directors at either a regional or national level and are responsible for the overall corporate sales strategy. Other responsibilities can include financial and sales report analysis, consultations with other executives and staff, contract negotiations, budget oversight, and more. VPs of sales often hold master's degrees in their field of work, such as marketing or sales, or in business administration (MBA). Extensive experience in management roles is also a common qualification.