Role of Technical Sales Engineers

I rec'd this in email:

> we are now trying to understand the sales engineer position.

Have you read my article on SEs? Basically, SEs are in the field sales organization but have deep technical experience rather than sales abilities. I find that most SEs come from the customer base with lots of experience with the product in a production environment. They typically stay in the job a few years until they get burned out on the travel and then move either into sales or into product management.

SEs are paid well: typically $100-120K plus a revenue-based bonus program. They are also eligible for the sales award trip if their region does well in achieving its targets. I don't have stats for this role as our survey is focused only on product management. One company that focuses exclusively on SEs is TechSellEnts.com (ugh, terrible name) but they do not have any info on their site about compensation.

If your company hasn't invested in sales engineers, then product managers will spend a disproportionate amount of time doing demos and other SE work.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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