Sales engineering is a hybrid of sales and engineering that exists in industrial and commercial markets. Buying decisions in these markets are made differently than those in many consumer contexts, being based more on technical information and rational analysis and less on style, fashion, or impulse.
Sales + Engineering
What is A Sales Engineer?
A Sales Engineer relies heavily on technical information and problem-solving to convince buyers that they should spend money on the seller’s products or services, in order to meet a business need (that is, to satisfy a business case). A sales engineer is thus both “a salesperson that understands and can apply engineering” and “an engineer that understands how to sell engineered systems”. They thus not only sell but also provide advice and support. They provide this service to various internal or external customers, and they may work for a manufacturer (servicing its industrial-account/business-to-business customers), for a distributor (which in turn services the industrial-account/business-to-business customers), or for a third party such as an engineering consultancy or a systems integrator.
What Sales + Engineering does goes Beyond The Title
Sales Engineers are a critical sales team member in many companies and industries around the world. They are more than just technical experts in their respective industries. Highly successful sales engineers must build and maintain parallel expertise in “soft skill” disciplines such as business acumen, presentation skills, building customer relationships, developing an engagement strategy, and having a thorough understanding of the targeted industry. Many companies have difficulty finding people who possess these qualities, plus have extensive technical knowledge.
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The essence of the sales engineering role can be called by various names
Which name is most apt can even depend on which industry it is used in. Some common job titles that involve the essence of sales engineering include sales engineer, solutions engineer, solutions architect, systems engineer, customer engineer, pre-sales consultant, technical account manager, applications engineer or field applications engineer. The term systems engineering has various shades of meaning, however, as it is often more or less synonymous with industrial engineering; but in any market economy, industrial engineers will often end up providing some sales engineering as a necessary portion of their work. Service technicians in industrial fields may also find that their work challenges them to provide some sales engineering, to whatever extent they are capable of providing it, because they interface with customers having problems with equipment (or lacking the right equipment) and seeking solutions (anywhere from diagnosis and repair, to identifying entirely different systems that could be used instead).
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As a UX designer, you should consider the Why, What and How of product use. The Why involves the users’ motivations for adopting a product, whether they relate to a task they wish to perform with it or to values and views which users associate with the ownership and use of the product. The What addresses the things people can do with a product—its functionality. Finally, the How relates to the design of functionality in an accessible and aesthetically pleasant way. UX designers start with the Why before determining the What and then, finally, the How in order to create products that users can form meaningful experiences with. In software designs, you will need to ensure the product’s “substance” comes through an existing device and offers a seamless, fluid experience.
UX Design is User-Centered
Since UX design encompasses the entire user journey, it’s a multidisciplinary field – UX designers come from a variety of backgrounds such as visual design, programming, psychology and interaction design. To design for human users also means you have to work with a heightened scope regarding accessibility and accommodating many potential users’ physical limitations, such as reading small text. A UX designer’s typical tasks vary, but often include user research, creating personas, designing wireframes and interactive prototypes as well as testing designs. These tasks can vary greatly from one organization to the next, but they always demand designers to be the users’ advocate and keep the users’ needs at the center of all design and development efforts. That’s also why most UX designers work in some form of user-centered work process, and keep channeling their best-informed efforts until they address all of the relevant issues and user needs optimally.
User-centered design is an iterative process where you take an understanding of the users and their context as a starting point for all design and development.