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Since the job title Sales Engineer (Wikipedia entry I created) is new, I see employers confusing the hell out of this role. I’ve been a Sales Engineer a lot longer than the title has been officially recognized (around 2003), so I know what the role is supposed to be. Calls on major OEM customers, consulting engineers, large consumer accounts, independent manufacturers reps, and other sales prospects.
Employers also erroneously try to force a Solution Architect role into a Sales Engineer’s role by simply changing the title. How much does a salaried Solution Architect, Field Engineer, Implementation Engineer, Billable Technical Consultant, Systems Engineer (another good one to get wrong) make in total compensation?
A lowly salary of anywhere from $70-$80k (depending wildly on area of country) and a bonus (usually a mysterious, hidden algorithm borne from the executive washroom). A Sales Engineer on the other hand will usually make a base (not salary) of $100k-$125k, and OTE of $140k-$175k.
I filled out an interview application yesterday for a Sales Engineer position and it asked what my salary and bonus were! If you are a real Sales Engineer, you should be infuriated at how your role, job and career is being diluted and bastardized, and feel compelled to correct those trying to make our life more difficult. Again, this kind of abuse cheapens our profession and ultimately affects our salaries negatively. Doth any man doubt, that if there were taken out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations as one would, and the like, but it would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves?
If you don’t already know, then it’s time to see the role referrals currently play in your company. In a world where most salespeople aren’t doing much to personalize their sales technique, go out of your way to be helpful and kind. One of my favorite quotes of all time “an education is what you have left after you get the piece of paper”!

I just had to post about it in the hopes that at least one employer or head hunter will realize how they are making things for real Sales Engineers worse by doing so.
I crafted this role for years, and when the role is bastardized it makes it harder for employers to see our value. In most cases the confusion is limited to saying that a Sales Engineer does implementations.
Provides direction to assigned district sales personnel to maximize sales growth in the district. The ideal candidate is someone who understands the importance of making our sales process run smoothly & effectively.
Real Sales Engineers are on commission, typically a roll-up of the commissions of all those outside sales and channel sales reps they support.
You’ll also see an ethereal bonus of some sort that is never completely under your control (as is commission).
Non-commission staff (non-managers) never make anything close to what a Sales Engineer or Sales Rep make. He asked about the bonus that had been mentioned earlier in the process, and they said that since they can’t guarantee any bonus (the last year had none), it was better left off the offer letter. These five tips will help you put routines into practice to boost those life-giving referrals. Take a look at the last 1-2 months of transactions and figure out where those customers came from.
For example, if you discover that 10% of your customers are referred to you, start setting goals to increase that 10%. If you add a tagline that says, “Ask me why most of my customers are referred!”, you’ve now opened up communication with your clients about referrals and planted the seed for them to refer someone new. After the client pulls out the phone, the agent says, “While I fill out this paperwork, is there any way you could look through your phone and see some people who would buy what I sell?

Maybe you take them to lunch, buy them a gift, or best of all, refer them in their respective industries. As customers continue their 2.4 million conversations each day about brands, make yourself a part of them. Imagine you are an 8-year old – you have never left your driveway – riding in the the cul-de-sac seems scary. The problem is that real Sales Engineers are going to start being paid less because people can’t figure the role out due to all these incorrect, wrong, and patently bad interpretations (bastardizations). The most important question to ask yourself when you sign on a customer is, “How did we get them? If you discover that they get 20% of their business from referrals and you gain 10%, it’s time to figure out what they’re doing differently.
This part is difficult for some people, but simply saying, “Hey, you know how awesome I am. If someone refers you just one customer, they just saved you hours of cold calling, hours of countless appointments, hours of follow up with people.
If it takes you 100 calls to get two appointments and you only close 50% of those, that referral is worth a lot of time and effort. Solution Architects sit back at corporate and price deals, apply part numbers, and generally make sure that whatever Sales (Account Manager and Sales Engineer) have come up with will actually work.
These referred customers are then 4 times more likely to buy, 18% more loyal, and spend 13.2% more than the non-referred customer.
If you don’t have a way of determining which activities are profitable, then you’ll spend too much time on the unproductive ones.

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