Sales engineers in the commercial heating sector are generally employed by the manufacturers of heating products and systems, including renewables such as commercial heat pumps. Their job is to match solutions from the heating manufacturer’s portfolio of products to the needs of customers, which include both consultants and contractors. Other customer groups that can be called upon in the commercial sector are End Users, Main Contractors, and Merchants.
Commercial heating sales engineers are hired chiefly for their sales skills. This is a sales job with targets to hit and new project opportunities to find. A heating sales engineer will combine technical knowledge of their sector with sales skills to bring a manufacturer’s products to market and integrate them into live projects. Those projects could include both new builds and retrofit schemes.
The role will vary from company to company, with some sales engineers working very independently to promote a set range of products, whereas others will be part of a team, possibly including specification engineers and design engineers, helping to develop bespoke solutions for major projects. Sales engineers often work closely with product managers as well as internal sales teams.
Commercial heating sales engineers are responsible for managing their time effectively to ensure they are finding projects and arranging meetings with potential new customers and existing clients to discuss how their employer’s product range can meet the project specification.
Much of the role is about relationship building, for example with consultants who will learn to trust a sales engineer’s knowledge to help them prepare proposals and designs for their own clients. It will be necessary to keep in touch with clients throughout the project to check on progress.
With this relationship building in mind, many sales engineers now offer continuous professional development sessions (CPDs) covering some of the latest developments in the sector. These educational sessions have the dual benefit of fulfilling the consultant’s requirement to keep abreast of industry trends and providing an opportunity to build rapport and trust.
Tracking a project through from Consultant stage and following it through to the Contractor stage is a critical part of the role, and understanding which Contractors are tendering for the projects and making sure that you’ve quoted them all and followed up on your quotes with the successful contractor. Other companies deal through Merchants, so it’s necessary to keep them in the loop and make sure the order is not swopped at the last minute for a cheaper substitute by the Merchant. Merchants can really help a company gain exposure with all their additional sales staff, so it can be important to keep them on board.
Commercial heating sales engineers are generally hired on sales experience. Some employers will also favour candidates with specific sector knowledge but many will prioritise a proven track record in sales and provide detailed product training for the right person.
Commercial heating sales engineers spend a lot of time dealing with people and managing relationships. For this reason, good communication skills are essential. In the main, clients look for people with a good network of contacts in the channels they are focused on.
It can be hard to get in front of the right people so patience and persistence are valuable qualities for a sales engineer.
HVAC sales engineers generally earn typically upwards of £45,000 and some can earn considerably more, particularly when bonus payments are taken into consideration. Salaries vary between sectors and depending on the size of the company. They also depend on the region, with UK wide roles often commanding higher salaries. Some smaller manufacturers may offer lower salaries and higher bonuses whereas more established large employers may offer a bigger basic salary.
Commercial heating sales engineers tend to have the satisfaction of seeing a project through from start to finish. The work is varied and client focused so is ideally suited for someone who is sociable and enjoys meeting new people.
Most roles offer a bonus as well as basic salary which is ideal if you are the kind of person who is motivated by targets.
Another advantage is that manufacturers are often happy to leave sales engineers to manage their own time which allows for flexibility and autonomy.
If there’s something you’d like to know about the role of a commercial heating sales engineer that we haven’t covered here, we’d be happy to help further. Or we could point you in the direction of heating sales engineer roles available right now. Check our latest listings of heating sales jobs or call us on 0115 8714 777.