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Should I become a sales engineer?

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Staff Software Engineer at Taro Community2 months ago

I'm considering a switch to sales engineering after building my career as a software engineer. I'd like to understand:

  • What unique skills are needed to succeed as a sales engineer? I imagine it's a lot more time in client meetings.
  • How does the compensation structure differ? Do sales engineers typically get paid a commission?
  • What does career growth usually look like beyond the "senior" sales engineer role?
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(3 comments)
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    Dev with a pinch of sales.
    2 months ago

    Loaded questions. I'm a Software Engineer turned Services Consultant turned Sales Engineer turned Sales Engineering Director turned VP of Sales. There is also a Product Management path for life after sales engineering. Businesses value the fact that you have worked on numerous environments and solved different types of challenges across many enterprises. This opens up opportunities as CIO's strategy consultant, product strategist etc.. That should answer your last question.

    The comp varies by company and domain. In general, you get a base that might be lesser or around the same as what you are used to but have unlimited upside on the commissions.

    In terms of skills, Sales Engineering is one field that really lacks in preping technical folks with the necessary skills. I've mentored numerous engineers who have gone on to do great things. Always open to chatting if you need to understand your gaps.

  • 2
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 months ago

    Just wanted to chime in, even though I've never been a sales engineer

    (Karthik is the expert.) I've just talked to a sales or solutions engineers in the past about their job.

    • Sales engineers are highly valued at B2B SaaS companies with high contract values (high ACV). Could be a good fit if you like working with customers more and traveling a lot.
    • My sense is that FAANG companies don't value the role as much since they're mostly consumer-facing. You'll be compensated less than typical software engineers and further removed from the "center of gravity."
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    Dev with a pinch of sales.
    2 months ago

    @rahul, that is spot on. Sales Engineering is valued mostly in B2B companies (product or services).