Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Often Undervalued Sales Engineer

Call a sales engineer
Sales engineers add value.

Process and control equipment is most often sold with the support of sales engineers working for the local distributor or representative. Realizing what they have to contribute, and taking advantage of this available talent, will help you save time, cost, and also assist in achieving a better outcome for the project.

Consider these contributions:

Product Knowledge: Sales engineers, by the nature of their job, are current on new products, their capabilities and their proper application. Unlike information available on the Web, sales engineers get advanced notice of product obsolescence and replacement. Also, because they call and work with so many different types of companies, sales engineers are a wealth of tacit knowledge that they readily share  with their customers.

Experience: As a project engineer, you may be treading on fresh ground regarding some aspects of your current assignment. You may not have a full grasp on how to handle part of a control loop. Call in the local sales person - there can be real benefit in connecting to a source with past exposure to your current issue.

Access: Through a technical sales engineer, you may be able to look “behind the scenes” with a particular manufacturer and garner important information not publicly available. Sales reps deal with people, and make it his/her business to know what’s going on with products, companies, and industries.

Of course, sales engineers will be biased. Any solutions proposed are likely to be based upon the products sold by the representative. But the best sales people will share the virtues of their products openly and honestly, and even admit when they don’t have the right product. This is where the discussion, consideration and evaluation of several solutions become part of achieving the best project outcome.

As an engineer who designs or manufactures a product or process, it's highly recommended you develop a professional, mutually beneficial relationship with a technical sales expert. Look at a relationship with local sales engineer as symbiotic. Their success, and your success, go hand-in-hand.