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Pre-sales engineers work for companies that sell technology products and services to business clients. These engineers work in partnership with sales managers to help customers determine the best technology solutions to meet their business needs in the areas of data, voice and video networks, security, storage and servers. While the sales manager works through contract terms, the pre-sales engineer makes product and service recommendations and educates customers on how each will provide business value.
A pre-sales engineer supports the sales process. This engineer serves as a technology adviser to both prospective customers and representatives of currently assigned client accounts. Successful pre-sales engineers display a strong commitment to developing and maintaining long-term customer relationships. The ability to understand customer requirements, determine the best solutions and effectively communicate the value proposition of those solutions are critical skills.
Pre-sales engineers are subject matter experts with specialized technology experience in network solutions, storage, servers and security. Assigned to work within a defined sales territory, these engineers respond to customer requests for proposals, develop designs and bills of materials for cost-effective solutions, and provide shoulder-to-shoulder knowledge transfer or training to implementation teams bringing the technology solutions online. The pre-sales engineer must be well-versed in the selling company's portfolio of products and services and keep up with new technologies entering the market.
Customer Relationship Skills
Pre-sales engineers should be organized and display excellent time management skills. Because this is a customer-facing role, a pre-sales engineer must also be an effective communicator from both verbal and written standpoints, as well as through active listening. This engineer is expected to reach customer personnel at all working levels, from technicians to senior management staff members. Strong presentation skills are a must. Pre-sales engineers must be able to adjust presentation materials as needed to provide the type and depth of information required for each recipient.
Education and Training
Hiring companies typically require pre-sales engineers to hold bachelor’s degrees in computer science, network engineering or information security. An associate degree might suffice if an applicant also holds technology certifications in networking, storage, security or virtualization. After the hiring process is complete, pre-sales engineers are expected to continually refresh their training to stay current with evolving technologies.
A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.