North American Association of Sales Engineers

North American Association of Sales Engineers

European Association of Sales Engineers

The True Worth of a Sales Engineer- as a Business Consultant

Sales engineers (and similar titles like “Solutions Consultants”) are often viewed as a trusted advisor, and in many ways work much like a consultant for their client and/or prospect.

That is the way that we (SE’s) should view ourselves, and ideally that is the way that our clients view us, and even our employers should view us.  We are essentially business consultants- that work with and partner with a client company to improve their own efficiencies and profits (via of course one of our services/products/offerings).

What is it worth to a firm to brainstorm and work together with you, a technical sales professional, to help them and their department?  They are seeking a valid solution- an answer.  Often times those solutions can be a bit obtuse and complicated.  And that is why they are speaking to you, someone with relevant experience who has also assisted many other (similar) companies.

In this fashion the SE is very much like a 3rd party business consultant.  Consultants are called in frequently to really dig into a problem and work to create viable solutions.  What does a company pay for a temporary consultant to come in and provide their own analysis and suggestions?

According to Consulting Mavericks, it varies quite a bit.  Anywhere from $100/hour to $500/hour.  Seems like a good general average is between $200- $300/hour.  $200/hour is roughly $400k per year- if it was extrapolated out to full-time.

Are you earning $400k per year?  Most likely not.  The median compensation for an SE in 2023 was roughly $150k/year – and that can vary greatly.

The point is that the best SE’s out there are considered trusted advisors, or trusted “consultants”, and their clients know the numbers and the value mentioned above.  Instead of paying $300/hr they are essentially paying nothing (directly).  They likely are paying for a type of software or some other tool or piece of equipment, but the company likely would be paying for that anyhow- at the recommendation of a hired consultant.

This article is not to diminish the worth of a true, 3rd party business consultant.  In most of those cases, said consultant is not attempting to sell anything or any product- other than their own acumen and knowledge.

Know your worth out there in the marketplace.  The market is your employer and also your clients and prospects.  Having this confidence and attitude will actually help you in becoming a better and more savvy sales engineer.

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