Hello, thanks for your question! I can talk about this topic for days, so I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible.
Googling “sales engineer” will give an accurate description of my job. I work for a software as a service (SaaS) company.
There are two types of people I work with: our software engineers, and our customers. I am the bridge between our customers and our developers. I interact with both, and they never interact with each other.
With our software engineers, I work on product development at the end-user level. This includes:
- Quality Assurance (QA). This is a fancy term for identifying and breaking things BEFORE our customers find it themselves, and telling the developers what to fix.
- Feature improvements. Telling developers what to add, remove, modify in our systems. I need to know our systems better than our customers and developers, so that we can minimize structural problems, or pre-empt issues. This leads to less tech support.
- Escalating bugs. There will always be problems with complex systems. When customers contact me with a potential bug, and I have confirmed it as such, I need to communicate the issue to the developers. They fix it and I QA it.
With our customers, I support and sell the software. This includes:
- Tech support. Customers need help, we go into their systems and help them.
- Feature requests. Steve Jobs has a great anecdote somewhere. He was known to read every single email, every single feature request. He says that successful business doesn’t mean saying “yes” to every query, but knowing when to say “no” to continue building a successful product. I identify good feature requests from customers.
- Training. Every new customer requires training on our systems.
- Selling. We have multiple systems. I listen to our customer’s needs, then sell our services.
- Marketing. Expose our products by identifying potential customers and following up with them.
- Accounting. Accounts receivable, payment reconciliation, billing and invoicing.
Traveling is approximately 50% out of the year. Traveling is worldwide, although I’m focused more in the Asia-Pacific region due to my strategic location in Taipei. Two types of travel: support trips or sales trips.
- Support trips include everything I listed earlier.
- Sales trips include attending conferences or meeting potential clients to demo our products. I’ve presented to individuals or crowds up to 200 people ranging from 10 minutes to 1.5 hours.
There’s a lot more specific stuff, but I need to stay vague.
I absolutely love what I do, and it doesn’t feel like a job half the time. Every single day is different, and there is always more work to do. I currently average 60 hours a week, which I don’t mind. I often work remotely on the weekends.
Traveling is almost entirely solo. The one time I traveled with my colleague was my first business travel, which was the 15 days spent in the Netherlands. Every trip afterward has been on my own, which the 48% introvert in me loves.