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Bridging the Gap: Celebrating Sales Engineers During Engineers Week

February 20, 2024

In the fall of 1989, I sat in a crowded lecture hall with about 200 other students for the very first class of Engineering 101 on the NC State University Campus. The professor looked at us sternly and told us to swivel our heads to the left and right. Then, he said, "In the end, only one of the three of you will graduate with an engineering degree."  

I'm not sure about the two students who sat on either side of me, but I was one of the statistics, deciding early on that the discipline, technical problems, and differential equations were not for me. 

Ironically, I've spent most of my career working with engineers in one capacity or another. I respect and admire their problem-solving skills, ingenuity, and the critical role they've played in shaping the world we live in. 

In February, we celebrate Engineers Week. This year's theme, Welcome to the Future, celebrates engineers' achievements while looking forward to what the future holds for a diverse crop of budding engineers.   

Our company hires many engineers who form the backbone of our company's sales arm. Our sales engineers work with design engineers and design-build contractors to uncover potential system design issues in retrofit applications, ensure the efficiency of new construction systems, and, overall, work alongside our customers to achieve the outlined goals of every project. 

Each year, we hire a crop of interns to introduce them to engineering sales and to let them stretch engineering muscles they may not have used in pursuing their undergrad degrees. However, many of our interns have never heard of sales engineering and what it entails.  

Engineers Week seems like a perfect time to educate the masses! 

Let's talk about what sales engineers do, what kind of personality tends to be good at sales engineering, and how to become one. 

What do sales engineers need to know? 

Their primary role is bridging the gap between a product's technical complexities and customers' needs. They deeply understand the features, functionalities, and capabilities of the products (in our case, HVAC solutions) they represent. They should be able to assess customer requirements accurately and recommend solutions for the application. 

They need strong interpersonal and communication skills 

Interpersonal and communication skills are paramount. Sales engineers must effectively communicate complex technical information to diverse audiences, ranging from other engineers to business executives to technicians in the field. They must be able to engage with stakeholders at all levels of an organization and influence purchasing decisions. 

They are skilled at addressing customer questions, resolving technical problems on the job site, and providing post-sales support to keep their customers happy. 

Business development aptitude 

Sales is not the easiest game to play, but a true sales engineer will play to win! Our sales engineers play a strategic role in identifying new business opportunities, expanding market reach, and developing relationships to accomplish both. They stay abreast of the competitive landscape and effectively differentiate themselves and their company. Our world at Hoffman & Hoffman tends to be entrepreneurial. Our best sales engineers possess a very competitive nature and work hard to win business. 

Sales engineers offer a unique blend of technical expertise, sales skills, and relationship-building abilities. They leverage their understanding of system concepts and product knowledge to serve as valuable partners. Through effective communication, strategic prospecting, and continual learning, sales engineers play a vital role in our organization and others to drive innovation and deliver value to building projects throughout our territory. 

Are you interested in a career in sales engineering? We're always looking for professionals who are eager to become a part of the Hoffman & Hoffman family of companies. 


Check Out Our Career Opportunities!



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Kelly Patterson

Kelly Patterson

Kelly Patterson is a lifelong learner and the marketing director at the Hoffman family of companies. There is nothing she likes more than talking about commercial HVAC systems and extraordinary customer service.

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