Technical sales specialists are key members of a company’s sales team. They provide the technical expertise that enables sales teams to fully understand customers’ needs and develop appropriate solutions. These sales specialists may also present or demonstrate product proposals and provide technical support to customers before and after a sale. Technical sales specialists have job titles such as sales engineer or technical account manager.
Relevant Qualifications and Experience
To provide the essential expertise, technical sales specialists must have excellent product and technical knowledge. A bachelor’s degree in a subject such as engineering or computer science is important, though not essential, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Background in technical support, product development or project management provides relevant experience.
Essential Teamwork Skills
Technical sales specialists are members of a team and require good interpersonal skills. They work closely with sales representatives and with members of a company’s product development and technical support teams. These sales specialists must prepare and share reports and proposals with their sales colleagues. To ensure the product development team focuses on relevant issues, technical sales specialists interpret customers’ requirements for the team and evaluate their proposals. Technical sales specialists must also be able to work closely with members of the customer team, helping them to specify their requirements and understand the benefits of the company’s proposals.
In the initial phase of the sales process, these specialists analyze the technical aspects of a customer’s product or service requirements. For a company selling machine tools, for example, technical sales specialists would analyze the customer's operating requirements, machine speeds, precision levels and maintenance requirements. They would prepare a statement of requirements that enabled other members of the team to prepare proposals and estimates.
When the sales team has completed negotiations and secured a contract, technical sales specialists must ensure a successful product handover. They identify any work needed to install the product and discuss training requirements with the customer. Technical sales specialists may supervise installation and troubleshoot any initial operating problems. They also liaise with customers to obtain feedback on product performance and organize any necessary modifications. These specialists deal with customers’ technical queries and monitor support requests to ensure that the product's meeting requirements.