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Top Sales Engineer Compensation Trends for 2024

The Betts Team
February 22, 2024

Compensation trends for Sales Engineers (SEs) in 2024 point to positive increases, reflecting the ever-growing importance of this job in the technology startup space. The SE role is becoming increasingly vital in the current SaaS market, with many companies competing for a limited pool of potential candidates that can fulfill all of their tech sales and pre-sales needs. 

Armed with the data from the latest version of the Betts Compensation Guide, we will take you through all you need to know about how hiring trends for experienced Sales Engineers are shaping up based on salary metrics for 2024:

Compensation and Hiring Trends for Sales Engineers

The technology market has gone through continuous transformation throughout the 2020’s, but even before the pandemic there were significant developments affecting demand for SEs. As the SaaS sector has grown and matured, the demand for specialized roles has also risen, particularly for go-to-market (GTM) professionals that can provide technical knowledge and support while still selling. Sales Engineer is the premier title that fills this tech sales gap, being able to take ownership of conversations for pre-sales stages, demos, and more. 

Obviously, as more startups have sought to recruit SEs the more the compensation rates for this role have grown. We have seen an average year-over-year (YoY) increase of 5% for Sales Engineers, often alongside the equally-specialized Revenue Operations Manager job. This means that while total earnings are dropping or stagnant for other GTM roles, companies that need to hire an SE quickly will have to consider increasing their starting comp offer to attract top talent.

SE Compensation Insights for 2024

The overall average salary for a Sales Engineer in 2024 falls between a range of $120,000 – $150,000. However, rates vary wildly between locations, with jobs on the East Coast and in the tech hub city of San Francisco typically earning the most. Those on the West Coast saw a higher range than those in Central and Mountain time zones, but usually had the same starting rate. 

Interestingly, Remote SEs commanded top compensation rates as well, reflecting how companies in tech hubs have been filling demand by recruiting beyond their immediate market. On-target earnings (OTE) averaged 20% of base salary across the U.S., based on performance-based bonuses and other additional income.

The data table below shows exact rates between time zones compared to average rates for Revenue Ops Managers in the same locations:

Time ZoneNY / SFPacificMountainCentralEasternRemote
Salary | On-target EarningsBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTEBase | OTE
Rev Ops Manager (0-2 years)100k-160k | 10%100k-160k | 10%100k-150k | 10%100k-150k | 10%100k-160k | 10%100k-150k | 10%
Rev Ops Manager (3-5 years)150k-250k | 10%150k-250k | 10%150k-220k | 10%150k-220k | 10%150k-250k | 10%150k-220k | 10%
Sales Engineer135k-165k | 20%100k-150k | 20%110k-150k | 20%100k-120k | 20%135k-165k | 20%135k-165k | 20%

Top Trends Driving Compensation for SEs in 2024

As we touched on earlier in this blog, compensation trends for Sales Engineers are being driven primarily by many critical factors impacting the wider technology sector. SaaS companies in particular were heavily affected by the developments of 2023, and in 2024 we will see many organizations double-down on some of these changes to ensure better resilience against economic shifts like inflation and more scrutinous software buyer behavior. Since many of these will significantly affect hiring for SEs as well as other roles, we will dive into the top patterns emerging in the next year:

Increased Demand for GTM Specialization

As many SaaS companies have sought to scale their operations while also reacting to the economic upheavals over the past few years, we have seen a general trend towards restructuring and consolidating GTM jobs from the top down. Specialization is one the fastest rising categories in this area, with most startups seeking to bring on technical or tribal knowledge (usually both) for their go-to-market workforce and round out their ability to close complex deals. Naturally, Sales Engineers occupy the sweet spot for this type of expertise, blending selling ability with solution proficiency.

Compensation Rises for Unicorns

While we still found general average rates within our network, GTM compensation in tech will be increasingly defined by volatility throughout 2024. Specialization and experience are impacting salaries more than location and even title in some areas, with most SaaS companies seeking out what we term their “unicorn sellers.” With greater demand comes higher rates, and sales candidates that fit this persona can expect up to 20% more in compensation.

Importance of Soft Skills

Besides specialization and technical experience, another essential requirement for unicorn go-to-market candidates are the “soft skills” needed to connect and build relationships with clients and prospects. More importantly, out of all of these factors, these skill sets are some of the hardest to train for. SEs with good emotional intelligence and personal skills are going to be more highly sought after in the current market and will have more room to negotiate for higher rates.

In-Office Benefits vs. Remote Work

As can be seen through the salary data provided previously in this blog, remote Sales Engineers are still able to earn at the top of their average range, which stands in contrast to many other GTM roles in tech currently. While return-to-office (RTO) policies are slowly regaining popularity in the technology sector, fully in-office models are still a small minority and many SaaS companies have opted to offer hybrid work arrangements instead. However, experienced unicorn candidates are usually allowed an exemption from the RTO push, which reflects the priority startups are placing on finding veteran SEs no matter their location.

Hire Your Unicorn Sales Engineer with Betts Recruiting

Finding a Sales Engineer that fits your unicorn seller niche while also bringing the level of technical product knowledge you need will be important to helping scale your sales over the next year, but will also be a challenging search in the current market. Let the Betts Recruiting team help you refine your talent acquisition with a data-driven, scalable and cost-effective approach to sourcing the right fit SE for your organization’s goals.

Contact Betts here and get started on your search for your unicorn Sales Engineer, armed with the latest compensation data and more.