Mastering Technical Sales: A Five-Step Guide to Dominance

Technical sales, and success in the field, hinges on a strategic approach. Whether you’re already in the field or aspiring to join, this guide serves as your roadmap past mere survival and all the way to triumphant glory. We will unveil the five strategic steps that distinguish the legendary from the ordinary in this ever-changing field.

Industrial Sales Tip: Assess your Current Vehicle (Company)

To achieve greatness in technical sales, your first step involves a meticulous evaluation of your current employment vehicle—the company you work for. Beyond the surface-level considerations, this section explores the deeper dimensions of company culture. How does the organization foster innovation? Is there a commitment to employee growth? Real-world anecdotes underscore the significance of aligning personal aspirations with the company’s trajectory for sustained success.

The exploration extends to the concept of employer support beyond financial incentives, though we will briefly touch on those. How critical is it to have a robust support team, including project engineers, account managers, and customer service representatives? Discerning the signs of an empowering workplace that equips you with staff, knowledge, and support necessary for your carreer is essential. It is recommended that anyone in industrial sales not receiving this support move on to a position that is not holding you back, impeding your growth as a sales engineer.

Regarding financials, technical sales engineers should be wary of positions that do not pay commissions, and/or that cap base salaries. These are  sure signs of your career and personal growth being hindered, and should be avoided. If you have found yourself in a position with any of these encumbrances, it is highly suggested that you seek another position that will allow you to flourish, rather than keep you stunted.

Industrial Sales Tip: Commit to Learning

Stagnation is synonymous with regression in this field, and considering the 80/20 rule (whereby 80% of the results are often reached by 20% of the effort, and the converse, the remaining 20% is garnered from 80% of the input effort), it would seem that this field and our thinking is in need of a paradigm shift. Beyond traditional technical knowledge, which is fine to have, the focus is much nore centered on inter-personal skills and mastery of socializing, reading cues, and staying a step ahead of your clients in a sales pitch. Learning these new skills is a must for both newcomers and old-timers in the industry, that is, if they wish to remain relevant.

It is often found, these days, that having too deep an understanding or too much technical knowledge about a product can actually hinder sales, as people with knowledge about a particular thing are usually pretty keen to share that knowledge with others, causing what is colloquially referred to as a “show up and throw up” scenario. This can be detrimental, because while the salesperson is regurgitating facts, figures, schema, and engineering details, they are missing the vast majority of the subtle body language cues, and verbal signifiers of pain points or other sales-related cues that a less-technically minded individual would have no problem identifying.

This tip also covers another aspect of truly learning something: practicing. It is not simply enough to know how to put together a stellar sales pitch, but it is important to practice doing it, and then practice giving that pitch. Whether in front of a mirror, to your cat or dog, friends, or family members, going through the motions of actually saying all the words that you’ll need to say, in order, without fumbling is a matter of muscle memory and rote learning. The more times you do it correctly for your cat, the more likely you are to not flub it when the opportunity arises for you to actually give the pitch.

The last aspect of a commitment to continued learning might breach is that of mentorship. Finding and working with a mentor can have a profound impact on an individual’s trajectory in many aspects of life, career included. They are a valuable resource, a pillar of strength when needed, and a source of courage and encouragement, as they will be willing to share similar issues they have come across during their careers, both good and bad. By drawing on their expertise and experience, aspiring individuals can reach great heights, and navigate the complexities of industrial sales more effectively.

Industrial Sales Tip: Prioritize Prospecting

Prospecting is the heartbeat of technical sales success. It must be prioritized at all times, even when you think there is too much on your plate already. This point is key, as you can spend months prospecting, building a base of potential clients that seems like it will last you potentially indefinitely. But, nothing in life is forever, and prospects come and go just as easily as the summer breeze sometimes. The over reliance on existing projects can become a disaster if suddenly left with no clients and no prospects for a future deal. The long term dividends of consistent prospecting are staggeringly great.

As for the practical aspects of prospecting in the digital age, one must ensure a holistic approach. Nurture the whole relationship with your client, not just a sales pitch. Get to know them as a person, and understand what makes them happy, what makes them anxious, and how to make them laugh (often very useful in tense situations). This is where your own personal branding becomes very important to your career. Cultivating a distinct professional identity and broadcasting that self-brand can attract quite a large number of high-value prospects. The concept of a tailored approach based on the unique needs of each client becomes your focal point, acting through the agent of your brand.

The most important aspect to prospecting for new clients, however, is your tracking system. Even if it is as simple as a spreadsheet, you must be able to track who the prospects are/were, who has grown in interest, who has waned, where the relationship should head next, what level of cordial vs. colloquial speech is used in communications with each client, etc. You want this document or system to be your fallback when someone calls you out of the blue, and you aren’t quite sure who they are, what company they work for, what product they sell, or any detail about them, until you search their name or phone number and immediately can find all the necessary information for you to have a friendly followup chat with that client, seeming like you know and care about them personally, their lives, important dates like birthdays and anniversaries they have shared with you, and their existence beyond a sales number.

Prospecting is all about building trust, the core of all relationships.

Industrial Sales Tip: Commit to LinkedIn

LinkedIn stands out as a powerful platform for direct engagement with potential customers. You must dedicate time daily for prospecting and actively engaging with your network. Participate in discussions, like posts, and foster meaningful connections with other people you have connected with. The instant communication you can have with a potential client on this platform is of immeasurable value.

You should envision LinkedIn as a dynamic tool for relationship-building, and communication. The professional landscape is changing dramatically, and networking on digital platforms like LinkedIn is becoming the norm, and thus is required for staying competitive.

Industrial Sales Tip: Plan Your Week

The demands of sales requires the utmost planning and care to avoid total chaos, or sitting at your desk, catatonic, unable to respond to even a single email of the 1200 you just received this hour, or any of the phone calls or messages that keep coming in, each one a bargainer for your time. Structuring your week with specific times to respond to emails, return phone calls, do your prospecting, make cold calls, etc. will help you balance your existing projects with new ones, and eliminate the possibility of people inadvertently taking control of your time and focus for longer than necessary.

Goal setting also falls under this category, as setting daily, weekly and monthly objectives can often make long-term goals seem less far-fetched when broken down into individual components.


Mastering technical sales will require a balance of strategic planning and holistic approaches, and these five steps can serve as a great starting point for making your career shine just a bit brighter than those around you.

If you want to dive deeper into pitching and how to win a client, among other skills that

will boost your performance in technical sales, consider enrolling at

Industrial Sales University

Learn More