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Combine Your Technical Expertise and Business Sense by Becoming a Sales Engineer

Anyone who is pursuing or already holds an engineering degree understands the hard-earned value of that degree. Engineering is a unique field because of the number of possible career opportunities. Some of the most common opportunities include research, design, testing, and production. One often overlooked avenue, and the bread and butter of Hoffman Hydronics, is sales.  

You may think that engineers aren’t as social as those following other career paths, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! 

A sales engineer is someone who studied engineering or even spent some time working as an engineer and uses their expertise to explain the technical aspects of their solutions to customers. Sales engineering is possible in most fields, but we have a penchant for the HVAC industry.  

An engineer who is interested in HVAC sales has multiple options. In the pre-construction side of HVAC a sales engineer can be responsible for the preliminary design of the building’s HVAC system. This option allows the engineer to communicate with the customer while exercising the design muscles they learned in school. 

A sales engineer can wear a different hat every day. Many professionals experience burnout in their careers — a feeling of dread that comes from doing the same thing for a long amount of time and losing passion for it. The great thing about being a sales engineer is there is a lot of variety in the day-to-day tasks of the job.  

One day you may be managing a project in the design phase. The next day may be spent on calls and meetings with building owners to communicate your design intent and confirm they are happy with the progress. You could spend another day driving around with a colleague to knock on doors and recruit new customers. 

Of course, there is more involved in any sales engineering role, but the simple idea is that each day can be a new challenge with little repetition. 

The networking portion of being a sales engineer offers many opportunities to boost your career. One of the biggest networking and learning opportunities comes from ASHRAE — the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers — a professional organization meant to foster collaboration with other engineers to better understand our field.  

The biggest conference ASHRAE holds is the AHR expo, held in the late winter of every year. This large expo brings thousands of engineers together to learn about new products and meet others in the industry! 

If you aspire to grow your career beyond your entry-level role, sales engineers have avenues for that by choosing to work for companies with organizational structures set up for advancement. For example, in a manufacturer’s representative sales engineering role, like those we have at Hoffman Hydronics, there are inside sales engineers, outside sales engineers, and sales managers.  

If you want to spend time working on design and dealing with the technical side, inside sales might be for you. If you are looking for maximum customer-facing opportunities along with the technical application of your design expertise, outside sales might be for you. Once you are ready to enter more of a leadership role, sales manager is the next logical step.  

If you’re interested or want to learn more about how sales engineering works for a manufacturer’s representative, please contact us! Hoffman Hydronics is happy to teach upcoming graduates or career pivoters about the perks of sales engineering. 

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