40 Sales Engineer Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Updated January 26, 2023

Thinking critically can help you understand what questions to expect prior to your interview. Taking the time to examine different questions allows you to practice and prepare potential answers. Preparation is a valuable tool because it can help you feel confident in your interview. In this article, we share general and specific questions you can expect interviewers to ask and provide 10 sales engineer interview questions with sample answers.

General sales engineer interview questions

General interview questions are commonly used to help hiring companies get to know applicants better and start meaningful conversations. Some examples of general interview questions you might expect them to ask are:

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and your interests.

  2. What interested you in applying for a position at our company?

  3. Are you familiar with our mission and values?

  4. How do you typically handle conflict in the workplace?

  5. What are your career goals?

  6. Talk to us about your strengths and weaknesses.

  7. Do you have any references we can contact?

  8. How might your former colleagues describe you?

  9. What is something you have learned you dislike in the workplace?

  10. Do you have any questions about the position or our company?

Questions about experience and background

In a sales engineer interview, you can also expect questions about your experience and general background so an employer can determine if you have the skills and qualifications they're looking for from a new hire. Here are questions the hiring manager or hiring committee may ask you:

  1. Discuss your educational experiences with us.

  2. Have you worked professionally in a sales engineer role?

  3. What companies have you previously worked for?

  4. How have you emerged as a leader in your professional experiences?

  5. What type of work environment do you thrive in?

  6. Have you ever engaged in professional training related to sales engineering?

  7. Tell us about a project you worked on that required you to collaborate with others.

  8. What sales engineering skills do you have and use regularly?

  9. How might you apply these skills in the sales engineer position?

  10. Share with us how one of your previous experiences helped you learn a new skill.

In-depth questions

In-depth questions are usually important because they provide additional insight into your credentials and allow interviewers to evaluate whether you are a good fit for the position. Some examples of specific in-depth sales engineer questions they might ask include:

  1. How might you highlight the benefits of our company's product in relation to other market competitors?

  2. How do you explain complex industry terms to current or potential customers?

  3. Who do you believe we target our products and services to?

  4. If asked to give a presentation on our products and services, what might you choose to share?

  5. How many professional experiences have you had as a sales engineer?

  6. What types of sales engineer technologies are you proficient in?

  7. Do you thrive in independent or collaborative work environments?

  8. What information do you need to know about a current or potential customer before presenting a demo?

  9. Where do you find information about sales engineering trends or emerging research?

  10. How might you handle conflict resolution with a customer or colleague?

10 sales engineer interview questions with sample answers

Here are 10 sales engineer interview questions with sample answers you can reference as you prepare for your interview:

1. What duties have you managed in your previous sales engineer roles?

Interviewers or interviewing committees may ask about your previous duties to better understand your job-related knowledge. They might also use this question to identify whether some of your previous duties are the same as the duties the applied position requires. When providing an answer, you may also provide examples of how you performed each duty in your previous sales engineer roles.

Example: "In my previous sales engineer positions, I managed many duties related to customer success. These included making sales calls, providing technical demonstrations, addressing consumer needs and managing current and potential customer relations. I also worked cross-functionally with other company teams to ensure our products and services met consumer needs effectively. For example, if a potential customer mentioned a feature we didn't offer on a sales call, I provided that input to the company's engineers and technical support team."

2. Tell us about how you typically handle sales calls.

Your interviewer may ask you to share how you typically handle sales calls to gain better insight into how you converse with potential customers. They might leave this question open-ended to see what specific information you choose to highlight. While answering, you may provide them with the different strategies you used to execute your sales calls effectively.

Example: "Typically, I handle sales calls by trying to understand the customer's needs or concerns and sharing how my company's products or services can help them. I've found that this strategy allows me to show empathy towards the customer before discussing product or service details. I do this so I'm able to understand how to discuss the value of my company's products or services in relation to their needs and create urgency for them to become or continue being a customer."

Related: 16 Tips for Making Successful Sales Calls

3. How do you approach providing demonstrations to customers?

You may encounter this question in your interview if the sales engineer position requires you to provide technical demonstrations to new and existing customers. Hiring managers may look for insight into how you explain technical terms or operations to customers. If you need to answer this question, you might provide step-by-step information about how you provide demos to customers.

Example: "I usually begin by researching the new or existing customer who will be my audience for the demonstration. This helps me better understand how to tailor my presentation and the discussion to meet their needs. My structure for customer demonstrations includes an introduction to the product or service and a step-by-step guide for how the customer can use it. When providing my demonstration, I also try to explain complex technical terms to help ensure the customer can understand easily."

4. How might you assist a client with a challenge they are facing if you don't have a solution?

Interviewers or interviewing committees can ask this question to gauge how strong your problem-solving skills are and to understand how you search for solutions outside of your own knowledge. Typically, they want to hear about the steps you used to find solutions for customers. Although, you might also share any relevant examples you have from your previous sales engineer experiences.

Example: "If I am speaking with a client on a general sales call or during a demo and they have a challenge that I don't know how to address, I usually tell them I'll look into the issue. Then I typically communicate with engineering and technical teams to find collaborative solutions to the client's challenge."

5. Tell us about a challenging sales project you worked on and how you overcame the challenge.

During your interview, you may need to discuss a challenging sales project you previously worked on and how you overcame the challenge. Typically, interviewers or interviewing committees ask this question to understand your ability to find solutions to project challenges that may arise. When answering, you can share a specific example from one of your previous experiences.

Example: "In one of my previous sales engineer positions, my team was working on a market research sales project to identify sales leads. When trying to learn more about potential customers, we weren't able to find some key details, like customer goals. To solve this problem, we sent out a survey to our clients to gather information about their goals to help us identify sales leads for customers who might share similar goals."

Related: Interview Question: Describe a Challenge You Overcame

6. How do you measure sales success?

Your interviewer may want to know more about how you measure sales success to determine whether it's aligned with their company's measurement. This might include factors like customer base, number of lead responses and sales profits. If you've gained measurable sales results before, you can also share them with your answer.

Example: "Personally, I measure sales success by the size of my company's customer base, the number of lead responses we receive and the amount of revenue our sales are generating. For example, in my most recent position as a sales engineer, I would say our sales were successful. I'd say this because our customer base was increasing, we received responses to 75% of our lead communications and our sales profits were up by 5%."

Related: Helpful Metrics To Measure Success

7. What are some successful sales projects you have previously worked on?

An employer may ask you to share some of your successful sales projects to learn more about your professional process. This question can also provide them with information about whether you were able to complete successful sales projects in your previous roles. While answering, you might provide more than one example to feature more of your accomplishments.

Example: "One example is when my team was trying to gain more responses from our leads. We researched to learn more about our leads before contacting them and tailored our communications to our individual leads. We ended up increasing lead responses by 15%. Another successful sales project I worked on focused on addressing the challenges of existing clients, which involved working directly with the engineering and technical teams. Together, we determined workable solutions to help solve their challenges. These updates increased existing clients' satisfaction by 20%."

8. Explain your understanding of the sales cycle.

A common topic you might expect in your sales engineer interview is the sales cycle. The hiring manager may be interested in learning about your understanding of the cycle. This can help them identify whether your understanding aligns with how their company defines the sales cycle. You may answer this question by explaining your understanding in a list format.

Example: "My understanding of the sales cycle is that there are seven stages that build upon each other. The stages include finding potential leads, contacting leads, informing leads, nurturing leads, presenting leads an offer, overcoming challenges and completing the sale. Throughout my experiences, I've used this understanding of the sales cycle to help me complete sales projects and to help my company reach higher levels of sales success."

9. Based on your experiences, do you prefer long or short sales cycles?

Your interviewer or interviewing committee may ask whether you prefer long or short sales cycles because it can help them identify whether your preference is the type of cycle they typically use. When sharing your preference, it can benefit you to explain your reasoning because it provides them with insight into why that type of sales cycle is preferable to you. Mentioning both in your answer might help show your adaptability and willingness to work with long and short sales cycles.

Example: "I prefer long sales cycles because there are more opportunities to get to know the client. I believe this is important for maintaining client relationships in the future. However, I have worked with short sales cycles before and I am comfortable working with them if needed."

Related: Long Sales Cycle vs. Short Sales Cycle: What's the Difference?

10. What skills do you have that make you a good sales engineer?

You can usually expect the interviewer to ask you about your sales engineer skills. This question helps provide them with a greater understanding of your working knowledge and the assets you may offer their company. Discussing more than one skill in your answer is beneficial to feature your diverse range of knowledge.

Example: "Some of the skills that I believe make me a good sales engineer are my ability to collaborate, adapt, communicate and problem-solve."


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