With industries like industrial automation taking over, it’s becoming quite competitive to bring on the best and brightest sales engineers. This is where headhunting comes into play. When you’re looking to hire a sales engineer, there is a whole new personality dimension that you should be looking for ideally. Most engineers don’t go to school for sales (obviously), so here are a few tips to help you find the right person for the job.
“I wanted to share 4 tips on how to headhunt the best sales engineers for your business” Joe Van Tassel, President of Integress Inc.
Your company size actually matters quite a bit, as does someone’s experience working within either a small or large company. When it comes to a sales engineering role, company size typically dictates how entrepreneurial the job will be, or how much your engineer will have to drum up their own business and leads.
In a smaller company the sales engineer is usually a go-getter, mostly-likely very motivated by earning a commission, and is resourceful. In a bigger company, the engineer may be used to having more infrastructure and structure in general. They may be used to a sophisticated CRM, (Customer Relationship Management Software) and working with a script to help get things done. Think about your company size in contrast to your potential hire’s experience and which personality is the best fit.
Another personality distinction to think about is charisma and raw charm as opposed to someone who is more technical and detailed. There are pluses and minuses to each, but your role may require someone to bring in more business, or someone to sell a product, each requiring a different specialty when it comes to relationship building, or making cold calls if necessary. All roles that require an engineer are a bit technical but think about if your job opening requires someone more proactive versus reactive. In situations where it may be more competitive, charisma and drive will be paramount.
Often times when hiring a sales engineer you are filling a role that already has a great clientele. If that is the case, get to know who your salesperson will be calling on and the type of personality they like. If you’re replacing a successful person, what made them so affable? On the contrary, if you’re replacing someone who didn’t perform well, why not? Your client base can be a great source of intel for answering these questions.
We already touched on this, but your process for getting leads to sales will be important for who you hire. Is the person getting fed clients, or are they having to go out and get their own leads? Be very honest and upfront about the amount of work this element will create, and how you will compensate your sales engineer, as that will dictate what type of personality will be happy. Some people like to make a high commission and hustle, but some will be happier cultivating an established book of business that requires less hard sales skills.
Another tip for headhunting a sales engineer is to make sure the job description is sound. Sometimes job descriptions can scare people away, because they list certain qualifications or specifics that people don’t really need. Many hiring managers put down all the ideal certifications and specifications that they want in hope that a unicorn exists for them, but that is rarely the case. On the contrary, dumbing down the sales engineer job description will help you cast a wider net and find the right personality match, which can trump a skillset match.
Our advice for writing a sales engineer job description is to break it down into sections. Have a “required skills” section and a “nice to have skills” section, helping more candidates feel like they could be a fit.
In reality, every single job has flexibility and someone may bring something strong to the table that complements an existing employee or that enhances the culture. A majority of our clients are open-minded about qualifications, so a limiting job description can harm outreach.
Knowing what you need when it comes to a sales engineering job at your company is crucial when finding the right match. Personality plays a big part in this specific hire, so we encourage you to think about the above tips when making your next big hire. There are also quite a few personality tests out there that can help you out. We have an article about that here.
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