5 Stages to Close More Deals as a Technical Sales Engineer

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Being a successful technical sales engineer comes down to closing more deals. Here’s a 5 stage framework you can use to turn cold leads into qualified prospects, close more deals and even capitalize from rejections!

Check out Kyle’s Youtube video on this topic

Stage 1 – Build Your Lead List for Technical Sales Engineers

For technical sales engineers, a lead is the name of a person or company. They are not qualified yet. When you start building out your list, you should do two things:

1 – Look at your existing sales list.

Circle back to your list and think about who’s got some projects you can bid on.

When it comes to building a list from scratch one tool you can use is Zoominfo. Some people use data.com if you have Salesforce. Please note that with data.com, the info can be outdated. Zoominfo is what I use, but just know that it is expensive. I paid $5,000 upfront – prices may vary – but what’s super valuable is that you get to export contacts.

You should also get a CRM, if you don’t have one already. A CRM is critical to have so you can develop a pipeline process and see people moving through it. When it comes to lead generation, you need to make sure the quality of the data you have on people and their company is good.

Now let’s look at the next step towards closing more deals as a technical sales engineer.

Stage 2 – Prospect as a Technical Sales Engineer

A person or company becomes a prospect when they take an action to show their interest in your solutions. You can qualify them through your own standards. Leads must become qualified by asking “Can they afford what I’m selling?”

You need to have a set of questions that you use to qualify prospects so that you don’t waste your efforts nurturing unqualified leads.


The reason people often ‘ghost’ you is because they weren’t a qualified lead in the first place. Don’t worry about leads who ghost you because they are just showing you that they aren’t a good fit for your business in the first place. Don’t waste time on leads that ghost you. Move on. Focus on getting qualified prospects.

If you want to learn more, consider enrolling at Industrial Sales University!


Stage 3 – Proposal Writing for Technical Sales Engineers

Once you get people to the proposal stage you need to move quickly. If they send you an RFQ or RFP then you need to return that as quickly as possible. You want to make sure the feedback you provide in a proposal or quote is accurate.

This means hitting on all the points and specific questions and concerns they express to you. The system that we use to create proposals (2018) is Proposify.com. It’s the best system we’ve seen at this point for crafting great proposals. You can create boilerplate templates that look great and then customize various aspects of it based on the unique needs and requests of your prospects.

Success Loves Speed

It’s important to demonstrate both speed and accuracy at the proposal stage. Usually, when companies are ready for a quote, they actually needed you yesterday! Most companies will drag their feet until the pain they experience is so great that they are virtually forced to reach out to you for help. You want to keep the momentum going and move them to the close ASAP.

Stage 4 – Close More Deals

At this stage, there’s only a couple of different paths they can go from here. It’s either going to be a win or loss.

If you get a response of “not now” – meaning they like you, they like the proposal, but they have budget constraints, they are just tied up with other projects, etc., then they should go into a nurture campaign in your CRM.

You can use your CRM to set up emails that go out once every week, once every other week, etc, and every few months to see how things are going. Sometimes they say “It’ll be a few months” and it ends up being two years.

Case in point, we had a potential customer that we’ve been following up with for a year and a half that looked like they were going to come through. Then they didn’t. When they do come through, we’re sure they’ll go with us because we’ve been following up with them so we are top of their mind.

Successful technical sales engineers put people on a list in their CRM and just follow up with them automatically.

We talked about ghosting earlier, but we’ll talk about it again in this stage of the selling process. When you do the work of properly qualifying people in the earlier stage then you won’t have to deal with this as much at the closing stage, but it still happens.

People get busy. Your prospect may be out on travel, they may be out sick, they may just be in a busy spell for a short time. You have to understand that most peoples’ lives do not revolve around their work.

That’s why technical sales engineers have to be patient and consistent with nurturing through email.

Take a Multimedia Nurture Marketing Approach

Effective marketing as a technical sales engineer involves consuming mindshare of your prospects. You should consider taking a multipronged approach to selling to prospects. That means you should utilize email, you should give them a call and leave a message if you don’t get them on the phone. You should alert them when you are going to be in the area so you can do a site visit with them.

The big takeaway here is that you should not give up. You have to continue to follow up and promote and nurture. You have to develop a bulletproof mindset on this point.

Develop a “buy or die” mentality.

This mindset of technical sales engineers simply means that you commit to keep following up until they either become a client or unsubscribe from your list. This mindset is important because prospects can drag their feet for months, and sometimes years, before saying “YES!” and becoming a client.

Stage 5 – Debrief for Intel

Let’s be honest. No technical sales engineer wins every proposal. When that happens, you can still gain something invaluable out of the loss. Intel!

The CIA would tell you that ‘intelligence’ is power. People in the government intelligence world pay millions for secrets, data, and intelligence that helps them advance their agendas.

As a technical sales engineer, you too can use every single rejection as an opportunity to debrief with that prospect. Ask them why they chose not to go with you. Ask them what’s one or two things they could do better to have won their business.

This intel is invaluable, but we’ll try to price it anyhow. When you lose a bid, you can take the intel they give you and close the next proposal faster than ever. What is that worth to you, in your B2B technical sales engineer position? Is it worth $5,000 a month? Is it worth a $25,000 commission or bonus? Plug in your numbers!

Using this 5 stage process will definitely help you close more deals and skyrocket your technical sales engineering career to the top.

If you want to learn more, consider enrolling at Industrial Sales University!